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  • Jumpin Jumpin: Police, fire fighters, and EMS workers to be honored at Sky Zone

    When we think of honoring the brave men and women who protect and serve the metro Detroit area, we think of trampolines.  We think they should jump on trampolines. And by trampolines, we mean an all-walled trampoline field where they can land in a pit of 10,000 foam cubes. They have to blow off steam some how. Sky Zone, the inventors of such a place, are hosting a special day at their Canton and Shelby Township locations that will be all about police officers, firefighters, EMS workers, and their families. On Tuesday, August 5 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. there will be free jumping for these folks. All metro Detroit police, firefighters, EMS workers and their families are invited to come, though an employee ID or professional organization ID will be required for admittance to 60 free minutes at the indoor park. The hour of free jumping comes with free pizza from Jet’s as well. This is the first event of its kind in Michigan.  Sky Zone Canton is located at 42550 Executive Drive Sky Zone Shelby Township is located at 50810 Sabrina Drive. Check for more information. 

    The post Jumpin Jumpin: Police, fire fighters, and EMS workers to be honored at Sky Zone appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times is getting a new website today

    Your favorite local alternative weekly is getting a digital facelift at around 4 p.m. today, and we need your help. If you, dear reader, spot anything amiss or notice that any of our regular features are not working properly, do give us a shout in the comment section below or on social media. If, on the other hand, you find that you positively adore our new design (which we surely hope you do!), we’d certainly enjoy hearing about that as well. Let the countdown to launch begin!

    The post Metro Times is getting a new website today appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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, 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.



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Last Blasts of Summer

Soaring sounds

An 'if you like' jazz fest sampler

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

A festival as big and broad as the Detroit International Jazz Festival can seem intimidating and off-putting. That's especially true when the term jazz covers more terrain than ever, yet gets less media than at many times past — and in a festival that has, over the years, expanded beyond the confines of jazz. With that in mind, a few (hardly exhaustive) taste-based suggestions ...


If you like 

hip hop, soul

Then we probably don't need to tell you Common appears Monday (4:45-6 p.m., Chase Main Stage near Campus Martius) with the ensemble of former Detroiter Karriem Riggins. But the influence of hip hop is sure to show up elsewhere, perhaps in surprising forms. You might hear it with Jason Moran & the Bandwagon (Saturday, 8-9:15 p.m., Mack Avenue Waterfront Stage) or the Vijay Iyer Trio (Sunday, 9:15-10:30 p.m., Waterfront Stage). They're led by two of the most lauded 40-and-under pianists, both daring experimenters, who've covered the likes of Afrika Bambaataa and M.I.A., respectively. Meanwhile the soul-to-R&B spectrum ranges from old school (Chuck Jackson, better known for his Bacharach-penned hit, "Any Day Now," than the Motown connection touted now, Saturday, 6:15-7:30 p.m., Main Stage) to new (Rahsaan Patterson, Sunday, 3:45-5 p.m., Main Stage).  


If you like 'The Girl from Ipanema'

A fest promo line this year is "We bring you the world," which includes lots of Brazil. There's vocalist Luciana Souza and guitarist Romero Lubambo (Saturday, 1:45-3 p.m., Absopure Pyramid Stage) a team that knows its Jobim (who co-wrote "The Girl") and delves deeply and into the bossa-samba repertoire, and connects it to the Great American Songbook and Souza's originals. In a similar vein Sunday: singer Vinicius Cantuária (6:30-7:30 p.m., Pyramid Stage) and Ivan Lins (9:30-10:45 p.m., Main Stage). Lins' "Love Dance" and "The Island" rank close behind "The Girl" in the bossa hall of fame. But Brazilian sounds suffuse jazz. For instance, Israeli clarinetist-saxophonist Anat Cohen (Sunday, 4:45-6 p.m., Pyramid Stage) is known for her sambas, and makes a medley of the Black Orpheus theme and Louis Armstrong's "Struttin' With Some Barbecue."


If you like blues and B-3s

Johnnie Bassett & the Blues Insurgents team up with Detroit's No. 1 beltin' mama, Thornetta Davis (Sunday, 2:15-3:15 p.m., Main Stage). And does the funky organ trio tradition belong more to jazz or to R&B? Back-to-back Saturday Pyramid performances are set for Gerard Gibbs & (the return of) ORGANized Crime (7:15-8:15 p.m.) and the Tony Monaco Trio (9-10:30 p.m.). Overlapping on Saturday 8-9 p.m. at the Main Stage, there's the B-3-driven Deacon Jones Blues Revue, featuring 11-year-old Detroit guitar prodigy "Guitar Ray" Goren. 


If you like to bop

Former Detroiter Curtis Fuller, on trombone, leads his sextet at the Pyramid on Saturday (3:15-4:45 p.m.), followed by Toots Thielemans with Kenny Werner (5:45-7 p.m.); not to pigeonhole anyone, but you'd expect some bop roots to show strongly. Your best bet for Charlie Parkeresque shows of chromatic velocity may be Cuban saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera and his quintet (Sunday, 7:30-8:45 p.m., Waterfront Stage), even if the trappings are heavily Afro-Cuban. (In that vein of Latin jazz, don't miss Sunday's shows by Los Gatos, at 6-7 p.m., and Sammy Figueroa & the Latin Jazz Explosion, at 7:30-9 p.m., both on the Main Stage.)


If you like outer space ...

Then the must-see is the Sun Ra Arkestra under the direction of Marshall Allen, swinging and caterwauling, simultaneously saluting Fletcher Henderson and the ionosphere (Saturday, 7-8:15 p.m., Carhartt Amphitheater Stage). But there's more between hard bop and the space place, including the Grammy-laden octet of bassist Dave Holland, which follows the Arkestra at the Amphitheater at 9:15 p.m. Also in their own orbits, you'll find the Jeff "Tain" Watts 4 and the Joe Lovano Us Five (back-to-back, Amphitheater Stage on Sunday (7:45 and 9:30 p.m.).


If you like World Music

You can barely throw a dart at the schedule without hitting some foreign connection, whether birth (Azerbaijanian pianist Amina Figarova or the Brit bassist Dave Holland) or aesthetic inspiration (Vijay Iyer and the Dave Sharp Seven taking cues from the music of India). In the vital African-connection category don't miss Beninise Angelique Kidjo (saluting South African Miriam Makeba in the "Sing the Truth" program, Friday, 8:45-10 p.m., Main Stage) and homecoming violinist Regina Carter & Reverse Thread (Sunday, 4-5:15 p.m., Waterfront Stage). 


If you want to give the drummer some 

Artist-in-residence Jeff "Tain" Watts (longtime Marsalis clan collaborator) drums with his own group and with the Michigan State University Jazz Orchestra. But he's part of a bang-up opening night (Friday, 7-8:15 p.m., Main Stage) with his drum club: vibesman Joe Locke, bassist Robert Hurst and fellow percussionists Susie Ibarra, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, Tony Pedro Martinez and (biggest surprise) Tony (longtime Fela Kuti trapsman) Allen.



See full festival schedule at

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