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  • Jumpin Jumpin: Police, fire fighters, and EMS workers to be honored at Sky Zone

    When we think of honoring the brave men and women who protect and serve the metro Detroit area, we think of trampolines.  We think they should jump on trampolines. And by trampolines, we mean an all-walled trampoline field where they can land in a pit of 10,000 foam cubes. They have to blow off steam some how. Sky Zone, the inventors of such a place, are hosting a special day at their Canton and Shelby Township locations that will be all about police officers, firefighters, EMS workers, and their families. On Tuesday, August 5 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. there will be free jumping for these folks. All metro Detroit police, firefighters, EMS workers and their families are invited to come, though an employee ID or professional organization ID will be required for admittance to 60 free minutes at the indoor park. The hour of free jumping comes with free pizza from Jet’s as well. This is the first event of its kind in Michigan.  Sky Zone Canton is located at 42550 Executive Drive Sky Zone Shelby Township is located at 50810 Sabrina Drive. Check for more information. 

    The post Jumpin Jumpin: Police, fire fighters, and EMS workers to be honored at Sky Zone appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times is getting a new website today

    Your favorite local alternative weekly is getting a digital facelift at around 4 p.m. today, and we need your help. If you, dear reader, spot anything amiss or notice that any of our regular features are not working properly, do give us a shout in the comment section below or on social media. If, on the other hand, you find that you positively adore our new design (which we surely hope you do!), we’d certainly enjoy hearing about that as well. Let the countdown to launch begin!

    The post Metro Times is getting a new website today appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well

    By LeeAnn Brown Some people say that hip-hop is dead. Local ban Fderal Ground is proving that is not the case. The seven-member band, consisting of three lead vocalists, a DJ, bass, drums and guitar, plays what they call “living hip-hop.” Their music, peppered with multiple styles, covers all aspects of life from growing up in the D to playing with fire despite knowing you will likely get burned. Their undeniable chemistry and raw lyrics compose a music that is living, breathing, and connecting to their listeners. It has been nearly 11 years since Vinny Mendez and Michael Powers conjured up the basement idea that has flowered into the Detroit funk-hop band Feral Ground. Throughout high school the two wrote and rapped consistently, playing shows here and there. In those years they matched their rap stanzas with the animated, dynamic voice of Ginger Nastase and saw an instant connection. The now trio backed their lyrics with DJ Aldo’s beats on and off for years, making him a permanent member within the last year, along with Andy DaFunk (bass), Joseph Waldecker (drums), and newest member, Craig Ericson (guitar). We sat down with Feral Ground and their manager, Miguel Mira, in their […]

    The post Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law

    Much has been made about Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s decision this week to transfer authority of the city’s water department to Mayor Mike Duggan. In what is the most interesting read on the situation, Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale, pens an analysis on Michigan’s novel emergency manager law on the New York Times Opinionator blog. Stanley deconstructs Michigan’s grand experiment in governance by addressing two questions: Has the EM law resulted in policy that maximally serves the public good? And, is the law consistent with basic principles of democracy? Stanley ties in examples of Plato, James Madison’s Federalist Papers, and Nazi political theorist Carl Schmitt. A short excerpt: Plato was a harsh critic of democracy, a position that derived from the fact that his chief value for a society was social efficiency. In Plato’s view, most people are not capable of employing their autonomy to make the right choices, that is, choices that maximize overall efficiency. Michigan is following Plato’s recommendation to handle the problems raised by elections. Though there are many different senses of “liberty” and “autonomy,” none mean the same thing as “efficiency.” Singapore is a state that values efficiency above all. But by no stretch of […]

    The post Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week

    Walking with Dinosaurs, a magnificent stage show that features life-sized animatronic creatures from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, will be in town next week. But to preview the show’s run at the Palace, a baby T-Rex will be making an appearance at four area malls to the delight and wonderment of shoppers. Baby T-Rex, as the creature is being affectionately referred to, is seven-feet-tall and 14-feet-long. He’ll only be at each mall for about 15 minutes, so while there will be photo opportunities, they’ll be short. The dino will be at Fairlane Town Center Center Court at 18900 Michigan Ave. in Detroit from 2-2:15 p.m. today, July 30; The Mall at Partridge Creek at 17420 Hall Rd. in Clinton Township from 5-5:15 p.m. today, July 30; Twelve Oaks Mall at the Lord & Taylor Court at 27500 Novi Rd., Novi tomorrow, Thursday July 31 from 1:30-1:45 p.m.; and Great Lakes Crossing Food Court at 4000 Baldwin Rd., Auburn Hills from 5-5:15 p.m., tomorrow Thursday, July 31.  

    The post Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations

    Interested in reading about what Detroit accomplishes on a week-to-week basis that’s produced by the city itself? Great. You can do that now, here, at the Detroit Dashboard. Every Thursday morning, the city will publish an update to the dashboard because Mayor Mike Duggan loves metrics, even if the data might be hard to come by. According to Duggan’s office, the dashboard will provide data on how many LED street lights were installed, how many vacant lots were mowed, how much blight was removed, and more. This week, the city says it has sold 13 site lots through, removed 570 tons of illegal dumping, and filed 57 lawsuits against abandoned property owners.  

