Most Read
  • 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.

  • City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May

    Margaret Doll Rod will celebrate the release of her new EP, Margaret, with a show at PJ’s Lager House on Saturday, May 10. A statement reads, “The EP contains 3 new original songs and one Chrome Cranks cover with Italian actress Asia Argento singing background vocals. Margaret moved to Italy after the end of the Demolition Doll Rods where she still lives touring and performing festivals in Europe. The Dollrods were a Garage Rock force for over 20 years, opening for Iggy, Jon Spencer, The Scientist, The Monks and The Cramps. Margaret was the front person and principal songwriter for The Dollrods. Her chief musical foil was Danny Kroha, who joined the Demolition Doll Rods after the now legendary Gories called it quits. Margaret’s sister, Christine, on drums, rounded out the legendary trio. Margaret will do a special performance in the round that night with a 360 degree revolving stage and special guest DJ Adam Stanfel.” The bill will also feature the Stomp Rockets and the Volcanos. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to Ricky Rat’s Tokyo Pop/Glitter People (New Fortune) 7” single highlights all that’s great about the Trash Brats guitarist, but also his limitations. The man can write a bubblegum rock ’n’ roll song to match anyone in the city and most beyond. He’s also a killer guitarist, ripping out one throwaway riff after another with reckless abandon. He’s a machine. On his own though, without Trash Brats frontman Brian McCarty, his voice doesn’t have enough strength to do the songs justice. Not that you need to have the greatest voice in the world to sing this stuff – you don’t need to be able to perform vocal gymnastics – but you do have to be able to wail the tunes out. Both of the songs on this single are great, but you can’t help but wonder how much better they would sound with McCarty or somebody similar talking the mic. Still, as they are the songs are great fun. We’re just being picky. The Paper Sound’s Trajectories is a dense, atypically dark Americana-tinged album, unrelenting and […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of, a new website launched by the City of Detroit today to auction off city-owned homes to prospective buyers who pledge to fix them up and move in. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement today. “There are a lot of people who would love to move into many of our neighborhoods. Knowing that other people are going to be buying and fixing up the other vacant homes at the same time will make it a lot easier for them to make that commitment.” The website to facilitate the auctions went live this afternoon. The first auction is scheduled to take place Monday, May 5. Officials said in a news release that one home will be auctioned per day, Monday through Friday. Fifteen homes are available for sale on the site, a dozen of which are in the East English Village neighborhood. Any Michigan resident, company, or organization that can do business in the state can bid, according to the website. Properties will be for sale for only one day, with bidding taking place from 8 […]

    The post Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes

    In case you haven’t heard, two of the biggest names in film, Steven Spielberg and John Williams, are collaborating to put on a benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this summer. In case you wanted to go- well, you’re too damn late. The DSO says tickets to the June 14 concert were snapped up in a record-breaking 15 minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. today. The DSO has since released this statement to fans who didn’t snag seats: Our apologies to everyone who was unable to buy tickets this morning for our historic benefit concert featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Despite increasing our phone and internet system capacity for the day, a surge of hundreds of ticket buyers purchased tickets in a matter of minutes, filling the phone lines and temporarily maxing out our web servers. After a one-hour pre-sale made available to donors and subscribers at 8am, we released additional seats at 9am to the general public, including seats available for as low as $30. All seats sold out immediately. The concert program seems nothing short of top notch: Williams will conduct the orchestra as it performs some of his most iconic tunes, such […]

    The post Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



Search thousands of events in our database.


Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.


Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

MT on Twitter
MT on Facebook

Print Email

Cover Story

The party at the end of the world

From Burning man to Detroit in time for the rapture

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: Photo: Travis R. Wright, License: N/A

Photo: Travis R. Wright

In the dragon's mouth: Artist Ryan C. Doyle

In what appears to be a fading, sleepy industrial building in the back of the Russell Industrial Center, a group of artists are raising a dragon. The beast is 22-1/2 feet tall and a little more than 69 feet long, weighing in at 8 tons. It's an "art car," built onto the frame of an old Dodge W-300 Power Wagon with a 318 engine. There's a 1,500-pound second-story DJ booth encased in steel wicker, mounted on a Marine Zodiac attack boat under the monster's spine. The whole contraption can carry more than a dozen riders, with seats in the mouth and in a party couch on the back, where riders can make the tail sway back and forth. Hydraulic systems bring the front of it to life, and the driver can use a fire system to shoot flames from the fearsome creature's mouth.

Later this week, the fantastic creation will star in an art show and studio-warming party celebrating the beginning of the end of the world as predicted by Christian broadcaster Harold Camping.

