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  • Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit

    Former American Idol contestant Vonzell Solomon weighs in on twerking, natural hair & CEO status. In 2005, recording artist Vonzell “Baby V” Solomon embarked on a journey that changed her life. At the age of 20, Vonzell made it to the top three on American Idol before she was eliminated. But that was not the beginning nor the end of her journey to stardom. Vonzell is one of more than two dozen artists on tour with YouTube sensation Todrick Hall, who is a former Idol contestant as well. Todrick gained notoriety for his fast food drive-thru songs and also for producing parody videos  —  based on popular Broadway musicals and songs. His tour, uniquely entitled Twerk Du Soleil (translation: twerk of the sun), is a combination of his popular YouTube spoofs. Both Vonzell and her ratchet alter ego,Boonquisha Jenkins, made an appearance in Twerk Du Soleil,which stopped in Detroit July 23 at Saint Andrews Hall. Boonquisha opened the show by facilitating a twerking competition among the audience. Next, Vonzell made a reappearance singing a fan favorite – Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Later, Boonquisha came on stage screaming “It’s so cold in the D! You gotta be from the D to […]

    The post Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Poll shows Bob Ficano behind in Wayne County Executive race

    If a poll released this week is any indication of how the August 5 primary election will turn out, current Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano has reason to worry, Fox 2 reports. Ficano, who’s seeking a third term, polled in fourth place — behind former Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans, Westland Mayor Bill Wild and Wayne County Commissioner Phil Cavanaugh, according to Fox 2. The poll by Strategic Solutions LLC, showed 6.7 percent of respondents said they’d vote for Ficano, which isn’t so bad: He finished ahead of County Commissioner Kevin McNamara (who came in at No. 6) and someone literally described as “a candidate not named here” (who polled at No. 5.) If you’re planning to head to the polls — which you should! — and need some input on the candidates and ballot proposals, you can read for our election coverage in this week’s Metro Times.

    The post Poll shows Bob Ficano behind in Wayne County Executive race appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • A Mad Decent Mixtape

    Mad Decent Block Party will roll through town on Saturday, August 16, bringing to town artists like Dillon Francis, Diplo, Flosstradamus, RiFF RAFF, Keys N Krates, and Zeds Dead. Thugli, a Canadian duo, will perform on the Toronto leg of the tour and they put together a 45 minute mix that features songs by some of the tour’s featured artists as well as a host of others.  Listen to it here. 

    The post A Mad Decent Mixtape appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tangent Gallery to host Breaking Borders

    Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host a special event this Saturday, July 26 in hopes of raising money for the local faction of an international nonprofit, Burners without Borders Detroit. Breaking Borders is a one-evening-only event that will feature live music, performance, and art. Satori Circus will perform along with spoken word artist ZakAndWhatArmy. Music by Tartanic, Dixon’s Violin, and Servitor. Fire dancers, hoop performers, and acrobats will provide a certain mysticism to the ambiance as old Victorian steampunk and tribal art is shown in the main gallery. There will also be a runway fashion show and the evening will end with a dubstep rave featuring DJ Forcefeed and Dotty. Truly, there’s something for everyone. Perhaps more importantly, there will be a full service bar. The event is open to those 18 and older and IDs will be checked at the door. Admission is $25 at the door, or $20 with the donation of a canned good. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the party goes until 2 a.m. A 20 percent commission will be taken from all art sold at this event and donated to Burners without Borders. The Tangent Gallery is located at 715 Milwaukee Ave., Detroit; 313-873-2955; tangentgallery.com.

