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  • 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.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards 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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