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Metropolis: Chef Phil Jones is Detroit game changer

We love Phil Jones and his people- and eco-friendly, socially conscious not-for-profit approach to the food business. Jones is the executive chef at downtown's COLORS Detroit and at various pop-ups around town. 

He gets some well-deserved love from Metropolis mag no less, in a story we've excerpted below:

Jones grew up selling meat patties on St. Croix as a boy, worked at a neighborhood soul food place as a teenager, and later cooked for Christian catering halls, The Rattlesnake Club, and several high-end hotels. For the past two years he’s been bringing those culinary chops to Colors as a part of a broad program that includes workforce development, cultivating cooperative food business start-ups, and promoting restaurant worker advocacy.

Good stuff, eh? Read on here.

City seeks proposals for Brush Park developments

In a story penned by the Freep's John Gallagher, the question "just what's happening in Brush Park?" is close to being answered. We're happy to keep the discussion going. An excerpt:

Austin Black II, a real estate broker active in the greater downtown area, said the project is important because it promises to deliver much-needed new residential units to the market. There’s a shortage not just of rental apartments but of for-sale condominiums and townhouses, too.

Developers have until Feb. 5 to submit their proposals to the city. The request for proposals can be found on the city’s website here by clicking on "departments," then on the Planning & Development Department page, and then clicking on for request for proposals.

The city’s request said a decision will be made later in February.

Read on here.

BBC audio: Motown's 'Black Forum' spoken word label

In 1970, Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown, set up a Motown spoken word label. It was called Black Forum and recorded poetry, civil rights speeches, African-American soldiers in Vietnam and more. The label closed in 1973 after eight releases. In recent years those releases have started to attract interest and some have been reissued. 

Check out this fascinating audio piece recently broadcast on the BBC. But you have on until Jan. 16 (that's Thursday) to listen before the podcast is taken down.

Listen here.

Bumper & Brews tours during Detroit Auto Show

Motor City Brew Tours and Show Me Detroit Tours are partnering to present four Detroit Bumpers & Brew Tours Jan. 18 and 25, during the 2014 North American International Auto Show. The tours start in Midtown at 10 a.m. and at 2:30 p.m.

The 3.5-hour tours will look at Detroit’s earliest automotive history including the Ford Piquette Plant, the Packard Plant, architect Albert Kahn’s work, and the historic auto baron homes of Indian Village – as well as offering an up-to-the-minute recap of current Downtown and Midtown development. The tours will conclude with a Michigan craft beer sampling and light lunch at the Traffic Jam & Snug Restaurant.  

According to Kim Rusinow and Pat Haller, Show Me Detroit Tours co-founders, interest is higher than ever in seeing and understanding Detroit’s rich history, as well as its current challenges and successes.

The $49.99 tour ticket price includes expert historical commentary, guided bus transportation, admission at the Ford Piquette Plant, a light lunch with 4-8 oz. beer samples at the Traffic Jam & Snug. Tickets must be purchased in advance online. Tour guests must be 21 years of age.

The tours will start and end in front of the Traffic Jam & Snug Restaurant at 511 West Canfield.  

For more information or to purchase tour tickets go here or here. Or call 248-850-2563 or 313-444-2120.

Freep's Gallagher: New Detroit developments expected in 2014

It's alway good to look ahead to projects that are about to go forward or are getting into position to make a spalsh in the near future.

In the Detroit Free Press, John Gallagher updates several projects that are close to breaking ground in the new year.

An excerpt: 

St. Louis-based McCormack Baron Salazar has won approval for a $60-million complex east of the Renaissance Center featuring three- to four-story townhouses and apartment buildings. Detroit native Richard Baron, the group’s chairman and CEO, heads the project.

Baron has a significant record doing projects like this elsewhere. Detroit’s vacant waterfront parcels almost certainly will see expensive housing lining the RiverWalk one day just as it lines the waterfronts in so many other cities. Whether it starts to happen in Detroit this year or later will be something to watch.

Read more here.

Eater: Craft Work opens in West Village

Foodie alert squad Eater reports that long-anticipated West Village restaurant Craft Work quietly opened over the holidays. A few Yelp reviews were also posted, including the gushing one below:

"We went here for my birthday (12/28/13) and I had the grilled trout and it was fabulous!! The service was great, Bianca (our server) was friendly and very knowledgable of the menu. The space was classy, quaint and lovely. The bar area was great! I can see this being a neighborhood bar!! I would recommend CraftWorks (sic) to all my friends that want to have a fabulous dinner and experience in Detroit!! And it's in walking distance of our house..."

