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Get Into The Groove on Record Store Day - Photo by Marvin Shaouni
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Wow: Model D publishes issue 400 this week

When we launched this slightly mysterious media project called Model D in June 2005, online journalism was in its infancy. The dailies and magazines, not just in Detroit but most everywhere, seemed oddly unconvinced that the future of news was digital not physical, for better and worse.

Eight-plus years is an eternity in this business, enabled and accelerated by the very nature of the Internet. We are happy to be here to celebrate (albeit quietly, unlike our Model D 300 bash in 2011 -- better known as the Next Big Thing party, at the still raw, unreconstructed Whitney Building) 400 issues this week.

We say, "wow" to that and thank you all for your support. At the present pace we should be reaching 500 issues in late 2015. Stay tuned in. We'll keep you in the loop on the city's growth and development and lots more in between. That's a promise.  

Subscribe here, look for us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.  



'Detroit Unleaded' premieres Wednesday at DFT

Director Rola Nashef’s romantic dramedy Detroit Unleaded opens in Detroit at the Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts Nov. 13. Yes, that's tomorrow.

Detroit Unleaded premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival where it won the Grolsch Film Works Discovery Award. Expanding upon the award-winning 2007 short, Detroit Unleaded is a modern take on Romeo and Juliet that tells the story of Sami, a Lebanese-American who reluctantly takes over his father's gas station after he is murdered in an armed robbery. It's not a life that Sami ever wanted, nor did his late father who always encouraged his son to go to college. 

The gas station is more than just a pit stop for rolling papers and fake perfume, but a place where an infinite stream of spirited and often hilarious people flow through. When a gorgeous "up-do girl" named Najlah comes to deliver cheap long-distance phone cards, Sami quickly falls for her. Afraid her overprotective brother will disapprove, Najlah begins a romance with Sami under the promise of secrecy. As their love blossoms, Sami's dream of a better life begins to swell. We know you want to go, right?

Tickets for the film and the gala red carpet event are available here.

Coalition of Detroit environmental groups releases Detroit voter guide

The Detroit Environmental Agenda, led by Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice (DWEJ), a nonprofit working with communities to create cleaner, healthier and safer neighborhoods, earlier this month released an update to its 2013 Voter Guide.

Each candidate for Detroit City Council and Mayor were provided a copy of the Detroit Environmental Agenda (DEA) report released earlier this year and asked to complete a short questionnaire with the following questions:

• Do you endorse the Detroit Environmental Agenda?

• Detroit suffers from very high rates of asthma, cancer, and lead poisoning, all influenced by our heavily polluted environment. These problems impact children’s ability to learn and adults’ ability to work. What would you, as an elected official, do to improve Detroit’s environment?

• How would you, as an elected official, be an advocate for resident efforts to improve neighborhood quality of life?

• In the interests of environmental justice, how would you work to alleviate disproportionate environmental burdens in the city?

• The city needs to be an advocate for higher environmental standards. If you are elected, how do you envision using the Detroit Environmental Agenda as a tool to create policies that improve the city’s environment?

• For mayoral candidates, we asked if they would consider establishing an Office of Sustainability with the power to move Detroit Environmental Agenda recommendations forward.

Nearly 20 candidates responded to the survey, including both candidates for mayor. The report can be downloaded here and print copies will be circulated in communities throughout Detroit. The purpose of the guide is to inform citizens in an effort to help elect leaders who will take action for a cleaner, safer, healthier Detroit. 

The 2013 Voter Guide is funded by the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation and The Kendeda Fund. 
 
For completing a brief survey online and downloading the DEA Voter Guide, participants are entered into a drawing to win various prizes. They can also gain another entry by "liking" the DEA’s Facebook page. The winner will be announced on Facebook Nov. 29. 

Cleveland transit holds lessons for Detroit's M-1

With work on the Woodward Corridor's M-1 rail set to begin soon, the Freep's John Gallagher writes about how a not dissimilar rail line in Cleveland has worked out.

An excerpt:

Cleveland’s HealthLine shows that detailed planning can pay off. The city created new zoning rules requiring developers building along the route to build their projects right up to the sidewalk with parking behind the building to avoid the look of suburban strip malls. The city’s Regional Transit Authority even commissioned more than 100 new trash bins with a snappy design for the route. Playing off the hybrid design of the bus rapid transit vehicles, which run on tires like buses but use dedicated lanes like a train, the HealthLine’s slogan is "It’s not a bus. It’s not a train. It’s the future."

Read more here.

Freep's Gallagher to mayoral candidates: Don't forget Detroit Future City

In this recent piece in the Detroit Free Press, John Gallagher gives a bit of a healthy shove to both mayoral candidates, who don't appear to be embracing many of the strategies outlined by the Detroit Future City document.

