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      Footage from the Gathering of the Juggalos set to clips of Morgan Freeman’s narration from March of the Penguins? Kind of forced, but also kind of beautiful. As the AV Club reports: The oft-sought voiceover champion lends a touch of gravitas to the festival proceedings. Unfortunate scenes of barely clad people having various liquids dumped onto them now carries a quiet dignity as it’s all part of nature’s majestic plan that keeps the world spinning through this elegantly designed and truly wondrous universe. Also, the video is NSFW as there are boobs in it. Watch the clip below:

    The post Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW) appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love”

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    The post Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love” appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed

    Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr transferred oversight of the the city’s water department Tuesday to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in an order intended to refocus “efforts to help DWSD customers get and remain current on their water bills,” Orr’s office said today. “This order provides additional clarity to the powers already delegated to the mayor,” Orr said in a statement released Tuesday. “As the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department works to operate more efficiently and communicate more effectively with customers, it is important to ensure there are clear lines of management and accountability.” Duggan will have the authority to manage DWSD and make appointments to the utility’s board, according to a news release. In a statement issued Tuesday, the mayor said he welcomed Orr’s order, adding that officials will develop a plan that “allows those who truly need to access to financial help … to do so with shorter wait times.” “We need to change a number of things in the way we have approached the delinquent payment issues and I expect us to have a new plan shortly,” Duggan said. “There are funds available to support those who cannot afford their bills — we need to do a much better job in […]

    The post Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times

    Turns out, our very own Jack Lessenberry knows the Grosse Pointer seeking to ban the MT: Ten years or so ago, a woman named Andrea Lavigne sat in on some media survey classes I was teaching at Wayne State University. She was in her late 30s or early 40s, and seemed to be searching for answers. She wanted to know how the media work, and told me she was a Maoist. This fascinated me, because I thought authentic Maoists were almost as rare as passenger pigeons. Chairman Mao, we now know, starved to death and slaughtered tens of millions of his own citizens, and kept China economically and intellectually backward. Intrigued, I got together one night before class with her and another Maoist, to find out what they were all about. Alas, they spouted a form of primitive, grade-school Marxism. They seemed to have very little historical knowledge of Communism or what it had actually been like. Yes. A Maoist. Read the full story at Michigan Radio here.

    The post Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’

    A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the owner of Detroit’s municipal solid waste incinerator Monday, accusing the company of nuisance and gross negligence violations According to the complaint filed by Detroit-based Liddle & Dubin P.C., “On occasions too numerous to list, Plaintiffs’ property including Plaintiffs’ neighborhood, residences and yards were physically invaded by noxious odors and contaminants … As a direct and proximate result of the Defendant’s’ negligence in operating and/or maintaining the facility, Plaintiffs’ property has been invaded by noxious odors.” The eight-page complaint charges that local property values have dropped due to the incinerator’s presence, “and has interfered with Plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their property.” The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, seeks a financial award in excess of $25,000 and all costs and attorney fees related to the case. In an email, a spokesperson for the company says, “Detroit Renewable Power is reviewing the complaint filed today,” but declined further comment. The suit comes weeks after a Metro Times’ cover story earlier this month found a growing number of odor complaints from nearby residents since Detroit Renewable Power LLC (DRP) took control of the facility in 2010. The investigation found a spike in citations from the Michigan Department […]

    The post Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Detroit's vision and revision

Framework for change looks promising, but watch who controls the reins

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After the “new vision” for Detroit’s future was unveiled amid much fanfare last week, we gave a call to Dan Pitera, one of the many people involved in the two-year-long effort to create what’s been dubbed the “Detroit Future City” plan.

Wait.

As the reporters invited to an in-depth briefing about the project before its official coming-out party were told, this isn’t a “plan.” It is, instead, “a strategic framework for future decision making.”

So you got that — this is a framework that will help guide future development.

We’re not exactly sure what the difference is, but that’s OK. It is enough to know that this effort is big and important and groundbreaking in some fundamental way.

We’re not being sarcastic when we say that, either. In terms of breadth and depth, it is an unprecedented undertaking. And not just for Detroit. Nowhere is the world, the journalists were told, has anything quite this extensive and multifaceted been attempted.

