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  • 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 […]

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  • Passalacqua debut dark new 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 new project ‘Church: Revival’ at new Hamtramck performance space appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • PETA offers to pay overdue water bills for Detroiters willing to go vegan

    #150207742 / As locals continue to flood Detroit streets to protest the city’s ongoing water debacle, one national organization is hoping to be part of the solution — that is, for a dietary price. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA as the organization is more commonly known, has offered to pay outstanding water bills for 10 Detroiters who are willing to go vegan for one month. “Vegan meals take far less of a toll on the Earth’s resources,” PETA representatives said in a recent press release. “It takes about 2,500 gallons of water to produce just a pound of meat but only about 155 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat.” PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk adds, “Vegan meals are also a cost-effective way to help prevent health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart conditions, the last thing that someone who is struggling financially needs to deal with.” Folks interested in participating are asked to send a copy of their most recent overdue water bill and their written pledge to go vegan for one month to PETA Attn: Detroit Water at 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510 before Aug. 1.

    The post PETA offers to pay overdue water bills for Detroiters willing to go vegan appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Dinner Club Does Brunch

    Sure, The Dinner Club, a regularly occurring pop-up that takes places at the Storefront Gallery  in Ferndale (and other locations, occasionally), usually happens around dinner time, but this Sunday, July 27, there will be a special edition: Brunch Chef Matthew Baldridge, who’s resume includes stints at such Detroit greats as Cliff Bell’s, The Rattlesnake Club, and Seldom Blues, has crafted a menu of French-inspired items that employ locally procured ingredients. Brunch includes four courses where guests will be treated to such delights as cocoa, cinnamon, chili-spiced creamy grits with pickled strawberries, cocoa puffs and strawberry-infused syrup, a smoked gouda potato gallette with Faygo Root Beer braised pork belly, quail egg and Faygo Root Beer syrup, banana marscapone-filled French toast with fresh raspberries, whipped cream and balsamic syrup, and champagne-soaked strawberries. It is also important to note that brunch is BYOChampagne. Baldridge, along with The Storefront Gallery’s Derek John and Lilacpop Studio owner and artist Janna Coumoundouros, curate the event that includes an art show, a great playlist, and visuals. Brunch services are at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. and last about two hours, only 20 seats are available at each service. The cost is $25 plus a service fee. The Storefront Gallery […]

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  • Jurassic 5 holds onto what’s golden

      By Ashley Zlatopolsky It’s been a little over twenty years since iconic ‘90s alternative hip-hop group Jurassic 5 first formed in Los Angeles’ Good Life club. Widely regarded as a pivotal influence in the decade’s underground hip-hop movement by critics and fans alike, the six-piece crew consisting of two DJs (Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark) and four MCs (Akil, Zaakir, Marc 7 and Chali 2na) were well on their way to becoming one of hip-hop’s greatest and most powerful acts of all time, ranking alongside names such as Public Enemy and N.W.A. with socially-conscious lyrics and smooth beats paired with smart sampling. But in 2004, Cut Chemist left the group to pursue a solo career, and in 2007 Jurassic 5 completely called it quits after nearly 15 years of music. And that was it for the crew until 2013. After almost seven years apart (nine for Cut Chemist), Jurassic 5 reunited and re-emerged stronger than ever before with a new flair, seasoned attitude, and more vibrant energy at Coachella Music Festival, the group’s first show with the original six members since Cut Chemist split. During their performance, Jurassic 5 gave fans a memorable concert revisiting all the classic feel-good tracks […]

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  • Detroit Riverwalk west extension opens from Riverfront Towers to Rosa Parks

    Dogs of Detroit have new territory to trot: Yesterday, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy held a soft opening for a 20-acre westward extension of the Riverwalk. Part of a planned two-mile track of the West Riverwalk, the new span runs from the Riverfront Towers to Rosa Parks Boulevard, says Mark Pasco, director of communications for the conservancy. “It’s going to be great,” Pasco says. “It’s a wide open green space. It’s going to be great for activities.” The endgame for the Riverwalk, Pasco notes, is to extend the walkway from the Ambassador Bridge to Gabriel Richard Park, just past the MacArthur Bridge — about a 5.5. mile route. The new westward expansion is wider than most of the walkway, about 30 feet, says Pasco — a decision made by the conservancy to accommodate fisherman that previously frequented the area. “We knew … once it opened up they’d want to fish there again, so we made the Riverwalk itself wider,” Pasco says. The conservancy will hold a grand opening in late September, which will include “food and music and activities,” Pasco says, though no official date has been set.

