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Healthy startup scene portends well for city in face of bankruptcy

The folks at VentureBeat reported last week that Detroit is primed to make some moves on the entrepreneurship scene despite the city plunging into insolvency. We like what we read.

An excerpt:

I spent a week in Detroit last year, talked to dozens of local startups, interviewed billionaire businessman and sportsman Dan Gilbert, and was surprised and gratified to see energetic, passionate entrepreneurship and a growing ecosystem of talent, money, and tools right in the heart of Detroit’s supposedly devastated downtown.

It’s one reason why last year Detroit was rated one of the best U.S. cities to get a job in technology.

Read more here.

Imagine: a city without freeways

Yes, we know, this broadcast focused on Minnesota's twin cities, with detours to Milwaukee and St. Louis, but we thought there was plenty here to apply to Detroit's own 1-94 and our other freeway issues.

Take a look and let's discuss later.

An excerpt: (Former Milwaukee mayor John) Norquist said that ripping up freeways might seem like an outlandish notion -- at the moment. "It's counterintuitive to think that if you took them out, it would somehow help things," he said, "but eventually, I think, the world is coming to that conclusion. Maybe five years, 10 years from now, it won't seem like such a weird idea."

Read on here.

Inc. lists five reasons to start a business in Detroit

Inc. mag always seems to have a solid perspective on entrepreneurship in Detroit. In a recent issue, editors list five good reasons why it's the right time to start a business in the city. Now. 

An excerpt:

"The entrepreneurial spirit that exists in this region has been here forever," says David Egner, director of the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan. What organizations like his have done is shine a light back on would-be entrepreneurs and provide them the resources to start strong."

Read more here.

Writer, traveler, adventurous eater Tony Bourdain spotted in Detroit

We'd been hearing for weeks, perhaps months, about CNN's "Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown" coming to Detroit to film an episode for season 2 of the series. The Freep teased us last week with a list of places that Bourdain was rumored to be visiting. Then After 5 Detroit revealed that the author of "Kitchen Confidential," and star of "No reservations" was invited to the Guns + Butter fine dining pop up.

An excerpt: 

So I had to ask (Chef Craig Liekfelt), were you nervous to cook for Bourdain?

"There’s certainly a level of nerves, just because it’s a pretty big moment, but I’m more excited to have cooked for someone who has had such an incredible impact and influence on the food culture. I truly respect and admire Anthony Bourdain and love that he doesn’t sugar coat anything, he never changes who he is – he’s always himself and that’s what makes him so great to watch on TV, to read his books and to have him sitting in front of you eating your food," said Craig.

Nice, very nice. Read more here.

Detroit artist Audra Kubat looking to fund new album

We've known Audra Kubat since she was a "Stunning Amazon" on the late 1990s Detroit garage rock scene. As a solo artist, she's made five albums and now is trying to kick up some funding for number six. 

Audra in her own words in this excerpt:

I'm a working musician now, making my living on gigs, shows big and small, giving lessons, and working with local organization InsideOut Literary Arts Project which places artists and writers in the Detroit class rooms to share their artistry. While I can get by, there's never much left to invest in the cost of recording. 

I've selected 13 original songs that are written, arranged, rehearsed and ready to record. With this album, I am stepping back into the ring. It is the best music that I've ever made and, with your help, I'll prove it.

This is a project we can get behind. Read more here.

David Egner: NEI catalyst for more than downtown and Midtown

Executive director for the New Economy Initiative of Southeast Michigan Dave Egner writes in HuffPost Detroit that the NEI is partnering with doers and difference makers in various city neighborhoods.

An excerpt:

ProsperUs
, another program of Southwest Housing Solutions, serves immigrants and persons of color through micro-enterprise and entrepreneurial training. Focus areas include Cody-Rouge on the northwest side of the city, Detroit's North End neighborhood, and Southwest Detroit.

Read on here.

Freep digital editor: State should be welcoming to LGBT community

Free Press managing editor of digital media Nancy Andrews' personal essay on living in a state that discrimminates against her, her wife and Michigan's LGBT community is a must read. Why indeed would Michigan not want to attract and retain talent like Andrews -- an award-winning photogrpaher, documentary videographer and journalist? 

Here are some key excerpts from her op/ed: 

I have choices. I choose to spend my money where my life is respected and where the business meets my needs. If you don’t recognize my family status, then you don’t get my money. Businesses are quicker to turn to do things that are in their best interests. It’s often only now in government that I face direct and specific discrimination. Of course, it hasn’t always been this way.

People seem to think this call for equality is a new thing. It’s really not. What’s different is that more people are out, and gay men and lesbians are increasingly vocal. More of us have become less tolerant of unequal treatment.
 
When I moved (here) 13 years ago, state or local law was not a litmus test for me. In part because there was no practical reason to do so. But, in 2013, it is. Why would any rational gay person choose to move to a state that discriminates against them when they could live in states that protect them equally under the law? I would not make that choice.

Read more here.

Detroit Sound group brings attention to former studio threatened by freeway expansion

Detroit Sound Conservancy founder Carleton Gholz wants all to be aware of the city's globally massive music heritage. Even buildings that currently stand empty, like the United Sound studio, need protection. 

