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  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May

    Margaret Doll Rod will celebrate the release of her new EP, Margaret, with a show at PJ’s Lager House on Saturday, May 10. A statement reads, “The EP contains 3 new original songs and one Chrome Cranks cover with Italian actress Asia Argento singing background vocals. Margaret moved to Italy after the end of the Demolition Doll Rods where she still lives touring and performing festivals in Europe. The Dollrods were a Garage Rock force for over 20 years, opening for Iggy, Jon Spencer, The Scientist, The Monks and The Cramps. Margaret was the front person and principal songwriter for The Dollrods. Her chief musical foil was Danny Kroha, who joined the Demolition Doll Rods after the now legendary Gories called it quits. Margaret’s sister, Christine, on drums, rounded out the legendary trio. Margaret will do a special performance in the round that night with a 360 degree revolving stage and special guest DJ Adam Stanfel.” The bill will also feature the Stomp Rockets and the Volcanos. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to bcallwood@metrotimes.com. Ricky Rat’s Tokyo Pop/Glitter People (New Fortune) 7” single highlights all that’s great about the Trash Brats guitarist, but also his limitations. The man can write a bubblegum rock ’n’ roll song to match anyone in the city and most beyond. He’s also a killer guitarist, ripping out one throwaway riff after another with reckless abandon. He’s a machine. On his own though, without Trash Brats frontman Brian McCarty, his voice doesn’t have enough strength to do the songs justice. Not that you need to have the greatest voice in the world to sing this stuff – you don’t need to be able to perform vocal gymnastics – but you do have to be able to wail the tunes out. Both of the songs on this single are great, but you can’t help but wonder how much better they would sound with McCarty or somebody similar talking the mic. Still, as they are the songs are great fun. We’re just being picky. The Paper Sound’s Trajectories is a dense, atypically dark Americana-tinged album, unrelenting and […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of buildingdetroit.org, a new website launched by the City of Detroit today to auction off city-owned homes to prospective buyers who pledge to fix them up and move in. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement today. “There are a lot of people who would love to move into many of our neighborhoods. Knowing that other people are going to be buying and fixing up the other vacant homes at the same time will make it a lot easier for them to make that commitment.” The website to facilitate the auctions went live this afternoon. The first auction is scheduled to take place Monday, May 5. Officials said in a news release that one home will be auctioned per day, Monday through Friday. Fifteen homes are available for sale on the site, a dozen of which are in the East English Village neighborhood. Any Michigan resident, company, or organization that can do business in the state can bid, according to the website. Properties will be for sale for only one day, with bidding taking place from 8 […]

    The post Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes

    In case you haven’t heard, two of the biggest names in film, Steven Spielberg and John Williams, are collaborating to put on a benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this summer. In case you wanted to go- well, you’re too damn late. The DSO says tickets to the June 14 concert were snapped up in a record-breaking 15 minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. today. The DSO has since released this statement to fans who didn’t snag seats: Our apologies to everyone who was unable to buy tickets this morning for our historic benefit concert featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Despite increasing our phone and internet system capacity for the day, a surge of hundreds of ticket buyers purchased tickets in a matter of minutes, filling the phone lines and temporarily maxing out our web servers. After a one-hour pre-sale made available to donors and subscribers at 8am, we released additional seats at 9am to the general public, including seats available for as low as $30. All seats sold out immediately. The concert program seems nothing short of top notch: Williams will conduct the orchestra as it performs some of his most iconic tunes, such […]

    The post Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes 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 Arts Campaign 

Fela! at Music Hall 

It was audacious in the first place for Music Hall to bring the Broadway show Fela! here for a three-week run — a $1.6 million gamble. But Music Hall Prexy and Artistic Director Vince Paul and his crew went beyond traditional marketing and fundraising in cobbling together a web of more than 40 collaborators: philanthropic souls, corporations and institutions. There were presentations in schools (tying the Nigerian activist-musician's Afro-beat to hip hop), Fela-related exhibits at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Virgil H. Carr Cultural Arts Center, etc. The show more than broke even dollar-wise, but in bringing disparate Detroiters together around a timely message, Fela! was a smash. 

