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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;

    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

Cummings repeated his question. Bing moved forward to speak. "We as a community need to do that collectively," he said. "Who is doing the shooting? Who is doing the killing? It's people in your neighborhoods." This sounded like a blame-the-victim answer, and the audience howled bitterly. Bing tried to bring order. "It's very difficult to respond when everybody's yelling and screaming," he said again, hopelessly trailing off.

This wasn't a gathering of frustrated residents voicing their concerns. It was a public flogging by a red-faced mob. The object of their outrage was cornered, their hostility was personal, and they were determined to make him suffer while they had him there. 

Sandra Hines, a 58-year-old community activist, stood and whipped the crowd up by launching a brutal volley of accusations, charges and insults at the mayor.

"I listened to you on the radio and you made a statement about the city's been in this shape for 30 to 40 years, and why didn't people step forward in the 30 or 40 years," she thundered. "You've been here for 30 or 40 years, why didn't you step forward? You stepped forward when your business failed and you was looking for a job. You weren't concerned about Detroit, you weren't even living in Detroit, and you talk about what we've done? We've paid taxes, mayor, we provide the money. It's not our fault as citizens that people like you guys that we put in take the money and jack it and we don't get nothing from it!" Her rant brought the entire crowd to its feet in applause.

One angry resident after another walked to the microphone. Not one of them had a kind thing to say about the thin, elderly man on the stage, who looked annoyed, yet shaken, as he sat there. His department heads sat slumped, faces sunken, as if withering under the weight of the crowd's wrath.

At times, Bing seemed drained, and offered vague platitudes. "As you talk about blight in the neighborhood, there are plans to eliminate blight," he assured one resident, who was demonstrably not assured. 

Mostly, the crowd simply shouted complaints — about Belle Isle, about a state takeover, about abandoned homes and cuts to the police force. "I do not know what you can take away from us next," Valerie Glenn stated. "Our children are not being educated, we have no security, we have no streetlights, we have no food in this city. I don't know what is going on, but I am very concerned."

"I love this city and you are destroying it," said Cecily McClelland. "Why don't you do us a favor and leave?"

Lewis finally heard enough. "That was the last question, and that closes our public portion of the meeting." He announced that the mayor would make his closing comments. But the crowd wouldn't stop yelling.

Then the mayor rose to his feet, his staff stood up, and they all walked into the back room, out the door, into their cars and drove off. And that was it. He'd been there less than an hour.

Outside, the cops and the residents and block club captains milled around after the meeting's abrupt end. Now they turned their focus to hounding the mayor's staff as they headed into the parking lot. Hill, the retired city employee who'd come to berate Bing, chased down Brad Dick, director of the city's recreation department. "Do you live in the city?' she yelled after Dick, who maintained a brisk walk back to his car without looking back at her. "Do you live in the city?"

Her taunt reflected one of the fault lines that defined the residents' outrage — the powerful versus those who feel powerless, downtown versus the rest of town, festering resentments over race and geography and income. Them versus us.

Though the mayor didn't stay long, and though none of his answers pacified the crowd, most of the residents got what they came for — a chance to berate those in charge and a collective release of long-simmering frustration and fear.

"Detroiters have been beat down for the last six or seven years," Hill said. "How many times do you have to get hit before you say, 'Ouch?' So we're saying, 'Ouch.' We have to make some noise and let him know. Shame on us if we just sit back and watch."

Detroitblogger John is John Carlisle. He scours the Motor City for Metro Times. Send comments to

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