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Celebrate Detroit's world-class Hackley Collection at 71st annual concert


One of the lesser-heralded treasures of the city of Detroit is the E. Azalia Hackley Collection at the Detroit Public Library. Established in 1943, the collection features items related to the history of African Americans in the performing arts, including "many rare books, manuscripts and archives of performing artists," as well as a wealth of photographic and print materials.
 
On Wednesday, Feb. 11 at 7:00 p.m., the Hackley Collection will host its 71st annual concert at the Main Branch of the Detroit Public Library, which is located at 5201 Woodward Ave. in Midtown across the street from the Detroit Institute of Arts.
 
The concert, "an evening inspired by the collection," will feature performances by Alvin Hill, a technology-based artist; Masters of Harmony featuring Mr. Kelly Thomas, Detroit's oldest performing musician who was born in Alabama in 1913; and Pamela Wise featuring Wendell Harrison.
 
The event is free and open to the public.
 
For more information, visit the event's Facebook page or call 313-481-1339. 

"Cold Hearted" Valentine's Day event to benefit Clark Park Coalition


UPDATE: Cold Hearted's Valentine's Day skate has been cancelled due to frigid temperatures forecasted for Saturday. The benefit will move indoors to Our/Detroit Vodka (2545 Bagley Ave.). Below is the statement from the event's Facebook page:

"Bad news, friends. It's just too darn cold for Cold Hearted this year. But we'd still love to see you, and Clark Park really does count on your support. So, we're bringing the party to our toasty indoor neighbor, Our/Detroit. Come by Saturday night for drinks and snacks from The Mac Shack, and we'll have a spot for donations to the park. And if you can't make it, but still want to support Clark Park's great work, please consider throwing some love their way: http://www.clarkparkdetroit.com/donate.html."


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Anyone who has visited Clark Park in Southwest Detroit knows that it's a special place. One of the main reasons: the park is home to one of only two outdoor skating rinks in the whole city.

Another reason Clark Park is special, however, has to do with the fact that it is maintained and programmed by the Clark Park Coalition, a grass roots group of Detroiters that has existed since 1991.

Sure, you can check out the rink anytime throughout the winter season on open skate nights, but why not check it out this Valentine's Day (that's Saturday, Feb. 14 in case you need reminding) during the fifth-annual Cold Hearted benefit skate? If you do, your $10 donation will help fund the efforts of the Clark Park Coalition throughout 2015. Enjoy an evening of outdoor ice skating and beverages to keep you warm. Your donation includes a skate rental.

See you on Valentine's Day at Clark Park. The skate will take place 6-9 p.m.

Click here for event details.

Marche du Nain Rouge seeks neighborhood floats


On March 22, the fifth-annual Marche du Naine Rouge will wend its way through the Cass Corridor, chasing a little red dwarf, the harbinger of destruction in Detroit folklore, out of the city before he can do any harm.
 
Will the Nain appear again this year to try to wreak havoc on our city? We can only hope not. But if he does, Marche du Nain Rouge organizers hope that he will be met with displays of pride from communities all across town.
 
That's why they asking groups from all neighborhoods — representing the heart and soul of the city — to band together to build floats and processions for the Marche.
 
To help community groups bring out their best game, Caribbean Mardi Gras Productions is offering two free Neighborhood Float-Building Workshops in partnership with OmniCorp Detroit. These workshops will offer tips, ideas, and brainstorming sessions to help participants be Marche-ready by March 22.
 
“We will show folks how easy it can be to express themselves creatively,” says Ralph Taylor, President of Caribbean Mardi Gras Productions. “You can make a stunning visual display with simple materials and a little know-how.”
 
Got an idea for a float that might help fend off the evil dwarf? For the love of all that is good, please make it happen! The free float-building workshops will be held:
  • 3-5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015 at the Caribbean Mardi Gras Productions studio, 6911 East Lafayette on the Eastside.
  • 3-5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, at OmniCorp Detroit,1501 Division St. in Eastern Market.