    The post Tangent Gallery to host Breaking Borders appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 48 to film — behind the scenes at the 48 Hour Film Project

    By Amanda Mooney There’s a lot that goes into producing a film, and unless you are a filmmaker you really have no idea. Writing, casting, finding a location, shooting, and editing; each step of the process can take days, months, and sometimes years to complete. Can you imagine doing it ALL in just 48 hours? The 48 Hour Film Project is an annual competition that takes place all over the world in various cities. According to Mike Madigan, head of the Detroit 48 Hour chapter, the city is one of the largest participating in terms of the number of teams. The competing teams go in blind as to what kind of film they will be producing, with no creative planning beyond getting a cast and crew together, Madigan explained. “They pick a genre out of a hat, and they get a line, a prop, and a character. And they have to incorporate that within a short film, that’s usually between 4 to 7 minutes long. And they have the timeframe of doing it all within 48 hours,” said Madigan, “So all the creative process of it all has to happen within that 48 hour–writing a script, putting it together, editing–to […]

    The post 48 to film — behind the scenes at the 48 Hour Film Project appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Passalacqua debut dark project ‘Church: Revival’ at new Hamtramck performance space

    Church: Revival is the new project by local rap duo Passalacqua (aka Bryan Lackner and Brent Smith), but it’s more than just a new Passalacqua release. The rappers teamed up with siblings Jax Anderson (frontwoman of rockers Flint Eastwood) and Seth Anderson, who together form the songwriting team called Syblyng (naturally). The result is a cycle of songs that promises to be darker than Passalacqua’s material so far. The project will make a live debut on Saturday, July 26 at a brand new venue space at the Detroit Bus Co.’s building Eight & Sand, and they will premiere the Right Bros.-directed video for the track “Baptism” as well. Other performances include Tunde Olaniran and Open Mike Eagle, and DJ sets by Nothing Elegant, Dante LaSalle, and Charles Trees. We met up the two duos at Eight & Sand to check out the new space and to talk about the project with all parties involved. Metro Times: How long have you been working together? Jax Anderson: Seth and I are constantly writing songs together. We want to push in the direction of becoming songwriters more frequently. This is our first project that we took on to co-write everything together. We’re basically just a songwriting entity. We won’t play live that […]

    The post Passalacqua debut dark project ‘Church: Revival’ at new Hamtramck performance space appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Summer Guide 2011

Feed your head

Detroiter lit-lovers share their summer reads

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: , License: N/A


Summer Guide 2011
  • In (the) heat The psychology, anthropology and politics of the summer fling | 6/15/2011
  • Juggalos in the mist A retreat to the wilderness turns weird in a heartbeat | 6/15/2011
  • Killer prose By day, he's a Detroit business writer. On his time off, Tom Henderson is a chronicler of the sensational, the lurid | 6/15/2011
  • Feed your head Detroiter lit-lovers share their summer reads | 6/15/2011
  • Life's a beach Summer highs to look forward to | 6/15/2011

It's summer: You're sitting on the porch, ankles crossed on the railing. You're swaying under shade in a hammock. You're splayed out on the beach, propped on your elbows, toes in the sand. You're in bed. You're at the bar. Maybe you're even at work. In any event, your nose is in a book. But what book? It's a tough call. We asked some Detroit lit-lovers what they were reading or what they'd recommend.


I'm going to be reading two
books: The first is The Sojourn by Andrew Krivak, a coming-of-age novel centered around World War I that got some really nice reviews from the L.A. Times and the Christian Science Monitor. I'm also going to read Adam Hochschild's To End All Wars as a nonfiction counterpoint on the same subject, because Hochschild's King Leopold's Ghost is one of the best histories I've ever read. So, if you're around me this summer, prepare to hear a lot of poetic anecdotes about Passchendaele and Verdun. Oh, yeah, I'm gonna be fun! —Toby Barlow, co-president and executive creative director of JWT Team Detroit and author of Sharp Teeth.

