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  • Thank you, Detroit

    I’m not going to lie to you – this isn’t easy. This week, the final City Slang local music column will be published in the Metro Times (on hardcore band Final Assault), and I have just submitted a cover feature on the women of Detroit hip-hop, to be published next week (8/6). This blog that you’re reading now will be my last one as a regular MT contributor. I have a lot to look forward to. I’m going to be an associate editor at Yellow Scene Magazine in Colorado, a tremendous publication in a beautiful part of the country. But leaving Detroit will be incredibly difficult for me. I love the place. It’s been (amazingly) six and a half years since I arrived, a couple of cases in hand and not much of a plan in mind. I just knew, after three separate research trips for books and a magazine article, that I felt at home here. Metro Times offered me freelance work almost immediately, as did a new website called Metromix (whatever happened to that?) When I arrived here, I had been working as a writer in the UK for nine years, but the help and encouragement I received […]

    The post Thank you, Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers

      We here at MT will be delighted when Mr. Jack White throws out a pitch at Navin Field (at least, we hope he will), but until then, we’ll be happy with his pitch to Santa this evening at Comerica Park.    

    The post Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.



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Divine inspiration

How one woman's visions transformed a corner of the city

Photo: , License: N/A

Bringing the iconic stories of the Bible to a forsaken building on the east side of Detroit.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Kathina Carey, with sign painter Leon Goodin in the background, stands by the apartment building that she made into her canvas.

"Everybody that makes a wish in there I tell them, 'Remember, you're sending a blessing out to Jesus, and if you want your blessing to come true like everybody else's, you can't go in that pond and touch nothing. When you go take that money out you're stealing someone's blessing, and the more you steal out of that pond the more God gonna whoop you.' And it's been less thieves taking money out of that pond now."

As the neighborhood came alive again, and the drabness gave way to color bursting out from flowerbeds and paintings, neighbors started showing up to help. "I was running out of money and I told the Lord, 'I ain't gonna stop, but I need some help,' and God started sending people gradually. Sometimes one come and dig a hole, sometimes one cut the grass." 

And sometimes people give her money. She has no job, but instead relies, she says, on God to give her what she calls "financial blessings." She gets enough money here and there to buy a new tool or two sometimes, or paint for the art project, or replacements for the lawn mowers and tillers that people keep stealing from her yard. She's also bought two empty houses on the block from the city. Of course, she just turned them over to others who had no place of their own to stay. 

But she might need one of them soon for herself. "That's actually the one I'm trying to move in now because the people has taken over this one," she says, standing in her front yard, pointing to an old red house across the field.

That apartment building sat abandoned for years. It's a three-level, multi-unit shell with all its windows gone and its doors pried open. Carey watched every day as the junkies went inside to shoot up and nod out, as the hookers took their dates in there, as the homeless spent their nights in there. It lingered in the neighborhood like a tumor, sapping the strength of everything around it. Then the visions were given to her.

First thing she did, she says, was board up the windows herself. "It cost me $700 cash to do all the boards. I went to Home Depot and got 'em. I still got every receipt." Those boards would be her canvases.

She can draw a little, but she couldn't match the splendor of the religious imagery in her mind. That's when, she says, God brought her Leon the painter. 

Well, a prostitute did, actually. "This young lady that works on Mack, she dates guys on Mack. He brought her to my house to get her something to eat. I went to bed at night, the Lord said, 'That's who you're gonna get because he's going to work with you side by side and he ain't gonna hold you up.'"

Leon Goodin has been a sign painter for years, putting colorfully stenciled ads on the brick walls of mom-and-pop shops all over the city. A few days later, Carey approached him as he stood by his work truck and said with sheer certitude, "Mr. Leon, I got an ongoing project that I'm going to need your help with." 

For some reason he was drawn to this woman and her inspired, idealistic personality. She even got him to start attending church regularly for the first time in years, as she has with other neighbors. She doesn't proselytize so much as present a serene hopefulness in the midst of the misery around her that draws her neighbors to her like moths to a light.

But Goodin, like many of Carey's friends, worries about her boundless generosity. "She's too nice," the 61-year-old painter says. "People are trying to tell her that. But if someone asks for something, if she has it she gives it to them. People be trying to tell her, 'Don't give everything away like that!'"

At first, Carey paid Goodin for his help, but as the project grew in time and scope, she wasn't able to cover the cost. And he began skipping paying jobs to instead continue this work.

"Mr. Leon didn't accept no money no more, so I have to sometimes just push the money on him," Carey says." It's only enough to get gas and paint, but basically Mr. Leon has been doing the painting for nothing. He works for me in between his jobs, and sometimes he don't go on his jobs."

The first painting went up on the side of the building facing McClellan. It shows Lucifer as he's thrown out of heaven in a burst of pastel colors. Alongside him are comet-like spheres containing fellow fallen angels being cast out of paradise. It depicts what she sees as the root cause of the bad things in the neighborhood. 

"There was so much happening around here," she says. "The women was getting stabbed on Mack. The prostitutes didn't have nowhere to stay or eat or none of that. I put that up because I couldn't understand why things was going so bad, and the first thing that came to mind was Lucifer."

The second is of Carey herself as an angel with a horn to her lips, with the caption "Kat Trumpeting Jesus." Then came images of Noah in his ark, John the Baptist in the river, Jesus in the manger, Moses on the mountain; all the iconic stories from the Bible that would be instantly recognizable, even by those who haven't thought about these tales since they were children. It was her way of confronting the chaos of the neighborhood with reminders of fundamental spiritual concepts. And to some degree, it worked. 

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