Detroit happenings: Three things to do on Saturday, Jan. 31


There's a lot more going on this weekend other than the Super Bowl. Here are three of our favorite Detroit happenings taking places this Saturday, Jan. 31:
 
Detroit Area Rambling Society's weekend ramble
When: Saturday, Jan. 31, 1-6 p.m.
Where: Departs from Public Pool (3309 Caniff, Hamtramck) at 2 p.m.
 
Detroit may not be known as a 'walkable' town, but that doesn't mean it isn't a good place for a ramble. The Detroit Area Rambling Society, a group established in 2011, "aims to reassure us how safely, usefully, and delightfully walkable our city is, and how it will become more so with every step." The group coordinates occasional long walks, or rambles, through different parts of Detroit. This week, ramblers will set out to explore the I-94 Industrial Renaissance Zone, a nearly 290-acre area on Detroit's east side that was assembled and cleared by the city of Detroit for an industrial park that never came to be and has since reverted rapidly to a natural landscape. Participants should expect a five- to six-mile ramble and dress accordingly.
 
The group will depart for its destination on Saturday at 2 p.m. from the Public Pool Art Gallery in Hamtramck (3309 Caniff). For more information on this and future rambles, visit the Detroit Area Rambling Society's website.
 
Palmer Park Winter Fest
When: Saturday, Jan. 31, 1-4 p.m.
Where: Palmer Park, around Lake Francis and near the Log Cabin, Merrill Plaisance, west of Woodward between 6 & 7 Mile Roads, Detroit
 
Palmer Park is one of the jewels of Detroit's park system, and it's magnificent year-round, even in the dead of winter. On Saturday between 1 and 4 p.m., People for Palmer Park is hosting Winter Fest in the heart of the park located on the west side of Woodward Avenue between McNichols and Seven Mile Road. Planned activities (weather permitting) include ice skating on Lake Frances, snow showing, cross country skiing, horse and carriage rides, and guided hikes through the park's trail network.
 
Food vendors including Delectabowl Food Truck, Mystic Kettle Gourmet Popcorn, Belinda’s Hot Dog Cart, and Good Cakes and Bakes will be on hand.
 
You're also invited to bring your dog to participate in a doggie fashion parade around Lake Frances.
 
For more details, visit People for Palmer Park's website.
 
Jam Handy Fest
When: Saturday, Jan. 31, 5-11 p.m.
Where: 2900 E. Grand Blvd.
 
The Jam Handy Building, which was built to house the studios of legendary Detroit film producer Jam Handy and is the current home of Detroit SOUP, is a unique historic space in Detroit's North End neighborhood. This weekend is a great opportunity to check it out while getting to see some local bands and performers during the first annual Jam Handy Fest.
 
The lineup includes a skate jam by the Rosa Parks boys between 6 and 8 p.m., followed by live music by Mexican Knives, Real Ghosts, Mountain and Rainbows, and HighRing. The all-ages event will feature food and drinks from local vendors. All proceeds will benefit youth programming at Clark Park in Southwest Detroit.
 
More details here.

Wayne State University issues call for new cohort of Detroit Revitalization Fellows


On Monday, Jan. 26, the Detroit Revitalization Fellows began accepting applications for a third cohort.
 
A part of Wayne State University's Office of Economic Development, the Detroit Revitalization Fellows program is seeking to match approximately 20 "talented mid-career leaders with civic, community and economic development organizations working at the forefront of Detroit’s revitalization efforts." Since 2011, the program received approximately 1,000 applications and awarded 48 fellowships over the span of two cohorts.
 
Fellows will be paired with one of the program's partner organizations, where they will work for two years as full-time employees while concurrently receiving a slew of professional development services and participating in monthly workshops, study trips, and dialogues with community leaders.
 