An excerpt: 

It's where Berry Gordy Jr. cut the first record that would lead the way to the Motown dynasty. Aretha Franklin used the studio to record the vocals to her 1985 hit "Freeway of Love." (Editor's note: Ironic, yes, that the building is now potentially in the way of an expanding 1-94 project?)

Funkadelic, which included George Clinton, recorded most of its music there. Miles Davis, the Dramatics, John Lee Hooker, Luther Vandross and Eminem also are among those who recorded tracks at 5840 Second Ave.

But the recording studio where the Motown sound got its start could be leveled as part of a project to reconstruct I-94 by adding a lane on both sides and installing continuous service drives along the freeway. 

Read more here.

Open house at 71 Garfield previews new classes

Sugar Hill Clay first opened in 2011. Located in the lower level of the renovated 71 Garfield building in Midtown Detroit, the studio is about as "green" as a ceramic studio can get. The work tables, shelving, cabinetry and countertops were all constructed from reclaimed wood and operate on a combination of geo-thermal energy that is generated in our building and a 20-kilowatt solar array.  
 
Sugar Hill Clay is currently undergoing a lot of changes in operations.
 
New classes begin in August. Including: Intro to wheel throwing, which is covers the fundamentals of wheel thrown pottery; a handbuilding class focused on tableware; an Altered Pots class that combines wheel throwing and handbuilding techniques to create new and more complex forms; and "Playing with fire: Raku" which will cover a range of clay projects with a special focus on Raku firing. All adult classes include open studio hours so students may come in at their leisure to work on their projects outside of class. 
 
There is also "Adventures in Clay" for the kids. This class is for children ages 6-12, and will explore many techniques from handbuilding to surface decoration, and the chance to play on the potter's wheel for those interested. The kids will have the opportunity to make functional pots, as well as sculptural pieces. 
 
In addition to the classes, Sugar Hill Clay can be booked for private parties and events.
 
Things are kicking off with an open house this Friday, July 12 from 6 to 9 p.m. Tour the studio, meet the instructors, learn about new classes, and have the opportunity to play with some clay. Light refreshments will be served and a free class will be given away to one lucky attendee.
 
For more information, go here.


BBC: Detroit Soup gets trans-Atlantic recognition

We love us some tasty Detroit Soup, which is getting more love and validation, this time from the venerable British Broadcasting Corporation.

An excerpt:

The BBC's North America correspondent Jonny Dymond found out, soup, salad and community are the ingredients that one Detroit group put together to fix the city, one small step at a time.

The community events help raise money to support worthy projects in Detroit. Read on here.

Freep: Up north with HDL in pictures

We went up north to Port Austin a couple of weeks ago to see the work of Detroit's Hygienic Dress League on the side of a barn. We're not the only ones, including the Detroit Free Press, which sent a photographer up Van Dyke to capture this slideshow. Good stuff. See it here.

Shinola opens flagship store in Midtown this weekend

Well, that didn't take long. The Shinola Store and Bicycle Assembly Headquarters officially opens to the public this Friday, June 28 during normal business hours, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. 
 
A public Grand Opening Celebration will be held the next day, Saturday, June 29, 1-4 p.m. Shoppers will be treated to music from DJ Amy Dreamcatcher, MotorCity Brewery beer, samples of DROUGHT juice and limited edition letter press posters (while supplies last).

Head to where the action is, 441 W. Canfield, Detroit, MI 48201 (between 2nd Ave. and Cass Ave.), this weekend.
 

SEMCOG meeting on freeway widening recapped

This wrap up of last week's SEMCOG meeting appeared in HuffPost Detroit and Mode Shift Move Together, two of our media partners.

An excerpt: 

Citizens also turned out in force to speak out at a lengthy public comment period during the meeting. Dozens voiced their opinions, including members of the Sierra Club, the Michigan Suburbs Alliance and Transportation Riders United; none favored the highway expansions. Many, like Nowak-Boyd, objected to the toll they could take on local communities.

Members of the Detroit Sound Conservancy expressed concerns that a building that once housed United Sound Systems, a studio that recorded tracks by musical legends like John Lee Hooker, Aretha Franklin, Funkadelic and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, would be destroyed by the I-94 renovation.

Read on here.

Check out winners of Quicken's Hudson's redevelopment contest

Drum roll, please:

First place goes to "MINICITY Detroit," by Davide Marchetti and Erin Pellegrino of Rome, Italy. It incorporates an urban path to an elevated platform and includes sculptural high-rise elements and low-rise components for a combined use of commercial, residential and retail space in upper and lower plazas. Other uses include a market and cinemas. The design uses red brick found in much of the city’s historic architecture, while complementing nearby buildings.

That's an excerpt from a story in Deadline Detroit.

Read and see more here.

$1 million MEDC grant for Shed 5, kitchen in Eastern Market

This is good news for the emerging market scene, which is getting closer to fulfilling its mission to become a 24-hour neighborhood.

An excerpt:

Once completed, Shed 5 will serve as a regional hub for local food production, processing, distribution and retailing; an incubator for specialty food producers; a provider of culinary and nutritional education; a center for plant and flower sales; and a public space for events, MEDC said in a release. The project will add 36 full-time jobs.

Read more here.
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