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"Tell the chef, the beer is on me."
Detroit - once a manufacturing giant - went bust in 2013. An innovative crowd-funding project called Detroit Soup is helping the city get back on its feet.
It's a typical winter's night in Michigan. Snow is falling, and so is the temperature - it's -15C at last count. Unsociable conditions such as these would put paid to plans for many people, but not in Detroit.
"Winter 'Soups' always do well," says Detroit Soup founder Amy Kaherl, preparing for the latest of her fundraising events. "People are grateful for a chance to come out of hibernation."
With a small team of dedicated volunteers, an empty hall is quickly filled with tables laden with huge loaves of bread, and the waft of soup. Kaherl and friends started Detroit Soup to help local artists fulfil their creative ambition. Five years on, "Soup", as it's more commonly known, is a city-wide movement which has reached well beyond the artistic community.
"Tonight is our 95th soup, and in total we've raised over $85,000 (£57,000)," she says proudly.
The 33-year-old Kaherl is a master multi-tasker - with her rapid-fire speech she is the kind of person who can answer three questions in one sentence. "Check one, check two - pah-tub, pah-tub- pah-tub-PAH. I wish I could beat-box," she rues during the sound-check.
As predicted, despite the cold, people come out in force, bringing with them trays of cupcakes, pastries and pots of hot food to add to the standard fare of soup and salad which gave Detroit Soup its name.
It's a simple concept: people turn up, pay $5 (£3.30) at the door, and listen to three or four people pitch an idea to improve the local community. Pitchers may not talk for more than four minutes, and definitely must not use PowerPoint. The audience can then ask a maximum of four questions.
With the presentations over, soup is served. People mull over the ideas and then they vote on their favourite. The winner gets to take home all the money taken at the door and use it to fund their plan, with the promise they will come back three months later to report on their progress.
The ideas bidding for funding tonight include an urban farming project, an adult literacy programme, a community library for Black History Month, and a support group helping people facing repossession. ...
Metro Times: Sue Summers of Static Records
Label owner and promoter puts out top notch music. Oh, and she also saves local cats.
By Brett Callwood
Published: March 11, 2014
Photo by Peter Schorn
Sue Summers was already a face in the local punk scene when she started her first label, Chaos, in the ’80s. That label morphed into Static Network and Records, which sees Summers promoting shows on top of putting out quality music. She’s played a big part in making the Erotic Poetry & Music Festival a success, and she hosts shows at the Corktown Tavern throughout the year, including the much-loved Todd’s Reunion. Oh, and she also saves a ton of local cats. Is there anything that Sue Static cannot do?
Metro Times: When did you start Static Records?
Sue Summers: My brother Joe and I (he’s the guitarist in Son of Sam), we grew up in the early ’80s punk and hardcore scenes over at the Freezer Theatre, and the Clubhouse. I was inspired by the whole DIY ethic that was around at the time. Touch n’ Go Records had just started and were releasing records, and I decided that was the route to go. After that, I was into the club scene over at Todd’s, and I had a store there called Chaos. We sold vintage clothes, custom made leather jackets, jewelry and what-not. I also started promoting bands there, and carrying their vinyl (as it was at the time). From there, I started to do shows in the late ’80s. I started at Finney’s Pub [on Woodward in Detroit], and from there I went to Alvin’s and then the Foundry, and then after that 313.Jac/Jacoby’s with Stirling. We ran that for 12 years. Now, I’m doing shows at the Corktown Tavern.
MT: Is Static more of a promo company than a label right now?
Summers: It’s both. The full name is Static Network and Records. We’re focusing more on the promotions end of things right now, doing all the publicity and promoting shows. But the label is still there. We have 29 releases out since we stated as Chaos back in 1991. I had a run in with Sony. We had to change the name, but I was able to prove that they got the name from me for their offshoot label. I was able to get some funds so I was able to start and maintain a label for all these years. That was nice. 29 releases later, and we’re still going.
MT: You don’t put out a huge amount of records – is it just something that you do when a band strikes you as worthy?
