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    The post City Slang: Diana Ross to open Freedom Hill season appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    Ypsilanti police are still searching for the person dubbed the “mystery pooper.” Someone has been, as the Associated Press politely puts it today, “soiling slides at an Ypislanti playground over the last six months.” So, of course, someone purchased an electronic billboard along I-94 near Huron St. at exit 183 that delivers multiple calls for action: For instance,”Help us flush the pooper.” The company that purchased the billboard, Adams Outdoor Advertising, knows how to reach the world in the 21st Century, branding each billboard with a hashtag for the public utilize in its efforts: #ypsipooper. WJBK-TV says the billboard also toggles through other rich lines, such as: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper #YPSIPOOPER” “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” You can have the runs, but you can’t hide. They’re still looking for you, Mystery Pooper.

    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

    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.



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Sloshed 2011

Tashmoo Biergarten

Building community in Detroit's West Village — by the glass

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

The Tashmoo Biergarten in Detroit's West Village.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

A few months ago, this corner of Van Dyke in West Village was an empty lot with an overgrown tree in the back. It was less a place for people to hang out than to cut through to the alley. 

Not today. On this sunny Sunday, it is fenced in, filled with crowded, communal tables and benches, a place where revelers drink Michigan craft beer, listen to music, eat local food and play beanbag games. From old codgers to young kids, from locals to yokels, it's a pretty inclusive bunch, alive with chatter and mirth. The lot's spreading, newly pruned tree now arches over a leaf-covered lawn, with lights spiraling up its branches and strung over the tables, since the fun lasts until after dark. 

The empty parcel has become a pop-up, open-air beer hall — the Tashmoo Biergarten — all the work of "Team Tashmoo." And, despite the jolliness and toasts, there's good reason local media have taken such a serious look at it during the short five weeks since its inception. Anything that can turn a vacant lot in Detroit into this demands attention. 


Grabbing a beer on the second floor of Park Bar, amid the late Tiger playoff hysteria, Tashmoo organizers Suzanne Vier, owner of Simply Suzanne granola company, and Aaron Wagner, a buyer for a purchasing company, explain the project's genesis and growth. Vier, who lived in New York for 16 years, did her master's overseas in the Czech Republic and Croatia, where beer gardens are typical. "It was something I frequented a lot. Then, when I got back, I began noticing lots of beer gardens in New York," she says

New York's beer gardens have gotten a boost since the late 1990s, when hipsters started crashing places like Queens' traditional Bohemian Beer Garden. The phenomenon there has grown to where even pop-up, temporary beer gardens spring up, such as chef Tom Colicchio's summer-only "Lot on Tap" under Manhattan's High Line.

Vier thought a beer garden might be just what Detroit needs. With her partner Wagner, a longtime resident of West Village, they began planning. Though she lives in downtown Detroit, Vier's affinity for close-knit West Village is contagious: "It's an amazing community that's still making headway, and active residents there have a fierce loyalty to it. It was definitely the right place for Tashmoo."

Wagner has lived in the neighborhood east of Grand Boulevard — bounded roughly by Parker, Seyburn, Jefferson and Kercheval — since 2007. He says, "There are different kinds of people, different kinds of architecture. You have some single-family houses, but you have some apartment buildings too. Right behind the beer garden, you have the Parkstone Apartments. It's a good mix of homeowners and renters."

But the two felt the neighborhood lacked a place to get together.

Wagner says, "About 10 years ago, Honest John's moved from the area. Then about five years ago, the Harlequin Café closed. That has left a void; now there's no bar in the community."

Better than a bar, Vier thought, why not a beer garden? "In Eastern Europe, beer gardens are a place to come together. That's intrinsic to the European beer garden experience," she says.  "In Eastern European culture, it's not just about drinking, it's about food, music, families — it's an open and inviting place."

She adds, "We weren't trying to create a hipster place — we already have enough of those."

The group established a relationship with the Village's Community Development Corporation, for use of necessary permits and insurance, and found a vacant lot in an excellent location. "It's a central point," Wagner says, "very easy to walk to from anywhere in West Village."

Along with help from friends, other "Team Tashmoo" volunteers and "community support," they built it, scrounging up materials. The fencing is made of recycled shipping pallets. The benches are made of two-by-fours, and the tables are topped with reused flooring. Wagner says, "It's definitely not fancy." Practically the only thing they had to buy outright was the supply of wristbands for customers.

Oh, and the beer, all Michigan-brewed, including pours from Motor City Brewing Works, Founders, Jolly Pumpkin, Bell's, Atwater, New Holland. Tashmoo serves a wide variety of session beers, including ales, lagers, porters, and even some cider.

And, for those who were wondering, they say the "Tashmoo" tag resurrects a Native American word for "gathering place" — as well as the name of an old dance hall on Harsens Island in Lake St. Clair and the ship — the S.S. Tashmoo — that ferried guests there. The inside reference implies a connection not just to the community, but to the past as well. In fact, Wagner grows excited discussing a Tashmoo guest who realized his relation to an old engineer of the S.S. Tashmoo, who once lived in the neighborhood during its high German period.

And, more than just the West Village community, Vier and Wagner hope to draw in visitors from Detroit and surrounding suburbs — and they've been successful.

Vier says, "We even had people from other countries who said it was awesome."

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