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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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Opening Day Issue

Frozen in time

How a bone-chilling 31-1 home opener defeat was a team's greatest moment

Photo: Photo courtesy Peter Williams, License: N/A

Photo courtesy Peter Williams

In warmer climes: Oak Park Knights Matthew Waddell, Clayton Day, Earl Murrie and Robert Johnson with Coach Boyer in Florida.


2011 Opening Day Issue

On the game's second play, our best infielder, freshman LaSaan Harris, tried to three-hop a simple throw into the wind from third to first. The routine ground ball turned into a two-base error signifying a glacial three innings. These three innings still must be played before the extra-merciful, 15-run mercy rule kicks in. We make seven errors in the first inning.

One of our outfielders, Kenneth Jordan in left, seemed unable to bend over when the baseball rolled past him. When our centerfielder heaved the ball in the direction of third base, Kenneth simply braced himself against the fence, and stayed there, a frozen scarecrow, unable to respond to our feeble cries. We escaped the first inning slaughter through three strikeouts with two different pitchers, after 19 runs had been scored.

Our starting pitcher Clayton Jr. was thrown out of the game after hitting a batter, walking two more, and then hurling his glove in the air while arguing balls and strikes. A general no-no for baseball on any level, surely his gesture offered a worthy exception given a well-bundled home plate umpire enforcing a postage stamp-sized strike zone on the coldest day of the year.

Kenneth shuffled slowly into the dugout to gather his frozen belongings. As the umpires illegibly signed our scorebook, Kenneth mumbled to Art how he just had to leave. He quietly disappeared, never to return to baseball. He would bashfully turn in his uniform on the last day of school.

We fell down to nine players and still no fans. Late in the second inning, as another gust of snow flurries dusted the field, two fathers suddenly appeared. The dads offered stunning charity: a dozen steaming hot chocolates. Many of us were now actually showing early signs of frostbite. My red hands lacked sensation, yet no player urged me to pull them from the field, at least until we got our due last at-bat. Avondale's centerfielder made a diving catch in the play of the day (though only two catches were recorded the entire game). It doubled up our lone base runner for that inning, Jonathan Gordon, rounding third for the final out.

As the umpires scurried away, the two teams remembered to congratulate each other at home plate. Avondale raced to their idling bus and we staggered into the gym, more than two hours after we had first stumbled into the unforgiving chill.

In three long innings, we committed 14 errors and lost 31-1, perhaps a school record. The guys conceded Avondale was the better team, yet something seemed wrong in how we found this out. We slowly tried to shake off the cold, slumping on the empty gym bleachers. The coaches had to say something, and we wondered if we should emphasize the positive, such as our three hits, including Jonathan's two-bagger and lone run?

Curiously, these youngsters seemed more attentive than usual, perhaps because they were too cold to be restless, but maybe because they agreed with my assessment that they gained an inner strength they didn't know they had, that they had just passed a different kind of character test they would never forget. This was no minor message for these young men, many of whom had few, if any, adult males in their lives encouraging this kind of growth. We shared a few laughs reviewing proper first aid procedures for frostbite.

Snow flurries continued on the drive home under the darkening sky. I left a terse message on the athletic director's voice mail that we should never have played that game and that our school trainer should have been present to administer some climate-related first aid. Two years later, I would lose my coaching job over such outspoken criticisms about an alleged ongoing lack of support for our baseball program. A new contract clause no longer supported hiring teachers as coaches. In 2009, the baseball field would be bulldozed over for a new softball facility instead.

Still, at that moment, I remember snickering, almost smiling, in spite of a broken car heater fan. The radio had affirmed a temperature of 16 degrees Fahrenheit, with a wind chill of 0 degrees for this extraordinary Home Opener. Major League Baseball and the Detroit Tigers would cancel their home game the following day. The Oak Park Knights would be back working on their hitting, in one half of the school gymnasium, as if the promise of April would never end.

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