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  • Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well

    By LeeAnn Brown Some people say that hip-hop is dead. Local ban Fderal Ground is proving that is not the case. The seven-member band, consisting of three lead vocalists, a DJ, bass, drums and guitar, plays what they call “living hip-hop.” Their music, peppered with multiple styles, covers all aspects of life from growing up in the D to playing with fire despite knowing you will likely get burned. Their undeniable chemistry and raw lyrics compose a music that is living, breathing, and connecting to their listeners. It has been nearly 11 years since Vinny Mendez and Michael Powers conjured up the basement idea that has flowered into the Detroit funk-hop band Feral Ground. Throughout high school the two wrote and rapped consistently, playing shows here and there. In those years they matched their rap stanzas with the animated, dynamic voice of Ginger Nastase and saw an instant connection. The now trio backed their lyrics with DJ Aldo’s beats on and off for years, making him a permanent member within the last year, along with Andy DaFunk (bass), Joseph Waldecker (drums), and newest member, Craig Ericson (guitar). We sat down with Feral Ground and their manager, Miguel Mira, in their […]

    The post Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law

    Much has been made about Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s decision this week to transfer authority of the city’s water department to Mayor Mike Duggan. In what is the most interesting read on the situation, Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale, pens an analysis on Michigan’s novel emergency manager law on the New York Times Opinionator blog. Stanley deconstructs Michigan’s grand experiment in governance by addressing two questions: Has the EM law resulted in policy that maximally serves the public good? And, is the law consistent with basic principles of democracy? Stanley ties in examples of Plato, James Madison’s Federalist Papers, and Nazi political theorist Carl Schmitt. A short excerpt: Plato was a harsh critic of democracy, a position that derived from the fact that his chief value for a society was social efficiency. In Plato’s view, most people are not capable of employing their autonomy to make the right choices, that is, choices that maximize overall efficiency. Michigan is following Plato’s recommendation to handle the problems raised by elections. Though there are many different senses of “liberty” and “autonomy,” none mean the same thing as “efficiency.” Singapore is a state that values efficiency above all. But by no stretch of […]

    The post Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week

    Walking with Dinosaurs, a magnificent stage show that features life-sized animatronic creatures from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, will be in town next week. But to preview the show’s run at the Palace, a baby T-Rex will be making an appearance at four area malls to the delight and wonderment of shoppers. Baby T-Rex, as the creature is being affectionately referred to, is seven-feet-tall and 14-feet-long. He’ll only be at each mall for about 15 minutes, so while there will be photo opportunities, they’ll be short. The dino will be at Fairlane Town Center Center Court at 18900 Michigan Ave. in Detroit from 2-2:15 p.m. today, July 30; The Mall at Partridge Creek at 17420 Hall Rd. in Clinton Township from 5-5:15 p.m. today, July 30; Twelve Oaks Mall at the Lord & Taylor Court at 27500 Novi Rd., Novi tomorrow, Thursday July 31 from 1:30-1:45 p.m.; and Great Lakes Crossing Food Court at 4000 Baldwin Rd., Auburn Hills from 5-5:15 p.m., tomorrow Thursday, July 31.  

    The post Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations

    Interested in reading about what Detroit accomplishes on a week-to-week basis that’s produced by the city itself? Great. You can do that now, here, at the Detroit Dashboard. Every Thursday morning, the city will publish an update to the dashboard because Mayor Mike Duggan loves metrics, even if the data might be hard to come by. According to Duggan’s office, the dashboard will provide data on how many LED street lights were installed, how many vacant lots were mowed, how much blight was removed, and more. This week, the city says it has sold 13 site lots through BuildingDetroit.com, removed 570 tons of illegal dumping, and filed 57 lawsuits against abandoned property owners.  

    The post Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial

    We don’t know about you, but usually Nancy Whiskey and Long John Silver’s aren’t two concepts we’d place in the same sentence. However, the international fast food fish fry conglomerate made a nod to the Detroit dive in their latest YouTube commercial. LJS is offering free fish fries on Saturday, August 2, which is the promotion the commercial is attempting to deliver. But, we think we’ll just go to Nancy Whiskey instead.

    The post Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women

    We came across an interesting item this week: Apparently, a music festival with the name “Michfest” is quietly oriented as a “Women-Only Festival Exclusively for ‘Women Born Women.’” It seems a strange decision to us. If you wanted to have a women-only music festival, why not simply proclaim loud and clear that it is for all sorts of women? But if you really wanted to become a lightning rod for criticisms about transphobia, organizers have found the perfect way to present their festival. Now, we know that defenders of non-cisgender folks have it tough. The strides made by gays and lesbians (and bisexuals) in the last 20 years have been decisive and dramatic. But the people who put the ‘T’ in LGBT have reason to be especially defensive, facing a hostile culture and even some disdain from people who should be their natural allies. That said, sometimes that defensiveness can cause some activists to go overboard; when we interviewed Dan Savage a couple years ago, he recalled his “glitter bombing” and said it was due to the “the narcissism of small differences,” adding that “if you’re playing the game of who is the most victimized, attacking your real enemies doesn’t prove you’re most victimized, claiming you […]

    The post Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Sloshed 2012

From the divine to the dives

A guide on places that are swell, or where you can just swill

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Elmhurst Tap Room

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The Biergarten


Arbor Brewing Company Pub & Eatery 114 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor; 734-213-1393; arborbrewing.com/pub: Sure, there are seasonal beer tasting events ($25 gets you a buffet ticket and a selection of 25-35 samples) and beers made for your taste buds (Sacred Cow IPA pairs nicely with the fried chicken). But more than a mere beer-geek hangout, Arbor typifies everything you hope to find in a pub: a nice selection of well-prepared food, good local music and — oh, yes — beer, most of it brewed on-premises.

