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  • A Mad Decent Mixtape

    Mad Decent Block Party will roll through town on Saturday, August 16, bringing to town artists like Dillon Francis, Diplo, Flosstradamus, RiFF RAFF, Keys N Krates, and Zeds Dead. Thugli, a Canadian duo, will perform on the Toronto leg of the tour and they put together a 45 minute mix that features songs by some of the tour’s featured artists as well as a host of others.  Listen to it here. 

    The post A Mad Decent Mixtape appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tangent Gallery to host Breaking Borders

    Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host a special event this Saturday, July 26 in hopes of raising money for the local faction of an international nonprofit, Burners without Borders Detroit. Breaking Borders is a one-evening-only event that will feature live music, performance, and art. Satori Circus will perform along with spoken word artist ZakAndWhatArmy. Music by Tartanic, Dixon’s Violin, and Servitor. Fire dancers, hoop performers, and acrobats will provide a certain mysticism to the ambiance as old Victorian steampunk and tribal art is shown in the main gallery. There will also be a runway fashion show and the evening will end with a dubstep rave featuring DJ Forcefeed and Dotty. Truly, there’s something for everyone. Perhaps more importantly, there will be a full service bar. The event is open to those 18 and older and IDs will be checked at the door. Admission is $25 at the door, or $20 with the donation of a canned good. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the party goes until 2 a.m. A 20 percent commission will be taken from all art sold at this event and donated to Burners without Borders. The Tangent Gallery is located at 715 Milwaukee Ave., Detroit; 313-873-2955; tangentgallery.com.

    The post Tangent Gallery to host Breaking Borders appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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 […]

    The post 48 to film — behind the scenes at the 48 Hour Film Project appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Passalacqua debut dark 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 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 / gettyimages.com 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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Cover Story

The nerdy playhouse

Here's a crew of creatives — in the truest sense of the word — rising from hackerspace ground zero

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photo: Rudy Pokorny, License: N/A

Rudy Pokorny


When a gaggle of builders and mechanics crafted their "Banana Car" last year for a contest at the Henry Ford, they wanted it to be loud. They built a rideable toy car with a hyperbolic sound system: four subwoofers, four 6-inch-by-9-inch speakers, and a pair of 3-inch tweeters. When its creators drove it out of their warehouse in Eastern Market and cranked up the volume in the parking lot, they swear you could hear the music downtown clear across the freeway. They put a grass skirt over the wheels and a smoothie-maker on board, painted it mustard yellow and stuck a confetti-shooting cannon on the back. ("To spray in the faces of our opponents!") 

After the car debuted at the Maker Faire, an event held to showcase do-it-yourself innovation, a new diktat was declared: No future car should exceed the decibel level of the Banana Car. 

Its makers are members of OmniCorpDetroit, a self-described hackerspace located in the heart of Eastern Market. Pushing past the completely tired "computer-hacking" connotation, the term refers to a cooperative where members pool financial and material resources as well as ideas. From tool-sharing and public workshops to collaborative installations, OmniCorpDetroit (OCD) harnesses the innovation that this rattled metropolis runs on. It's about creating, rebuilding, experimenting and inventing together — a notion that members refer to as "hacking." 

And it's about hard work, be it bizarre and cerebral inventions or the more visceral act of building an engine. "This is in our blood," affirms OCD member Brandon Richards. "Hard work, innovation and working together." 

What gives credence to operations at OCD is the same notion that has recently propelled Detroit into the limelight of international media: It's a city for the assiduous and the inventive, where empty spaces and anarchic settings create a crucible of invention. And somehow, it works. 

 

 

Back in summer 2010, a dozen or so artists, builders, engineers and one fencing teacher began to renovate a busted-up building near I-75 that OmniCorpDetroit now calls home. A fire had left the floor in questionable condition. "There were holes in the floor that we had to patch," one member recalls. "We used to get yelled at by our downstairs neighbor for dripping beer and other liquids through the holes onto her things." 

OCD guy and moped mechanic AJ Manoulian remembers millions of extension cords running everywhere because there was originally only one plug for the airy, 8,000-square-foot space. At least junk removal was easy, as garbage was thrown out a second-story window into a garbage bin below. And plenty of junk there was — Manoulian found strands of someone's discarded dreadlocks lying in what is now the machine shop.

One of the founding members, Jeff Sturges, (who also runs the likeminded Mount Elliott Makerspace), secured finances and the lease on the building, which was once a cold storage warehouse. The initial funds were gathered from all co-founders, each of whom contributed between $200 and $2,000 for a start-up pot of about $5,000. There was no grant funding, total DIY from day one. They rent from the folks at Rocky Produce, who've been "really supportive."  

A year and a half after OCD opened its doors, every corner of the cavernous warehouse is occupied and in-process. The first-floor workshop houses a bunch of dusty mopeds and myriad old machines — a table saw, welder and lathe being the easiest to identify. There's even a prodigious 1930s Gorton vertical mill, a beastly anachronism that can "take a piece of metal and make anything."

Upstairs, computer geeks and artists are lost in their respective programming and painting. There is a full sewing station, a 3-D printer, and neat rows of desks cluttered with computer screens, oscilloscopes and other electronics. A well-stocked DJ booth sits behind a wall of speakers made from hacked-up radio components from an abandoned music school; tonight Latin music alternates with an obscure techno beat. Most of these tools and machines have been donated or are shared between members, with a few larger purchases having been voted on as a group and purchased from communal OCD funds.

Member and go-to guy Ken Wolcott acts as an impromptu tour guide. A gangly linguist with fine features, big glasses and a mess of hair, Wolcott weaves through the building's vast intestinal apparatus, pointing out a darkroom, an antiquated freight elevator painted luminous gold inside, and a homemade Tesla coil that "shoots out electricity" in the style of old sci-fi flicks. This place is Pee Wee's Playhouse meets science museum: Outside the bathroom door, a massive stoplight flashes red when occupied; in the kitchen, a little lamp lodged in a houseplant dims and brightens when the leaves are stroked. These arcane little hacks, lodged in the bowels of the warehouse, are what make OCD so dammed fun. 

Wolcott is in constant motion, fiddling with things as he raps cogently about 10 different projects, including the guitar molds he's building and his lock-picking club, Detroit Locksport. Wolcott coordinated an informational lock-picking session at OCD last summer and more than 50 people showed up; it turned out to be the largest workshop of the season. As the workshop's flier heralds, lock-picking is "an educational activity centered around nondestructively defeating or bypassing physical (and sometimes digital) security mechanisms." Right.

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