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    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

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    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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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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