While the program seeks applicants from around the country, it is, according to a press release, "especially interested in receiving applications from Detroiters already living in the city and those who have left the region and are ready to bring their talent back home." Fellows typically possess a graduate degree and between five and 15 years of professional experience.
 
According to the program's website, Detroit Revitalization Fellows applicants have the chance to be placed with the following employers:
 
Belle Isle Conservancy, Charles H. Wright Museum, City of Detroit Department of Transportation, City of Detroit Department of Innovation & Technology, Data Driven Detroit, Detroit Creative Corridor Center, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Detroit Future City, Detroit Historical Society, Detroit Riverfront, Conservancy, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, EcoWorks, Eight Mile Boulevard Association, Global Detroit, Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation, Henry Ford Health System, Invest Detroit, Metro Matters, Southwest Detroit Business Association, and Teen Hype.
 
For a complete list of Detroit Revitalization Fellows job descriptions, click here.
 
To apply to the program, visit detroitfellows.wayne.edu/application.
 
Applications will be accepted now through Feb. 20.
 

Mayor Duggan sites 20 to 40 percent affordable housing goal in downtown, Midtown areas


The Detroit Free Press's John Gallagher reported last week that Mayor Mike Duggan's administration is pushing developers who are receiving public subsidy for projects to set aside 20 to 40 percent of new units for lower-income renters.
 
The Free Press quotes Duggan saying:

"We are, on a project-by-project basis, going to negotiate as much as we can commensurate to our contribution, but I would like to see 20% to 40% affordable housing mix in everything that we support because great cities include everybody.
 
"As we rebuild the housing in this city, we're going to make sure everybody can live there."
 
Duggan's comments were made at a media event celebrating the coming renovation of the vacant Strathmore Hotel building on Alexandrine in Midtown, where 40 percent of the housing units will be reserved for low-income renters.
 
The mayor's comments come in the midst of an ongoing conversation about gentrification in Detroit, particularly its downtown and Midtown neighborhoods, which have experienced a remarkable uptick in new residential and commercial developments in recent years.
 
Read more in the Detroit Free Press.
 

WHPR techno radio show celebrates one year on the air on Jan. 19 at Menjo's

Every Wednesday from 8 to 9 p.m., WHPR 88.1 FM radio out of Highland Park is bumping techno and house music during the "In My House" show. This Sunday, however, "In My House" host and creator and T. Carlita is taking the show on the road for its one year anniversary. Join her and several musical guests at Menjo's (928 W. McNichols) to celebrate the birthday of one of Detroit's only techno radio programs. There is no cover, but donations to provide support for the show will be accepted.

For more information on the first anniversary party of "In My House," visit the show's Facebook page.

To listen to past shows of "In My House," visit the program's YouTube channel.

Porous Borders Festival seeks artists to engage with the Detroit/Hamtramck border


Over the weekend of May 16-17, a unique, inter-jurisdictional performing arts festival will take place along every segment of the border that separates the cities of Detroit and Hamtramck, as well as the sliver of border that separates Highland Park and Hamtramck. The event is called the Porous Borders Festival and is being curated by Detroit dance ensemble The Hinterlands, who are currently accepting proposals for art installations and happenings that will take place along the border during the festival.
 
According to a press release, The Hinterlands is seeking "creative pieces and projects that a) reflect and engage the diverse experiences of those living along the HAM/DET border, b) address the geographic reality of the HAM/DET border, and c) examine the nature of borders themselves…Each piece should be created for a specific part of the border."
 
The curators are open-minded when it comes to the type of proposals they will accept, saying, "It does not need to be an installation, but could be a walking tour, a performance, a party, a dinner, an automobile ballet, a story share – we’re excited to hear your ideas!"
 
Applicants must submit a one-page description of their project that includes:
 
 – What the project will be
 – Which segment of the border it is designed for
 – How the project relates to that segment
 – The duration of the project (i.e. one day, two hours, the whole festival, etc.)
 – A basic materials budget
 – Optional: short CV or bio
 
These materials can be sent digitally to pbf@thehinterlandsensemble.org or by mail to Porous Borders Festival, 3346 Lawley St, Detroit, MI 48212
 
Applications are due Jan. 31.
 
For more information, visit http://thehinterlandsensemble.org/project/porous-borders-festival/

Punch Bowl Social, a boozy adult playground, opens on Broadway


There's nothing subtle about Dan Gilbert's Z Lot, a massive, zig-zagging parking structure built to wrap around existing historic structures and fit a uniquely-shaped downtown Detroit parcel. So it seems that the massive adult playground that is Punch Bowl Social is the perfect fit for the ground-floor retail component of the Z Lot along Broadway.
 
"When you're on Broadway in any city, it should be like this," says Punch Bowl Detroit's event sales manager Jason Dritsan.
 
A massive crowd that turned out for the grand opening of Punch Bowl last night seems to agree. It appears that Detroit is ready for the 24,000 square feet of games (including bowling, darts, and arcade classics), drinks, and food that Punch Bowl is offering.
 
The Punch Bowl concept was launched at the company's flagship location in Denver. Detroit is the fourth Punch Bowl location, following the likes of Portland, Ore. and Austin, Texas. Representatives of the Quicken Family of Companies helped recruit Punch Bowl to Detroit.
 
"We spent three hours with them before we were ready to do the deal," says Punch Bowl founder and CEO Robert Thompson. "There's a great culture here that we wanted to be a part of. There's a tremendous amount of economic upside. We officially drank the Kool Aid."
 
For those who couldn't make it out to Wednesday's grand opening, here are a few things to look forward to on your first trip to Punch Bowl Detroit:
 
- A classic style diner featuring "adult milkshakes" (that means with booze, folks) and classic American-style fare.
- A 360-degree bar at the center of the ground floor, featuring a unique drink menu including delicious punch concoctions.
- Two levels of games, including bowling, darts, ping pong, shuffleboard, and classic arcade machines.
- Detroit's first private karaoke rooms.
- A year-round "Holiday Lodge" room featuring fireplaces and chill sofas.
- DJs on weekends (Full disclosure: Model D's managing editor Matthew Lewis will be spinning records at Punchbowl's Sunday brunch on Dec. 14).
 
It's going to be a fun holiday season.
 
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Photo by Matthew Lewis.

Pilot reflects on 34 years of photographing Detroit from above

In the Sunday, Dec. 7 issue of the New York Times, Alex S. MacLean, a Massachusetts-based artist, pilot, aerial photographer and trained architect, reflects on his 34 years photographing the city of Detroit and its suburbs from a small plane. According to MacLean, the city's struggles were evident when he began photographing metro Detroit by plane during the Reagan-Carter presidential campaigns, but today there are signs of change. He writes:

"From the air today, the decline appears to be slowing. The spaces once covered in rubble are cleared and mowed. Open green spaces, along with new community gardens and orchards, look almost bucolic against the downtown skyline. From my plane, I sense the potential for resurgence in these areas. I can see how neighborhoods could become more walkable and support mixed-use development, with new shops, public transit and nearby parks and schools. However, this resurgence relies on a city that is stumbling out of bankruptcy. It also depends on an agency with the authority to consolidate abandoned lots for development and open spaces."

Accompanying MacLean's reflection is a series remarkable photos. The amount of green space in the city is striking, as are the overhead views of urban gardens and farms. Also striking is the stark contrast between the highly occupied, dense neighborhoods of Grosse Pointe Park on the east side of Alter Road and the neighborhoods of Detroit's far east side just to the west.

Read MacLean's full reflection and see his photos in the New York Times.

Meet funk pioneer George Clinton at book signing on Dec. 20 at United Sound Systems in Midtown

That's right, George mutha funkin' Clinton will be in Detroit on Dec. 20 for a meet-and-greet/book signing at the legendary United Sound Systems Recording Studios (5840 Second Ave.).

