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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

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    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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Sloshed 2012

Into the past

The Oakland's oasis of quality, style and manners a successful one

Photo: , License: N/A

The Oakland Art Novelty Company

201 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale


For a few years now, metro Detroit has seen coastal cocktail culture slowly creeping in from the coasts. From the East Coast comes an emphasis on classic recipes and exclusive, almost candlelit interiors; from the West Coast, it's more an emphasis on fresh ingredients and complex flavor profiles. Luckily, we seem to be getting the best of these two worlds, as cocktail joints informed by both trends have opened their doors this year, such as Detroit's Sugar House in Corktown, and the Oakland Art Novelty Company in Ferndale.

The Ferndale spot, better known as "the Oakland" to its guests, is the creation of thirtysomething husband-and-wife team Sandy and Heather Levine. Sandy Levine says the genesis of the Oakland dates to 2007, when, having moved back to metro Detroit after traveling with his wife quite a bit in their 20s, he couldn't find one bar or liquor store that had absinthe or rye. The two had been a wee bit spoiled by the resurgence of the cocktail on the coasts, and so they opened the Oakland in July of last year.

It's a moody, atmospheric spot decorated with candles and chandeliers a la the 1920s, which Levine calls "arguably the most stylish of any time. It creates a special atmosphere. When we were doing build-out and design, we were inspired by bars in New York and Chicago that had an element of not just nostalgia but timelessness. For instance, there aren't windows, it's very dark. We play specific music that's not necessarily all old but we try to create an environment where you forget about the outside world."

The intention to create a haven away from the modern world means low music and no TVs. With few distractions, good chatter has a way of blossoming. 

"That's a huge topic in terms of feedback. People say, 'It's nice to be in a bar where I can talk to my friends and actually hear them.'"

To preserve the mood they've worked so painstakingly to create, the Levines do have some house rules that are slightly more involved than at a typical bar. Guests must be seated to be served. Sometimes, as with large parties, that can cause problems, but it certainly is appealing to sit at a bar and not have customers standing behind you, shouting orders at bartenders. The Oakland also discourages cell phone use, because, as Sandy Levine puts it, "your guests would value your company more than your mobile device."

While most customers appreciate the rules, there has been some push-back. "No question about it," Levine says, "some people resist the house rules. The biggest one is our seating policy; we stick to it. And if you use your phone, please do it quietly. And about being able to hold your liquor and not being rowdy and raucous, most regulars are into that. Of course, there's a small group of people that are against that. We get online reviews occasionally that say, 'I don't want to be told what to do when I go to a bar. I want to shout and be rowdy.' Well, we go to those dive bars mostly patronized by people like that. But we want to provide a more relaxed atmosphere where you can have a classy drink, be able to hold your liquor, and taste what you're drinking and savor it — instead of gulping and chugging, which certainly has its place."

Levine continues, "There are 1,000 different ways you can do a bar and all 1,000 have some element of merit and can create a cool place. There's nothing wrong with having a sports bar with 1,000 TVs. We just feel this is one sort of bar that was underrepresented here."

In a way, the Oakland is more than a bar: It's a social experiment, trying to push people a little bit to expose themselves to things they haven't had 1,000 times before.

"Sometimes people say something about the drinks being a bit more expensive," Levine says, "but we try to make up for it by making them strong. And with vermouth that's, say, $25 a bottle instead of $3, hopefully it makes a difference by tasting better. It makes a big difference when you start with fresh ingredients and better spirits.

"We don't keep any soda — except homemade — no Coke or Red Bull, no cranberry juice. ... Basically anything that comes in a box or a jar, we don't have. All the juices are squeezed daily, we make the syrups and bitters in-house here. There are a couple drinks we even scrape our own fresh nutmeg over the top of. Our Manhattan even has real maraschino cherries, grown on a farm up North and soaked in Maraschino liqueur. Any one of those things may or may not make a difference, but when you do seven or eight things right together, I think it makes a difference."

Having tried the Oakland's Manhattan, we can assure you of its excellence. After finishing off one of these creations, we wished we could strike every so-called Manhattan we'd ever tried. After the second one, we forgot where we were. These drinks weren't cheap, but they were worth every penny. And, as the success of the Oakland shows, quality — in product and environment — is something today's drinkers are willing to put a premium on. —Michael Jackman

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