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  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    Ypsilanti police are still searching for the person dubbed the “mystery pooper.” Someone has been, as the Associated Press politely puts it today, “soiling slides at an Ypislanti playground over the last six months.” So, of course, someone purchased an electronic billboard along I-94 near Huron St. at exit 183 that delivers multiple calls for action: For instance,”Help us flush the pooper.” The company that purchased the billboard, Adams Outdoor Advertising, knows how to reach the world in the 21st Century, branding each billboard with a hashtag for the public utilize in its efforts: #ypsipooper. WJBK-TV says the billboard also toggles through other rich lines, such as: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper #YPSIPOOPER” “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” You can have the runs, but you can’t hide. They’re still looking for you, Mystery Pooper.

    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.

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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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