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Taking the bait

A smelly little place becomes one determined man's life

Photo: , License: N/A

Michael Freeman inside his bait shop.

It's a quiet summer afternoon, the sun shines in a soft haze through the shop windows, the traffic outside is sounding a sleepy whoosh, so who could blame the shopkeeper for dozing off in a chair in the middle of the day?

"That'll be $5.70," says a bleary-eyed Michael Freeman to the customer who'd just come in and roused him from his slumber. The purchase was important enough to wake him for — two-dozen worms were urgently needed. The fish in the river are biting today.

Freeman owns Michael T's Bait on the corner of Van Dyke and Jefferson, a place where the pace of the day is languid no matter how busy it gets. He named the shop after himself when he took over two years ago, using his first name and middle initial. "I tell guys the 'T' stands for trouble. I tell women 'T' is for terrific," he says, instead of just saying that it's Tyrone.

He falls asleep in here quite frequently, he admits, often in front of the little TV in the corner with the digital tuner and rabbit ears on top. It's hard to stay awake when the liveliest thing in the room is the crayfish tank.

"I just sit around when it's so slow like this, and I'll nod out," says the 60-year-old in a Southern accent so drawly it makes him seem even drowsier. "The hours will wear you down." He's here from 4 in the morning until 8 at night, just about every single day.

It's usually slow like this, since most customers pop in and out after buying a single thing, and today's no different. Worms. Hooks. Minnows. Worms. Lures. Worms. It's not a high-intensity occupation.

It's slow like this because many of his customers stopped coming around a few years back, when the previous owner got seriously ill and opened the shop less and less frequently. Once a place like this gets a reputation among the riverfront anglers for being closed at crucial times, it's hard for it to recover. 

Then the owner died, and the shop's survival was in question. Freeman had worked here for more than two decades, and it had simply become what he does in life. He was determined to save it. 

But it wouldn't be easy.

From the outside you'd never know it's a bait shop. The only indicators are a couple of hand-painted boards propped against the plain walls outside, announcing "Live Bait." It's located inside a former flower store, and nobody's ever bothered taking the old signage down, so people seeking worms walk into a place whose delicate fabric awnings declare it to be Ashley's Flowers in a feminine script. 

Inside though, there's little doubt. The place smells like the inside of a dead fish. It might be from the tank of minnows that sell as cheap bait, or the crawfish water, or years of fishy customers passing through. Freeman says he can't even smell it anymore.

Before this it was called Dick's Fishing Hole, named after its owner, Dick Brousseau. He lived just up the street in one of those towering old brick apartment high-rises along the river, and would spend his spare time standing on the shore behind it, with a line in the water. He loved fishing, knew fishing and figured he might as well make money off fishing. So he opened a bait shop just down the street from his home, though he never got around to putting his name on the door, or removing the soft awnings that served only to say what this place once was.

Freeman had moved to Detroit from Tennessee, and got a place to live and a security guard job in the same building where Brousseau lived. He never fished until he was in his 30s, and started only because his apartment was right along the river. "I figured, might as well fish," he says. He'd run into Brousseau along the banks, they became friends, and when the security guard job suddenly wasn't his anymore, the old bait salesman offered him work in his bare-bones shop.

After Brousseau got lung cancer, and as the disease wore on him, he began opening the shop later and later in the morning. The anglers needing bait at the first hint of dawn eventually found other shops to give their loyalty to, and the business slowly withered. A couple of years ago, in his mid-70s, Brousseau died.

He passed the business down to Freeman, as he'd promised to do if he ever retired. But a tenant in the building who was entrusted to watch over things while Brousseau was ill instead sold nearly all the store's product at a clearance-price pace and pocketed the money, and the landlord finished the job of killing the shop by throwing away all the cabinets, the fish tanks, even the kitschy plaques and mounted fish that decorated the walls.

That left Freeman with the choice of either giving up, or leasing a gutted room and starting over on his own. But after 20 years of this being his world, he asked himself — is there really a choice?

He started with some wood and glass and fashioned new display cabinets despite having little carpentry experience other than a woodworking class in the seventh grade. He got a new refrigerator to keep the worms cool, bought new tubs and tanks to hold the minnows and crayfish, and made wall stands to house the new rods and reels, to make it a real fishing supply store. He had to make it stand out because the gas station next door also sells night crawlers, as does the liquor store down the street. 

Despite the competition, he gets a steady trickle of anglers throughout the day, who come maybe for the genuine atmosphere and the foul smell that traditionally marks the beginning of a day of fishing, or maybe because no liquor store is going to fix your broken fishing pole, let alone for less than $4, as Freeman does. 

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