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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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Screens

Review: Mama

Leap of wraith. Horror film is formula-filled

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Mama: Not a real horror film so much as a sporadic and unmotivated series of jolts.


Mama C

If you kick your cinema spookfest off with a title card that reads “once upon a time,” you’d better deliver the fairy tale goods. Executive producer Guillermo del Toro’s own work (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy) has mixed horror and fable to good effect, providing scares while enriching his fantasies with political subtext. Unfortunately, first-time feature filmmaker Andy Muschietti’s Mama isn't really worthy of the del Toro imprint. An expansion of Muschietti’s three-minute short, the movie (which Muschietti co-scripted with his sibling, Barbara Muschietti, and Neil Cross), while effectively creepy, is formulaic and woefully underdeveloped. In many ways, it feels like a modern update of last year’s Edwardian-era ghost story, The Woman in Black. But instead of a grieving and soulful Daniel Radcliffe, we get Jessica Chastain as a dark-haired, beer-swilling, tattooed anti-mom who wears a Misfits T-shirt and plays bass in all-girl punk band.

The film opens with a businessman killing his wife and fleeing into the snowy mountains with his two young daughters. Speeding along icy roads, the car crashes, stranding the trio. In the woods they find an abandoned cottage, oddly decked out with Eames-era furniture. Mad with despair, dad decides this is where he’ll put an end to his family —only to be stopped by a shadowy force. Flash forward five years. The girls, 8-year-old Victoria and 5-year-old Lily, are found in a dirty, feral state. Their dad’s twin brother Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, aka Jamie Lannister of Game of Thrones) and his girlfriend Annabel (Chastain) agree to take them in with the help of an ambitious psychiatrist, who sees a unique opportunity for research. Everybody assumes that the girls survived on their own and need only to be gently reintroduced to society. Unfortunately, that’s not quite the case. Something took care of them all those years, a possessive and vengeful wraith they call Mama, and it has decided to move in with them.

There’s a rich vein of maternal instinct and parental fear to mine here, but none of it is exploited —literally or allegorically. Lucas and Annabel are shallow characters who aren’t given much of an opportunity to explore, fight over, or fail at being care-givens. Similarly, Victoria’s guilt over embracing her new parents and the friction that results from Lily’s decision to remain loyal to Mama goes nowhere consequential. Instead, their apprehensions and worries are papered over with witless exchanges, story contrivances and unexplained events. The Muschiettis and Cross never convincingly expand on their original short, choosing to present a backstory we’ve seen before, plot mechanics that are beyond formulaic and supporting characters, like the psychiatrist, who serve only to explain what’s going on. As each contrivance piles on —a vindictive aunt, stolen files, a handy coma, a records office where dark secrets are kept, conveniently delivered dreams that fill us in on Mama’s origin —it becomes clear that the filmmakers are just padding an otherwise sporadic and unmotivated series of jolts.

In terms of scares, Mama is of the “what’s under the bed?” variety. There are vulvic orifices, big black moths, and sickening organic sounds. But the aesthetic mostly falls somewhere between the del Toro-produced Spanish horror The Orphanage and J-horror like The Ring or The Grudge. Muschietti does a decent job of conveying the sad eeriness of the situation, and strikes an effective balance between startles and suspense —even with his PG-13 rating. If a grotesquely contorted, bone-thin, scraggly-haired ghoul rushing at the camera gives you the heebee-jeebees, then Mama may provide enough creeps to justify a night at the cineplex. But if you’re looking for the kind of fantastical weirdness that del Toro is known for, the kind that haunts your dreams, you’re bound to be disappointed.