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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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Savage Love

Gray as hell

I just had an awesome date with a hot tranny; but I'm not gay, am I?

Q: I have been married for 16 years and have three children. My marriage isn't the best, nor is the sex. I have strayed many times, and it's always been with women — I love women and I love having sex with women. However, for years I have had a fantasy about being with a transsexual. I recently paid to be with a T-girl escort. She was flipping gorgeous. She had a dick, sure, but she was the hottest fucking girl I have ever seen — absolutely gorgeous. She talked like a girl, looked like a girl, smelled like a girl, had the body of a girl — she was all girl, except for the unit. I have no interest in being with a man. Does seeing this T-girl make me gay? —Walked On The Wild Side

A: You're not gay, WOTWS, but you're not exactly straight either.

There are other points along the gay-straight continuum, WOTWS, and anyone resourceful enough to track down a flipping gorgeous T-girl should be smart enough to figure out where he falls along the gay-straight continuum. But let me end the suspense: You're a teensy, weensy bit bisexual, WOTWS, just another mostly straight dude who's into women, into cock, and into women with cocks. But you're not into dudes, not at all. Just women. And cock.

I'm going to catch hell for this, but, hey, I don't have three "Catcher" T-shirts for nothing: While you've got a touch of the bi — just a bit, mostly around your tonsils — you're not obligated to identify as bi.

An awful lot of "rounding up" and "rounding down" goes on when it comes to sexual identities. There are bi women out there who round themselves up to lesbian because they're with women or primarily attracted to women or afraid of mean lesbians who hate bi women. (Some of those mean lesbians are, predictably enough, bi themselves.) Some bi guys in gay relationships round themselves up to gay; a small number of gays and lesbians round themselves down to bi in solidarity or something; and lots of bi men and women in straight relationships round themselves down to straight. (And there are gay men and lesbians — 100 percent homos — who identify as straight. These closet cases aren't rounding up or down; they're lying.)

Backing way the hell up: Sexual identity is a combo platter. There's who you wanna do, who you are doing, and who you tell people you are. You can't control who you wanna do — sexual orientation is not a choice — but you get to choose who you wind up doing and who you tell people you are. Don't wanna have a miserable sex life? Do who you wanna do. Don't wanna be a messy closet case la Haggard, Craig and Rekers? Tell the truth about who you're doing.

It all seems so black-and-white, doesn't it? But that's because we backed way the hell up. Pull in close and you'll be able to see the gray — grays like you, WOTWS, guys who are flamboyantly, flamingly, screamingly gray.

It's because I'm a big supporter of gray rights that I'm not telling you that you're obligated to identify as bi, WOTWS, even if that is the black-and-white, backed-the-hell-up truth. But "bi" means "attracted to men and women," and you're not attracted to men at all. You're into girls who talk like girls, look like girls, smell like girls, etc., and some of the girls you're into happen to have dicks. And since trans women are women — even those trans women who've decided to keep the genitals they were born with — it's closer to your truth, if not the truth, paradoxically, to identify as straight.


Q:
My husband of 10 years has decided to end our marriage due to my occasional indulgences in alcohol and cigarettes. I do not smoke and drink every day. It is occasional. I admit that in the beginning of our courtship I did not tell him about my indulgences. I hid them from him. After we were married, I was careful not to smoke or drink when we were together. My question is, should I allow my marriage to dissolve due to our differences? I want my husband to love and accept me for the person I am, and I do not want to be controlled. —Won't Be Controlled

A: Someone who wants to be loved and accepted for the person she is, WBC, shouldn't mislead her gentleman callers.

That said, WBC, I assume your husband didn't find out about the booze and cigarettes yesterday. So the booze and cigarettes, if those are the only reasons your husband gave for wanting to end this marriage, may symbolize a larger pattern of deceit that has long troubled your husband. Or it's possible the booze and cigarettes are a face-saving dodge: Perhaps your husband is blaming the booze and cigarettes to avoid telling you some harsher truth and is thereby sparing your feelings. Or maybe there's something about himself that he would rather avoid disclosing. (Another woman? Another man? Another man and another woman?) Or maybe he's an asshole and he's blaming the booze and cigarettes in order to shift all the blame for the failure of this marriage onto your shoulders.

We can sit here speculating until your lungs turn black and dissolve inside your chest, WBC, and it's not going to change anything: Your husband doesn't need your consent to obtain a divorce.

Now, you don't say whether your husband offered to stay if you quit drinking and smoking — and if he didn't, WBC, then booze and smokes aren't the issue — but you're clearly unwilling to give up your indulgences to save your marriage, as you do not wish to be "controlled," which means that your marriage is over.


Q:
I'm a straight guy. My former roommate, also a straight guy, calls all his ex-girlfriends "fucking bitches." He went on a date with a neighbor. He told me that she was a "fucking bitch" and that she drunk-dialed him several times at 3 a.m. She told me, unprompted, that he drunk-dialed her several times at 3 a.m. after she refused to have sex with him.

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