Summers: Yes, pretty much. I generally do something when I have it in the budget to work with somebody. The last record we did was actually a release by the Buck Brothers, a band from London. That was my first non-Detroit band. I saw them in Toronto at a conference and really liked them. …
… MT: What release are you most proud of so far?
Summers: That would be the Iggy Pop tribute compilation, Pop O.D. That was just a labor of love, and everything on there blew my mind.
MT: It is a very interesting album – they’re not obvious covers…
Summers: Absolutely, that’s what I was going for. I wanted a mix between experimentation and the tried and true covers. It worked out nicely.
MT: Is it still tough in this day and age for a woman in the music industry? One would hope not…
Summers: Not so much anymore. I guess I never looked at it that way. I just loved music and did it, so it’s never affected me. …
… MT: Do you have any more shows coming up that we should know about?
Summers: I do big charity shows each year – I do the [Halloween] Big ’80s Flashback Bash, the Home for the Holidays Songwriting Showcase and Charity Drive, the Summer Fest Songwriting Showcase, obviously the Erotic Poetry & Music Festival that just passed, and the Todd’s Reunion. Each one of them, a portion of the proceeds benefits a people or animal charity. I like that people can go there and discover some new bands, and also become aware of these community groups that are trying to help others. …
… MT: Excellent. Anything to add?
Summers: I have a Facebook page at HaterKitty.com. That’s what I do when I’m not doing music. I take care of cats in the neighborhood, and that’s my page dedicated to them. I’ve been doing that for years now. We re-home them, feed them, all of that.
MT: How many cats do you have in your house right now?
My BFF is a Goddess.
The Story Behind This Powerful Photo Of A Police Officer And A Student Protester
Photo: Stefan Stefanov
Imgur user plamentanev posted this image from Bulgaria on Wednesday.
He described the scene:
This photo really moved me so much that I decided to try and raise awarenes to what is going on in my country. This girl was crying and begging the policeman not to hit her or any of her friends. Then the policeman started crying as well and he said to her: “You just hold on girl.”
The photo comes from protests happening in Bulgaria right now. Students are protesting poverty and corruption in Bulgaria’s Socialist-backed government, chaining themselves to the doors of Sofia University and clashing with police outside of parliament.
After the photo was taken it quickly went viral on Bulgarian Facebook, being shared thousands of times.
“ We wish to dedicate this judicial success not only to the victims, but also to the thousands of ‘freedom fighters’ and to the memory of all those who self-immolated in and outside Tibet, and those who risk their lives and their freedom in the face of the passivity of the international community whose silence is an accomplice to the genocide. Their sense of justice and their determination for truth is enshrined in this judicial battle that believes in these values in a non violent manner. ”— Alan Cantos of CAT (Comite de Apoyo al Tibet) on Spanish court’s decision to indict former Chinese president Hu Jintao (via phayul.com)
from International Campaign for Tibet (Nov. 18 2013):
Judges in the Spanish National Court today (November 18) ordered warrants of arrest to be issued against five Chinese leaders, including former President and Party Secretary Jiang Zemin, for their policies in Tibet. This ground-breaking development follows the news on October 9 of Hu Jintao’s indictment for genocide in Tibet. In a separate legal ruling also issued today in Madrid, the Spanish National Court also ordered that former leader Hu Jintao is informed of his indictment and sent questions about his policies in Tibet via the Chinese embassy.
The rulings today have positively surprised Spanish legal experts working on the Tibetan law suits upholding the principle of “universal jurisdiction” a part of international law that allows courts to reach beyond national borders in cases of torture, terror and other serious international crimes perpetrated by individuals, governments or military authorities. This new development was described to the International Campaign for Tibet by legal experts in Spain as being potentially as significant as the arrest of Pinochet in London in 1998 after a group of Spanish lawyers put together a lawsuit against the Chilean dictator, who presided over a 17-year reign of terror and ordered foreign assassinations.
