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  • 48 to film — behind the scenes at the 48 Hour Film Project

    By Amanda Mooney There’s a lot that goes into producing a film, and unless you are a filmmaker you really have no idea. Writing, casting, finding a location, shooting, and editing; each step of the process can take days, months, and sometimes years to complete. Can you imagine doing it ALL in just 48 hours? The 48 Hour Film Project is an annual competition that takes place all over the world in various cities. According to Mike Madigan, head of the Detroit 48 Hour chapter, the city is one of the largest participating in terms of the number of teams. The competing teams go in blind as to what kind of film they will be producing, with no creative planning beyond getting a cast and crew together, Madigan explained. “They pick a genre out of a hat, and they get a line, a prop, and a character. And they have to incorporate that within a short film, that’s usually between 4 to 7 minutes long. And they have the timeframe of doing it all within 48 hours,” said Madigan, “So all the creative process of it all has to happen within that 48 hour–writing a script, putting it together, editing–to […]

    The post 48 to film — behind the scenes at the 48 Hour Film Project appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Passalacqua debut dark new project ‘Church: Revival’ at new Hamtramck performance space

    Church: Revival is the new project by local rap duo Passalacqua (aka Bryan Lackner and Brent Smith), but it’s more than just a new Passalacqua release. The rappers teamed up with siblings Jax Anderson (frontwoman of rockers Flint Eastwood) and Seth Anderson, who together form the songwriting team called Syblyng (naturally). The result is a cycle of songs that promises to be darker than Passalacqua’s material so far. The project will make a live debut on Saturday, July 26 at a brand new venue space at the Detroit Bus Co.’s building Eight & Sand, and they will premiere the Right Bros.-directed video for the track “Baptism” as well. Other performances include Tunde Olaniran and Open Mike Eagle, and DJ sets by Nothing Elegant, Dante LaSalle, and Charles Trees. We met up the two duos at Eight & Sand to check out the new space and to talk about the project with all parties involved. Metro Times: How long have you been working together? Jax Anderson: Seth and I are constantly writing songs together. We want to push in the direction of becoming songwriters more frequently. This is our first project that we took on to co-write everything together. We’re basically just a songwriting entity. We won’t play live that […]

    The post Passalacqua debut dark new project ‘Church: Revival’ at new Hamtramck performance space appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • PETA offers to pay overdue water bills for Detroiters willing to go vegan

    #150207742 / gettyimages.com As locals continue to flood Detroit streets to protest the city’s ongoing water debacle, one national organization is hoping to be part of the solution — that is, for a dietary price. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA as the organization is more commonly known, has offered to pay outstanding water bills for 10 Detroiters who are willing to go vegan for one month. “Vegan meals take far less of a toll on the Earth’s resources,” PETA representatives said in a recent press release. “It takes about 2,500 gallons of water to produce just a pound of meat but only about 155 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat.” PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk adds, “Vegan meals are also a cost-effective way to help prevent health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart conditions, the last thing that someone who is struggling financially needs to deal with.” Folks interested in participating are asked to send a copy of their most recent overdue water bill and their written pledge to go vegan for one month to PETA Attn: Detroit Water at 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510 before Aug. 1.

    The post PETA offers to pay overdue water bills for Detroiters willing to go vegan appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Dinner Club Does Brunch

    Sure, The Dinner Club, a regularly occurring pop-up that takes places at the Storefront Gallery  in Ferndale (and other locations, occasionally), usually happens around dinner time, but this Sunday, July 27, there will be a special edition: Brunch Chef Matthew Baldridge, who’s resume includes stints at such Detroit greats as Cliff Bell’s, The Rattlesnake Club, and Seldom Blues, has crafted a menu of French-inspired items that employ locally procured ingredients. Brunch includes four courses where guests will be treated to such delights as cocoa, cinnamon, chili-spiced creamy grits with pickled strawberries, cocoa puffs and strawberry-infused syrup, a smoked gouda potato gallette with Faygo Root Beer braised pork belly, quail egg and Faygo Root Beer syrup, banana marscapone-filled French toast with fresh raspberries, whipped cream and balsamic syrup, and champagne-soaked strawberries. It is also important to note that brunch is BYOChampagne. Baldridge, along with The Storefront Gallery’s Derek John and Lilacpop Studio owner and artist Janna Coumoundouros, curate the event that includes an art show, a great playlist, and visuals. Brunch services are at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. and last about two hours, only 20 seats are available at each service. The cost is $25 plus a service fee. The Storefront Gallery […]

