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  • Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well

    By LeeAnn Brown Some people say that hip-hop is dead. Local ban Fderal Ground is proving that is not the case. The seven-member band, consisting of three lead vocalists, a DJ, bass, drums and guitar, plays what they call “living hip-hop.” Their music, peppered with multiple styles, covers all aspects of life from growing up in the D to playing with fire despite knowing you will likely get burned. Their undeniable chemistry and raw lyrics compose a music that is living, breathing, and connecting to their listeners. It has been nearly 11 years since Vinny Mendez and Michael Powers conjured up the basement idea that has flowered into the Detroit funk-hop band Feral Ground. Throughout high school the two wrote and rapped consistently, playing shows here and there. In those years they matched their rap stanzas with the animated, dynamic voice of Ginger Nastase and saw an instant connection. The now trio backed their lyrics with DJ Aldo’s beats on and off for years, making him a permanent member within the last year, along with Andy DaFunk (bass), Joseph Waldecker (drums), and newest member, Craig Ericson (guitar). We sat down with Feral Ground and their manager, Miguel Mira, in their […]

    The post Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law

    Much has been made about Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s decision this week to transfer authority of the city’s water department to Mayor Mike Duggan. In what is the most interesting read on the situation, Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale, pens an analysis on Michigan’s novel emergency manager law on the New York Times Opinionator blog. Stanley deconstructs Michigan’s grand experiment in governance by addressing two questions: Has the EM law resulted in policy that maximally serves the public good? And, is the law consistent with basic principles of democracy? Stanley ties in examples of Plato, James Madison’s Federalist Papers, and Nazi political theorist Carl Schmitt. A short excerpt: Plato was a harsh critic of democracy, a position that derived from the fact that his chief value for a society was social efficiency. In Plato’s view, most people are not capable of employing their autonomy to make the right choices, that is, choices that maximize overall efficiency. Michigan is following Plato’s recommendation to handle the problems raised by elections. Though there are many different senses of “liberty” and “autonomy,” none mean the same thing as “efficiency.” Singapore is a state that values efficiency above all. But by no stretch of […]

    The post Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week

    Walking with Dinosaurs, a magnificent stage show that features life-sized animatronic creatures from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, will be in town next week. But to preview the show’s run at the Palace, a baby T-Rex will be making an appearance at four area malls to the delight and wonderment of shoppers. Baby T-Rex, as the creature is being affectionately referred to, is seven-feet-tall and 14-feet-long. He’ll only be at each mall for about 15 minutes, so while there will be photo opportunities, they’ll be short. The dino will be at Fairlane Town Center Center Court at 18900 Michigan Ave. in Detroit from 2-2:15 p.m. today, July 30; The Mall at Partridge Creek at 17420 Hall Rd. in Clinton Township from 5-5:15 p.m. today, July 30; Twelve Oaks Mall at the Lord & Taylor Court at 27500 Novi Rd., Novi tomorrow, Thursday July 31 from 1:30-1:45 p.m.; and Great Lakes Crossing Food Court at 4000 Baldwin Rd., Auburn Hills from 5-5:15 p.m., tomorrow Thursday, July 31.  

    The post Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations

    Interested in reading about what Detroit accomplishes on a week-to-week basis that’s produced by the city itself? Great. You can do that now, here, at the Detroit Dashboard. Every Thursday morning, the city will publish an update to the dashboard because Mayor Mike Duggan loves metrics, even if the data might be hard to come by. According to Duggan’s office, the dashboard will provide data on how many LED street lights were installed, how many vacant lots were mowed, how much blight was removed, and more. This week, the city says it has sold 13 site lots through BuildingDetroit.com, removed 570 tons of illegal dumping, and filed 57 lawsuits against abandoned property owners.  

    The post Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial

    We don’t know about you, but usually Nancy Whiskey and Long John Silver’s aren’t two concepts we’d place in the same sentence. However, the international fast food fish fry conglomerate made a nod to the Detroit dive in their latest YouTube commercial. LJS is offering free fish fries on Saturday, August 2, which is the promotion the commercial is attempting to deliver. But, we think we’ll just go to Nancy Whiskey instead.

    The post Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women

    We came across an interesting item this week: Apparently, a music festival with the name “Michfest” is quietly oriented as a “Women-Only Festival Exclusively for ‘Women Born Women.’” It seems a strange decision to us. If you wanted to have a women-only music festival, why not simply proclaim loud and clear that it is for all sorts of women? But if you really wanted to become a lightning rod for criticisms about transphobia, organizers have found the perfect way to present their festival. Now, we know that defenders of non-cisgender folks have it tough. The strides made by gays and lesbians (and bisexuals) in the last 20 years have been decisive and dramatic. But the people who put the ‘T’ in LGBT have reason to be especially defensive, facing a hostile culture and even some disdain from people who should be their natural allies. That said, sometimes that defensiveness can cause some activists to go overboard; when we interviewed Dan Savage a couple years ago, he recalled his “glitter bombing” and said it was due to the “the narcissism of small differences,” adding that “if you’re playing the game of who is the most victimized, attacking your real enemies doesn’t prove you’re most victimized, claiming you […]

    The post Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Savage Love

Dan helps an autistic dude pick up social cues

Hookup shook up.

