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  • 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.

  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Halloween 2012

Sweet skulls

Day of the Dead's lively backstory

Photo: , License: N/A

reinterpreted by Mark Dancey

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Traditional Day of the Dead imagery is now being reinterpreted by Niagara


Imperial's food, music and art festivities run Thusday-Friday, Nov. 1-2, at the Imperial, 22828 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; facebook.com/imperialwoodward. Artists hand-painting papier-mâché skulls will include Niagara, Glenn Barr, Mark Dancey, Audrey Pongracz, Johnny "Bee" Badanjek, Jerry Vile, Mark Arminski, Kill Taupe, SLAW and Jeremy E. Hansen; 19 mini-skulls are being donated by tattoo artists from Signature Tattoo, Lance Kellar Studios, Big Top Tattoo, Iron Clad Tattoo and Wholeshot Tattoo. The artists' reception runs from 8 to 11 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1; e-bay auction culminates on Saturday. 


Learn to decorate sugar skulls at a Detroit Institute of Arts drop-in workshop, noon-4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 27, DIA 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit, 313-833-7900; dia.org. 


If you've ever been inside a Hot Topic, you'll recognize the iconic sugar skull. But the symbol wasn't the product of the geniuses at Hot Topic (shocking, I know). The sugar skull represents the Mexican and Latino holiday of Dia de los Muertos and has become quite common, but it seems that the origins and the meaning behind it are not so widely known.

The sugar skull itself dates back to the birth of El Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) with the rituals of ancient Mayans and Aztecs. The holiday was meant to celebrate the lives of loved ones who had died and to release their spirits. The festivities originally went on during late summer, but the Catholic Spanish conquistadors moved into Mexico and, shocked at the joyous attitude surrounding the dead, pushed the celebrations to All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day to Christianize the rituals. Now, the holiday occupies the two days after the gorier Western tradition of Halloween. All Saints' Day occurs Nov. 1 and celebrates the departing of children's souls. The next day, All Souls' Day, honors deceased adults. 

The sugar skull, as well as skulls made of bread or papier-mâché, come into play with traditional customs. Sugar skulls are often decorated with vibrant colors and included in ofrendas, offerings to those who have passed.

The sugar skull has more recently become strongly associated with punk and goth culture (as skulls always have been); you can find them plastered on sweaters, skateboards and especially bodies. And these groups seem to have a view of death that aligns well with Dia de los Muertos. Like the dark subcultures that find a strange joy in death, the celebration is not about fearing death, but accepting it as a part of the cycle of life (though the holiday takes a much more colorful approach than, say, the Misfits). More recently, the iconography of the sugar skull and Dia de los Muertos has meshed more into arts and music culture. And this year, the Imperial, a lounge in Ferndale, even plans to tie all that in with a benefit for education.

Nov. 1-2, the Imperial plans to bring food, music and art together for a Day of the Dead celebration with the clever acronym DEAD (Dedication to Education & Arts Day). Local artists such as Niagara, Glenn Barr and Jerry Vile have been commissioned to paint papier-mâché skulls. Other skulls have been donated by local tattoo artists for auction. 

The proceeds from the event will go to programs at Roosevelt Primary School in Ferndale and the Eagles Pledge's Scholarship Program. 

Sharon LaVoisne, an owner of the Imperial, explains their theme of choice: "Imperial is a marriage of Detroit working-class with L.A. subculture. There is an amazing event in L.A. at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery that celebrates Dia de los Muertos that we go to every year. It's an event for all, celebrated by the diverse community of L.A. through food, music and community. Imperial embraces communal activity." 

The Imperial is all about involvement in the community and in that way Dia de los Muertos ties in well. The holiday is about choosing to view the loss of loved ones as a chance to celebrate their lives. In Mexico, it is often celebrated with elaborate parades; it's not a gloomy private mourning, but a joyous community

 event.

With spirit like that, it's not hard to catch on anywhere, even metro Detroit.

Emily Riopelle is a Metro Times editorial intern. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com. 

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