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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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Prince and popper

A would-be Detroit gospel star seeks his own purple reign

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Prince: “You can’t stop what God has for me.”

When in Vegas, it’s the norm to see Elvis, Dolly and Michael Jackson look-alikes. As a matter of fact, Elvis can even marry you at certain wedding chapels. However, in Detroit, there aren’t many people walking around in ode to a celebrity. But we do have Prince. At UDetroit, Motor City Casino and Bert’s Warehouse in Eastern Market, where the karaoke is as popular as the flowers, fruits and vegetables, Prince entertains with the flair of … the Artist.

As he jumps on tables to the sounds of “Kiss” and “Purple Rain,” the crowd roars — and, like any entertainer, he drinks it all in. So who is this guy who looks, acts, walks and talks like Prince? He’s Prince St. Paul, and he is Prince all day long. Not just on Friday night or Saturday mornings or weekends.

It’s 9 a.m. when we meet at a midtown coffee shop where people are working, studying and munching on bagels. Most of the coffee sippers have a relaxed aura around them, but not Prince St. Paul. He is in full Prince mode. “This is everyday, baby,” he says. His hair is coifed, his makeup is fierce, his mustache is immaculate and his clothes are purple, right and tight. And on some days the back of the pants have windows … yes, you can actually see his butt. Prince designs all of his celebrity couture and everything has a splash of purple or blings with sequins and shine or better yet diamonds and pearls.

Prince St. Paul even has the infamous “Prince shriek” down to a science. As he demonstrates his vocal prowess — still in the coffee shop — people glance up from their cappuccinos and computers, look at him from head to toe and stare intently with curiosity and interest. “Is that Prince?” is what their eyes say.

However, nine months ago, Prince St. Paul wasn’t Prince. He was simply Paul Jack William Hall, a would-be gospel singer trying to spread the word of Jesus and, of course, acquire money and fame. He had a self-produced album available on iTunes, Hot and Poppin’ for Jesus. But, nothing was poppin’ for Paul. Nothing, that is, until a chance encounter with R&B singer and radio personality Keith Washington, who happened to be at the Signature Grill Nightclub when St. Paul was performing gospel songs from his album. Washington pulled him to the side and encouraged him to do a Prince act. “He said, ‘Man, you look, talk, you even walk like Prince. I know him and I’m telling you that you should do Prince,’” St. Paul recalls.

“I wasn’t even dressed like Prince at the time, and Keith said that,” he said. He laughs as he remembers that Washington said, “Man, get you a guitar and get that money.”

St. Paul gave it some thought. The gospel CD wasn’t gaining any traction, and he had been praying for some direction regarding his career. And every month of pushing the CD meant that he also was getting a month older. At the age of 49, St. Paul is five years younger than Prince is right now and almost twice the age of Prince when he released Purple Rain at the age of 26.

So, St. Paul looked in the mirror and saw what Washington saw: Prince. In addition to the physical similarities he also plays three instruments, the keytar, drums and keyboard.

He says the next time he stepped on stage, dressed liked the Artist and singing like the Artist, people went crazy … the total opposite of the people who sat and listened out of politeness to his gospel music.

Prince describes it as people screaming, pulling and almost fainting — just as if they’ve actually seen the original Prince.

Washington also remembers meeting St. Paul before he became Prince. He said that when he and a friend suggested the Prince act to St. Paul, he expressed doubt. But the next time he saw St. Paul, he was all decked out as Prince. “He really puts his heart in the performance that he gives, he has the wardrobe and people love taking pictures with him, like in Vegas,” Washington says.

His friend, Big Daddy Boo Bear, who has been in Vegas performing as Barry White for the last 13 years, says that Prince has what it takes to succeed. “He’s very exciting, he has the character down, and adds his own personality to it,” Boo Bear says. “And he’s doing it the right way, because the guys like him too, they are not offended or intimidated.”

Prince says that his fan base crosses all groups and his favorite song understandably is “Baby I’m a Star.” “I sing these songs because that is what they want,” Prince says. “Prince has been such an inspiration in my life and the movie Purple Rain told me you can’t be afraid to be you.”

Prince says that his popularity as a singer, artist and entertainer has quadrupled since Washington pointed him in a new direction. He said that clubgoers get excited when he walks through the door. Entertainers that are already performing, for instance at a casino, tell the managers not to let him through the door because he distracts from their acts. Prince said that he has been denied entry to several clubs several times.

“I’ve been told not to come back to a nightclub if I wouldn’t perform for free,” he said. “That’s when I knew I had something. It comes naturally: The look, voice, his ideas, walk. You never know how I’m coming.”

Prince said that his journey to becoming Prince was rocky, and he’s glad that Washington saw what he didn’t even know existed, and basically turned his life around.

Pushing 50, St. Paul realizes that life can be short. That’s the same age at which his biological father committed suicide more than 30 years ago.

Prince has two sisters, and all three were removed from their home and placed in foster care when he was about 5. He was adopted at the age of 11, and said his early years were turbulent, with lots of fighting. But he knew that there was something bigger waiting for him. Besides, he could sing and he could dress and he could even style hair. At one point, he says, the great Aretha Franklin was a client.

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