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  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to Ricky Rat’s Tokyo Pop/Glitter People (New Fortune) 7” single highlights all that’s great about the Trash Brats guitarist, but also his limitations. The man can write a bubblegum rock ’n’ roll song to match anyone in the city and most beyond. He’s also a killer guitarist, ripping out one throwaway riff after another with reckless abandon. He’s a machine. On his own though, without Trash Brats frontman Brian McCarty, his voice doesn’t have enough strength to do the songs justice. Not that you need to have the greatest voice in the world to sing this stuff – you don’t need to be able to perform vocal gymnastics – but you do have to be able to wail the tunes out. Both of the songs on this single are great, but you can’t help but wonder how much better they would sound with McCarty or somebody similar talking the mic. Still, as they are the songs are great fun. We’re just being picky. The Paper Sound’s Trajectories is a dense, atypically dark Americana-tinged album, unrelenting and […]

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  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of, a new website launched by the City of Detroit today to auction off city-owned homes to prospective buyers who pledge to fix them up and move in. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement today. “There are a lot of people who would love to move into many of our neighborhoods. Knowing that other people are going to be buying and fixing up the other vacant homes at the same time will make it a lot easier for them to make that commitment.” The website to facilitate the auctions went live this afternoon. The first auction is scheduled to take place Monday, May 5. Officials said in a news release that one home will be auctioned per day, Monday through Friday. Fifteen homes are available for sale on the site, a dozen of which are in the East English Village neighborhood. Any Michigan resident, company, or organization that can do business in the state can bid, according to the website. Properties will be for sale for only one day, with bidding taking place from 8 […]

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  • Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes

    In case you haven’t heard, two of the biggest names in film, Steven Spielberg and John Williams, are collaborating to put on a benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this summer. In case you wanted to go- well, you’re too damn late. The DSO says tickets to the June 14 concert were snapped up in a record-breaking 15 minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. today. The DSO has since released this statement to fans who didn’t snag seats: Our apologies to everyone who was unable to buy tickets this morning for our historic benefit concert featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Despite increasing our phone and internet system capacity for the day, a surge of hundreds of ticket buyers purchased tickets in a matter of minutes, filling the phone lines and temporarily maxing out our web servers. After a one-hour pre-sale made available to donors and subscribers at 8am, we released additional seats at 9am to the general public, including seats available for as low as $30. All seats sold out immediately. The concert program seems nothing short of top notch: Williams will conduct the orchestra as it performs some of his most iconic tunes, such […]

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  • Blowout 2014 schedule available to view now

    The schedule for Blowout 17, taking place Wednesday April 30 to Saturday May 3 in Hamtramck, Detroit and Ferndale, is available to see now. Visit to see the schedule and plan your festival. Follow @City_Slang

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  • City Slang: Trash Brats get sleazy at Small’s

    The Trash Brats hardly ever play live anymore, so each show feels like an event. Wandering around Small’s in Hamtramck late Saturday night, there’s a near-carnival atmosphere in the air. The Brats were never supposed to be taken seriously, but years on-and-off the radar have given the band the gift of respect born out of longevity. We’re not being dismissive at all. In fact, no amount of kooky faces from guitarist Ricky Rat and bassist Toni Romeo can hide the fact that these boys can play and the band writes killer bubblegum sleaze-rock tunes. The fact that the venue was packed compared to, say, a recent show by internationally known punk icons Sylvain Sylvain and Glen Matlock (which you would think would attract a similar audience) is testament to the fact that, in Detroit, the Trash Brats command a certain reverence. Before the Trash Brats took to the stage, local punks The Dives kicked off the night with a set of sincere, energetic and well-performed, if standard, punk rock. No frills (besides frontman Ron McPherson’s dapper suit), the band features members of the Junk Monkeys, the Black Mollies and the Joint Chiefs, and it drives through a set of catchy, […]

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  • Cycle 7 opens at the Red Bull House of Art

    By: Ayana Bryant-Weekes The Red Bull House of Art, a multidisciplinary and collaborative art project, relieves the stress of financial limitation or lack of tools and space so budding artists can manifest their creative dreams right here in Detroit. Six artists are selected for a three-month residency where they are provided individual studio space and materials, allowing their artistic concepts to flow freely. At the end of each residency is an unveiling and public display at the Red Bull House of Art Gallery. As show curator Matt Eaton told us in a 2013 interview, “The selection process for the current crop of artists was just the same as every round. The goal is not to find the hippest, coolest artists (though I think they are all very cool), but to find the people who may not typically have a voice.” This year, for the first time, Red Bull House of Art will showcase more than just Detroit artists. National artists from across the country in a special artist-in-residency program will have the opportunity to showcase their work to a much broader audience, and bring a national art stage to the Motor City. Since opening, 54 Detroit-based artists have been given the […]

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Cover Story

Fear and learning

Balancing experience and expence

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Balancing on the blissful cusp between high school and college, I notice a few things beginning to change. I savor the time spent washing beer off these golf carts late at night; this may be my last "kid" job. The wall that always sat at the end of the season — another year-long block of mandatory education — has been replaced by looming mystery. The summer seems to be thinning. All these faces that have lined my life like static are beginning to turn in different directions; we're all gearing up for ... something else.

But it's all to be expected, and it's all exciting. My high school teachers with their "glory days" stories, all the movies I snuck into, the university representatives that would show up during lunch hour to recruit — they all lent their part to how I've envisioned college life. But I notice another change, something unglamorous and mostly unspoken, that I'm not quite prepared for.

An e-mail tells me that the financial aid I applied for months ago has come through. Good news! And just in time. But a closer look reveals that it won't cover everything. Leaning closer to the screen, I notice the small print saying something about loans. There's a Perkins loan, a subsidized loan and an unsubsidized loan. One of them leads through a maze of paperwork — part of which says I need two references outside my immediate family in case of default — and the others don't seem to require any brainpower on my part. They'll simply latch onto my bill; I needn't worry about it right now.

But this is all normal, right? Everyone takes loans, everyone graduates wearing a hair shirt of debt beneath their silky gown. New questions start forming in my head: Is there interest on these loans? When will I have to pay them back? What if I'm not able to in time — have I picked a major that will even allow me to pay them back? Dream colleges are cheap; it's when they become real that you start to comprehend how pricey your dreams have been.

I don't want my degree to be a glorified receipt for an education I will not have even begun to pay off. Reality begins to conflict with my ideals; the expense of my dream school could become a roadblock in front of my dream career. It's too late now, but I entertain the thought: Would I have chosen a different route had I considered the future implications of stepping into debt? Maybe I'm overreacting. Or maybe I should have washed more golf carts.


That was three years ago. I've since seen friends return from their dream schools prematurely, having been lapped by debt and forced to catch up. Others have moved from community colleges to those schools they were hesitant to invest in at first. As for myself, I've found that college is an enriching, challenging and, yes, expensive experience that requires careful balance. The balance between what professions I'd enjoy and what professions are in demand. The balance between working to save money and writing checks for courses. The balance between making the most of my time in college, and making sure I'll be able to make the most out of adulthood.

And balance is what it comes down to, really. Dealing with loans and understanding the important balance between dreams and reality is like a course all its own. You can call it Intro to Adulthood. And it requires some prerequisites: become informed; know what you want, how much it costs, and how much you're willing to pay. As with any investment you make, an understanding of the terms and future outlook should play into your decision.

Paul Kitti is a Metro Times editorial intern. He is starting his senior year at the University of Michigan. You can reach him at

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