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  • Thank you, Detroit

    I’m not going to lie to you – this isn’t easy. This week, the final City Slang local music column will be published in the Metro Times (on hardcore band Final Assault), and I have just submitted a cover feature on the women of Detroit hip-hop, to be published next week (8/6). This blog that you’re reading now will be my last one as a regular MT contributor. I have a lot to look forward to. I’m going to be an associate editor at Yellow Scene Magazine in Colorado, a tremendous publication in a beautiful part of the country. But leaving Detroit will be incredibly difficult for me. I love the place. It’s been (amazingly) six and a half years since I arrived, a couple of cases in hand and not much of a plan in mind. I just knew, after three separate research trips for books and a magazine article, that I felt at home here. Metro Times offered me freelance work almost immediately, as did a new website called Metromix (whatever happened to that?) When I arrived here, I had been working as a writer in the UK for nine years, but the help and encouragement I received […]

    The post Thank you, Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers

      We here at MT will be delighted when Mr. Jack White throws out a pitch at Navin Field (at least, we hope he will), but until then, we’ll be happy with his pitch to Santa this evening at Comerica Park.    

    The post Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW)

      Footage from the Gathering of the Juggalos set to clips of Morgan Freeman’s narration from March of the Penguins? Kind of forced, but also kind of beautiful. As the AV Club reports: The oft-sought voiceover champion lends a touch of gravitas to the festival proceedings. Unfortunate scenes of barely clad people having various liquids dumped onto them now carries a quiet dignity as it’s all part of nature’s majestic plan that keeps the world spinning through this elegantly designed and truly wondrous universe. Also, the video is NSFW as there are boobs in it. Watch the clip below:

    The post Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW) appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love”

    It seems like the polar vortex will never end: the weather phenomenon that brought us the most brutal winter on record this winter is to blame for this summer’s chillier-than usual temperatures as well. A couple of bands, though, made lemonade out of lemons (or snow cones out of snow?) by using the icy landscape to film music videos. 800beloved shot the video for “Tidal” in some sand dunes near Empire, Mich., and this week Turn to Crime debuted the video for “Can’t Stop,” the title track of their recently-released album. Even more piles of ice and snow might be the last thing Detroiters want to see right now, but the footage makes for some good visuals that mesh well with the song. Watch the video below:

    The post Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love” appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed

    Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr transferred oversight of the the city’s water department Tuesday to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in an order intended to refocus “efforts to help DWSD customers get and remain current on their water bills,” Orr’s office said today. “This order provides additional clarity to the powers already delegated to the mayor,” Orr said in a statement released Tuesday. “As the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department works to operate more efficiently and communicate more effectively with customers, it is important to ensure there are clear lines of management and accountability.” Duggan will have the authority to manage DWSD and make appointments to the utility’s board, according to a news release. In a statement issued Tuesday, the mayor said he welcomed Orr’s order, adding that officials will develop a plan that “allows those who truly need to access to financial help … to do so with shorter wait times.” “We need to change a number of things in the way we have approached the delinquent payment issues and I expect us to have a new plan shortly,” Duggan said. “There are funds available to support those who cannot afford their bills — we need to do a much better job in […]

    The post Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years 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.

There are reams of paper files upstairs for every single person who's passed through the doors. "We are still real old school," Harris says, showing a 2-inch-thick file. "Clients will have us keep their birth certificates or their Social Security cards, and I think that's a big reason why we haven't gotten away from the paper files, because this is like mom's house for a lot of people. It's like their safe deposit boxes."

Though the homeless will often float between different agencies in town depending on what they need on a given day, some grow attached to Crossroads because of all that's offered under one roof. Recently, the county morgue called Harris to say they found a homeless person dead in the street. She got the call because the one piece of ID he had on him was his Crossroads card. "We hadn't seen him in about 10 years," she says. "But he still had our card in his wallet."

Jesse Travis, 30, walks meekly into the soup kitchen. "Where do I sign up for the food?" he asks Richardson. It's his first time here.

"No, you just get a ticket," Richardson replies, giving him one. He looks relieved that it's this easy.

It's noon. The door has just opened and the line has moved inside. Long white tables offer space for 175 people to sit and eat. But there are usually plenty of seats open, since most clients seem to prefer takeout, wandering back into the cold to eat somewhere alone.

Travis chooses to stay, takes the chili and a ham and cheese sandwich served today, sits alone and eats while looking around, curiously. A friend tipped him off to these Sunday lunches.

He's open about his circumstances. "I have a mental disability," he says, matter-of-factly. "I receive Social Security disability every month but it's not enough to cover my bills, not enough to cover all my expenses, so I came here." He had attended a good college, held a great job, then a bad breakup with a girlfriend when he was 20 years old led to him hearing voices and seeing things, he says. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia. 

"Life just went downhill from there," he says. "A lot of my life has been lost because I've been focusing mostly on my illness." 

Loss like his defines the lives of those in line — loss of their job, or their home, or their sanity. Loss, somehow, of their old life. The causes are different but the effect is the same — a shared inability to afford something as basic to life as a meal. That common fate brings them together here, at a place that offers each of them just about any kind of help to rise out of this life.

After a couple of hours the line finally dwindles. The volunteers grab bowls of soup and sit with those who they just served, those who but for a few wrong choices or turns of bad fortune, turn out to be not that different from them.

"So many people come down and say they realize they have way more in common with the people that we serve than they ever thought," Harris says. "You know, we all kind of want the same things — everybody wants to be able to provide for themselves, and we have a lot of the same values. We think that we're coming down to serve them, but we have a lot more in common with the poor than we'd like to admit."

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