Read more here.

Public Pool show challenges ideas of art

In a new show exploring the age-old question of what makes art, yes, art, Public Pool presents ART AS ANTI-ART IS ART from Jan. 11 through Feb. 22. This group show features six Detroit artists, each of whom take a non-traditional approach using every day materials to express their ideas. Does art become artless if the core material is duck tape, or scraps of carpet, or pigeon feathers, or everyday trash? 

The show features everything from duct-taped paintings to a bass-guitar boat to a catch-scratch sculpture. 

In a special presentation on opening night (Jan. 11) Public Pool welcomes a Q & A session with international art critic Arthur Dotwieller, on loan from the Vandermiron Trust Estate Collection in Liechtenstein. Dotwieller will offer his thoughts on the works in the show and art in general, and, for the first time in his career, take questions from the audience.

Featured artists include: Matt Ziolkowski, Claire D'Aoust, Dylan Spaysky, Bridget Michael, Kathy Leisen, Geoff Burkhart, and Dan Miller (performance).

Public Pool is at 3009 Caniff in Hamtramck.

Live Webinar features presentation by community engager Bradford Frost

On Jan. 15 at noon, Meeting of the Minds will present a live, free webinar via Webex.

The subject of the webinar is Detroit’s transformation imperatives and key change strategies discussed in the context of the city’s recent momentum, highlighting several projects, including the Detroit Corridor Initiative, Detroit Future City and The Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program.

This presentation will be led by Bradford Frost, who moved to the city in 2005. Frost has since delivered significant results through his professional projects, political action, public writings and community engagement work.
 
A former Detroit Revitalization Fellow at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Bradford led the design, cultivation and execution of new projects including the ArtPlace America 'Cultural Living Room' transformation of Kresge Court and a community engagement project that connected over 1,000 residents to creatively respond to a contemporary exhibit. Wayne State University Press recently published Bradford’s commemorative book, Reveal Your Detroit: An Intimate Look at a Great American City.

To get on the live feed Jan. 15 go here.

The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs announces grant awards

The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) today approved 384 grants, located in 52 counties, totaling $7.6 million in awards. These grants represented awards in the Artist in Education Residencies, Capital Improvement, Program for Operational and Projects Support, the Regional Regranting program and the Services to the Field program.

The MCACA adjudicates grant applications using a peer review process that is open to the public for observation, in person and online. MCACA held 20 separate panels and used the services of 98 professionals to determine eligibility for grant awards.

For a complete list of grant awards, visit: here or here.

MCACA, part of the Michigan Strategic Fund/Michigan Economic Development Corporation, serves to encourage, develop and facilitate an enriched environment of artistic, creative and cultural activity in Michigan. For more on its initiatives and programs, go here and become a fan on Facebook.
 

LTU College of Architecture & Design to break ground in prime Midtown spot

Very nice to see renderings of this project in Curbed Detroit (which re-ran part of piece first reported in Crain's). We like this a lot. Read an excerpt:

The development on Woodward and Willis is scheduled to break ground this week. The $7M building will be three stories, with almost half of its 30,000 square feet devoted to Lawrence Tech's College of Architecture and Design. Surprisingly, there's no residential space in this structure, nor any certainty of retail space. The ground floor will mostly be gallery space for LTU, though an unnamed restaurant might occupy a spot in the corner. Midtown Inc expects LTU to move in by October 2014.

See more here.

Two Hamtown buildings could be bargain for right bidder

Two buildings on Jos. Campau in Hamtramck could be just the prime ticket for the right developer, if you read between the lines in this article on an upcoming closed bid in the Hamtramck Review. An excerpt:

The first to go up for bid is a partially developed loft space on Jos. Campau and Goodson, a former veterans post.
          
The city acquired the property for $40,000 after a developer failed to finish the project. The city, however, ran out of time and perhaps money to complete the project. The city will be seeking sealed bids for the property.
          
It could be quite a steal for the lucky bidder. The upper floor has already been converted into two lofts, while the downstairs is open for any configuration or purpose, including turning it into a retail space.
         