Ashley's 338 S. State St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-9191; 5150 Carpenter Rd., Ypsilanti; 734-528-9898; ashleys.com: With an award-winning beer selection from the four corners of the earth, made-to-order food using fresh ingredients, and a genuinely hospitable attitude, Ashley's is an excellent bar for beer-lovers. Think you've run out of new beers to explore? Better stop in soon.

Belmar Lanes 4035 Fort St., Lincoln Park; 313-381-4242; $: You don't even have to pick up a bowling ball to have a good time here. Roll inside and look for the bar. It's a quaint little space serving the usual bar fare: Expect nachos and cheese, chicken tenders, french fries, cheese sticks, hot dogs, mini-tacos, mini-pizzas, hamburgers, as well as complimentary popcorn. So why pay $3 for a beer? Character, baby. This place is loaded with character — and characters!

The Berkley Front 3087 12 Mile Rd., Berkley; 248-547-3331: The magic number, it turns out, is 42. That's how many beers you'll find on tap at this neighborhood biergarten. And, unlike most bars, the Berkley Front features an uncarbonated pull, which draws cellar-temperature beer into a glass without all the CO2. There are always several local creations to choose from, matched up against a genuine selection of German and Belgian ones. The beer pulls you in, but the juke, live music ($5 upstairs Thursday-Saturday) and conversation keep you there.

Bert's Marketplace 2727 Russell St., Detroit; 313-567-2030: This granddaddy of the current jam scene is into its second decade. You never know what to expect — luminaries, swingin' grade-schoolers brought by doting parents or a waif of a singer from Central America with limited conversational English, fluently belting "Midnight Train to Georgia" — for the $3 cover. The regulars rave about the barbecue, and Friday and Saturday nights feature blues and jazz jams for a $5 cover.

The Biergarten 22184 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-561-7711: Part of a rapidly changing strip of Michigan Avenue on the west side of Dearborn, this family-style corner bar has a great beer selection for those brew mavens who investigate beyond what's on tap, including a good selection of bottles from Michigan. Expect beer specials and a chance to shoot some pool.

BlackFinn Restaurant & Saloon 530 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-582-9460; blackfinnroyaloak.com: Though we voted this Royal Oak hot spot "Best Pick-Up Bar" back in 2009, we weren't sure what to make of BlackFinn when its doors first opened; was it a sports bar or a family restaurant with a dance floor? Was it a swingers club? Though you may pick up something other than a drink, they have happy hour specials from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday. The newly remodeled dining room is also worth a look.

The Bronx Bar 4476 Second Ave., Detroit; 313-832-8464: This hip, student-packed venue, which was once an underappreciated dive bar, is a good place to hit up to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Expect to hear some early '80s post-punk, classic hip hop, deep soul, indie-rock favorites, and a slew of Detroit bands that make up a dumbfounding roster of lovable non-hits. You might spend more on their two jukeboxes (yeah, there are two) than on drinks. In warmer months, the new patio is the perfect spot to recharge with a beer and a burger.

Cadieux Café 4300 Cadieux Rd., Detroit; 313-882-8560; cadieuxcafe.com: Feather bowling is not the only draw to this Belgian cultural hub. Cadieux Café combines European flair with a unique menu, and the current owners have furthered the popularity by bringing in live musical acts and staying open until 2 a.m. daily. So whether you are in the mood for steamed mussels, Belgian beer or Elvis impersonators (sometimes), this is the place for you.

Cadillac Jacks 21600 Dequindre Rd., Warren; 586-486-5690; cadillacjacksdetroit.com: All bases are covered. You got your bowling, you got your beer, and you got your rock shows. What kind of rock shows? This week, it's the Nightmare, Detroit's Only Alice Cooper Tribute Show, at 10 p.m. Oct. 20. See website for more details.

Cass Cafe 4620 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-1400; casscafe.com: As if the vintage bicycles chained up outside weren't a clue. Then the walls tell the story. The music backs it up. Look over the shoulder of any messenger-bag-wielding patron and you're likely to find them — assuming they're not chomping into a turkey burger or sipping a pint— sketching, reading, knitting, writing, perhaps focused on a MacBook. Pretentious? Nah. Cass Cafe is the unofficial meeting place for Detroit painters, poets, musicians, etc.

CK Diggs 2010 Auburn Rd., Rochester Hills; 248-853-6600; ckdiggs.com: A family-style restaurant with a full, eclectic family-style menu with pizza, pasta, salads, sandwiches, steaks, ribs and fish. But don't miss the 41 beers on tap, including brews from Arcadia, Bell's and New Holland, and many more in the bottle, from North America and elsewhere.

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