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  • 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 […]

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  • Passalacqua debut dark new 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 new project ‘Church: Revival’ at new Hamtramck performance space appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • PETA offers to pay overdue water bills for Detroiters willing to go vegan

    #150207742 / As locals continue to flood Detroit streets to protest the city’s ongoing water debacle, one national organization is hoping to be part of the solution — that is, for a dietary price. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA as the organization is more commonly known, has offered to pay outstanding water bills for 10 Detroiters who are willing to go vegan for one month. “Vegan meals take far less of a toll on the Earth’s resources,” PETA representatives said in a recent press release. “It takes about 2,500 gallons of water to produce just a pound of meat but only about 155 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat.” PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk adds, “Vegan meals are also a cost-effective way to help prevent health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart conditions, the last thing that someone who is struggling financially needs to deal with.” Folks interested in participating are asked to send a copy of their most recent overdue water bill and their written pledge to go vegan for one month to PETA Attn: Detroit Water at 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510 before Aug. 1.

    The post PETA offers to pay overdue water bills for Detroiters willing to go vegan appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Dinner Club Does Brunch

    Sure, The Dinner Club, a regularly occurring pop-up that takes places at the Storefront Gallery  in Ferndale (and other locations, occasionally), usually happens around dinner time, but this Sunday, July 27, there will be a special edition: Brunch Chef Matthew Baldridge, who’s resume includes stints at such Detroit greats as Cliff Bell’s, The Rattlesnake Club, and Seldom Blues, has crafted a menu of French-inspired items that employ locally procured ingredients. Brunch includes four courses where guests will be treated to such delights as cocoa, cinnamon, chili-spiced creamy grits with pickled strawberries, cocoa puffs and strawberry-infused syrup, a smoked gouda potato gallette with Faygo Root Beer braised pork belly, quail egg and Faygo Root Beer syrup, banana marscapone-filled French toast with fresh raspberries, whipped cream and balsamic syrup, and champagne-soaked strawberries. It is also important to note that brunch is BYOChampagne. Baldridge, along with The Storefront Gallery’s Derek John and Lilacpop Studio owner and artist Janna Coumoundouros, curate the event that includes an art show, a great playlist, and visuals. Brunch services are at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. and last about two hours, only 20 seats are available at each service. The cost is $25 plus a service fee. The Storefront Gallery […]

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  • Jurassic 5 holds onto what’s golden

      By Ashley Zlatopolsky It’s been a little over twenty years since iconic ‘90s alternative hip-hop group Jurassic 5 first formed in Los Angeles’ Good Life club. Widely regarded as a pivotal influence in the decade’s underground hip-hop movement by critics and fans alike, the six-piece crew consisting of two DJs (Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark) and four MCs (Akil, Zaakir, Marc 7 and Chali 2na) were well on their way to becoming one of hip-hop’s greatest and most powerful acts of all time, ranking alongside names such as Public Enemy and N.W.A. with socially-conscious lyrics and smooth beats paired with smart sampling. But in 2004, Cut Chemist left the group to pursue a solo career, and in 2007 Jurassic 5 completely called it quits after nearly 15 years of music. And that was it for the crew until 2013. After almost seven years apart (nine for Cut Chemist), Jurassic 5 reunited and re-emerged stronger than ever before with a new flair, seasoned attitude, and more vibrant energy at Coachella Music Festival, the group’s first show with the original six members since Cut Chemist split. During their performance, Jurassic 5 gave fans a memorable concert revisiting all the classic feel-good tracks […]

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  • Detroit Riverwalk west extension opens from Riverfront Towers to Rosa Parks

    Dogs of Detroit have new territory to trot: Yesterday, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy held a soft opening for a 20-acre westward extension of the Riverwalk. Part of a planned two-mile track of the West Riverwalk, the new span runs from the Riverfront Towers to Rosa Parks Boulevard, says Mark Pasco, director of communications for the conservancy. “It’s going to be great,” Pasco says. “It’s a wide open green space. It’s going to be great for activities.” The endgame for the Riverwalk, Pasco notes, is to extend the walkway from the Ambassador Bridge to Gabriel Richard Park, just past the MacArthur Bridge — about a 5.5. mile route. The new westward expansion is wider than most of the walkway, about 30 feet, says Pasco — a decision made by the conservancy to accommodate fisherman that previously frequented the area. “We knew … once it opened up they’d want to fish there again, so we made the Riverwalk itself wider,” Pasco says. The conservancy will hold a grand opening in late September, which will include “food and music and activities,” Pasco says, though no official date has been set.