A big part of the reason for that, unfortunately, is that no other city has endured the level of abandonment Detroit has. The numbers are painfully familiar, but worth repeating nonetheless: At its peak in the 1950s, Detroit’s population topped out at more than 1.8 million people. In April 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau counted just fewer than 714,000 people living here. And now, despite the ongoing resurgence of such neighborhoods as Midtown and Corktown, the overall exodus continues, with the population now almost certainly dipping below 700,000. And the projections are that the number of people living in the city will to continue to fall until it bottoms out at about 600,000.

Declining population means declining tax revenues, which means a continued decrease in public services, leading to even more abandonment. The city’s downward spiral hasn’t yet stopped.

And its not just people who have left. Detroit has become the poster child for what’s now described as the postindustrial city, with once high-paying factory jobs largely a thing of the past. Just this week, on the television program 60 Minutes, there was a piece on the ever-expanding — and now rapidly accelerating — role robotics is playing in the workforce, with machines replacing not just workers on the shop floor, but everywhere from warehouses and grocery stores to call centers to stock trading.

Money is being made — a lot of it. The problem is that many more jobs are being lost than created, and so the wealth being created continues its concentration at the top of the economic ladder. But the machines only produce; they don’t consume. And without workers earning wages to buy things, the prospects of an economy that flourishes on all levels, for those on the bottom and in the middle as well as on top, seems pretty dismal.

Where it all ends, nobody knows.

What’s certain is that Detroit, the former Arsenal of Democracy and onetime “model city” in terms of racial diversity, has long been in the forefront of decline. And now, as a result, it is looking to take the lead when it comes to figuring out how we as a society adjust to this new world we’re facing.

The “Detroit Future City” effort is supposed to be a blueprint for decision-making as Detroit moves forward. As we were watching the presentations last week, however, especially when the discussion turned toward talk of what planners call “green and blue infrastructure,” things like orchards and storm water retention ponds envisioned for mostly abandoned neighborhoods that were once filled with people, we began thinking about another plan, one featured on the cover of this rag more than a decade ago.

In October 2001, we did a story titled “Down a green path.” about an “alternative vision” for what was then an already devastated area on Detroit’s east side.

Called the Adamah Project, it was the result of an effort undertaken by a group of architecture students and their advisers at the University of Detroit Mercy. In place of vacant lots and the charred remains of burned-out homes, they envisioned community vegetable gardens and tree farms that supplied timber for a local lumber mill, tulips growing in hothouses and aquaculture projects producing fish and shrimp.

It was a plan both fomented and embraced by the folks at the Boggs Center, an east side nonprofit that serves as a sort of incubator for grassroots progressive activism.

What was striking at the time, at least to us, was the critique of Detroit’s recovery efforts that was inherent in the Adamah Project.

Here’s what we wrote back then:

“During the ’90s, while the U.S. economy was experiencing unprecedented growth, Detroit capitalized on the surge by directing much of its resources into big-ticket items such as a pair of new sports stadiums and downtown development projects such as casinos.”

The problem with that kind of approach, as we reported back then, is that it was destined to fail in terms of reversing Detroit’s decline if it wasn’t part of some bigger, more comprehensive plan.

“You can have all the stadiums you want,” Stephen Vogel, then dean of UDM’s School of Architecture and a prime force behind Adamah Project, told us then. “If you don’t have housing, if you don’t have livable neighborhoods, you are not going to have a revitalized city.”

“It’s great that you have a company like Compuware coming in here,” Vogel added. “But you should be devoting equal time to making sure that my neighborhood is not declining. And that’s not happening. Small businesses are continuing to leave, and that’s tragic.”

Political philosopher and social activist Grace Lee Boggs, who, along with her late husband Jimmy Boggs provided the intellectual underpinnings of the Boggs Center, offered this observation back then:

“A lot of folks in the bureaucracy know that the approach we’ve been taking up until now has failed.  The city can’t be built from the top down by politicians reacting to crises or by developers seizing opportunities to make megaprofits.”

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