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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; tangentgallery.com.

    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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The Gift Guide

Season's greening!

Suggested ways to replace your cash with gifts for the holidays

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The Gift Guide

Contributors: W.K Heron, Brian Smith, Michael Jackman, Bill Holdship, Michael Gallucci, Nathan Phillips, Megan O’Neil, Dennis Shea, Norene Smith, Tim Hill, Travis R. Wright, Bret McCabe

Funk & Soul Covers
Joaquim Paulo and Julius Wiedemann
Taschen, $40, 432 pages

You want to get a gift for someone who loves music, but it's like they've already heard or own everything you throw at them. They're kind of funky. They own a record player. When they hear the name Foxy Brown, they think voluptuous '70s sultress Pam Grier, not the ill-fated '90s rap nymph. Though they know her catalog too. If you were in New York and wound up on the trivia show Cash Cab and didn't know the answer to a music-related question, this person would obviously be your "phone a friend" selection. They need this funktastic collection. It's another hardbound home run hit from Taschen. The book has more than 500 phenomenal funk and soul record covers to consider. We get the art and the story behind it. Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson are covered, as are the Temptations, Earth, Wind & Fire, James Brown, Prince, P-Funk and many more. These records were produced in an era when albums were king, and their 12 inch-by-12 inch canvases served as a visual gateway to the music. With the digitization that permeates modern music today, it's no wonder that vinyl is seeing a resurgence. What's more, the book features interviews with industry figures, including performers, producers, designers and writers, in an attempt to purport a cultural context while analyzing design decisions for each iconic cover. It's soul-satisfying. —TW

The Magnetic Fields  
69 Love Songs [2010 Vinyl Remaster]
Merge
Here's the perfect gift for your turntable-owning indie lover. 69 Love Songs, the Magnetic Fields' seminal sixth album, is a relic of the CD era that seemed nutty in 1999, spread over three discs and packaged with a thick booklet. Triple albums were not an option for bands who weren't the Clash, but cantankerous songsmith Stephin Merritt wouldn't budge. When the record turned out to be brilliant, acclaim and legend followed. 69 became popular enough that tiny Merge Records couldn't keep it stocked, and finally so popular that Merge was no longer tiny.

This beautiful vinyl revamp adds considerable class without violating the presentation's musty, homemade charm. Now on six 10" discs, it still looks vaguely like a bootleg, but a lovingly made bootleg that is conscious of its ingratiating secrets. The listener will be thrilled at the new dimension in the remastered songs, and the booklet remains a treat, encompassing a lengthy interview with Merritt by Fields accordionist Daniel Handler, soon to be rechristened Lemony Snicket.

Merritt's sixty-nine songs arrive from the school of ABBA, Pet Shop Boys, and Cole Porter — simplistic emotion eloquently, perhaps sardonically, expressed. His lyrics have the temperance of a man determined not to be caught with irrational feelings — "The book of love is long and boring," he drones — but on masterworks like "All My Little Words" and "When My Boy Walks Down the Street," the debate of sincerity versus sarcasm becomes irrelevant. "Amazing, he's a whole new form of life/Blue eyes blazing, and he's going to be my wife." It sounds so sweetly direct and fragile that its absolute truth doesn't matter. That's the way a love song should be.—Nathan Phillips

Rock Band 3
(Harmonix/MTV)

Is this the best music game ever? It sure seems like it. Long after rhythm games lost their foothold, Rock Band strikes back with a terrific outing (for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and the Wii) that features bigger drums, more vocals, and — drum roll, please — keyboards! All of which make the Cure, Devo and Tears for Fears songs more awesome. Whip this, Guitar Hero. —MG

H.L. Mencken: Prejudices: The Complete Series
by H.L. Mencken
Library of America, $70, 1,408 pp.

Though reading Mencken's endless skewering of the buffoons, charlatans and pretenders who populated the country's political and intellectual scene in the 1920s and '30s has a palliative effect — damn, we've been here before, haven't we? — it's hard to imagine a man of his intellect getting a word in edgewise today. Back then, Mencken could use an obituary to savagely dress down a figure like William Jennings Bryan — as he did in one of the more famous essays in Prejudices, the collection of editorials, essays and articles recently published by the Library of America — and it would have a ripple effect. In today's logic- and debate-deprived climate, a Bryanish character like Glenn Beck could simply box Mencken as an atheistic, out-of-touch East Coast snob and that'd be the end of it. You could buy this elegantly republished two-volume collection for yourself or for someone who'd appreciate the caustic (and, indeed, rather prejudiced) Mencken, or you could send it to thatbombastic, e-mail-forwarding boob in your family, and wait for the fireworks — if they get around to reading it. —TH

Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original
by Robin D.G. Kelley
Free Press, $18, 624 pp.

Robin D.G. Kelley's gripping biography of Thelonious Monk (1917-1982) is so detailed that if you're a fan you half expect to run across yourself buying your first Thelonious Monk record. Branford Marsalis gave the book a hearty endorsement from the stage of last summer's Detroit Jazz Festival, praising Kelley for relying on facts not anecdotes, but, in fact, the book actually brims with anecdotes — the thing is that they're of the vetted, questioned and contextualized variety. Myths, though, he cuts to pieces.

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