Best Poet for Busy People

Ken Mikolowski

Not that he can't stretch out, but Mikolowski's poems can make haikus seem long-winded by 10, 15, even 16 syllables. Even as he cuts down the reading time, the reader still needs to have time to ponder, and if you can't give even that, you're too busy for poetry or art and can skip a couple items down the list. If you're still with us, we'll note that the poem titled "THINGS TO DO IN AN ECONOMIC CRISIS" advises "Buy low / stay high." "WAY TO GO" cuts to the quick: "Gone." Mikolowski, who is a lecturer in the University of Michigan's Residential College, tells us he recently completed a 75-poem — two-lines max — manuscript for a new book of poetry titled THAT THAT. Here's a preview: The poem "REALITY" reads "not really."

Best Hope for the Detroit Institute of Arts 

The people 

Visit the DIA's website and you'll see the latest on great goings-on. Free Friday night music, award-winning films, world-renowned offerings from the standing collection (such as Pieter Bruegel the Elder's "The Wedding Dance" and the Rivera murals). What you don't get is the sense of how precarious it all is. With the city and state support now zeroed out, the museum is throwing a hail Mary pass by seeking a 0.2 mill property tax in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Without that kind of a cash infusion, museum Director Graham Beal foresees an institution open only for limited weekend hours, a rump institution. Wayne County Commissioners have OK'd a ballot measure, which would raise an annual $9 million if passed. Oakland County is still undecided on authorizing a ballot measure to raise an estimated $11 million; Macomb commissioners nixed and at press time were reconsidering a ballot measure to raise $3 million. Residents of counties passing millages would get free admission and bragging rights as arts patrons and saviors. Past efforts for cultural taxes have had mixed success (no to a 16-institution cultural tax, no to an earlier DIA proposal, yes to the Detroit Zoo). Could energizing the base of artists and arts lovers make a crucial difference for the DIA this time? 

Best Art Idea to Steal 

Lansing's Old Town Scrapfest

oldtownscrapfest.com 

This isn't a big-purse undertaking like Grand Rapids' ArtPrize, and it doesn't generate international waves, but it is modest in size, cool and easy to replicate. Sculpture teams get one hour to grab as much as 500 pounds of junk of their choosing at a scrap yard, then two weeks to build sculptures that are displayed during outdoor events, voted on by the public and finally auctioned off to raise money for ... more public arts projects. It's now entering its fourth year in Lansing. Let's see, we have scrap yards, artists, art-appreciative audiences and plenty of public arts projects that need funding. Let's have fun like they do in Lansing. 

Best New Pro Sports Team

American Ultimate Disc League's Detroit Mechanix 

theaudl.com, detmechanix.com

Go ahead and laugh at the American Ultimate Disc League. But the professional Ultimate Frisbee organization kicked off this month, and its Detroit-based team, the Detroit Mechanix, is ready for action. And the Pontiac Silverdome is going to see some consistent action again courtesy of the Mechanix home games. It's a bit like soccer, or maybe basketball, only with a Frisbee! Fans of ultimate, take note, as well: The sport's longstanding tradition, commonly referred to as "Spirit of the Game" — of leaving it up to players to make calls on the field — has been tossed out the window. The league is using refs, and, as AUDL founder and president Josh Moore recently told Slate, this will probably get more people to take the sport seriously. The Silverdome will also play host to the AUDL's first championship game on Aug. 11.

Best Creative Class Mingle 

Drinks x Design

We're reluctant to blow our own horn, but you might think we're holding back if you haven't gotten word already. Once a month, Metro Times teams up with Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3) and Quicken Loans — plus other outfits such as CCS and AIGA Detroit — to corral a local design shop to open its doors for a happy hour, typically followed by cocktails at a nearby bar or restaurant. It's an opportunity to hang out, network and talk up Detroit as a burgeoning center for design and creative innovation. It happens the second Thursday of the month. Past mingles have included Skidmore Design Studios, Digitas and Signal-Return. On May 10, we're at Kraemer Design Group, (1420 Broadway, downtown Detroit; thekraemeredge.com). Watch for Drinks X Design updates at MT's Facebook page (you like us already, right?) or e-mail drinksxdesign@metrotimes.com.

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