Most Read
  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.



Search thousands of events in our database.


Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.


Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

MT on Twitter
MT on Facebook

Print Email


Rites of spring

An otherwise outdated ceremony for girls brings life to lost traditions

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

Photos: Detroitblogger John

Photo: , License: N/A

The debutantes huddle backstage before the dance.

The debutante steps into the spotlight, and a hush falls over the room.

She wears white satin gloves and white pearls and an airy, white billowing gown, and she shines as she stands under the light, at the edge of the ballroom and at the center of attention.

Her tuxedoed father has just escorted her down a marble staircase into the full gaze of the crowd assembled inside the lavish Crystal Ballroom of Detroit's Masonic Temple.

It's the Debutante Cotillion Ball, an old-fashioned Southern ceremony, the unlikeliest of events, held in the ragged Cass Corridor, the unlikeliest of places.

As the pair slowly walks the long floor to the stage, the announcer reads off the debutante's credentials — her academic achievements, her volunteer activities, her athletic accomplishments, her goals. Each of the girls being honored here on this spring evening has a list just as long. To be selected for this night, they have to be achievers in academics and athletics, and successes in their still-short lives.

Once on stage, facing the hundreds in the crowd, she descends slowly to the floor in a perfect curtsy that makes her long gown spread out gracefully at her feet.

And the crowd bursts into applause for her, for the night, for what this formal gesture represents.

"It goes back to our basic principles of returning social grace, poise, elegance to our lives and to our youth," says Renita Barge Clark, 42, the founder of the Cotillion Society, the group behind this evening's event. "It increases their self-esteem. It helps make them well-rounded individuals. Most of them have been exposed to some things, but here, we take it to another level."

A cotillion
or debutante ball is the formal presentation of young ladies to polite society. Based on English tradition, it flourished in the American South after the Civil War. Back then it signified that a girl had reached maturity and was now ready to be courted for marriage by eligible bachelors of similarly high social status.

Nowadays they serve mostly to sustain these quaint old customs, to pass on lost traditions and forgotten ways of behavior. For years the Cotillion Club of Detroit hosted such balls, so nationally renowned that Ebony Magazine devoted a four-page photo spread to it one year. Though the club began in 1946 as a social group for black businessmen and evolved over time into a political organization fighting for civil rights, every year it offered young black women the chance to participate in the Southern traditions their migrating parents brought north with them.

But it folded in 1996. Clark, a local physician who'd gone through her own debutante ball as a teenager, didn't want to see these coming-of-age celebrations vanish from the area. A few years ago, she and a friend did some research, traveled the country to observe debutante balls, organized a nonprofit educational foundation and last year held their first cotillion.

For the high school juniors and seniors selected as debutantes, the road here is long and hard. "It's almost like a mini charm school," Clark says. There are the twice-weekly waltz practices that become weekly as the ball draws near. Months of etiquette lessons. Cultural outings like Brunch with Bach at the Detroit Institute of Arts and tickets to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the Detroit Opera House. Volunteer tutoring at the Sickle Cell Center in Detroit. Afternoon tea at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham. Facets of culture that most girls nowadays don't get to experience.

"It really is sad," she says. "But hopefully as time goes on we as a whole society will feel the need to reinstate some of these traditions, because I believe there was true meaning and a purpose to them."

The escorts
gather behind a set of French doors, just outside the ballroom. Their heads tilt toward a crack in the door, as each waits to hear his name called.

Each debutante has her own escort, a teenage boy who is called to the ballroom floor to stand in the spotlight under the scrutiny of the audience. His achievements will be read aloud, he'll solemnly bow, and he'll walk up to her father and formally ask for a dance with his daughter.

This is a lot to think about now, and the waiting escorts break the tension by clowning around, acting unconcerned, but every few minutes they fall back into expressions of mild nervousness as they listen in silence to hear their names.

That's the look worn by Blake West, 16, as he watches the escorts called before him and assesses what awaits him.

A University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy student, he will be majoring in engineering or business at Howard, Columbia, Morehouse or Georgetown, he declares with the assurance of someone whose future is already mapped out. The program for the evening spells out his record: track and field team, member of the Business Club at school, treasurer of Detroit Kappa League, volunteering with Toys for Tots, tutoring at night, and so on, a kid with more responsibilities than most adults.

Like the others, he too went through the etiquette lessons, the dance practices, the instruction on table manners. "I think this is a very valuable experience because when I grow up I may have to go to an event with the president, and those are some things to know," he says, already thinking big.

These are the kids who go to the good schools in town, come from good families, have high aspirations. Tonight is about celebrating them for simply doing good things with their lives.�

"I'm very blessed," West says about his school, where most of his achievements have taken place. It's a nod to his awareness that fortunate circumstances make a difference too.

The announcer's voice echoes through the old hall. It's hard to discern her words from outside the ballroom. But one thing comes through clear. "Blake West." And with that he goes through the door and steps into the spotlight.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus