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Snarky, Witty, Pithy, On Point: The State of Detroit's Blogosphere

It's been a while, but since Model D's last blog round up, dozens of whip-smart, cultured and diverse blogs have popped up on the scene, all cornering markets like music, fashion, food, politics and lifestyle with personalized flair that trumps the more traditional news outlets.

What started as a minor drizzle a few years ago has turned into torrential downpour of talented scribes lighting up Detroit's blogosphere with often biting, hilarious and honest work. Let's just jump right in and introduce you to a couple new kids on the block, setting the web aflame, one snarky post at a time.

Eat This Blog

Speaking of snark, if you're trolling the 'net for a healthy dose of sarcasm, served with a shot of disgruntled, followed by a chaser of highly opinionated, look no further than music blog EatThisCity.com.

ETC is what we'll call a Frankenstein blog, started by Jasper, formally of Detroit-music-centric WebVomit.com -- created a few years ago, Jasper jokes, after he was, "diagnosed with a rare case of terminal boredom" -- and his backwards-hatted partner-in-crime JRC (earlier responsible for the equally Detroit-rock obsessed FiveThreeDialTone.com) the two combined forces simply due to the fact that, well, they were essentially writing about the same thing.

Jasper asks, "Do five music blogs need to cover the same show? No, but what else are they going to talk about? This was the reason WebVomit and FiveThreeDialTone merged."

Now, instead of hitting multiple spots for the latest on the goings on of local electro-pop maestro Deastro, or getting a link to the latest Von Bondies single, readers can look to EatThisCity as a one-stop shop for all things Detroit-rock and beyond, filtered through the taste-making, yet often brutal, lenses of Jasper and JRC.

Occasionally criticized for perpetuating negativity throughout the local music scene (seriously, check out some of the borderline ridiculous reader comments), Jasper says the key is to know when, and know when not to, take things with a grain of salt. "I don't think bloggers should be taken too seriously by themselves or by others. It only takes a few clicks to become a blogger, and those clicks don't earn you any credibility. The discussion bloggers can provoke, however, should sometimes be taken seriously."

What do they want out of it?

"The only thing I hope to get out of my blog is a permanent shit-eating grin for myself and the readers who find it entertaining," Jasper says. "Sometimes people buy me drinks and I make friends. That's a bonus."

The First Cutz is the Deepest

If ETC are the local music blog kings (no offense MotorCityRocks we love you, too) there must be a prince, right? Perhaps Jeff Milo of the local and national music blog Deep Cutz just might fit the bill. A freelance writer, most often seen published in Real Detroit Weekly, Milo (short for the more-than-a-mouthful last name Milosevich) started his blog out of the purest of intentions. "I felt like I could barely get to the heart of a story in 250 words -- so it was a way to freely ramble beyond the confines of predetermined word space."

Indeed, Milo's writing style is filled with run-on sentences, hyphen-filled hyperbole, and big-time words that often cast him as the Max Fisher of local music bloggers. But Milo sees himself in a much different light, calling his voice "expressive." Read some of his stuff, and it seems almost an understatement, as his passion is unbridled; he's often seen singing the praises of underdog local bands and unsung nationals as if he were their proud papa.

"My hope is that the focus is upon the fact that these feelings are unique to this piece, or this creator...and they are the feelings inspired by the work," Milo says.

And like the passionate, literate, and supportive blogger he is, Milo has nothing but kind words for his peers.

"MotorCityRocks is great, because they're so reliable to keep you informed on what's going on around town. Also, Pillow Fights & Boxing Tuesday (frequent Metro Times contributor Laura Witkowski's blog), because it's similar to what I'm doing: more journalistic, and done well."

And it seems like Milo's peers are noticing him as well.

"As the academic-type, Jeff Milo basically writes dissertation after dissertation in his reviews. Sometimes, I can't follow him, but anyone who writes that freely and insightfully is worth my time," says Scotter Bragg of Detroit and St. Louis blog Post-Rockist.com.

Cement To Be

Another rising blog we like is Cement, dedicated to covering Detroit's street fashion scene, seen through the camera shutter's of Adrienne Goloda and Katie Jean Payne.

Somewhat styled in the same vein as the street-style blogs TheCobraSnake.com and LastNightsParty.com, Cement is, in the words of Goloda, "mostly a photo blog, with some names, events, and links thrown in to promote stylish endeavors we like."

