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  • Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit

    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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Our 13-year-old son came out — how can we help?

Ensuring it gets better for a young one, a list of practical steps

Q:

 My 13-year-old son came out to us this morning. He plans to tell his brothers in the next few days. We love and accept our son, and this news isn't surprising (but when will the stereotypical neatness kick in?), but we do have some concerns. He has, apparently, already made the news public at school. Any pointers you can give? We want to make sure he knows that we love him and don't care about his sexuality, while at the same time preparing him to deal with those people who do. Also, any advice you can give for when he starts dating would be appreciated. —Dad Seeks Support


A:

 "On behalf of advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth everywhere, let me be the first to say, 'Thank you,'" says Eliza Byard, executive director of GLSEN (glsen.org), the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, which works to create safe school environments for LGBT — and straight — youth. "Simply by giving your son your love and support, you have already significantly increased his chances of living a happy and fulfilling life. The importance of an accepting home cannot be overstated." (The damage that can be done by a hostile family also cannot be overstated: LGBT youth whose families are hostile are eight times likelier to commit suicide than their straight peers. Hostile parents can't make their gay kids straight, but they can make them dead.)

"The bad news is that school can be a miserable place for LGBT youth," says Byard. "GLSEN's 2009 National School Climate Survey found that nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT teens experienced harassment in school in the past year. The good news is that engaged parents can make a huge difference."

So, DSS, while it's admirable that you want your son to understand that you "don't care about his sexuality," you also have to make your son understand that you care about him and that you're aware of the challenges he faces.

"Talk to your son and learn more about his school and his experiences there since coming out," advises Byard. "What kind of response has he received? What supports are in place for him at school? Does the school have a Gay-Straight Alliance? Do students have access to LGBT-affirming resources in the library? Does the school have policies that address bullying? Are there adults in the school community whom he trusts and feels are supportive?"

Call your son's school, DSS, and set up a meeting. Making sure his teachers and school administrators know that you're on your son's side — and they know you intend to hold them accountable — can go a long way toward creating a safe environment for your son at school.

"Send a GLSEN Safe Space Kit (safespacekit.com) to your son's school to give educators the tools they need to provide support and create a safe space in their classroom for your son," advises Byard. "Visible signs of support, such as a GLSEN Safe Space sticker on a door, can fundamentally alter the school experience of an LGBT youth by helping them identify those adults in the community who are supportive."

As for dating and sex ...

"Treat your son with the same awkwardness you would your other kids," says Byard. "I'm speaking as a mom myself now. Make sure he has access to all the health and safety information he needs. (Sitting down to watch reruns of Will & Grace together won't cut it.) I have two daughters and want to be absolutely sure they have access to all the information they need to make smart and healthy — and potentially life-saving! — decisions. Make yourself available to talk whenever he needs and welcome his boyfriends inside the house the same way you would if they were girlfriends."


Q:

 I'm into BDSM and my safe word is "safe word." It's short, memorable, and unmistakable in its intent. Someone recently told me that "any serious BDSM player" would laugh me out of the community if I used that. Is she right? Is she just being a dickhead? Should I have to say something silly like "grapefruit" in order to get my point across? —Grapefruits Aren't Good


A:

 I may not be the best person to adjudicate this dispute, GAG, as my safe word is "popcorn." (And, yes, I cross my arms over my chest when I use it, as demonstrated here: tinyurl.com/safewordpopcorn.) But in my opinion, the woman who informed you that you would be laughed out of "the community" for your choice of safe word is being a huge dickhead. In fact, it sounds like she has a bad case of You're Doing It Wrong.

YDIW is a social-skills disorder that members of the BDSM community are at particular risk of acquiring. (Others at heightened risk: religious conservatives, sports fans, advice columnists.) BDSMers with YDIW feel they have a right to inform other BDSMers that they're doing it wrong — whatever it might be — even if the "it" being done wrong poses no risk to the YDIW sufferer or anyone else.

BDSM players should speak up, of course, when they witness other BDSMers doing something dangerously wrong. BDSMers who observe dangerous or nonconsensual play at public parties have a responsibility to speak the fuck up before someone is seriously injured. The secondary, tertiary, and quaternary goals of creating a BDSM community were the sharing of skills, the promotion of good play practices, and the holding of dangerous or malicious players to account, respectively. (The primary goal? Getting BDSMers laid.) But some BDSMers confuse a responsibility to speak up when they witness dangerous play for an invitation to critique other people's kinks, sexual interests, preferred fetish roles, safe words, etc.

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