    The post Dinner Club Does Brunch appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Jurassic 5 holds onto what’s golden

      By Ashley Zlatopolsky It’s been a little over twenty years since iconic ‘90s alternative hip-hop group Jurassic 5 first formed in Los Angeles’ Good Life club. Widely regarded as a pivotal influence in the decade’s underground hip-hop movement by critics and fans alike, the six-piece crew consisting of two DJs (Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark) and four MCs (Akil, Zaakir, Marc 7 and Chali 2na) were well on their way to becoming one of hip-hop’s greatest and most powerful acts of all time, ranking alongside names such as Public Enemy and N.W.A. with socially-conscious lyrics and smooth beats paired with smart sampling. But in 2004, Cut Chemist left the group to pursue a solo career, and in 2007 Jurassic 5 completely called it quits after nearly 15 years of music. And that was it for the crew until 2013. After almost seven years apart (nine for Cut Chemist), Jurassic 5 reunited and re-emerged stronger than ever before with a new flair, seasoned attitude, and more vibrant energy at Coachella Music Festival, the group’s first show with the original six members since Cut Chemist split. During their performance, Jurassic 5 gave fans a memorable concert revisiting all the classic feel-good tracks […]

    The post Jurassic 5 holds onto what’s golden appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit Riverwalk west extension opens from Riverfront Towers to Rosa Parks

    Dogs of Detroit have new territory to trot: Yesterday, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy held a soft opening for a 20-acre westward extension of the Riverwalk. Part of a planned two-mile track of the West Riverwalk, the new span runs from the Riverfront Towers to Rosa Parks Boulevard, says Mark Pasco, director of communications for the conservancy. “It’s going to be great,” Pasco says. “It’s a wide open green space. It’s going to be great for activities.” The endgame for the Riverwalk, Pasco notes, is to extend the walkway from the Ambassador Bridge to Gabriel Richard Park, just past the MacArthur Bridge — about a 5.5. mile route. The new westward expansion is wider than most of the walkway, about 30 feet, says Pasco — a decision made by the conservancy to accommodate fisherman that previously frequented the area. “We knew … once it opened up they’d want to fish there again, so we made the Riverwalk itself wider,” Pasco says. The conservancy will hold a grand opening in late September, which will include “food and music and activities,” Pasco says, though no official date has been set.

    The post Detroit Riverwalk west extension opens from Riverfront Towers to Rosa Parks appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Best of Detroit 2012

Public Square - Staff Picks

Our staff picks for Metro Detroit

Best Example of Journalism Shaking  Things Up

WXYZ-TV's "Wayne County 

Confidential" series

Back in September, WXYZ's investigative team broke the story that Turkia Mullin, newly hired to be director of the Wayne County Airport Authority, received a $200,000 severance payment as she was leaving her post as the cash-strapped county's economic development director. Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano immediately began stonewalling and obfuscating as the scandal exploded, other area media began piling on and then the FBI rolled on in. Since then, there have been a slew of firings and resignations. Two former members of Team Ficano have been charged with federal felonies, and another has been indicted. Mullin was fired from the airport post and repaid the severance. The FBI investigation is ongoing, an attempted recall of Ficano is under way. And the station has rightly received an armful of well-deserved awards for the work. Earning kudos have been reporters Heather Catallo and Ross Jones, editor Randy Lundquist and photographers Ramon Rosario and Johnny Sartin. Ann Mullen, an MT alum, is the executive producer of WXYZ-TV's investigative unit.

