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  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May

    Margaret Doll Rod will celebrate the release of her new EP, Margaret, with a show at PJ’s Lager House on Saturday, May 10. A statement reads, “The EP contains 3 new original songs and one Chrome Cranks cover with Italian actress Asia Argento singing background vocals. Margaret moved to Italy after the end of the Demolition Doll Rods where she still lives touring and performing festivals in Europe. The Dollrods were a Garage Rock force for over 20 years, opening for Iggy, Jon Spencer, The Scientist, The Monks and The Cramps. Margaret was the front person and principal songwriter for The Dollrods. Her chief musical foil was Danny Kroha, who joined the Demolition Doll Rods after the now legendary Gories called it quits. Margaret’s sister, Christine, on drums, rounded out the legendary trio. Margaret will do a special performance in the round that night with a 360 degree revolving stage and special guest DJ Adam Stanfel.” The bill will also feature the Stomp Rockets and the Volcanos. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to bcallwood@metrotimes.com. Ricky Rat’s Tokyo Pop/Glitter People (New Fortune) 7” single highlights all that’s great about the Trash Brats guitarist, but also his limitations. The man can write a bubblegum rock ’n’ roll song to match anyone in the city and most beyond. He’s also a killer guitarist, ripping out one throwaway riff after another with reckless abandon. He’s a machine. On his own though, without Trash Brats frontman Brian McCarty, his voice doesn’t have enough strength to do the songs justice. Not that you need to have the greatest voice in the world to sing this stuff – you don’t need to be able to perform vocal gymnastics – but you do have to be able to wail the tunes out. Both of the songs on this single are great, but you can’t help but wonder how much better they would sound with McCarty or somebody similar talking the mic. Still, as they are the songs are great fun. We’re just being picky. The Paper Sound’s Trajectories is a dense, atypically dark Americana-tinged album, unrelenting and […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of buildingdetroit.org, a new website launched by the City of Detroit today to auction off city-owned homes to prospective buyers who pledge to fix them up and move in. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement today. “There are a lot of people who would love to move into many of our neighborhoods. Knowing that other people are going to be buying and fixing up the other vacant homes at the same time will make it a lot easier for them to make that commitment.” The website to facilitate the auctions went live this afternoon. The first auction is scheduled to take place Monday, May 5. Officials said in a news release that one home will be auctioned per day, Monday through Friday. Fifteen homes are available for sale on the site, a dozen of which are in the East English Village neighborhood. Any Michigan resident, company, or organization that can do business in the state can bid, according to the website. Properties will be for sale for only one day, with bidding taking place from 8 […]

    The post Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes

    In case you haven’t heard, two of the biggest names in film, Steven Spielberg and John Williams, are collaborating to put on a benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this summer. In case you wanted to go- well, you’re too damn late. The DSO says tickets to the June 14 concert were snapped up in a record-breaking 15 minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. today. The DSO has since released this statement to fans who didn’t snag seats: Our apologies to everyone who was unable to buy tickets this morning for our historic benefit concert featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Despite increasing our phone and internet system capacity for the day, a surge of hundreds of ticket buyers purchased tickets in a matter of minutes, filling the phone lines and temporarily maxing out our web servers. After a one-hour pre-sale made available to donors and subscribers at 8am, we released additional seats at 9am to the general public, including seats available for as low as $30. All seats sold out immediately. The concert program seems nothing short of top notch: Williams will conduct the orchestra as it performs some of his most iconic tunes, such […]

    The post Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Cover Story

Required reading

A quick education on getting an education

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: , License: N/A


How to be a Person: The Stranger's Guide to College, Sex, Intoxicants, Tacos and Life Itself

by Lindy West, Dan Savage, Christopher Frizzelle, Bethany Jean Clement and the Staff of The Stranger

Sasquatch, $16.95, 250 pp.


The all-purpose guide to your formative years, or, should you come to this later, reformative years. With Dan "Savage" Love and his colleagues from Seattle's The Stranger explaining this, you might guess that sex looms large among the other topics — and you'd be right. The guide to regions of the United States gets six pages. Sex and dating in general get 15, being gay gets nine, sleeping with your professor gets six, and a grab-bag of Savage Love-style questions gets 50, etc. But if you take to Savage Love's sass-with-a-conscience, you'll find no better one-stop guide to ... well, life itself. 


Sample:

A lot of heterosexual men get very angry when women don't look the way they think women "should" look. But guess what? "Should" is not a thing. Women's bodies are none of your business. What women weigh is none of your business. Women's body hair is none of your business. What women wear is none of your business. Whether or not women want to fuck you is none of your business, unless they do want to fuck you, in which case you should go for it (high-five!). 



10 Things Employers Want You to Learn in College: The Skills You Need to Succeed

by Bill Coplin

Ten Speed Press, $14.99, 

304 pp.


There may be only 10, but they're whoppers, big character items that you won't get in any one class: taking responsibility, developing physical skills (even, yes, legible handwriting), learning to communicate verbally and in writing, working well with people. After you get those big 10, you'll come to advice on 38 narrower skills such as learning software programs beyond Word and Excel, developing in-depth knowledge about something, capitalizing on sports skills, etc. The author is a faculty member and administrator at Syracuse University and cites extensive interviews with employers, recruiters and the like in developing this newly revised edition. 


Sample:

Talking to groups means presenting and listening to any number of people, ranging from a few to thousands! The technique that you use will vary depending on the size and the group setting, but they are essentially different from one-on-one conversations. You will not be able to maintain eye contact with everyone in the group or ask questions about mutual understanding when speaking to a group. Successful group presentations require careful organization and specific ways to find out whether you are getting your message across. ... 


Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)Invention, Shunning the Naysayers, and Creating a Personal Revolution

by Jon Friedman

Berkley Publishing Group, $15, 232 pp.


It's the 50th anniversary of "Blowing in the Wind," and Dylan — like the Beatles and the Stones, Motown, etc. — is virtually an academic industry. Check your course guide and see if you can find Dylanology 101 making the lad from Hibbing part of the grand sweeps of literature or social history. In contrast, Media Web columnist Jon Freidman's take on what makes Dylan Dylan and Dylan a success reads almost like a self-help book. He wants to liberate your inner Dylan. And for all the advice and admonitions in Dylan's songs ("May you stay forever young ... You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows ... To stay outside the law, you must be honest ..." etc.), Freidman takes cues from the poetry to turn Dylan into prosaic advice.


Sample:

This is one of the most difficult things any of us can do: take control of our lives and change our destinies. It seems so much easier to let someone else — a family member, a boss, a business manager, an agent, a financial planner — make the tough decisions for us. Dylan had done that for years but decided, as he later said in a 1974 interview with Rolling Stone, that the "leeches" in his life had played a part in creating a vicious circle of stress for him. 


Several short sentences 

about writing

Verlyn Klinkenborg

Knopf, $22, 210 pp.


This wouldn't be our first recommendation for getting you through the hundreds of thousands of words you'll need to write to get through four-or-so undergrad years. More basic suggestions would include E.B. White's classic Elements of Style, Karen Elizabeth Gordon's The New Well-Tempered Sentence and The Deluxe Transitive Vampire, Bruce Ross-Laron's Edit Yourself and (for those who feel a little muddle-headed, fess up, it's OK) Rudolf Flesch's How to Write, Speak and Think More Effectively. But once you've got a sense of how to write for profs, you might start to think about whether there's more to writing. The New York Times' Verlyn Klinkenborg thinks there is, and that he can help you: "I had to overcome my academic training, which taught me to write in a way that was useless to me (and almost everyone else). Unlearning what I learned in college — teaching myself to write well — is the basis of what I know."

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