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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;

    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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Rage against the machine

The mayor held a meeting to hear from residents. They gave him an earful.

Photo: Detroitblogger John, License: N/A

Detroitblogger John

A heated meeting with Bing

They came full of anger, and brought with them a long list of grievances. Tonight, the target of their fury would be placed before them on a stage. And by the end of the evening they'd drive him from the room.

The occasion was Mayor Dave Bing's fifth District Community Meeting with city residents, held Sept. 13, at Charity Lutheran Church on Kelly south of Seven Mile. The people who came to the event would not be those Bing is normally accustomed to mingling with inside the protective cocoon of his high-rise office. Tonight the room would be filled with people from "the neighborhoods," the catch-all term for the large swaths of the city characterized by untended parks and abandoned houses and stubbornly high crime rates.

They came not to pose questions, but instead to vent their rage, to get their pound of flesh from the man they accuse of destroying the city and handing the remains to outsiders. This would not be an evening of civil discourse.

"We don't usually have the opportunity to have a mic in our face," said Wanda Jan Hill, a retired city employee who was eager to confront the mayor. "They don't listen to the people. They listen to the shakers and the movers, that's all you hear about, but you don't hear about the ordinary Jane or John. And we need to be heard."

The meeting opened with a prayer by the church's pastor. It was the only quiet moment of the night. 

Before the mayor arrived, nearly two-dozen department heads filled out the seats on the stage and the first few pews in this little church, while several members of the mayor's executive protection unit stood off to the sides.

Kirk Lewis, Bing's deputy mayor, rose to the podium amid a wash of hisses and boos, and had the department heads stand and introduce themselves. Some of them drew indifference from the residents, others brought a smattering of boos.

There were dozens of Detroit cops in the audience, as there had been for previous community meetings with the mayor. They were here to protest the succession of cuts to the department, the proposed 12-hour shifts, the shortage of equipment and manpower. Suddenly they began to shout, "No police, no peace!" and the whole room took up the chant.

Lewis wasn't having any of this. "We're not going to get very far with these outbursts," he lectured. "This is very disrespectful to the community. Thank you. Now, with that, I'm going to introduce Mayor Dave Bing."

The mayor walked onto the stage, and the crowd erupted into a throaty, sustained "BOOOOOOOOOO!" The department heads in the pews looked to one another, and in response they all stood up and began applauding theatrically towards the mayor. This defiant gesture only further inflamed the crowd, and the boos grew deafening.

Here now, seated before the people, was the man in charge of this ailing city, someone most people only ever see on television. The stage was left unlit, as if the shadows afforded some protection from the crowd's ire. The City Charter requires seven of these face-to-face encounters between the mayor and his constituents each year — one in each of the seven new City Council districts — otherwise he would likely have preferred to have been somewhere else, anywhere else. After four previous meetings like this, Bing knew what to expect. He sat there exposed and vulnerable, with the look of a man about to undergo a root canal.

Question time began. Each resident had to fill out a card beforehand, and mayoral staffers hand-picked which questions could be asked and then called upon each resident to come to the microphone for two minutes. A Bing staffer kept time with a stopwatch, and held up printed cards noting that a minute had passed, followed by one that said, "Time is up." But few people had actual questions, and few adhered to the time limit.

The audience members did not pussyfoot around their feelings. The first speaker addressed Chris Brown, the city's chief operating officer. "I'm going to be honest with you. Seriously, you make me sick," he told him, without specifying why, other than noting his high salary.

The next speaker approached. "My issue is the blight, the overall non-commitment to neighborhoods," Marcus Cummings said to the mayor. "What are you doing to stop the blight, the drugs, the murder, the killing? What are you doing to help the police department, fire and EMS? You've done nothing to build these neighborhoods back up, i.e. citizens, which are leaving at an alarming rate. What are you doing?"

The room hushed as Bing leaned into his microphone. But instead of addressing Cummings, he turned to his group executive of planning and facilities. "Karla Henderson, if you would, would you give some overview and an explanation of what we're doing?" This infuriated the audience.

"He asked you the question!" a woman shouted from a pew. "Bing! The question was directed at you! We pay our taxes, we deserve to get answers. You got to answer him." Henderson began to speak. Someone shouted, "Who's the mayor here?" The crowd drowned out Henderson's words.

Bing stepped in. "It's very difficult to deal with so many people yelling and screaming at the same time, so if you ask a question and we can hear the question, we'll answer the question," he said in the tone of a sighing grandfather. "Let me hear the question that you want answered."

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