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    Former American Idol contestant Vonzell Solomon weighs in on twerking, natural hair & CEO status. In 2005, recording artist Vonzell “Baby V” Solomon embarked on a journey that changed her life. At the age of 20, Vonzell made it to the top three on American Idol before she was eliminated. But that was not the beginning nor the end of her journey to stardom. Vonzell is one of more than two dozen artists on tour with YouTube sensation Todrick Hall, who is a former Idol contestant as well. Todrick gained notoriety for his fast food drive-thru songs and also for producing parody videos  —  based on popular Broadway musicals and songs. His tour, uniquely entitled Twerk Du Soleil (translation: twerk of the sun), is a combination of his popular YouTube spoofs. Both Vonzell and her ratchet alter ego,Boonquisha Jenkins, made an appearance in Twerk Du Soleil,which stopped in Detroit July 23 at Saint Andrews Hall. Boonquisha opened the show by facilitating a twerking competition among the audience. Next, Vonzell made a reappearance singing a fan favorite – Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Later, Boonquisha came on stage screaming “It’s so cold in the D! You gotta be from the D to […]

    The post Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Poll shows Bob Ficano behind in Wayne County Executive race

    If a poll released this week is any indication of how the August 5 primary election will turn out, current Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano has reason to worry, Fox 2 reports. Ficano, who’s seeking a third term, polled in fourth place — behind former Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans, Westland Mayor Bill Wild and Wayne County Commissioner Phil Cavanaugh, according to Fox 2. The poll by Strategic Solutions LLC, showed 6.7 percent of respondents said they’d vote for Ficano, which isn’t so bad: He finished ahead of County Commissioner Kevin McNamara (who came in at No. 6) and someone literally described as “a candidate not named here” (who polled at No. 5.) If you’re planning to head to the polls — which you should! — and need some input on the candidates and ballot proposals, you can read for our election coverage in this week’s Metro Times.

    The post Poll shows Bob Ficano behind in Wayne County Executive race appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • A Mad Decent Mixtape

    Mad Decent Block Party will roll through town on Saturday, August 16, bringing to town artists like Dillon Francis, Diplo, Flosstradamus, RiFF RAFF, Keys N Krates, and Zeds Dead. Thugli, a Canadian duo, will perform on the Toronto leg of the tour and they put together a 45 minute mix that features songs by some of the tour’s featured artists as well as a host of others.  Listen to it here. 

    The post A Mad Decent Mixtape appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tangent Gallery to host Breaking Borders

    Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host a special event this Saturday, July 26 in hopes of raising money for the local faction of an international nonprofit, Burners without Borders Detroit. Breaking Borders is a one-evening-only event that will feature live music, performance, and art. Satori Circus will perform along with spoken word artist ZakAndWhatArmy. Music by Tartanic, Dixon’s Violin, and Servitor. Fire dancers, hoop performers, and acrobats will provide a certain mysticism to the ambiance as old Victorian steampunk and tribal art is shown in the main gallery. There will also be a runway fashion show and the evening will end with a dubstep rave featuring DJ Forcefeed and Dotty. Truly, there’s something for everyone. Perhaps more importantly, there will be a full service bar. The event is open to those 18 and older and IDs will be checked at the door. Admission is $25 at the door, or $20 with the donation of a canned good. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the party goes until 2 a.m. A 20 percent commission will be taken from all art sold at this event and donated to Burners without Borders. The Tangent Gallery is located at 715 Milwaukee Ave., Detroit; 313-873-2955; tangentgallery.com.

    The post Tangent Gallery to host Breaking Borders appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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 […]

    The post 48 to film — behind the scenes at the 48 Hour Film Project appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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

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Feature

Jeffrey Ross is ready to 'experiment' on Detroiters

Loving the burn - Grilling the Roastmaster general on a comic tradition revived

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


 

MT: That's pretty accurate.

 

Ross: Yeah. In Jersey everyone thinks they're a comedian. Everyone can take a joke or deliver a joke. It's a rough place to grow up sometimes, and I think Detroit probably shares that. I get a lot of mail from fans asking me to come to Detroit, so I'm pretty pumped about coming. I'm going to experiment with "speed roasting" some audience members

 

MT: When you become known as the roastmaster, now, I'm sure everywhere you go people expect you to make fun of them. That has to be a bit of a pain right?

 

Ross: It's only a pain if it happens on an airplane or at a funeral. If it happens at my shows, it's exciting; because people consider it an honor to be dishonored publicly for some reason. So it will be volunteers only.

 

MT: The worst gigs are like where you get hired to insult someone at a birthday party, but you've turned it into an empire.

 

Ross: [giggles] Yeah, man, you have to pick a lane. Dave Chapelle taught me a long time ago: "Pick a lane." This is it.

 

MT: You got to roast the caped crusader on the show Batman: Brave and the Bold. How cool was that?

 

Ross: That was intense, man. I was so intimidated. Batman is a larger-than-life figure. He's much taller in person than he is on the cartoon.

 

MT: Who is your dream target that you haven't gotten to roast yet?

 

Ross: Wow. Um, it seems like Herman Cain right now would be the best roast possible.

 

MT: Would he get the jokes?

 

Ross: No. Just stopping the show to explain the jokes to him would be the best part. Just all the accusers and girlfriends, think of how many roasters we would have.

 

MT: What would it take to get Rickles to do one of these roasts?

 

Ross: You know we beg him every year, but he's untouchable, he's just the king. If we ever got to do that roast it would be a happy day for me, a proud day.

 

MT: I think all the comics would be terrified he would just show them up.

 

Ross: Yeah, he would go on at the end and rip everyone, just school everyone, that's for sure. He's not just old-school, he's pre-school. He's a legend. He belongs on "Mt. Roastmore."

 

MT: Are you surprised when sometimes people, even some professional comics, still get offended at these things?

 

Ross: In the end it's all serious business and we wear our theoretical bulletproof vests so that the punch lines don't hurt. Sometimes new audiences don't know the rules; which is that there are no rules. Look, you can't be offended; it's a "roast." Slowly people are learning roasting philosophy: that you can't be hurt by words. Hopefully that will apply soon to life in general.

 

MT: You're going to make a better world one joke at time Jeff.

 

Ross: Roasting saves lives my friend.

 

At 7 and 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-544-3030; $28 advance.

 

Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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