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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


Cliff Bell's 2030 Park Ave.; 313-961-2543; cliffbells.com: Cliff Bell's honcho Paul Howard will tell you jazz is "the best music to see live — especially in small setting." And although there's more than jazz to be seen and heard in this art deco temple — other musical genres, burlesque, poetry and the Moth story-telling sessions, for instance. Cliff Bell's has built a stable of top-notch local swinging regulars, semi-regulars and occasionals — including the Hot Club of Detroit, Gerard Gibbs and Wendell Harrison's Swing Ensemble — and such out-of-towners as Dr. Lonnie Smith and France's Moutin Reunion. It can get rather noisy for listening, but it's also got class galore and great small-plates dining.

Cloverleaf Bar 12625 Dix Toledo Rd., Southgate; 734-284-7211; $: It's an unassuming, boxy building from the outside, with just a green metal door under a goose-neck lamp. But walk in and you'll find an old-fashioned shot-and-beer bar with character to spare. The bar is in the actual shape of three-leafed clover, all under a scooped-out ceiling — a la the Bronx Bar. It sort of looks like a hipster bar without hipsters, or as our co-drinker joked, "a Downriver Donovan's." 

Corktown Tavern 1716 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-964-5103; corktowntavern.com: Legendary venue has a bar downstairs, and a stage and another small bar upstairs. Events range from parties to punk shows, all with a lawless dive feel — and we mean that in the best way possible.

The Corner Brewery 720 Norris St., Ypsilanti; 734-480-2739; arborbrewing.com/brewery: Operating on the "reverse mullet" premise (i.e. party in the front, business in the back), CB is a cozy microbrewery equipped with a beer garden and a special tasting room. They'll open at noon, and you can kick back with a pint of one of usually eight beers on tap, including Sacred Cow or Phat Abbot Tripel.

The Dakota Inn Rathskeller 17324 John R St., Detroit; 313-867-9722; dakota-inn.com: Owned and operated by the same family for more than 70 years, the Dakota Inn Rathskeller can get boisterous at 7 on a Saturday night. Inside and through the heavy wooden doors is the din of mirth as friends and families assemble to celebrate birthdays and other life events, or just grab a beer and sausage.

Danny's Irish Pub 22824 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-546-8331: Danny's is a cozy pub adorned with shamrocks and green decor. You can't miss the Irish colors it's decked out in, right on Woodward. It's also one of the biggest destinations when it comes to St. Patty's Day partying. They usually start at 7 a.m., with generous drink specials on Irish whiskey. 

Derby's 22031 Dequindre Rd., Hazel Park; 248-544-8040: Cinderblock shot-and-a-beer bar where the waitresses wear bikinis. George, the handyman, says, "It's pretty nice inside, for a neighborhood bar. We've got a jukebox, a pool table, dart machines, golf machines. We have a karaoke DJ on the weekends — and cheap beer: $1.75 until 8 p.m. any bottle. Or $1 bottled beer for the Lions game, and $1 bottles for many college football and NFL games. We have a $3 hamburger and fries lunch special 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. And Wednesday is bikini night. The ladies wear bikinis and drinks are $1 a bottle and $2 a shot."

Detroit Beer Co. 1529 Broadway St., Detroit; 313-962-1529; detroitbeerco.com: DBC seems like a little bit of upscale Royal Oak dropped in the thick of downtown Detroit. Their renovation of the century-old Hartz Building, with its tin ceilings and brick walls, looks especially attractive. Added attractions are the sweet smells of brew emanating from the basement, and, oh yeah, beers such as Detroit Dwarf, Detroit Red and usually several appealing seasonal brews.

Dragonmead 14600 E. 11 Mile Rd., Warren; 586-776-9428; dragonmead.com: Tucked away in an industrial-looking building on I-696's service drive, Dragonmead's ocher walls are festooned with flags and the company's many awards. It aspires to a level of sophistication, a nice mix of relaxed couples and cap-and-T guys out for a few. Clearly, it's the sort of relaxed, friendly and affordable evening out more people are willing to splurge on. And some of Dragonmead's Belgian-style ales, including the Final Absolution Trippel, can run to 10 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).

Elmhurst Tap Room 22057 W. Outer Dr., Dearborn; 313-277-4041; elmhursttaproom.com: In this frosted-glass, track-lighting, martini-menu world, it's such a relief that the stained-glass-and-wood Elmhurst endures. The bar is up-to-date, but the interiors are dark, cool, plush and anachronistic. By day, this Outer Drive haunt is frequented by regulars who look as if they haven't relinquished their stools for a few generations, making it seem a likely bet for a quiet day drink.

Foran's Grand Trunk Pub 612 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-961-3043; grandtrunkpub.com: It's Saturday morning — you're looking for good grub and drink that's not OJ. What to do? It's easy: Head to downtown Detroit to the Grand Trunk (formerly just "Foran's"), where brunch and booze ain't no joke. The funky, compact bar sits inside the old Detroit Grand Trunk ticketing station. The House pop is Faygo and the bread's from Avalon Bakery, the produce is from Eastern Market, and the taps boast 14 various Michigan brews.

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