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  • Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW)

      Footage from the Gathering of the Juggalos set to clips of Morgan Freeman’s narration from March of the Penguins? Kind of forced, but also kind of beautiful. As the AV Club reports: The oft-sought voiceover champion lends a touch of gravitas to the festival proceedings. Unfortunate scenes of barely clad people having various liquids dumped onto them now carries a quiet dignity as it’s all part of nature’s majestic plan that keeps the world spinning through this elegantly designed and truly wondrous universe. Also, the video is NSFW as there are boobs in it. Watch the clip below:

    The post Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW) appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love”

    It seems like the polar vortex will never end: the weather phenomenon that brought us the most brutal winter on record this winter is to blame for this summer’s chillier-than usual temperatures as well. A couple of bands, though, made lemonade out of lemons (or snow cones out of snow?) by using the icy landscape to film music videos. 800beloved shot the video for “Tidal” in some sand dunes near Empire, Mich., and this week Turn to Crime debuted the video for “Can’t Stop,” the title track of their recently-released album. Even more piles of ice and snow might be the last thing Detroiters want to see right now, but the footage makes for some good visuals that mesh well with the song. Watch the video below:

    The post Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love” appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed

    Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr transferred oversight of the the city’s water department Tuesday to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in an order intended to refocus “efforts to help DWSD customers get and remain current on their water bills,” Orr’s office said today. “This order provides additional clarity to the powers already delegated to the mayor,” Orr said in a statement released Tuesday. “As the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department works to operate more efficiently and communicate more effectively with customers, it is important to ensure there are clear lines of management and accountability.” Duggan will have the authority to manage DWSD and make appointments to the utility’s board, according to a news release. In a statement issued Tuesday, the mayor said he welcomed Orr’s order, adding that officials will develop a plan that “allows those who truly need to access to financial help … to do so with shorter wait times.” “We need to change a number of things in the way we have approached the delinquent payment issues and I expect us to have a new plan shortly,” Duggan said. “There are funds available to support those who cannot afford their bills — we need to do a much better job in […]

    The post Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times

    Turns out, our very own Jack Lessenberry knows the Grosse Pointer seeking to ban the MT: Ten years or so ago, a woman named Andrea Lavigne sat in on some media survey classes I was teaching at Wayne State University. She was in her late 30s or early 40s, and seemed to be searching for answers. She wanted to know how the media work, and told me she was a Maoist. This fascinated me, because I thought authentic Maoists were almost as rare as passenger pigeons. Chairman Mao, we now know, starved to death and slaughtered tens of millions of his own citizens, and kept China economically and intellectually backward. Intrigued, I got together one night before class with her and another Maoist, to find out what they were all about. Alas, they spouted a form of primitive, grade-school Marxism. They seemed to have very little historical knowledge of Communism or what it had actually been like. Yes. A Maoist. Read the full story at Michigan Radio here.

    The post Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’

    A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the owner of Detroit’s municipal solid waste incinerator Monday, accusing the company of nuisance and gross negligence violations According to the complaint filed by Detroit-based Liddle & Dubin P.C., “On occasions too numerous to list, Plaintiffs’ property including Plaintiffs’ neighborhood, residences and yards were physically invaded by noxious odors and contaminants … As a direct and proximate result of the Defendant’s’ negligence in operating and/or maintaining the facility, Plaintiffs’ property has been invaded by noxious odors.” The eight-page complaint charges that local property values have dropped due to the incinerator’s presence, “and has interfered with Plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their property.” The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, seeks a financial award in excess of $25,000 and all costs and attorney fees related to the case. In an email, a spokesperson for the company says, “Detroit Renewable Power is reviewing the complaint filed today,” but declined further comment. The suit comes weeks after a Metro Times’ cover story earlier this month found a growing number of odor complaints from nearby residents since Detroit Renewable Power LLC (DRP) took control of the facility in 2010. The investigation found a spike in citations from the Michigan Department […]

    The post Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Daydream believer

Despite the odds, George Lyles maintains his inner-city eatery with fresh food and homespun recipes

Photo: Photo: Detroitblogger John, License: N/A

Photo: Detroitblogger John

George Lyles inside his Turkey Grill restaurant.

A man walks into the Turkey Grill on Woodward Avenue in Detroit on a cold afternoon. He's old, with gray whiskers and a black cap. It's obvious most of his time is spent on the street.

He quickly finds his first target.

"Can you help me out with something to eat?" he says to a bundled older woman waiting in line for her carry-out order.

