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  • 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.

  • Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial

    We don’t know about you, but usually Nancy Whiskey and Long John Silver’s aren’t two concepts we’d place in the same sentence. However, the international fast food fish fry conglomerate made a nod to the Detroit dive in their latest YouTube commercial. LJS is offering free fish fries on Saturday, August 2, which is the promotion the commercial is attempting to deliver. But, we think we’ll just go to Nancy Whiskey instead.

    The post Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women

    We came across an interesting item this week: Apparently, a music festival with the name “Michfest” is quietly oriented as a “Women-Only Festival Exclusively for ‘Women Born Women.’” It seems a strange decision to us. If you wanted to have a women-only music festival, why not simply proclaim loud and clear that it is for all sorts of women? But if you really wanted to become a lightning rod for criticisms about transphobia, organizers have found the perfect way to present their festival. Now, we know that defenders of non-cisgender folks have it tough. The strides made by gays and lesbians (and bisexuals) in the last 20 years have been decisive and dramatic. But the people who put the ‘T’ in LGBT have reason to be especially defensive, facing a hostile culture and even some disdain from people who should be their natural allies. That said, sometimes that defensiveness can cause some activists to go overboard; when we interviewed Dan Savage a couple years ago, he recalled his “glitter bombing” and said it was due to the “the narcissism of small differences,” adding that “if you’re playing the game of who is the most victimized, attacking your real enemies doesn’t prove you’re most victimized, claiming you […]

    The post Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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College Guide 2012

Want to survive college?

One grad's advice: Join a band, get out of town

I am declaring war on "The College Experience."

No, I am not talking in the vein of Rick Santorum, who apparently hates the idea of giving every child the opportunity to attend college. (You may recall this past May at a Tea Party rally in Troy, the then-presidential hopeful hurled an onslaught of words toward President Barack Obama, calling him "a snob" for "wanting everyone to go to college.")

See, I like college — big fan of learning over here. But, as a recent graduate, I can say I have some underlying concerns with the full-time experience of being sequestered in the halls of academia. I feel there is something intuitively wrong with an incoming student mainlining the socially accepted reasoning for going to college: the secure career.

I sweated it out behind the pages of books I would never care to read again, but I made sure to find time to breathe fresh air that wasn't tainted by the worries of a passing grade. We are here to learn, and the added help a degree offers in landing a job later on in life is the extra bonus. It is certainly not life or death, though.

Moreover, college is supposed to be "the best time of your life," right? Right?

A 2009 survey from the American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment found that one of every four students will feel so depressed they'll find it hard to function; 47 percent will experience overwhelming anxiety, and a whopping 84 percent will feel overwhelmed by everything they have to do.

And there is no better place to examine in fine detail the overwhelming sensation of the college experience than a university library during finals week, or, more appropriately, Hell Week.

Students pounding books, notes and PowerPoint presentations can be seen fending off fears of failure by studying the night away while flying high on cup after cup of coffee and, in some cases. Adderall. Giving students a good head start on life? Hmmm?

Where's the time-of-your-life fun? Is there indeed still value in attending college? The Washington Monthly recently reported on a poll that found 41 percent of Americans find college to not carry as much value as it did 20 years ago. The cost is going up and more are finding less worth in the process.

So, is college the beautiful last hurrah that bridges the gap between high school and becoming an adult? Or is it a glorified, extended version of high school — one that still subjects a student to exams, projects and a boatload of homework all in the name of a piece of paper and a boost to your résumé.


The Exorcist.

It is not as unreasonable as it seems, even considering the potential costs of a short jaunt and the procrastination of schoolwork. (If anybody were to tally how much time they spend avoiding their studies on a daily basis, well, that should be the least of concerns.)

One good example was before the start of fall 2011 semester: I went camping in the Upper Peninsula with a friend for a week. I slept on the shores of Lake Superior, hiked through Pictured Rocks Lakeshore and saw the Lake in the Clouds of the Porcupine Mountains. The cost of renting campsites, food and gas was somewhere around $300.

This summer, a band I play guitar in toured the West Coast — my first time seeing that part of the United States — for 24 days. Gas was covered by what we made at the shows, we stayed at houses, camped and slept in the van, eliminating any lodging costs. So I had to personally account for food and anything else I may have wanted to do: Again, it was roughly $300 to do so.

The point?  I'm trying to say it's necessary to get away, away from the constraints of daily life. Experience the real world in order to better prepare for life after school and to actually enjoy learning if you do want to attend college.

Want something small-scale? A day trip to Chicago or Cincinnati make for a much more memorable time than racking up an impressive bar tab. (Gather a party of four and a reliable vehicle; you'll be looking at maybe $30-$40 depending on your spending habits.) 

Each time, as soon as I got back in the grind, though, the same exasperated feelings would return, and I'd be eager to flesh out the next set of travel plans. I've found nothing resolves stress better than being absolutely removed from it.

I fail to understand how universities can make the case they appropriately prepare their student body for the realities of life with such a consistently strenuous undertaking.

With a full-time class schedule and workload, I've developed an ability to juggle and appropriately budget my expenses — a necessary trait for survival later on in life — but, at many points, I've completely lacked a feeling that what I was doing was truly beneficial and worthwhile.

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