Clinton is promoting his new book entitled "Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard on You?: A Memoir." Tickets to the event are $40 and can be purchased via Eventbrite.

Clinton has deep ties to Detroit, where he spent much of the 1960s as a songwriter and producer for various Detroit soul record labels, including Motown. He recorded several records with his band Funkadelic at Detroit's United Sound Systems, including notable albums like "Free Your Mind...and Your Ass Will Follow" (1970), "Maggot Brain" (1971), and "One Nation Under a Groove" (1978).

According to the United Sound's Eventbrite page, "United Sound Systems Recording Studios (USSRS) was established in 1933, making USSRS the first independent major recording studio in the nation.  The studio gave artists, musicians, writers, and producers a place where they could cut a record and get it played on the radio without being signed to a major label. Today, the Studio is under new ownership and is striving to preserve the history. United Sound houses three functional recording studios and offers guided tours of the facility to the public. In addition, the facility is utilized for Venue Rental to host special events, birthday parties, lectures, and seminars."

Can you get to that?


Brooklyn's Galapagos Art Space to make new home in Detroit, buys property in Cortown, Highland Park


Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn, apparently, is a really big deal. So big, in fact, that the New York Times referred to it in a Dec. 7 article as "a performance center and cultural staple in Brooklyn for nearly 20 years."
 
But Galapagos's tenure in NYC is drawing to a close, its last day of programming scheduled for Dec. 18. But that doesn't mark the end of Galapagos's existence. According to the art space's website, Galapagos is moving.
 
"After nearly 7,500 programs and just over 1,000,000 audience members through our doors, Galapagos Art Space is moving to Detroit," writes Galapagos's executive director Robert Elmes.
 
Elmes is giving up on New York because "Simply put, New York City has become too expensive to continue incubating young artists. The white-hot real estate market burning through affordable cultural habit is no longer a crisis, it's a conclusion.
 
In Detroit, Elmes hopes his art space can take advantage of the three ingredients he feels are necessary for a creative ecosystem to flourish: time, space, and people. Elmes believes that Detroit has both time and space in abundance and that the city "is gaining its critical third component - artists - at an astonishing rate."
 
Galapagos's new website, galapagosdetroit.com, claims that the arts space has already secured over 600,000 square feet of real estate in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood and the enclave city of Highland Park "for the price of a small apartment in New York City." According Galapagos's Detroit website, one of the properties is the old Highland Park High School and Junior College building located between Second and Third avenues on Glendale (For an incredibly detailed history of that building, check out this profile from Detroit Urbex.), and another is a vacant manufacturing facility located at 1800 18th Street.

In an interview with Crain's Detroit Business, Elmes says, “We are not coming with $60 million to $90 million. We are there to build a venue and build studios and some lofts. As that gains traction, we’ll add more parts to the whole and that’s the goal of the project.” 
 
The website also makes two bold promises: 1) one of Galapagos's properties will feature a 10,000-square-foot man-made lake, and 2) the art space will host a 2016 Detroit Biennial. (Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit is currently hosting its "People's Biennial" through 2015.)
 
Galapagos will join 333 Midland as the second prominent art space to locate in Highland Park in recent years.
 
The news of Galapagos's relocation occurs in the midst of Berlin electronic music label and club owner Dimitri Hegemann's repeated expressions of interest in creating a venue for electronic music performances and entrepreneurship in one of Detroit's vacant factory spaces.
 
Model D will continue to follow all of these stories as they develop.

Get hype! Detroit City FC releases video teaser of 2015 season


Taking note from the U.S. Men's Soccer Team's awesome hype videos from the 2014 FIFA World Cup, local soccer team Detroit City FC is getting supporters pumped for the coming season with a hype video of its own. In it, the local football club urges fans to reserve their "rightful place" at home games well in advance of the 2015 season, which starts in May, by purchasing season tickets. In 2014, DCFC sold out several home games, thanks in large part to the faithful presence of the Northern Guard, a group of DCFC supporters who pack the grandstands and cheer wildly at each home game (and many away games, too).



