What's next for Detroit: Investing in the passion for place

What is the next big thing? To paraphrase the late Steve Jobs: it's you. It begins by investing in a passion for place. Better yet: that place is Detroit, no better environment to rewrite old narratives, turning fresh ideas into exciting practice, creating new platforms for action, innovation and growth. Underline the word passion. That's the critical piece you need to carry around and share at will.

For some time, we have been the beneficiary of an ephemeral, psychogeographic "vibe" that translates more easily the farther you are from physical Detroit. How often have we heard that the Brits, the French, the Germans, the Dutch, the Japanese "get it" while many of us inside our own story don't. The mythological and the actual "Detroits" seemed not to match up. There was some disconnect. Arts, culture, experimentation were at odds with the gritty realities of the city.

Model D aimed to change that picture, integrating the possible with the practical. How? By recalibrating media resources to better locate the elusive vibes and abundant overtones generated here, often in isolation, under guard of fierce independence, and help bring them into focus. Not for another clique made up of elitists and insiders. But for everyone -- that's you -- who wants to celebrate being in the right place at the right time.  

No better place, no better time to keep the ball rolling than "The Next Big Thing," an event that celebrates Model D's six years of shining a light on What's Next, of putting a fine point on start up and development news while running some dandy features about enterprising innovators over 300 issues (for the record, we hit 304 with this issue). Among other things, what you have at your fingertips is an illustrated archive of local treasures. A vehicle to take us all where the action is. This Friday it's at the David Whitney Building, a gilded skyscraping testament to Detroit's enduring modern age.

The night will include wide-ranging contributions that add up to a Detroit story written as it's being lived: an expo of art, entrepreneurship and social innovation; Hatch Detroit's small business Hatch-Off contest (featuring the final four: HughWoodbridge Gypsy Den & Tea RoomAlley Wine and the Workroom), a spoken word dedication, video presentations, food and drink stations and music by Future Jazz Kartel (early) and Happy Endings (later). And more and more and more. We will keep you productively abuzz about something all night, rest assured.

The Next Big Thing is Friday, Oct. 21, 8 p.m., at the David Whitney Building, 1553 Woodward Ave. Get tickets here

Managing editor Walter Wasacz remembers Model D when it just a twinkle in Detroit's eye in the spring of 2005.  

All photographs Marvin Shaouni Photography

Contact Marvin here.

Read more articles by Walter Wasacz.

Walter Wasacz is a writer and the former managing editor of Model D. You can find more of his writings here.
Signup for Email Alerts