Photo: Illustration by Lee DeVito., License: N/A

Illustration by Lee DeVito.


Q: I’m a 21-year-old straight male, and I’m mildly autistic. This means that I have difficulty picking up on social cues. I’ve learned to manage my disability in most areas of my life, but I’ve recently become concerned about how it pertains to hooking up. My approach to hooking up is how I imagine most other people’s must be: find someone who I can have a flowing conversation with, attempt to flirt with them, and then awkwardly make a move. But a few weeks ago at a party, I was flirting with a girl when I suddenly realized that she was wasted. I had suspected that she was tipsy like myself, but I didn’t understand how far gone she was until she invited me outside and was unable to keep her balance while walking. What followed was a horrifyingly surreal exchange where I struggled to leave, she kept insisting that she wasn’t drunk, and all the while she kept pressing against me. By the time I got away, she was angry, people were staring, and I had history’s most shameful erection. Prior to that night, I thought I could tell when someone was too drunk. I’d been certain about the agency of everyone I slept with. Now I have doubts about myself. Severe intoxication renders a person incapable of giving consent, and taking advantage of someone that impaired is the same as rape in my mind. Am I a rapist? Was it wrong for me to participate in hookup culture as I struggle to read social signals? —Moral Blue Screen Of Death

A: If your description of events is accurate, MBSOD, that shameful erection of yours — which was nowhere close to being history’s most shameful erection (that distinction belongs to the erections on the Catholic priest who raped the most kids) — was an innocent, unconscious, physiological response to some highly awkward and clearly unwelcome bodily contact. Just because your dick got hard doesn’t mean you were enjoying yourself. Again, if your recap is accurate: You were struggling to leave, and this drunk wouldn’t stop pressing her body against yours? You were the victim, not the perp.

As for other women you’ve hooked up with at or after parties …

The line between buzzed enough to go for it and too drunk to consent can be fuzzy and subjective. Some people argue that one drink renders a person incapable of consenting to sex. By that standard, nearly all of us — male and female and SOPATGS* — are guilty of raping scores of people. (By that standard, millions of sexual encounters are simultaneous rapes, i.e., two tipsy, buzzed, or drunk people having sex that neither party was capable of consenting to.) But sensible people recognize that alcohol functions as a social lubricant and an effective way to overcome social or sexual inhibitions, and that it’s possible for two people (or more!) to have consensual sex after a drink or two or even three.

You say you have difficulty picking up on social cues, and you’re now worried that you may have misread a previous hookup’s ability to consent. I’m sorry to say that it’s possible you hooked up with a girl who was completely shitfaced but, unlike that drunk girl at the party, was not giving off too-shitfaced-to-consent cues that you could pick up on. Since you can’t go back in time and unfuck all the buzzed/tipsy/drunk girls with whom you’ve already hooked up, MBSOD, you can only resolve to be more cautious going forward.

If drunkenness is one of those social cues that you have a hard time reading, MBSOD, you’re going to have to ask a friend for his or her read on the girl you met, or — better still — you’re going to stick to dance-floor make-out sessions at parties and reserve getting naked for sober or soberer second or third dates. And when you do decide to really go for it, you’re going to err on the side of making active, ongoing, explicit requests for consent, i.e., you’re not going to “make moves,” awkward or otherwise, you’re going ask questions (“I’d really like to kiss you — that OK?”) and keep asking questions (“OK, I got the condoms out — you still wanna fuck?”)

Q: My best friend is in a relationship with a great guy who is a loving father to their kids. There are no issues in their relationship other than this: zero sex in 10-plus years. She is desperate. She is in contact with a former lover who is not the LTR type. She wants to hook up with her ex. Is she required to disclose? If so, what do you recommend she say? Or does 10-plus years of sexlessness constitute a free pass? —Her Best Friend

A: Ten years without sex frees your friend from an obligation to disclose, HBF, but for your friend’s peace of mind — and for butt cover should the affair be discovered — she should sit her husband down and say something like this: “I love you and I want to stay married to you forever. We both know that sex has never been an important part of our connection or our marriage. If you should ever seize an opportunity to get it elsewhere, I trust you’ll be considerate and discreet and leave me in the dark. I promise to do the same.”

Q: I’m a 23-year-old gay male who was diagnosed four years ago with ADHD. The prescription that I’ve been taking has completely turned my life around. Within the course of my first batch of pills, I began to notice drastic changes. From the evaporation of my paralyzing academic anxiety to the willpower to practice better hygiene, medicated me has control over my actions. A side effect of this medication is a drastically increased libido. While I’ve always had kinky tastes in porn, it is only while on Dexedrine that I go on Recon and look for men to tie me up and dominate me. I’ve only ever pursued kink experiences under the influence of legal amphetamines. My confusion comes in the interpretation of these facts. Part of me feels like I should be wary of my kinky self, because “sober” me wouldn’t make the same sexual choices. The other part just wants to say “fuck it” and embrace my kinks, because the same high that makes me kinky also made it possible for me to graduate from college and practice good personal hygiene. Are my concerns valid? —Aroused Distractible Dominated

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