The orders for arrest warrants are made against five senior Chinese leaders for their involvement in policies in Tibet as follows: Jiang Zemin, former President and Party Secretary; Li Peng, Prime Minister during the repression in Tibet in the late 1980s and early 1990s (and the crackdown in Tiananmen); Qiao Shi, former head of Chinese security and responsible for the People’s Armed Police during the martial law period in Tibet in the late 1980s; Chen Kuiyuan, Party secretary in the Tibet Autonomous Region from 1992 to 2001 (who was known for his hardline position against Tibetan religion and culture), and Deng Delyun (also known as Peng Pelyun), minister of family planning in the 1990s.
The rulings, which go further than Spanish experts expected and send a strong signal to the Chinese leadership, mean that none of the leaders named, and others too, are likely to take the risk of travelling outside the PRC as they could be arrested for questioning on the crimes they are accused of. All the leaders face the possibility of bank accounts overseas being preventively frozen. In the earlier writ issued on October 9, the judges recognized that this indictment of Hu Jintao comes at the judicial moment “when his diplomatic immunity expires”. (ICT report, China’s former leader Hu Jintao indicted for policies in Tibet by Spanish court).
Today’s ruling was made by the appeals court (Section 4 of the Criminal Court of Spain’s National Court, the Audiencia Nacional), which is the investigative national court for major crimes such as terrorism, drug trafficking, piracy, or money laundering. It specifically refers to the “political and criminal responsibility” of the named Chinese leaders for their policies on Tibet and addresses the evidence presented to the court over the past eight years. This includes testimony from former political prisoners, international experts, documentation of killings and torture, and reports by ICT and other organisations. A report by the International Campaign for Tibet, ratified to the judge in Madrid in December 2012, outlined details of the chain of command for specific policies in Tibet from the imposition of martial law leading to torture and a climate of terror, to systematic patriotic education, compelling Tibetans to denounce their exiled leader the Dalai Lama. ICT described how the functions of the Communist Party override those of the Chinese state at all levels.
In making the ruling, the judges were acknowledging that there was ample and specific evidence to issue the order for arrest warrants. Orders of international arrest are carried out by police through Interpol or European Arrest Warrants in the EU and not by governments. The Chinese authorities responded to earlier writs with complaints to the Spanish Courts and government; Beijing has sought to quash the cases through direct intervention with the Spanish government and judiciary.
The Spanish lawyers acting for Spanish NGO Comite de Apoyo al Tibet (CAT) were requested by Court Room No 2 where the genocide lawsuit was lodged to provide a set of questions to former Party leader Hu Jintao about his policies in Tibet. The writ issued last month followed an appeal on July 29 following the judge’s earlier rejection of a request to extend the lawsuit to include former Party Secretary and President Hu Jintao. The appeals court now accepts the argument put forward by the Spanish NGO Comite de Apoyo al Tibet (CAT) for Hu Jintao’s indictment. This includes the period he was Party Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region in which he presided over the imposition of martial law in 1989, and also his responsibility for policy on Tibet as President and Party Secretary of China after 2003 “due to being the highest ranking person in both the Party and the Government”.
But that's not what OLPC did. They just left the boxes there, sealed up, containing one tablet for every kid in each of the villages (nearly a thousand tablets in total), pre-loaded with a custom English-language operating system and SD cards with tracking software on them to record how the tablets were used. Here's how it went down, as related by OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte at MIT Technology Review's EmTech conference last week:
"We left the boxes in the village. Closed. Taped shut. No instruction, no human being. I thought, the kids will play with the boxes! Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, but found the on/off switch. He'd never seen an on/off switch. He powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs [in English] in the village. And within five months, they had hacked Android. Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera! And they figured out it had a camera, and they hacked Android."
"Tell the chef, the beer is on me."
"Basically the price of a night on the town!"
"I'd love to help kickstart continued development! And 0 EUR/month really does make fiscal sense too... maybe I'll even get a shirt?" (there will be limited edition shirts for two and other goodies for each supporter as soon as we sold the 200)