    The post Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Summer Guide 2012

The real Sterling Coopers at work

Taschen volumes feature two decades of Madison Avenue selling the sizzle

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: , License: N/A

Mid-Century Ads: Advertising From the Mad Men Era

Jim Heimann, editor 

Taschen, $59.99, 720 pp.

Advertising is evil and terrifying, a system of mind control imposing upon the unsuspecting masses a brutal basis of artificial needs and desires, satisfied only through unnecessary and illogical consumption of goods and services. The hell, you say? No, it's not, hippie, advertising is a tool, that's all, a way to show the world a path to your door after you build the better mousetrap. You have been watching too much of that cynical made-up Mad Men program on the cable television and you need to learn to appreciate the graphic design excellence, wit, and ingenuity of the arguably American, arguably art form that is advertising. Plus, it is good for the economy.

"Our brand-new client's marketing problem boiled down to this: We had to sell a Nazi car in a Jewish town." —George Lois 

Esteemed publisher Taschen has recently published Mid-Century Ads: Advertising From the Mad Men Era, a timely two-volume 720-page edition (one for the "The Fifties" and one for "The Sixties") featuring large reproductions of many documentarily interesting, visually striking, remarkable print ads, great and not so great, from both titular decades. The ads are grouped thematically by color (pink toilet paper, light bulbs, lipsticks, typewriters, stoves, refrigerators) and product type (beer, automobiles, cigarettes, brassieres) and there are lots of surprising images equal to that powerful, wow-we-really-didn't-know-anything rush of shock experienced watching the folks on Mad Men smoke while in the office, smoke while in an airplane, smoke while feeding a baby, etc.

"Advertising reflects the mores of society, but does not influence them. The word fuck is more commonplace in contemporary literature, but has yet to appear in advertisements." —David Ogilvy 

Both volumes have "endpieces" composed of a timeline of each decade, and these spreads may be somewhat obscure to anyone who isn't a student of the history of American media and the ad game or over 50 years old, but they are a good jumping-off point for anyone interested in exploring such history. Containing notable benchmarks in graphic design, pop culture (OK, television) and a teensy bit of "real" history, such as the successful flight of the then Union of Soviet Socialist Republics' Sputnik satellite in the '50s and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in the '60s, these charts attempt to contextualize the pages that accompany them.

The significance of graphic design milestones such as William Golden's CBS "eye" logo, "based on a Pennsylvania Dutch hex sign," Paul Rand's IBM logo, and what eventually would become the typeface Helvetica — according to a brief, scholarly preface to the '50s volume by editor, graphic designer and prolific repurposer of American advertising Jim Heimann — mark the transformation of stodgy, long-winded post-World War II era print communication through "mid-century modern" up to the "big idea" approach. This featured the iconic product imagery identified with Marlboro cigarettes, Kellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes, Coppertone suntan lotion, Volkswagens and million-dollar slogans such as "Good to the last drop," "Leave the driving to us," "Does she ... or doesn't she" and the 1960s' "Think Small" for Volkswagen, which opened up a giant crack in the earth and changed the ad game forever.

Many of the campaigns shown in Mid-Century Ads cemented the reps of giant advertising firms that are still around in one form or another: Ogilvy, Benson and Mather; Foote, Cone & Belding; and the legendary Leo Burnett agency, which has been pushing Marlboro cowboy-killers for Phillip Morris since 1955. And in 1945, Leo Burnett heralded the changes to come in the postwar era with a big print piece for red meat on behalf of the American Meat Institute's "This Is Life" campaign, featuring a striking photo of a raw, red rib roast set before an equally blood-red background.

"What would happen if you put a piece of red meat on a red background? ... It just intensified the red concept and the virility ... we were trying to express about meat." —Leo Burnett 

Most people didn't think anything might be, let's say, questionable, about that stuff then, but we sure know now, and because they are so aggressively "modern," most of the images presented in this book, thankfully, defy gloopy nostalgia. But a big part of the fun in these volumes is a certain schadenfreude-y contempt you experience as you find yourself flipping through page after page of ads for cigars, cigarettes, giant gas-guzzling cars, atomic energy, Plexiglas, Cheez Whiz, the Princess phone, Morton Salt, Alcoa aluminum, Convair (makers of the U.S. Air Force's delta-winged, jet-powered F-102 supersonic fighter) and the UNIVAC 120, "the advanced punched card computer."

Women in the '50s and '60s had a long way to go, baby, and there are lots of pages devoted to feminine hygiene, depilatories, complexion aids, girdles that aren't girdles, hosiery designed to "fool a 32-year-old legman at 22 paces," and questions such as "Do you sweat?" and "What's the ugliest part of your body?" In 1968, ads for Whirlpool refrigerators were addressed to "Ma'am." We'll leave it to the ladies to decide if they can laugh about it now.

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