An excerpt: 

Both candidates' plans for neighborhood revival nod to Detroit Future City, and both Duggan and Napoleon said in interviews that Detroit Future City has informed their own work. But Robin Boyle, chairman of the department of urban planning at Wayne State University, is among the experts interviewed by the Free Press who said neither candidate goes as far as Detroit Future City in envisioning innovative strategies for turning around Detroit.

Detroit Future City, for example, calls for concentrating any new development in the city's already more densely populated areas rather than scattering it throughout the city as often occurs today. And, most controversially, Detroit Future City advises allowing large areas of low density in distressed neighborhoods to convert to "green" uses, such as agriculture or reforestation or rainwater retention basins, rather than calling for re­development in those areas.

Read on here.

November launch party set for Freep doc film festival

Detroit’s getting a new film festival -- one in which the Motor City and Michigan will play the starring roles.

The Freep Film Festival, presented by the Detroit Free Press and Detroit Media Partnership, will debut March 20-23, 2014. The annual event will showcase documentary films about Detroit and our region. The festival will be held at two iconic venues: the Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and The Fillmore Detroit, in the heart of the city’s downtown theater district.

The new film event has two primary goals, says Steve Byrne, the festival’s executive director. "We want to engage people in our community in a discussion about the issues and challenges we face," he says. "And we also want to celebrate what makes our area so unique and special."

Details about the festival are here.

The festival will screen about a dozen films over its four-day run, and feature other community engagement activities. The films will be announced later this year. They are being selected by a committee that includes Kathy Kieliszewski, the Free Press’ director of photo & video (and the festival’s artistic director), Elliot Wilhelm, film curator of the DIA, and Josh Newman, talent buyer of Live Nation Michigan /The Fillmore Detroit.

A festival launch party will be held Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Fillmore Detroit. The party will feature the Detroit premiere of The Michigan Beer Film, a movie that explores the explosive growth -- both economic and artistic -- of Michigan craft beer. Directed by Kevin Romeo of Rhino Media Productions, it delves into the entrepreneurial spirit that has fueled the state’s flourishing beer scene. Attendees also will be able to sample some of the beers featured in the film. 

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with drink specials 5:30-6:30 p.m. and a 7:30 p.m. screening. Tickets ($10 advance, $15 at the door) will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 11, at ticketmaster.com and livenation.com.

For more information, follow the festival on Twitter and Facebook

Detroit Area Art Deco Society hosting third annual downtown wine stroll

The Detroit Area Art Deco Society will be hosting it's third annual Wine Stroll with the theme of "Art, Architecture and Great Wines" at varous Detroit restaurants and historic venues. 

The wine stroll will provide attendees with a chance to tour several architecturally significant buildings, see art and select wines paired with a food tasting from each unique venue.

Check-in location: Chez Zara. Confirmed venues: Angelina Italian Bistro, Small Plates, Music Hall, Grand Trunk, Sky Bar, Centaur, Rowland Cafe, 24 Grille and Firebird Tavern.

Sounds like fun. More details here.

SEMCOG hosts green infrastructure visioning session today in North End

The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), in cooperation with its county and local government partners, is developing a regional green infrastructure vision for Southeast Michigan. Green infrastructure is both a network of green space and natural areas in our communities, along with built techniques such as rain gardens and bioswales that preserve the functions of the natural ecosystems to benefit residents of the region.

One more Green Infrastructure Visioning session is scheduled in the City of Detroit:
·  Date:       Tuesday, Oct. 29
·  Time:       6-8 p.m.
·  Location:  Jam Handy, 2900 E. Grand Blvd., Detroit.

The purpose of the visioning session is to gather input from stakeholders on important natural areas in their counties, and discuss what and where additional green infrastructure could be located. The regional vision could set the stage for future grant opportunities, and parks and recreation plans.

Attendees will participate in an interactive group exercise on current and future green infrastructure in the county. Keypads will be used to identify important policies to help communities implement green infrastructure recommendations.

Detroit techno inspires, sustains Berlin Tresor brand

Model D managing editor Walter Wasacz has long talked and written about Detroit's global vibe, that special, intangible "otherness" that tastemakers all over the world seem to find again and again. He was asked by San Francisco-based music pub XLR8R to write this piece on Tresor -- a label, a club, a pioneer in Berlin social entrepreneurship -- which gains much of its inspiration from Detroit techno.

An excerpt:

(Dimitri) Hegemann and other tastemakers in the city, including Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald, who opened the Hard Wax record shop in 1989 and started their Basic Channel group and label project four years later, were paying close attention to tracks being produced in Detroit. They embraced the sound, and began cultivating relationships with Motor City artists.

