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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 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.

  • 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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Pit stop

Rewriting the rep of Detroit's unofficial city dog

Photo: Photo: Detroitblogger John, License: N/A

Photo: Detroitblogger John

Michael Hodges with his champion pit bull Pow.

To prove this, Smith walks up to Pow, who's vigorously chewing a slab of salted rawhide hanging from a chain. He grabs the dog's jowls, pats his face, smothers his snout. But the dog's whole being remains focused on that rawhide. "It's not even my dog, and he's not aggressive, as you can see," he says, still tugging at the dog's ears.

Smith, like everyone here, has a ready defense of the breed, their counterargument to the complaints they've all heard. It's obvious they've given these speeches many times before.

"It's just like guns don't kill people, people kill people," Smith says. "Look at the dog as a gun. His loyalty lies to his master, so he's gonna do whatever his master wants him to do. If his master wants him to fight, he'll fight. It's just a matter if he'll continue to fight. But he will fight."

In walks Angela Maddox with her pit bull. "China, come with your momma," the diminutive 43-year-old says in a baby-talk voice. She found her dog four years ago when a woman pulled up to a nearby abandoned house, got out and threw a wriggling trash bag inside the open door. "I thought it was a child," Maddox says, "so I ran over there to try to retrieve the trash bag, and she backed up on me and tried to run me over." She raised the puppy she found in that bag.

Maddox has gotten two more pit bulls since. They complement the cameras she's got set up to watch her house's perimeter. She lives alone, and a dog with a scary reputation makes for great security in the inner city.

"They're very protective," Maddox says. "They guard the house. If you treat them with respect and take care of them and don't train them to fight they'll be good dogs."

Maddox is the other side of the coin. Her dogs don't compete. They're not famous in the pit bull contest circuit. She's just someone vulnerable who feels safe with them around, a doting owner who treats her dogs like they're her protective children.

"I never had kids and I feel I have a lot of love to give," she says. "I just love them."

When Hodges
was growing up, the popular guys in the neighborhood fought their pit bulls.

"I first seen it when I was young," he says. "I was like, 'Oh, this is cool' because I grew up in an area where all the older guys doing it had the fancy cars, had all the money, so I'm like, 'I want to do it! I want to do it!'"

Dog fighting is the ever-present undertone to their hobby, the unvoiced accusation they see in people's stares. But every one of them here is adamant that the illegal sport is wrong.

"I do know a few who do it," Hodges says, "but that's what they do. Like you might know somebody that sells drugs."

Tilford says he can spot the dog fighters as soon as they walk in his store. "They come in here and ask certain questions," he says. He refuses to serve them. "And certain bloodlines are known as fighting bloodlines." The fighting dogs are covered in scars. That's the giveaway.

"If I find out somebody fights dogs I instantly distance myself from them," Smith shouts. "We want nothing to do with them. Somebody comes in here and we got any suspicions of any kind of illegal activity, if they walk in here with a dog with scars, he's gettin' up out of here."

Once Hodges grew older and got his own pit bull, any allure dog fighting might have held for him vanished. You can see it in the way he gently scolds Pow for pissing on the store's floor, how he scoops him up off the ground and holds him like a baby, the way he breaks into a boyish smile as the dog in his arms blissfully kicks its paws and licks his owner's face.

There are no scars on his dog. There aren't any on the other dogs milling around here. Most, in fact, have the lustrous sheen of a pampered pet. Even Pow the champion, who can pull a car's worth of weight.

Pow embodies the paradox of the breed, the contradiction between whether these dogs are pets or protectors, dangerous or misunderstood. It's the contrast between these guys' pride in their dog's toughness and the way someone like Hodges snuggles his like they're fuzzy babies.

For these men here training them to be champions, for the woman raising a dog left to die in a bag, pit bulls combine all those opposites. That's the allure of these dogs, they say, the thing that's unique about them. It's why they'll defend them to anyone who speaks badly of them. This is their chosen breed.

"There's a whole movement against them," Tilford says, as a video of a weight pull plays on the TV while his pit bull Sledgehammer sits quietly at his feet. "But there's a whole movement with them, too."

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