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  • Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well

    By LeeAnn Brown Some people say that hip-hop is dead. Local ban Fderal Ground is proving that is not the case. The seven-member band, consisting of three lead vocalists, a DJ, bass, drums and guitar, plays what they call “living hip-hop.” Their music, peppered with multiple styles, covers all aspects of life from growing up in the D to playing with fire despite knowing you will likely get burned. Their undeniable chemistry and raw lyrics compose a music that is living, breathing, and connecting to their listeners. It has been nearly 11 years since Vinny Mendez and Michael Powers conjured up the basement idea that has flowered into the Detroit funk-hop band Feral Ground. Throughout high school the two wrote and rapped consistently, playing shows here and there. In those years they matched their rap stanzas with the animated, dynamic voice of Ginger Nastase and saw an instant connection. The now trio backed their lyrics with DJ Aldo’s beats on and off for years, making him a permanent member within the last year, along with Andy DaFunk (bass), Joseph Waldecker (drums), and newest member, Craig Ericson (guitar). We sat down with Feral Ground and their manager, Miguel Mira, in their […]

    The post Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law

    Much has been made about Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s decision this week to transfer authority of the city’s water department to Mayor Mike Duggan. In what is the most interesting read on the situation, Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale, pens an analysis on Michigan’s novel emergency manager law on the New York Times Opinionator blog. Stanley deconstructs Michigan’s grand experiment in governance by addressing two questions: Has the EM law resulted in policy that maximally serves the public good? And, is the law consistent with basic principles of democracy? Stanley ties in examples of Plato, James Madison’s Federalist Papers, and Nazi political theorist Carl Schmitt. A short excerpt: Plato was a harsh critic of democracy, a position that derived from the fact that his chief value for a society was social efficiency. In Plato’s view, most people are not capable of employing their autonomy to make the right choices, that is, choices that maximize overall efficiency. Michigan is following Plato’s recommendation to handle the problems raised by elections. Though there are many different senses of “liberty” and “autonomy,” none mean the same thing as “efficiency.” Singapore is a state that values efficiency above all. But by no stretch of […]

    The post Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week

    Walking with Dinosaurs, a magnificent stage show that features life-sized animatronic creatures from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, will be in town next week. But to preview the show’s run at the Palace, a baby T-Rex will be making an appearance at four area malls to the delight and wonderment of shoppers. Baby T-Rex, as the creature is being affectionately referred to, is seven-feet-tall and 14-feet-long. He’ll only be at each mall for about 15 minutes, so while there will be photo opportunities, they’ll be short. The dino will be at Fairlane Town Center Center Court at 18900 Michigan Ave. in Detroit from 2-2:15 p.m. today, July 30; The Mall at Partridge Creek at 17420 Hall Rd. in Clinton Township from 5-5:15 p.m. today, July 30; Twelve Oaks Mall at the Lord & Taylor Court at 27500 Novi Rd., Novi tomorrow, Thursday July 31 from 1:30-1:45 p.m.; and Great Lakes Crossing Food Court at 4000 Baldwin Rd., Auburn Hills from 5-5:15 p.m., tomorrow Thursday, July 31.  

    The post Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations

    Interested in reading about what Detroit accomplishes on a week-to-week basis that’s produced by the city itself? Great. You can do that now, here, at the Detroit Dashboard. Every Thursday morning, the city will publish an update to the dashboard because Mayor Mike Duggan loves metrics, even if the data might be hard to come by. According to Duggan’s office, the dashboard will provide data on how many LED street lights were installed, how many vacant lots were mowed, how much blight was removed, and more. This week, the city says it has sold 13 site lots through BuildingDetroit.com, removed 570 tons of illegal dumping, and filed 57 lawsuits against abandoned property owners.  

    The post Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial

    We don’t know about you, but usually Nancy Whiskey and Long John Silver’s aren’t two concepts we’d place in the same sentence. However, the international fast food fish fry conglomerate made a nod to the Detroit dive in their latest YouTube commercial. LJS is offering free fish fries on Saturday, August 2, which is the promotion the commercial is attempting to deliver. But, we think we’ll just go to Nancy Whiskey instead.

    The post Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women

    We came across an interesting item this week: Apparently, a music festival with the name “Michfest” is quietly oriented as a “Women-Only Festival Exclusively for ‘Women Born Women.’” It seems a strange decision to us. If you wanted to have a women-only music festival, why not simply proclaim loud and clear that it is for all sorts of women? But if you really wanted to become a lightning rod for criticisms about transphobia, organizers have found the perfect way to present their festival. Now, we know that defenders of non-cisgender folks have it tough. The strides made by gays and lesbians (and bisexuals) in the last 20 years have been decisive and dramatic. But the people who put the ‘T’ in LGBT have reason to be especially defensive, facing a hostile culture and even some disdain from people who should be their natural allies. That said, sometimes that defensiveness can cause some activists to go overboard; when we interviewed Dan Savage a couple years ago, he recalled his “glitter bombing” and said it was due to the “the narcissism of small differences,” adding that “if you’re playing the game of who is the most victimized, attacking your real enemies doesn’t prove you’re most victimized, claiming you […]

    The post Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Review: Rust and Bone

Odd love story features a kickboxer and legless sex

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Rust and Bone B-

Intimate and yet patently ludicrous, Rust and Bone is a film about the erosion of the spirit as well as the flesh, though the first thing to go may be the viewer’s patience. Led by a central character with all the emotional flexibility of a brick, this is the story of a pair of fragile, incomplete lovers attempting to find fullness in each other, or at least the illusion of each other, but who remain thoroughly unlikable in love.

Matthias Schoenaerts is the inscrutable, sort of distant semi-hero Ali, a Belgian kickboxer who bolts to the south of France with his young son after the kid’s mother tried to use him as a drug mule. He has no clue about being a dad and no real plan, other than crashing with his put-upon sister (Céline Sallette) for as long as she’ll tolerate them. He gets a job bouncing at a meat-market nightclub, which is an excellent place to find his latest indifferent sexual conquest. One of his intended hookups proves more slightly intriguing; the feisty Stephanie (Marion Cotillard), who shows enough fight and smarts to excite him, or at least what passes for excitement on his inert face. 

Perhaps that shark-like glossiness of his eyes is actually appealing to Stephanie, who works as an aquatic mammal trainer at a Sea World-style marine park. If this were a standard issue Hollywood movie, her day job would likely just be a pretense for some cutesy animal interactions, but this very much is not that kind of picture. This is the kind of movie where the lead actress gets her lower legs bitten off by a rampaging orca.

I know, not that old chestnut once again.

After a prolonged bout of self-pity, Stephanie decides to place a booty call to the bouncer, as he doesn’t have the good sense to possess an ounce of shame or hesitation. They proceed to have hot, hot, legless sex, lots and lots of hot legless sex. Ali’s capacity for emotional separation in the sack is actually a selling point for her. Her inner kinky voice wants to feel anything but self-pity, and this particular brand of cheap, mechanical lovemaking helps her feel whole again in a sad, strange way.

The film is in no hurry to get to a coherent point, yet manages to cram in a number of aimless subplots, about Ali’s burgeoning underground street fighting career and his new day job as a security guard spying on employees of a big-box store.

Director Audiard certainly knows how to create pretty pictures, as the curious lovers lounge around on beach chairs by day, or explore twinkly-lit city streets by night. Something more interesting should have emerged here; there is enough layered on grit to make things feel real, and Cottilard is good enough to make the material seem more compelling than it is, even as the plot ambles in no particular direction, least of all toward something as insightful or honest as the performances.

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