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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;

    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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Soul kitchen

It's about the shared inability to afford something as necessary to life as a meal

Photo: Detroitblogger John, License: N/A

Detroitblogger John

The hungry line up for a meal at Crossroads Soup Kitchen.

They stand in line so patiently, you'd never know some of them haven't eaten since yesterday.

The line's so long it winds from the soup kitchen door along the wall and around the corner to the back, then curves down the alley and out to the street on the side. And no matter how hard the wind blows or how heavy the rain falls, they wait politely. By the end of the day, a thousand of them will have stood here.

The crowd is a mix of those who are somewhat poor to those who are desperately so. Some are homeless and have to scrounge every meal, while others are just short on their assistance at some point each month and need a little help. But once in line the distinctions are blurred. They're just hungry people waiting for a meal.

Here is Jean Kahn, 72 and slight, who walked a mile to eat today. And here is Jessica Rodnez, 23, who works at McDonald's and just started nursing school, but whose food stamps don't cover a month's worth of meals for her and her two young children, who've come with her, bundled in winter clothes. Here is glassy-eyed Billy Rogers, 52, who's waiting on a dishwashing job he says he's sure to get any day, though the wait so far has been 16 years. And here is Sidney Lester Williams, a name the 72-year-old offers with aristocratic flourish. He's a well-dressed gentleman who, like some here today, isn't really here anymore in a sense. "My father was a wizard, mother was a witch," he announces.

Inside the door, Saundra Richardson sits alone at a small table, same as every Sunday, waiting for the hungry to pour into the building. She's like the lunchlady and doorman in one, the person who instructs the volunteers making the meals, the one those in line have to see before eating one. And whether it's due to her calm demeanor or the white clerical collar she wears, everyone is soft-spoken and polite when they approach her. 

An Episcopal minister since 1990, Richardson spends her weekdays working at Mariners Inn on Cass, a substance abuse treatment center, and spends her Sundays at this table, inside the Crossroads Soup Kitchen on West Grand Boulevard near 14th Street. The two jobs leave her no time to preach at a church. "My altar is a soup pot," the 63-year-old says.

To eat, each person in line has to get a little paper ticket from the big roll Richardson holds in her hands. Each person gets one ticket, and each ticket gets one meal. A handful of those in line are allowed additional tickets for someone ill or infirm back at home, but that absent person has to be on the extras list. There are so many people in line that if someone takes more than one meal just for themselves, some in line might not get anything at all.

No proof of income or need is required to get food. "We'll take anybody who wants to come in, anybody who wants a meal," says Nicole Harris, the 31-year-old associate director of Crossroads, waiting for the door to open and the room to fill.

About two-dozen volunteers scramble in the kitchen, ladling soup out of massive pots, making ham and cheese sandwiches one by one, pouring coffee or lemonade into Styrofoam cups, and meeting face to face, one at a time, with a thousand single casualties of bad times and hard lives.

"People are people, and they're just a little down on their luck," says volunteer David Schull, 52. "These are just people wanting to make a living, wanting to have a life. And everybody that could possibly pitch in to help them out, if they would, things would be a lot better in this area of Detroit."

Crossroads does a little of everything for the poor, because there are so many ways the poor can use help. 

They offer counseling, employment assistance, a food pantry, a clothes closet. They let the clients, as they're called here, use their copiers and fax machines to try to find work. Sometimes they'll buy someone their prescription medicine for the month, or help with a late utility bill, or cover overdue rent, or buy someone a bus pass to get them to a new job until they start getting regular paychecks. They'll help people get new IDs, work boots, tool belts, eyeglasses. 

So this place becomes the general go-to spot for those who are struggling. Although hundreds of homeless stand in that Sunday morning line, many who come here have simply fallen into poverty but are just one or two factors away from rising above it.

"I would say more than half, if given the opportunity, could make it," Harris says. "If they could get into some kind of job training program, if they could get into some kind of supportive housing program, if they could get support for child care, if they could get their GED, then they could make it." 

Crossroads was founded in 1971 by Father James McLaren, an Episcopal priest at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul at Woodward and Warren, to offer general outreach to the poor of the area. It began in a small church office, moved to a Midtown building when the demand proved too great, and then to this west side location four years ago when even more space was needed. A small office on Jefferson serves the east side too. Everything's funded through donations.

Back in Midtown, the clients were mostly single men. At this building, there are a lot more families and single mothers from the neighborhood. And nobody who visits here is ever forgotten.

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