Best Change to Local   

Left-Wing Radio

Thom Hartmann's new time slot on WDTW/1310 AM

The way we see it, the sanest voice on the radio airwaves belongs to Thom Hartmann. He provides a wealth of knowledge, rational discourse and honest debate instead of inflammatory rhetoric. A student of history, this Michigan native's nationally syndicated show is a must listen for anyone who wants to be politically well-informed. And the best thing is that listening in this area recently got much easier when Hartmann's live call-in program moved to the afternoon drive-time slot. Check it out weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m.

Best Thing About Local Right-Wing Radio

Charlie Langton's show on   WXYT-AM/1270

Granted, Charlie usually comes off as being entirely overcaffeinated, especially at 6 in the morning. And his voice is set at a constant level: LOUD! But for a guy who occupies the same home on the local radio dial as extremist nut jobs like Glenn Beck and Laura Ingram, Langton is refreshingly — dare we say it — moderate. A lawyer with a regular gig as a commentator on the local Fox TV affiliate, Langton actually uses his radio show to promote actual debate, and does it in a way that's generally respectful. Rush Limbaugh he ain't. And that's a very good thing. Airing 6-9 weekday mornings, the show is worth listening to, even if you're a liberal.

Best Local Reality  TV Stars

The Gold Family

Hardcore Pawn, truTV

The father-and-kids melodrama of Hardcore Pawn, swirling around the daily customer encounters and backroom battles of Detroit pawnbroker Les Gold (could there be a better name for a man in his profession?), his son, Seth, and daughter, Ashley Gold Broad, remains the top-rated show on truTV in its sixth season. It has even spawned a spinoff series, Hardcore Pawn Fort Bragg, to premiere on truTV later this year. It'll have to go some to match the raw outrageousness of the original: Even though you know the family squabbles are magnified for the sake of the camera and Detroiters don't really display their ignorant backsides in public like that for the world to see (do we?), the viewing experience of Hardcore Pawn is an irresistibly guilty delight.

Best Low-Power 

Radio Station

1610-AM, The Station

11758 Sobieski St., Hamtramck; 313-718-1610; am1610.org

Since May 2009, tech geek Steven Cherry has been sending low-power AM signal from his home in Hamtramck. He built a studio for the station later that year, and it regularly hosts local luminaries who create their own radio programming, with Cherry as station manager. Of course, that all sounds much more official than the way he puts it: "We are your weird friends with lots of records," he says, in his typically disarming way. But local rockers have shows, including Jeffrey Fournier and Timmy "Vulgar" Lampinen of Timmy's Organism, as does local tavern owner and record collector Andy Dow of the Painted Lady, as well as MT's own Michael Jackman. The new shows are broadcast live on Sundays, and rebroadcast throughout the week, not just on the airwaves but streaming on the website. Most of the time, it's just freeform fun, but Cherry hopes to engage the community as much as possible. He says, "Call us or send us a text. Leave a clever message and maybe we'll play it on the air."

Best Reason We Still Have a Hoedown in Motown

Tim Roberts, program director, WYCD-FM

The Downtown Hoedown celebrates its 30th anniversary this summer, meaning Detroit undeniably was country before country was cool. But think about it: How many cities south of the Mason-Dixon would relish the idea of stealing away such a massive outdoor musical tradition and claiming it as their own — indeed, believe it should be their birthright? One of the prime movers behind keeping the country kickin' here is Roberts, who this year was named Numero Uno among all country radio programmers in America, according to the publication Radio Ink. He's considered one of the most powerful people in country music and a native Detroiter, so much of what happens surrounding keeping the Hoedown here — including its move to the more spacious and easier-to-access Comerica Park this year — conforms to Roberts' rules of order. And even though the formerly free festival is a ticketed, paid event for the first time, the alternative — thousands of visitors staying away from downtown the first weekend in June, and keeping their cash in their pockets — sounds as sad as a country ballad.

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