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    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

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    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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Surprise party

Booming dance music, flaming barbecue grills, and a stocked food tent for thousands of homeless? Yup!

Photo: , License: N/A

A party breaks out at the Cass Park barbecue.

It was supposed to be big, but nobody expected it to be this fun.

The plan was to throw a down-home, Memorial Day barbecue in Cass Park for the poor and the homeless, where they often gather. The event, organized by several local charities, had a rambler of a name: "Feed the People: Detroit's Red Carpet Backyard Barbecue for the Homeless and Hungry."

There was no conceit among organizers that this event would change lives. There would be no efforts to coax the recipients into programs or churches or shelters. The idea was simply to give struggling Detroiters a holiday meal like everyone else would be eating that day. 

The homeless and hungry are used to coming to this park for food. Church groups and volunteers and social organizations often pull up a truck or a van to hand out meals and clothes.

But none of them expected this. There were few cops, and no security guards. There were no social service agencies. No eager youth from church groups trying to draw them to Sunday services somewhere. None of the usual trappings of a public event for the poor.

Instead there was dance music booming from a stage. Barbecue grills smoking under the weight of thousands of free hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken wings and ears of corn. A red carpet leading to the food tent, befitting honored guests. And a crowd of poor people who suddenly found themselves at an actual holiday barbecue.

When they saw they weren't being watched or pestered or followed, when they realized this was indeed like a real backyard party, a festive mood set in, fed on itself and spread through the crowd. They thought they'd stand in a sedate line at a food tent, but instead they were at the biggest, liveliest celebration in town that day. By afternoon it would bring out thousands of people to be fed.

It brought out Ron Helton, sitting in a motorized scooter, sweating profusely in the rising heat, mopping his head with a cloth. "I'm from here! I'm from the Cass Corridor!" the 52-year-old shouts. He'd spent years volunteering as a barber for Fort Street Presbyterian Church, where hundreds of the homeless sat in his chair after getting a free meal. And most of them seemed to be here now.

"Hey, baby, you all right?" Helton says to a man who comes over to say hi. "I'm the barber down here," he explains. "I'm like the mayor around here. I know everybody." 

He used to live in a now-gone flophouse on Henry Street that catered to transients, then pulled himself up and out. But home, he says, will always be Cass Corridor, where a lot of people still stay in run-down rooms like he once did, and they could use a decent meal sometimes. "You got to remember, in this area a lot of people are still staying in hotels, so they don't have kitchens. This is great." 

The food line snakes through the park from one end to the other and out onto Temple Street, and the wait is over an hour. But when everyone in line is talking and having a good time, hanging out in line isn't so bad. "This is like a family reunion on Belle Isle!" Helton says, as another person reaches to shake the mayor's hand.

The party brought out Mary Weatherspoon too — "That's 'weather' like outside and 'spoon' like you eat with," she says by way of introduction. The grandmother stands quietly in the shade, eyeing her brother, who's standing in that long line, waiting to get meals for the family. Her grandchildren crouch at her feet. 

"Oh, it's so nice here," Weatherspoon says. "I love it. Everybody's getting along, talking." 

She lives near Houston-Whittier in the ravaged east side, and knows some of the people here, if not by name then by circumstance. "Some people don't have transportation, or family members, places to go, so this gives them someplace to go, get out, visit and see people, do something different," she says. "Like we got the wheelchairs, some of them are usually stuck in the house. I think it's wonderful."

The party brought out volunteer Mary Perry, who came over from her apartment on Washington Boulevard to help out when she heard what was planned. "You can see a lot of these people, they're not from Cass Corridor," the 64-year-old says. "These are people that don't have food and came down here because they probably couldn't afford a holiday dinner. I think it's wonderful, but it shows how bad things have gotten for us. People wouldn't be here today otherwise, with their kids. They'd be home barbecuing."

It also brought out Shirley Perryman, 63, a volunteer from Transforming Life Group, which drives around in vans and hands out meals to the homeless on the street, one at a time. Now her clients were all gathered here before her at once. Like everyone else here, she's stunned by the party that erupted. "I see a lot of the people I see on the street on a regular basis, and you can see the downtrodden heads, the way the spirits are just really down, but today it's a very festive spirit. Everybody is really upbeat today." 

And it brought out Mario Davis, who's homeless. "I'm a gypsy!" he corrects. This park is often his home.

He sits at a table with either friends or strangers. It's hard to tell which because he's been throwing his arms around everyone who passed through his airspace, so overjoyed was he about this celebration. There's technically no drinking allowed, but he, like so many here, found that a little beer in the sunshine at a backyard holiday party isn't such a bad idea.

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