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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” Also, “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” Because you can have the runs, 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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Review: Sister

Despite the tough themes, this neorealist short story never gets maudlin

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2011:03:24 18:01:14

In Sister, 12-year-old Simon, played by Kacey Mottet Klein, is a kid from the wrong side of the Alps.

Sister B+

If the stark neorealism of the Dardenne Brothers (The Kid With a Bike, Lorna’s Silence) is your cup of tea, then you may find French-born director and co-screenwriter Ursula Meier’s foray into the raw and uncomfortable agony of poverty, lost youth and parental abandonment a worthy companion piece.

Twelve-year-old Simon (Kacey Mottet Klein) is a scrawny, scrappy, self-sufficient kid who lives in a grim housing complex at the base of an Alpine ski resort. He takes care of his older sister Louise (Léa Seydoux), who is constantly losing both jobs and men, by stealing equipment from rich tourists at the resort and selling them to the locals. Meier starts off by following Simon on his thieving rounds, as he calmly slips a mask and helmet over his face then searches for high-end skis, goggles and boots. In a bathroom stall, he wolfs down sandwiches he’s pilfered from unattended backpacks. It’s the matter-of-factness of his routine that keeps us both riveted and disturbed. As we watch Simon rob from the complacent rich and redistribute their booty among the kids who live at the bottom of the lift, there’s never sense of victory or accomplishment. Only necessity and strain.

Despite his larcenous actions and Meier’s incisive subtext of class-warfare, Simon is just a wounded little boy who craves human connection. It’s something Louise reluctantly and rarely provides, mostly treating him as a nuisance. And so he attempts to connect with a sympathetic but opportunistic cook (Martin Compston) and a British mother (the always welcome Gillian Anderson) on holiday with her children. Neither provides him with the bond he’s looking for. And, so, he returns to self-destructive Louise, in search of the acceptance and comfort he so desperately needs.

Klein and Seydoux are remarkably naturalistic performers, and their relationship —filled with jealousy, tenderness, resentment and inside jokes —seems at all times authentic. Over time, we learn not only who these two are but, ultimately, what they mean to each other —even if they themselves are unsure. For every instance of kindness and connection there’s a heart-wrenching example of dysfunction, particularly when Simon must bribe Louise to let him sleep beside her.

Yet even with such instances of neediness and heartbreak, Sister is defiantly detached, never sentimental. Simon may not be a particularly likable child, but his mix of courage and vulnerability make for compelling viewing.

Meier captures his reality of his situation with an immediate, hand-held shooting scheme. Cinematographer Agnes Godard juxtaposes that offhand approach with gorgeously composed shots of the Alps and washed-out images of the housing project, contrasting the soaring natural beauty of the mountains with the functional austerity of the apartment flats. It’s a richly atmospheric exercise in displacement, highlighting the thin and envy-laden boundary between entitled opulence and quiet despair.

In many ways, Sister feels like a sensitive and penetrating short story. Some of its supporting characters may be a bit contrived and stock, but they provide Louise and Simon with small instances of hope, a path, however tentative, toward redemption. And just when you think Meier has committed her characters to a ruthlessly bleak and unforgiving ending, she provides a startling glimpse of love and concern that resonates long after the final credits have rolled. Whether it is enough or not is up to you.

In French and English with English subtitles.

Plays at 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Jan. 18-19, at 2 p.m. Jan. 20, at 9:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday Jan. 25-26, and at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27, at the Detroit Film Theatre, inside the DIA, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-3237.

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