"Detroit was fresh. We thought the best new music was coming from there," Hegemann says. "I first heard a Final Cut white label in 1988, then Jeff Mills came here for the first time in 1990. Everything really started coming together in Berlin because of Detroit techno. It was the soundtrack that we could all agree on."

Rock on Jeff Mills. Read the rest of the story here.

Honor and Folly gets well deserved love from NYT

In a piece that focuses on quirky places to stay when traveling, the New York Times asked Meghan McEwen, herself a travel writer, to talk about her Corktown inn, Honor and Folly, in her own words.

An excerpt:

I felt like Detroit needed this really immersive, local experience because that’s where all of the energy is. Our inn is in Corktown, the city’s oldest neighborhood, and I’m able to tell my guests where to get the best pizza, who are the best farmers at Eastern Market, where to see the coolest graffiti because I live here. It’s a bit of an antiquated career, innkeeper, but it’s making a resurgence because when you’re staying in a place where the innkeeper is taking such great care of every detail, you can feel it.

See the rest of the story here.

KICK begins search for permanent location

At Model D's editorial advisory meeting last week, one of our guests, old friend Curtis Lipscomb, executive director of KICK -- the agency for lesbian, gay, bi- and transgender African Americans-- told us the organization just signed a two-year lease at its Midtown location. (And, yes, Lipscomb is the author of this week's opinion piece.)

But Lipscomb also said KICK would be starting a search for a building or a house for a more permament spot.

If you have a lead on some Detroit real estate, you can email Lipscomb here.

Biergartens pop up this week downtown and in Villages

Good Michigan craft suds will be flowing this week in two locations - downtown on Woodward to service Tigers' loving fans headed to and from Comerica Park for the American League Championship Series with the Red Sox; and in the Villages to welcome the new businesses on Agnes St. and to introduce Phase II of the Detroit Lions' Living for the City initiative.

The downtown pop up is at 1520 Woodward Ave., Oct. 15-17; that's today, Tuesday, 1 - 9 p.m.; Wednesday, 5 p.m. - midnight; and Thursday, 5 p.m. - midnight.

The biergarten pop up in the Villages is at 1420 Van Dyke, Oct. 19-20, 3-9 p.m. each day. Drinks and eats courtesy of Hatch contest participants Alley Wine, Batch Brewery Company, Treats by Angelique and Voigt's Soda House.



Curbed Detroit: Avenue of Fashion, before and after

Livernois has long been one of Detroit's great north-south thoroughfares, from Fort Wayne at the southern end to the Ferndale city limits at the northern end. 

It's the latter part of Livernois, the historic Avenue of Fashion, that has been getting much love and new investment of late. We thought this story in Curbed Detroit, including before and after pics, was worth another look.

An excerpt: 

Over the summer, a contingent of retailers, artists, and designers descended on a sleepy stretch of commercial frontage on Livernois Avenue. The city once referred to this district as the Avenue of Fashion, but years of decline had left the storefronts largely vacant. Fueled by grant money and assistance from the REVOLVE program, several of these spaces have been woken up with new shopping opportunities and art installations. Check out what was achieved in just a few months.

Read more here.

NYT: The baseball hero we call 'Miggy'

While we sweat out what looks to be a tough series with the Oakland Athletics, it's nice to take a step back and reflect on the greatest of current Tiger greats (and maybe, just maybe, the greatest of all time), Miguel Cabrera.

Thanks to this nicely-done piece by Mark Leibovich in the New York Times.

An excerpt: 

Sluggers used to be the heroes. Now they and their statistics have become suspect. But while fans have been outraged over performance-enhancing drugs, they are also conditioned to expect their results. Cabrera, 30, has never been linked in any way to P.E.D.’s. (His beer-league physique is one obvious defense.) On the field, his only blemish is that he has put up remarkable numbers during an era in which so much seemed too good to be true, and regularly proved just that. In a sense, Cabrera is now positioned to redeem the modern slugger. The question is whether he can compete with the fantasy of players past.

Read on here.

Artspace: 'Everything and every idea is possible' in Detroit

Nice to find this piece while browsing the web this past weekend. It affirms much of what we've been talking about the last eight years or so in Model D and gets to the heart and soul of what makes us tick in Detroit.

An excerpt:

Creative people have been drawn to Detroit in the first case because, like Berlin in the 1990s, it is very inexpensive. There is most certainly no other place where an artist or musician can acquire a 3,000-square-foot house with yard for $500. The city has been functioning, or not, as though it were insolvent for a number of years, so the actual insolvency makes little or no difference. Perhaps it even adds a new layer of cache.

Read more here.
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