 

Detroit City FC, nicknamed "Le Rouge," will play eight home games next year on the football field of Cass Technical High School in downtown Detroit. 2015 will mark the club's fourth season in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). Last year, Le Rouge finished second in the Midwest-Great Lakes West region of the NPSL and did not qualify for the playoffs. If the club's new hype video is any indication, Detroit City FC plans to compete at a high level in 2015 and make up for last year's disappointing finish. 

Car theft down 20 percent in Detroit, but still a major issue in the city

Amy Haimerl of Crain's Detroit Business recently reported that car thefts in the city of Detroit are down 20 percent since this time last year. They are down more than 60 percent since 2005, when an astounding 20,000 car thefts were reported in the city.

According to Crain's, "Plummeting auto thefts are good news for the city and the region, but there are still thousands of cars taken each year, and each one brings a heightened perception that the city is ever-more crime-ridden. Certain parts of Detroit already have a reputation for being car-theft magnets, and any new incident reinforces the perception."

Crain's attributes the decrease in auto thefts to police work and improved vehicle technology, noting that "newer models won't start without a key, making hot-wiring vehicles almost impossible."

Read more in Crain's Detroit Business.

Detroit gets several massive new murals

 
Last month, it appeared as if the city of Detroit was declaring war on mural art. On Oct. 15, the Motor City Muckraker reported that city officials had issued tickets to building owners along the Grand River Creative Corridor, declaring large-scale murals on their buildings' walls to be "graffiti," despite the fact that all works had been commissioned. Significant public outcry followed on social media, and Mayor Duggan's office responded quickly by rescinding the tickets.

Since then, public muralists have forged ahead with new large-scale works on prominent buildings around the city. Here's a quick roundup of three recent projects:

Albert Kahn mural, Russell Industrial Center, 1600 Clay St.

Detroit artist Kyle Danley recently completed a mural celebrating Albert Kahn, one of Detroit's most famous architects, on the side of the Russell Industrial Center, a Kahn-designed building. The Metro Times recently highlighted Danley and his mural in this feature. The Kahn mural, which is located on the northwest side of Building 2 of the Russell Industrial Center, joins the iconic "Chimera" mural by artist Kobie Solomon that is located on the building's west side and is visible from I-75. A mural reveal is planned for the Russell's Fall Open House happening Saturday, Nov. 15 at 1600 Clay St. Find event details here.

"Rise Up" mural in Milwaukee Junction

Curbed Detroit recently highlighted the emergence of a new mural on a vacant industrial building just blocks away from the Russell Industrial Center in the Milwaukee Junction neighborhood. Entitled " "Rising Up, Back on the Street," the massive 6,000-square-foot mural of a roaring tiger is the work of Los Angeles-based Australian artist David "Meggs" Hooke.

HopCat Detroit murals

The Grand River Creative Corridor and the "4731 Group" are curating five murals by Detroit artists Fel3000ftElmerMaltMelo and Kobie Solomon on the exterior walls of HopCat Detroit's new location on Woodward Avenue at Canfield in Midtown. The murals are currently in-progress, so go check out the artists at work. For more details on the HopCat project, check out this piece by Motor City Muckraker's Steve Neavling.

Flower mural in West Village

On Agnes Street between Parker and Van Dyke -- across the street from the new Red Hook Detroit coffee shop and new-ish restaurants Detroit Vegan Soul and Craft Work -- a large-scale mural is being painted. The mural appears to be the work of artist Ouizi, who has a similarly flower-themed painting on the back wall inside Corktown's Astro Coffee.  

Photo via Grand River Creative Corridor's Facebook page.
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