From snapping shots at local hangs like Gusoline Alley and the Lager House, to posting pics from more fashion-y events like the Detroit By Design Anniversary Party and the Detroit Urban Craft Fair, the criteria for getting your mug posted on Cement are quite simple. "We will take anyone's pic we think is interesting looking; there's no 'good' or 'bad' way to look except boring -- that's bad," Goloda says.

What's not bad, though, is Cement's dedication to covering Detroit fashion from a DIY, egalitarian point of view.

"We show that Detroit has real style. I like to think it's not as homogenized as bigger or 'hipper' cities," Goloda says. "We don't just cover white hipster culture, which I fear most street style blogs are guilty of, particularly in the Midwest. I also like featuring local style 'talent' in whatever form it takes. We started incorporating more features into our usual out and about photos, which makes it a bit more meaty."

BlogosQueer

Nothing beats good old fashioned spitfire, which is what SupergayDetroit delivers in spades.

Take this little diatribe about a recent trip to Palm Springs, entitled "New Year Musings": "Palm Springs isn't just old people. It's gay people too. A lot of them. Like so many it's a little uncomfortable, at least until you get used to it. Well, if you come from the gay desert of Detroit it takes getting used to."

Supergay's ha-ha observations and random adventures are meant to breath life into said gay desert.

"I hope to show people that there are gay people in Southeast Michigan who DO expect more than a suburban bedroom community mall-based lifestyle," Supergay says. "I hope to inform people about cool things coming up so they will patronize/attend them and we can have more. I hope to tell people about the cool things that happened so next time, they might want to go."

Supergay has also become something of a party promoter with the always fun Tuesday Nights Doggy Style at the Park Bar downtown, a weekly "gay-er night at a bar that actually has windows," he says.
 
All this activity has garnered Supergay some serious notice: He's won the Metro Times Best Pop Culture Blog in the reader's poll the last two years running.  

Not one to sit on his laurels, he's got high hopes for 2009.

"I am shifting my agenda a little, and trying to get Detroit to focus on aesthetics. Like dressing a little better when you leave the house elevates life in the city for everyone. I'm also going to explore gin."
 
Blog-Au-Go Go

Here are a few more Detroit-made blogs for you to check out:

Sweet Juniper
In the words of Supergay, Sweet Juniper is "probably the most successful, on a national level, blog in Detroit, and always smart and hopeful despite covering some of the uglier aspects of life in Detroit." Started in 2005 by married couple Dutch and Wood while living in San Francisco, Sweet Juniper documents the upbringing of their children since their move to the D. From trips to Belle Isle to observing awkward father/daughter interactions with Ol' Saint Nick, SJ is very much in a league of it's own.

Post Rockist
Previously mentioned above, Post Rockist was started, according to Bragg, "to go beyond just regular music criticism." Favorite activities include making up fake titles to Of Montreal jams and gushing about local delights like Mason Proper and Lightning Love.

The Incorrigible City
"Detroit is so much more than troubled corporations, abandoned train stations, wig shops, bread lines, illiteracy, deadly house fires and scary titty bars." If that doesn't make you want to read this blog, one with a skewed view on Detroit's political and economic blunders, then you should not read blogs.

Dining in Detroit

This is something that's been entirely missing in the blogosphere. The relatively new blog from D-Tales offers in-depth analysis of all things local and food with close up shots of all that delicious grub. ME HUNGRY!

Detroit Fashion Pages
Asia Willis knows a thing or two (or three, or 19, or 1 million, it seems) about fashion. On the blog, she offers everything from profiles of local designers like Sarah Lapinski (WOUND), to previews of new looks set to hit town in the coming months.

Detroitist
Ever wish someone would read the newspapers for you, then offer irreverent, honest and hilarious observations on all the local craziness, all in the name of making Detroit a better place for everyone? Well, it's here, and it's called Detroitist. Read daily.

Suburban Sprawl Music
You Tube links (thank you, dear God, for Mr. Chi City), creepy Craigslist finds, and interviews with other bloggers (check out the great one between EatThisCity's JRC and SSM's Zach Curd), from the kids who put out records by some of the best local bands around.



Ryan Allen is a local freelance writer and frontman of local troupe, Friendly Foes, which means on occasion he's been the subject of a blog or two. Send feedback here.


 Photomontage - Marvin Shaouni

Jasper creator of EatThisCity.com

Jeff Milo ( Deep Cutz )

"Doggy style" promo piece by SupergayDetroit

TheIncorrigibleCity.BlogSpot.com




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