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  • Thank you, Detroit

    I’m not going to lie to you – this isn’t easy. This week, the final City Slang local music column will be published in the Metro Times (on hardcore band Final Assault), and I have just submitted a cover feature on the women of Detroit hip-hop, to be published next week (8/6). This blog that you’re reading now will be my last one as a regular MT contributor. I have a lot to look forward to. I’m going to be an associate editor at Yellow Scene Magazine in Colorado, a tremendous publication in a beautiful part of the country. But leaving Detroit will be incredibly difficult for me. I love the place. It’s been (amazingly) six and a half years since I arrived, a couple of cases in hand and not much of a plan in mind. I just knew, after three separate research trips for books and a magazine article, that I felt at home here. Metro Times offered me freelance work almost immediately, as did a new website called Metromix (whatever happened to that?) When I arrived here, I had been working as a writer in the UK for nine years, but the help and encouragement I received […]

    The post Thank you, Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers

      We here at MT will be delighted when Mr. Jack White throws out a pitch at Navin Field (at least, we hope he will), but until then, we’ll be happy with his pitch to Santa this evening at Comerica Park.    

    The post Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW)

      Footage from the Gathering of the Juggalos set to clips of Morgan Freeman’s narration from March of the Penguins? Kind of forced, but also kind of beautiful. As the AV Club reports: The oft-sought voiceover champion lends a touch of gravitas to the festival proceedings. Unfortunate scenes of barely clad people having various liquids dumped onto them now carries a quiet dignity as it’s all part of nature’s majestic plan that keeps the world spinning through this elegantly designed and truly wondrous universe. Also, the video is NSFW as there are boobs in it. Watch the clip below:

    The post Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW) appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love”

    It seems like the polar vortex will never end: the weather phenomenon that brought us the most brutal winter on record this winter is to blame for this summer’s chillier-than usual temperatures as well. A couple of bands, though, made lemonade out of lemons (or snow cones out of snow?) by using the icy landscape to film music videos. 800beloved shot the video for “Tidal” in some sand dunes near Empire, Mich., and this week Turn to Crime debuted the video for “Can’t Stop,” the title track of their recently-released album. Even more piles of ice and snow might be the last thing Detroiters want to see right now, but the footage makes for some good visuals that mesh well with the song. Watch the video below:

    The post Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love” appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed

    Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr transferred oversight of the the city’s water department Tuesday to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in an order intended to refocus “efforts to help DWSD customers get and remain current on their water bills,” Orr’s office said today. “This order provides additional clarity to the powers already delegated to the mayor,” Orr said in a statement released Tuesday. “As the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department works to operate more efficiently and communicate more effectively with customers, it is important to ensure there are clear lines of management and accountability.” Duggan will have the authority to manage DWSD and make appointments to the utility’s board, according to a news release. In a statement issued Tuesday, the mayor said he welcomed Orr’s order, adding that officials will develop a plan that “allows those who truly need to access to financial help … to do so with shorter wait times.” “We need to change a number of things in the way we have approached the delinquent payment issues and I expect us to have a new plan shortly,” Duggan said. “There are funds available to support those who cannot afford their bills — we need to do a much better job in […]

    The post Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Culture

Here comes Santa Claus

Christmas is weekly for the hungry folks on one volunteer's route

Photo: Detroitblogger John, License: N/A

Detroitblogger John

Unlike another white-bearded guy, John Ratkov delivers all year long.


"Everyone knows Santa," Ratkov says, with quiet pride.

 

From there it's visits to one sad stop after another.

To an apartment building on East Vernor to see a woman named Anna, who's in a wheelchair and stays with Lucky and Shawn and Robert and Tina. Five lunches.

To an old house on Coplin, to give meals to Coco and her four children. Five lunches.

To a home on Dickerson, the one with boarded-up houses around it, where there's a woman whose name Ratkov doesn't even know but who's raising several grandchildren by herself. Four lunches.

To a woman living in the well-kept little house on Algonquin, the one with Christmas decorations up in quiet defiance of the blight on her street. One lunch.

To the wooden fence along an empty field, where several men come out of nowhere and walk up to the van. They're all hungry, and they've all been waiting for Ratkov. Each gets a lunch or two. "I love you. I love you. Sir!" one says, a little aggressively, enough to draw a corrective word from Johnson. But another of the men is humble and sincerely thankful. "Santa, you're a lifesaver. I ain't B.S.ing."

To the McDonald's on Conner at Warren, where a mentally disabled man they call "Mr. Q" sits alone. He leaps up and comes outside when he sees Santa driving up. "He's a good guy," Ratkov says. "He volunteers at the soup kitchen." One lunch.

To the car-strewn lot of a grimy tire repair shop on Conner, where a bay door swings open to reveal three grease-coated men peering out from the darkness within. "Bless you Santa," says a man with a forlorn look on his face. "I need them blessings," Ratkov says. Three lunches.

And then to the rest of his day, when he'll take several other people to a church in the suburbs, where they can get a warm dinner and a warm shower, both for free, both small things most people take for granted, but both really big things to those who don't usually have either. Things they wouldn't have if it weren't for this shaggy Santa in the battered van.

"He's the type of guy, he just helps everybody," Johnson says. "He never says no. You can get a cigarette, you can get anything you want from Santa Claus. He's just a blessing, man. He's a blessing to a lot of people. A lot of people wouldn't have nothing to eat today if it wasn't for him."

 

Detroitblogger John scours the city of Detroit for Metro Times. Send comments to him at letters@metrotimes.com.

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