I am staking out the summer for a long-delayed reckoning. After falling in love with the lessons afforded by failure, I have returned to a book that transmutes despair into longing, The Beauty of the Husband: A Fictional Essay in 29 Tangos by Anne Carson. Appropriately, I am reading an uncorrected proof. Turn out the lights. —Leon Johnson, professor and chair of fine arts, College for Creative Studies

Rule of the Bone by Russell Banks is an all-time favorite summer read. The story, told in first person, follows a 14-year-old high school dropout and misfit named Chappie. Through a series of events, he is led away from his home in the Adirondacks, reinvents himself as "Bone," and meets his destiny in another country. It's a brilliant, modern Huck Finn. Read this book if you want to find the next best thing to Catcher in the Rye. —Torya Blanchard, restaurateur (Good Girls Go To Paris, Rodin, Ootie's) and host of Tonight at the CAID.

I'm super-excited about Amy Martin's new children's book, Symphony City, published by McSweeney's. We're planning a book-signing at Bureau of Urban Living when she returns home in July. Amy is such a talented illustrator, I can't wait to see it. It's about a young girl lost in a big city who makes her way home by following the rich and vibrant music of the streets. An exciting adventure for children and parents who love music, art and big imaginations. I'm also rereading The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs and The High Cost of Free Parking by Donald C. Shoup, both super-relevant for some projects I'm working on in Detroit right now. And, for fun, I'll check out Tina Fey's Bossypants. —Claire Nelson, Bureau of Urban Living, Open City

Summer makes me want to go places. The warm weather always feels like a call to travel, a time to see something entirely new. When I can't actually get on the road, though, I look for new worlds in books. Right now, I'm completely trapped inside of Ben Katchor's new graphic novel, The Cardboard Valise. The book tells the loosely intertwined stories of "xenophiliac" Emile Delilah, "supranationalist" Elijah Salamis and Boreal Rince, the exiled king of Outer Canthus. Katchor is a master of oblique reference, and here he builds a surreal world that somehow feels both foreign and exactly like our own. This is the kind of place where one visits "world famous bathroom ruins" and eats a "humane" hamburger for lunch, a place packed with the kind of meaning that's always just out of view. It's a book for people who like the feeling of going somewhere new, and getting completely lost. —Greg Lenhoff, Leopold's Books

With The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, David G. McCullough tells the story of known and unknown Americans — among them Hawthorne, Twain, Emerson, Fenimore Cooper, Mary Cassatt and Oliver Wendell Holmes — who headed east to Paris (from 1830 to 1900) and wound up shaping America's culture. I'll also be checking out Reimagining Detroit: Opportunities for Redefining an American City by John Gallagher. He looks at various ways in which a city built on industry and manufacturing, a city the size of San Francisco, Boston and Manhattan thrown together, can launch a serious comeback. He talks land banks, urban farms and transit. —AJ O'Neil, AJ's Cafe�

I just read Lynn Crawford's Simply Separate People, Two. It's cool and smart. I like the way Crawford builds her book by reusing other writer's characters. She, like, steps into the skins of famous dead authors, and puts on their old stories and creates great tributes by reworking and rebuilding them. Part of that is like a weird writer's exercise, but it's done so well that it makes you appreciate the old stories and, at the same time, marvel at the strange birth of the new ones, Lynn's stories. Maybe this sounds too complicated, but it's not. Lynn keeps it real. You don't have to know anything about Hemingway or Henry James to enjoy following her people around. Next, I'd like to read her earlier book, Simply Separate People, the first one. —Steve Hughes, publisher of Stupor

Now that I'm out of school (forever!) I have time to read "just because" again. Tough choice trying to narrow down to just a couple, but here are three goodies from the top of the double stack: On With Others by C.D. Wright, a poetic take on the civil rights movement; A Death in the Family by James Agee, which I reread every few years; and Erroll Garner, a bio by James M. Doran. —Bill Harris, recently retired Wayne State University English professor and author of Birth of a Notion; Or, The Half Ain't Never Been Told: A Narrative Account with Entertaining Passages of the State of Minstrelsy & of America & the True Relation Thereof (From the Ha Ha Dark Side).

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