"What?" she replies, incredulously. She's clearly not used to a panhandler with the nerve to come inside a restaurant to beg. "No," the woman says.

So the man sits down in one of the empty booths, a mere few feet from her, and starts mumbling to himself. They're the mutterings of a disturbed man, the private language spoken by street people all over the city.

Food takes time to cook here because everything is prepared fresh, and now everyone in line has to stand there awkwardly as the man continues talking under his breath and staring at them.

Another customer comes in, this time a middle-aged man, and waits his turn. The panhandler asks him the same question and gets the same answer. "Think it over," the mumbler presses. But no free meal is coming from anyone here today, and he finally leaves.

This moment of freedom for these customers is fleeting. Another vagrant comes in, much younger this time, and announces to the room, "I'm trying to buy something to eat. I'm walking around trying to survive." But in this neighborhood, most people are trying to survive. He gets no sympathy and sulks out the door.

Panhandlers beg for money outside the doors of many Detroit places. It's the nature of life in a city where a whole lot of poor people live. For whatever reason, though, some of them like to work their hustle right in the Turkey Grill's lobby, much to the owner's quiet dismay.

"They're basically harmless," says George Lyles, the mild-mannered 58-year-old founder of the restaurant. "They don't really bother anybody, but it's just more or less the principle of when you're trying to enjoy yourself, go out grab a meal or grab a snack and then you got someone running around begging you for money, it's kind of annoying. We just kind of gently tell them to leave."

Owning a business in Detroit brings challenges that aren't as common outside the city limits. Burglaries. Erratic city services. A customer base without much money to spend. And those days when someone from the street winds up inside your door, chipping away at your livelihood. Lyles has had 15 years of such challenges here. Yet he's stayed. All because of a belief he won't let go of.

Few things
are as risky or scary as quitting a solid career to chase a dream. Lyles was a successful accountant when he first got the idea of opening his own restaurant. He and his friends would complain they couldn't find worthy lunch options near their office downtown, and would daydream aloud what they'd do if they had their own restaurant, how it would be decorated, what kind of food they'd serve.

But Lyles never let go of the idea. He eventually worked up the courage to quit his career, found an available building in the city's North End neighborhood, and opened the Turkey Grill in 1996. "It took a lot of guts and a lot of money," he says. "But here we are."

The real thrill of having your own restaurant is serving whatever you like and hoping others like it too. Lyles reached back into his childhood in the Deep South for the country foods he grew up with and gambled they'd sell in inner-city Detroit.

He went to South Carolina to get a recipe for fried turkey wings. In New Orleans he learned how to make turkey neck stew, with a whole turkey neck immersed in its thick rice and vegetable mix. He brought back a beans-and-rice recipe from Beale Street in Memphis, found a way to make turkey salad in south Mississippi, and in Texas he discovered how to smoke an already-fried turkey. "I said, 'How you gonna fry a turkey and it's smoked too?' But I got their recipe so I'm able to do it now."

You can get turkey meat into almost any dish, it turns out. So the Turkey Grill offers a Mexican turkey pita roll, a turkey pastrami sandwich, turkey sausage and turkey bacon for breakfast, turkey chili, turkey soup, turkey burgers and turkey meatloaf.

The dining area is small, decorated with drawings and paintings from New Orleans and Memphis. The seating is hard plastic cafeteria booths. Bulletproof glass separates the public from the smoky kitchen at the back.

Lyles toiled to get established his first year here. His sister worked the kitchen, he worked the books. Days were 14 hours long.

�"You're everything," he says. "You're the bookkeeper, you're the janitor, you're the inventory person, and it's much more of a responsibility than working for someone else."

He promoted the Turkey Grill through glossy flyers, through menus left around town, through funny TV commercials on WYMD-20 featuring a cartoon turkey interacting with a toddler. It took time, but soon a following developed for his unique menu.

"I wasn't making any money but I was kind of determined to do it," he says, standing in the kitchen next to an old blackened stove. "Maybe one day it might be slow, the next day we'd have a heavy sales volume, and that kind of encouraged me."

There are lines
at the counter just about all day, every day. The meals are cheap and country cooking has always been popular in the city. And every year, Thanksgiving brings orders for 600 whole fried turkeys.

But Lyles knows that a few miles away there are restaurants whose customers have more money than his do, places that don't need bulletproof glass at the counter or don't have the homeless hounding their patrons.

"I do find challenges in that we have a lot of people as you know that kind of walk the street around here, people that they let out of the mental institutions during the day, or the health care homes, and they're walking the street. And sometimes it becomes annoying to my customers."

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