The next city-owned building to be put up for bid is the largest in the Jos. Campau business district, at the corner of Belmont. The four-story building came into the city’s possession due to a foreclosure.

A would-be developer had a state grant to tap into to help with rehab costs, but he could not secure a bank loan to finance the project.

The potential for this building is unlimited, and for the right developer a goldmine. Read the rest of the story here.

Sounds good to us. To submit a sealed bid, mail it to:

City of Hamtramck, Office of the City Clerk, 3401 Evaline, Hamtramck, MI 48212

Minimum bid is $145,500 and every bidder must submit a certified check in an amount equaling 10 percent of their bid. Make check out to Treasurer, City of Hamtramck. Bids are due Dec. 18, 3 p.m. That's this Wednesday. 

To see photos of the Goodson building, inside and out, go here.

Freep's Gallagher: A brief history of Black Bottom and I-375

Discussion and debate about whether I-375 should be replaced by a surface boulevard appears to heating up. John Gallagher of the Detroit Free weighs in with this commentary, excerpted here:

Named for the rich dark soil that French explorers first found there, the Black Bottom district in the 1940s and ’50s housed the city’s African-American entrepreneurial class, with dozens of thriving black-owned businesses and the Paradise Valley entertainment zone, where Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie performed.

But the builders of I-75 and I-375 plowed multilane highways right through Hastings Street, the commercial heart of Black Bottom, and projects such as Lafayette Park and the public housing projects to the north destroyed the rest in the name of progress.

Read the entire piece here.

Go with the Flow: Party with DETROITGRAMS Friday at Great Lakes

DETROITGRAMS, a digital publication, couples its newest issue release about hip hop with a gallery night Dec. 20 at Great Lakes Coffee in Midtown Detroit. The event is 7-11 p.m.

DETROITGRAMS’ latest issue, called Flow, takes an intimate look at hip hop culture and examines its influence in modern Detroit. As a complement to this online content, the gallery night will illustrate how hip hop is much more than music as photographers and writers explore the lives of videographers, activists, producers and other influencers.

The event will present a photo exhibit and video footage along with a set by DJ Carmine. It is free and open to the public, RSVP here.
 

Fourth Annual Detroit Holiday Food Bazaar this weekend

Started in 2010 by food writer and small business owner, Noelle Lothamer, the Detroit Holiday Food Bazaar has established itself as a way to connect small food entrepreneurs with customers eager to purchase unique local and artisanal products, both for themselves and as holiday gifts.

This year's event takes place Friday, Dec. 13 (5-10 p.m.) and Saturday, Dec. 14 (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) in the Historic Jefferson-Chalmers Business District.
 
Lothamer -- who started the cottage food business, Beau Bien Fine Foods in 2010 with partner Molly O'Meara - hoped to sell the duo's jams and condiments to the public for the holidays, but the fledgling company was too small to vend at Eastern Market or to pay the high fees associated with most holiday fairs and markets. So, she decided to create her own one-night-only pop-up market, inviting a handful of fellow food entrepreneurs to join her.
 
The Bazaar is held each year in a different location, in hopes of highlighting different neighborhoods in the city. This year's Bazaar will be held in the Jefferson-Chalmers business district, at three different storefronts (14430, 14440, and 14401 E. Jefferson). Food trucks will be in attendance Friday evening, and pop-up-turned-permanent coffee shop Coffee & (___) (14409 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit) will also be open for the duration of the event.
 
The Bazaar strives to showcase the best food artisans the area has to offer. This year's market will feature products such as "Old Timey Drinking Vinegars" from McClary Bros., smoked salmon from Great Lakes Smoked Salmon, hand-dipped chocolate truffles from Pete's Chocolates, olives and tapenades from Sofia's Selection, French lava cakes from Chez Chloé, coffee from Great Lakes Coffee and much more. Many of the vendors will be offering special holiday pricing or gift packaging not available elsewhere.

Corktown's Two James gets some video love from Al Jazeera America

From Deadline Detroit we learned that Al Jazeera America, which set up a Detroit bureau in August, aired a two-minute report (below) on the Michigan Avenue newcomer that opened a tasting room Nov. 1.

"From ingredients to packaging, everything at Two James Spirits is local," notes the network's local correspondent, Bisi Onile-Ere.

See the video here.
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