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    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

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    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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College Guide 2011

Transitional reading

One grad recommends novel takes on growing up

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: , License: N/A


"Adult" and "youth" are nebulous terms. The transition between the two is as well. We've all known adults who act like children or children who are wise beyond their years. Are there some criteria for adulthood? Does it become official when we reach a certain age? In Judaism, that age is 13. But I know my parents, for all their talk about "becoming a man," didn't give me all the freedoms of an adult after my Bar Mitzvah. 

Independence certainly is an important feature of the transition. Not just financial or spatial independence, but of the mind as well. Accepting responsibility, making decisions that impact others. This heady stage in development is a great one for writers, combining worldliness and impulsiveness. Good books are largely about transformative change and the realization of undiscovered truths. We sometimes call this "growing up." 

For a lot of people, this period occurs around college. That's mostly true for me. I think it could be useful to arm yourself with books that speak to this stage. Not to be prepared per se, but to help with thinking through these issues. Most of these stories take place outside the university, but this makes sense since life provides much more useful lessons than textbooks.


The Tin Drum 

by Günter Grass


Growth, or lack thereof, is the prominent theme in this bizarre tale. The setting is the town of Danzig, Germany, in and around World War II. When, at the age of 1, Oskar Matzerath overhears his father's dream of having the boy take over the family business, he decides to not grow up. Instead, Oskar maintains the appearance and outward mannerisms of a 3-year old. While everyone in Danzig thinks him to be an unfortunate oddity, he secretly finds ways to infiltrate the adult world through his glass-breaking voice and virtuoso capabilities on the snare drum (he can imitate sounds such as rain, or bring forth long-forgotten memories).

Forget all the talk about lessons for a sec. This is one of the richest books I've ever read and worth reading for its sheer creative power. But if you must learn something, Grass' clever adult-stays-young inversion of the typical coming of age story says a lot about lost childhood. Ultimately, Oskar is brilliant but socially stunted (the ever-present growth metaphor). 



Kafka on

the Shore 

by Haruki        Murakami


I read this book by Japanese-born, West-obsessed Murakami as I flew back to America after two years in Japan. I don't know what this reading-and-travel order means, but it seemed significant. And so did this book. But that's probably because I was thinking a lot about personal change on the flight back. And so is the narrator Kafka. This preternaturally mature 15-year-old is running away from his unloving father in search of his mother and sister and ... something else. 

Like all Murakami, this is of the "magic realism" genre. There's a man who talks to cats, a shape-shifting figure who takes the form of product mascots, and an alternate reality where lost souls rest. Highly introspective, funny at times, creative, this is truly a book for the college-bound, becoming-self-aware crowd.



The Sot-Weed Factor 

by John Barth


Mirth, bawd, and philosophie describe this post-modern yarn set in colonial times. Ebenezer Cooke, a home-schooled youth from England, sets sail to become the poet laureate of Maryland. Despite dogged attempts to preserve his purity and innocence through pen and wit, Ebenezer is abused throughout Sot-Weed and constantly reminded of the perfidious truth about human nature. 

Barth constructed a brilliant plot that has a laugh a page. Its re-creation of the vocabulary and cadences of the time is quite impressive. Best of all is the way naïve Ebenezer is thrown into ribald, smutty America and the hilarious situations which ensue. It will open the eyes of the optimist and entertain the pessimist. 



Empire of the Sun

by J.G. Ballard


Many of the books on this list are about youths who must grow up prematurely and unexpectedly — and none more so than this one. Ballard witnessed some true horrors as a youth and put off novelizing them until he was in his 50s. After reading about Jim Graham's fight for survival in Japanese-occupied Shanghai, one can see why.

There's very little ambiguity in this semi-autobiographical book, no large realization at the novel's end. The reader must reconcile everything Jim has witnessed and done, for the boy doesn't yet have the capacity. The adult characters are disturbed by the way Jim admires the Japanese and fantasizes about being a fighter pilot as if he's enjoying himself at times. They are old enough to realize what an impressionistic youth might grow into amid such destruction and cruelty. The real Ballard became a genius author of unforgiving stories showcasing the violent side of humanity. (But, hey, he could have turned out worse.) This story puts his entire literary career into perspective.

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