In addition to the dragon, which will serve as a DJ booth and art project — sans flames — there will be an art machine called "The Regurgitator," a pulse jet-powered g-force generator that can give a forward-seated passenger as much as 5 g's. Another team of artists from New York will bring their "Fuck Bike," a foot-powered dildo-pumping sex machine. There'll be videos, installations, performances — including an end-of-the-world confession booth — as well as sets from DJs from Detroit and as far as Brooklyn. And artists are coming from across the country to join a crew of newly minted Detroiters in a show that will challenge doomsday itself.


The creator of the dragon, as well as the head of the crew that has come to Detroit to build it, is 31-year-old artist Ryan C. Doyle. As artists go, he looks like one tough customer: He's 6-foot-6, broad as a biker, wears a beard and a shaven head, dresses in black, and has a nose that's clearly been broken a few times.

He may seem intimidating, but when he starts talking, it's with the easy and friendly manner of a Midwesterner — gentle speech, modest smiles and an intelligent glimmer in the eyes.

Doyle first came to Detroit last year to help 27-year-old Bay Area artist Monica Canilao transform an abandoned house — along with such other internationally recognized artists as Callie Swoon, Ben Wolf and Richard Colman — into a piece of art as part of Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert's Powerhouse program. The husband-and-wife team had been turning abandoned houses into art projects, but a sponsorship from Juxtapoz Magazine kicked things into high gear and drew the talented crew. After arriving to help Canilao, Doyle said he "fell in love" with Detroit.

"I'm from Minneapolis, and Detroit reminded me of that kind of small city where people still hold the door open for you," he says.

Meeting with local artists, such as local artist-fabricator Chip Flynn, Doyle was able to secure this industrial space where Clay Street meets the railroad, where he could work cheaply compared to the rents in the Bay Area and Brooklyn.

And Doyle is a guy who needs a lot of space for his outsized projects. In addition to "The Regurgitator," which he made for the Device Art festival in Zagreb, Croatia, he created a motorized art barge he piloted — and crashed — at the Venice Biennial. And, as part of a group called Plan C, he assisted in creating a radioactive carnival ride made from metal he and others scavenged from Chernobyl. His work is very high-concept, and always with an element of danger.

As he gives a tour of his work space — dubbed "Detroitus," a play on the city's urban detritus, but also sounding like a beast itself — he explains that the dragon is an art project called "Gon-KiRin," which means "Light Dragon" in Mandarin, or, with a slight rearrangement of the Chinese characters, "East Rising." He says it's a pun or a double entendre of sorts, thought up by his partner and funder on the project, Hong Kong-based LED artist Teddy Lo.

After the nickel tour of the dragon, Doyle takes a seat out back on the acres of blacktop behind Russell's main buildings to tell his story. A gifted student, he was impatient to get done with school. He skipped the third grade, he humbly jokes, "probably just because I was bigger than everybody else." He attended Minneapolis' Perpich Center for Arts Education, then won a merit award to attend the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, on an academic track many would envy. But he says he was frustrated by having to take courses he felt he'd already mastered at Perpich, and he hungered to go on the road.

So he ran away and joined the circus.

If that sounds overcooked, bear in mind that Doyle had met the circus in 1999 at the Burning Man Festival, a weeklong bash where artists, ravers, DJs, fabricators and freaks meet to create a temporary city in the middle of northern Nevada's Black Rock Desert. And this was no ordinary circus: This was the End of the World Circus and Know-Nothing Family Sideshow. (There's that doomsday theme cropping up again.) The show was out-there stuff, featuring a guy who could lie on a bed of nails and suck his own dick, a woman who could hang a six-pack from her pierced labia, and Jessica Juggz, who could stick a miniature butane canister in her vagina to become a human flamethrower. Doyle's part in the circus was tall-bike jousting, and he traveled with them from 2000 to 2002, undergoing a journeyman apprenticeship of sorts. He spent off-seasons in New Orleans, where the circus wintered, building parade floats and working in a bike shop, and also jousting as a member of the Black Label Bike Club.

Impatient to learn more, he traveled to apprentice with such pioneering industrial performing groups as Kal Spelletich's Seemen and Christian Ristow's Robochrist Industries. Doyle says he found some veterans to help him figure out how to build stuff on his own "while I was helping build their stuff." He also bounced to Brooklyn, where he worked at the Madagascar Institute, helping mount shows every few months. At New York's, he helped their talented architecture fabricators create custom metal work for architects and artists.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus