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  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    Ypsilanti police are still searching for the person dubbed the “mystery pooper.” Someone has been, as the Associated Press politely puts it today, “soiling slides at an Ypislanti playground over the last six months.” So, of course, someone purchased an electronic billboard along I-94 near Huron St. at exit 183 that delivers multiple calls for action: For instance,”Help us flush the pooper.” The company that purchased the billboard, Adams Outdoor Advertising, knows how to reach the world in the 21st Century, branding each billboard with a hashtag for the public utilize in its efforts: #ypsipooper. WJBK-TV says the billboard also toggles through other rich lines, such as: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper #YPSIPOOPER” “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” You can have the runs, but you can’t hide. They’re still looking for you, Mystery Pooper.

    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Culture feature

The Art of the Deal

Pecha Kucha brings the art of precise presentation to fashionable Ferndale.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2013:05:21 16:37:49

Jennie Kay wants people to help photograph every house of worship in Detroit.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

One woman came to talk about a community-based attempt to photograph every house of worship in Detroit. A pair of college students from Toledo focused attention on volunteer efforts to build a bridge in a remote part of Honduras. There was a guy who highlighted a project that’s bringing art to building rooftops, and another who explained how his innovative T-shirt business got its start. And then there was the woman who came to tell people just how fabulous she and her life are.

One by one, they stepped up to a microphone last week at One-Eyed Betty’s, a bar and restaurant in Ferndale. Photos appeared on a screen behind them as they spoke. Twenty photos each, to be exact, each one flashing for 20 seconds, then on to the next so that each presentation lasted just six minutes and 40 seconds.

Welcome to Pecha Kucha, an event that began in Tokyo 10 years ago and has since brought the “art of precise presentation” to more than 500 cities around the world. Last week’s event in Ferndale was the 15th such gathering held in metro Detroit since 2008.

Roughly translated, the term PechaKucha means chitchat in Japanese. But the chatter, for the most part, is anything but idle.  As the Detroit organizers say on their website, the intention is to “celebrate creative and business-minded talent that may not otherwise have an outlet to share their inspirations, creations and ways they’ve changed a community.”

The whole thing is run as a nonprofit, with local groups operating like franchises. The Detroit group stages four events a year. Attendees are asked for a $10 donation to help cover expenses. Several local sponsors also kick in.

As one of the organizers, Frank Nemecek says that last week’s event was in many ways fairly typical of the 14 “volumes” that preceded it. Featuring 10 presenters, there was a good mix of people promoting businesses, artistic projects and do-gooder efforts.

He points out that one of the features of the format and its time limit is that it keeps presenters from “droning on too long.”

You know how loquacious creative types can be when they are talking about a project they are into. On the other hand, if someone wants more information, there is plenty of opportunity to connect with a presenter during the customary intermission, or after the presentations have concluded.

One unusual aspect was the venue. Rather than a place like One-Eyed Betty’s, the presentations are more typically held at cultural institutions such as the DIA and the Charles H.  Wright Museum of African American History. The next one, scheduled for Aug. 21, will be at the Hamtramck Public Library.

For Nemecek, another thing that set last week’s PechaKucha Night apart from the others was the fact that he finally made the leap to being a presenter himself.

A resident of the Warrendale neighborhood on Detroit’s far-west side, Nemecek began looking for ways to deal with the more than 1,000 empty homes in the immediate area. When he learned that there are more than 30,000 students attending Henry Ford Community College and UM’s Dearborn campus that would like to live in the area but couldn’t find housing, the solution clicked into place.

A nonprofit has been started with the intent of renovating empty homes and targeting students as renters.

“We’re picking up steam,” he says. “We’ve got a sponsor, and we’ve got some houses.”

After spending years watching others do it, what was it like to at last get up on the stage himself?

“I found that the process really helps you think about what you are doing,” he says. “If forces you to crystalize your thoughts, and how you are going to convey information, not only in words, but also with the images you attach to those words.”

Some people make their presentations in the hopes that it could lead to the funding of worthy projects. Katie Burns and Kyle Layton, for example, attend the University of Toledo, where they belong to the student chapter of a group called Engineers Without Borders.

During their six minutes and 40 seconds, they talked about Los Sanchez, a small village in Honduras that loses easy access to a nearby town when a nearby river swells during the rainy season. Kids can’t get to school, sick people have a hard time making it to the hospital, and buying food is difficult. A pedestrian bridge would make everyone’s lives infinitely easier. A creative, relatively low-cost span has been designed. Now all that’s needed is the $60,000 in materials required to actually construct the 180-foot bridge.

The one thing that links all of the PechaKucha participants is creativity. Architects, artists, photographers and designers of all stripes are drawn to the event.

Sometimes what people want to talk about is mostly themselves. That was the case for Detroiter Tene’ Dismuke, who says she started studying dance at the age of 4, then went on to become a model (she teaches at Barbizon) and writer (“I have three books in the can and am looking for a publisher,” she tells the crowd.) Among many other things, she runs a summer program for girls called Camp Fabulous. It is a place where girls ages 7 to 16 can develop both their performing arts talents and their self-esteem.

As Dismuke says, it is important to know that you don’t have to “apologize for being fabulous.”


To be considered as a presenter for the Aug. 21 event in Hamtramck, send 300 words on you and 300 words on your work; and a 5-megabyte sample (image, audio, video, whatever) to More information can be found at


Curt Guyette is Metro Times news editor. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or

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