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Inside out

A string of burglaries gives birth to an artistic display of despair

Photo: , License: N/A

Migo stands in front of his home art exhibit.

Poor Migo.

Like so many elderly Detroiters, Migo finds himself the last of the old neighborhood residents on a block most everyone else bailed from as it collapsed, leaving him isolated among the thieves, drug fiends and the desperately poor who moved in as the homes emptied out.

They way he tells it, his rickety old house has been broken into so many times by his neighbors that he finally said to hell with it, and took just about everything that was inside the house and placed it outside. "I put stuff out and said, 'Take it.' I don't care no more." Might as well save everyone the trouble of breaking in, he figured.

But rather than just throw everything in heaps, he draped and wove his belongings almost artfully along his fence, in the trees, and on the walkway to his door. His project forms a canopy over the front yard. There are old shirts and sheets and shoes and hats; deflated balloons, little dolls, stuffed animals, clothes hangers and an American flag or two.

His social commentary grew into a magnificent junk blossom that draws complaints from those nearby and admiring photographers from afar. Some have told him it's a filthy hoarder's nest; others think it's an unintentional art exhibit. To him it's more like a middle finger to his larcenous neighbors here on Holcomb near East Jefferson. But this exhibit, this one man's despair crystallized and displayed to the east side, soon began drawing attention.

"I find out some people like it, start calling it art," he says. "A lot of people take pictures, give me money too."

Like his house, some find Migo an unpleasant presence. He doesn't wash, and he smells like it. He has an opening in his neck from throat cancer surgery, and to talk he presses a finger into the hole to create a hoarse, raspy voice underlined by an air-gasping wheeze when he breathes. 

He's bitter and complains about most things. And every minute or so, he turns his head and spits out a batch of syrupy drool. Sometimes it falls to the pavement, sometimes it drips onto him. He's a spectacle.

And he simply doesn't care. He's had it. 

"You can't be decent," he sneers. "You don't want to be decent because these people are not decent. I say fuck it." He pauses to spit again. Then he says, "I'm sorry. I don't like to use bad words."


Migo came to this street from Dearborn, and from Lebanon before that. Worked in a factory. His wife divorced him years ago and he had to downsize to a Detroit neighborhood that even back then was on the decline. Along the way he was given the nickname Migo. "It's my street name in the neighborhood," he says. He doesn't care to share his age, but he's been retired a while now. He lives alone, except for two pit bulls he took in off the street.

He's been feuding with his neighbors for years. "The majority are crackhead and wino," he wheezes. Most of his tormentors live in a nearby apartment building, the one he hears is infested with bedbugs right now. The one that has several old mattresses piled by the fence in its parking lot. 

The apartment is on a spooky corner. It's eerily quiet, there's little traffic, but there are lots of able-bodied young men roaming the streets on weekday afternoons, selling different drugs, tending to the customers who pull up regularly. Migo knows all the drug dealers by name. This one both sells and uses. That one shot him with a BB gun once from an open window.

At least they work for their money. Everyone else, it seems, regards Migo's house as a bank, and when a man like Migo is seen as better off than you are and worth stealing from, life is rotten. 

"You got some change?" they'll ask him. When he refuses because he's as broke as them, the response isn't restrained. "They call me name, they call me Arab, they call me terrorist, you name it. They call me anything. They have hate, too much hate."

They must be desperate to want to enter his house. It's a thick nest of saved trash and hoarded belongings. The front porch alone should repel them — he's got half-eaten pizza slices on top of stacks of books and half-full bottles of moldy liquids lining the steps. Flies burst off everything when someone approaches. 

Some in the neighborhood think his project makes great lodging. He woke up one morning this summer and found three men sleeping on his front porch under the shady canopy created by the trees and the trash. "Not just one," he exclaims. "Three! A wino and a crackhead and a homeless. I come from inside — 'What are you doing here?' They say, 'We cool off, it's hot.'" 

Another time he lifted up some materials he'd draped over a fallen tree trunk and found a crackhead who'd burrowed his way into a little nook within the trash to sleep.

Whether in solidarity or spite, the neighbors began putting their own contributions into his project. They leave used drug needles. And homemade crackpipes crafted from empty plastic two-liters, aluminum foil and black electrical tape. And for some reason they toss soiled diapers at the base of his front yard tree. 

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