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Electronic music legends Kraftwerk to headline 2016 Movement festival

 
It's the dead of winter (19 degrees Fahrenheit at the time of this writing), but we at Model D just got got really excited for Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial kickoff of summer. That's because local event production company Paxahau just announced that legendary German electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk will be headlining this year's Movement Electronic Music Festival.
 
Kraftwerk has never played Movement, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this summer, though they've performed in Detroit sporadically over the last 35 years. Listen to their first ever Detroit concert, which took place on July 25, 1981 at Nitro, a now-defunct club that was located in a shopping mall at Telegraph and Schoolcraft on the city's west side:


 
By all accounts, Kraftwerk's most recent Detroit show, which took place Oct. 6 at the Masonic Temple, was a real crowd pleaser. The Detroit News's Adam Graham described the performance, which involved audience members wearing 3D glasses, as "eye popping." According to a press release by Paxahau, Kraftwerk's upcoming performance at Movement will also incorporate 3D elements.
 
Detroiters who attended the October show's after party at MOCAD were treated to DJ sets by Detroit techno legends Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins, and Eddie Fowlkes, as well as a surprise appearance by Kraftwerk members.
 
Kraftwerk has often been cited by the pioneers of Detroit techno as a critical musical influence since the group's music was first introduced to Motor City audiences by the Electrifying Mojo, a legend of local radio. Members of Kraftwerk, meanwhile, were recently quoted in Rolling Stone as saying that they feel a "spiritual connection" to Detroit.
 
Movement is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Other acts scheduled to perform at the 2016 festival, which will take place at Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit over Memorial Day weekend (May 28-30) include Caribou, For Tet, Carl Craig, Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins, and more. Visit movement.us for details.

Enjoy vintage video games and cocktails at Michigan Science Center After Dark

We got excited last month when the Michigan Science Center opened its doors one evening for After Dark, a happy hour that invited adults ages 21 and over to explore the science of mixology ("I wasn't just out drinking, I swear. I was learning chemistry!"). Over 170 people attended.

We're even more excited for the return of After Dark on Thursday, Jan. 21, when the Science Center will add vintage video games to its monthly happy hour. Attendees will be able to play some arcade favorites and classic console games like Duck Hunt and Super Smash Bros, all while enjoying a cash bar. It's all in conjunction with the Science Center's latest exhibit, Toytopia, which explores the science of play through multiple eras of games.

After Dark events take place on the third Thursday of every month. This month's event starts at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21. Admission is $10 and includes a complimentary drink. Attendees must be 21 or over to attend.

Tickets are available here.

Disclosure: Michigan Science Center provides funding for Model D's "STEM Hub" series documenting the importance of STEM education in southeast Michigan.

Motor City Muckraker shifts focus to education in 2016


If you don't already know who Steve Neavling is, it's time to start following Motor City Muckraker, the investigative news site he runs with co-founder Abigail Shaw. Last year, Neavling dedicated himself to tracking the Detroit Fire Department's struggles to deal with the city's 3,000-plus fires. His reporting revealed a mismanaged and under-resourced department, eventually leading to the ouster of Fire Commissioner Edsel Jenkins and his deputy Craig Dougherty.

This year Neavling, who was a reporter for the Detroit Free Press before striking out to launch his own site focused on "independent news dedicated to improving Detroit," is turning his attention to the issues of education and the mayor's administration.

If Neavling's reporting on the Detroit Fire Department in 2015 is any indication, you'll want to keep an eye on what the Muckraker turns up in 2016.

Follow Neavling's work at MotorCityMuckraker.com.

Fort Street drawbridge over Rouge River reopens


In May 2013, the Fort Street drawbridge that spans the Rouge River in southwest Detroit closed for repairs. Built in 1922 by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the bridge serves as an important connection point between Detroit's Oakwood and Delray neighborhoods, as well as between the Downriver region and southwest Detroit. Yet its closure might have proven only a minor inconvenience to area motorists and pedestrians had the West Jefferson Avenue bridge two-thirds of a mile to the south not closed in the same month. That bridge was damaged when its operator, who was suspected of being intoxicated, lowered the span on top a passing ship.

Since then, people in the area have had their options for crossing the Rouge cut in half: they could either take the Dix Avenue Bridge in Dearborn or the I-75 bridge in Detroit, making their journeys more circuitous.

That changed, however, on Thursday, Dec. 31, when the bridge finally reopened after 31 months of repairs that cost the Michigan Department of Transporation $46 million. The Detroit News reports that the repairs were completed nearly a year behind schedule because of the complexity of the job and interference by river traffic. Currently one lane of traffic is open in each direction, but MDOT told the News that it expects to open the bridge's three other lanes by the end of January.

The West Jefferson Avenue drawbridge is expected to reopen in August.

Check out this time-lapse GIF of the reconstructed Fort Street Bridge in action:



Read about locals' reactions to the reopening of the Fort Street Bridge: Inside Southwest Detroit.

Read more: Detroit News
 

Free Press talks to 50 Detroiters about the state of their city

In a sprawling, must-read series of 50 profiles, the Detroit Free Press did something news media often neglect to do when trying to make sense Detroit's many challenges: it talked to residents -- young and old; black, white, Arab and Latino; small business owners, executives, and blue collar workers; immigrants, natives, and transplants -- about the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis and the opportunities they see in spite of them.

"One year since the City of Detroit's bankruptcy ended. Two years after the state takeover. Nearly 60 years since the city began its painful decline. One year since it started the slow climb back up. What’s life like for the Detroiters who never left or those newly arrived?" asks Detroit's paper of record.

Read more: Detroit Free Press

MiSci After Dark, the thinking person's happy hour, comes to Michigan Science Center


There's no shortage of great places to grab a cocktail after work in Midtown these days, but if you're looking for a change of pace that's more intellectually stimulating than your average trip to the bar, the Michigan Science Center has something special for you. On the third Thursday of every month, MiSci is hosting After Dark, a happy hour that allows adults to experience the museum after hours while enjoying adult beverages.

According to a statement, "After Dark will feature demos with a mixologist, vintage video competitions, extreme dot-to-dot challenges and more." Admission is $10 and includes a drink.

The next After Dark happy hour is happening Thursday, Dec. 17, from 5-8 p.m. Click here for details.

The insidious setback to recovery in Detroit's neighborhoods

In a 4,500-word longform piece for Next City, Detroit author and journalist Anna Clark digs deep into a setback to Detroit's recovery more insidious than high crime rates or a sluggish economy--the mortgage industry.

Clark describes a serious disconnect between prices reached between would-be home buyers and sellers and the appraisals banks conduct before they issue mortgages. In many Detroit neighborhoods, auction sales of tax-foreclosed properties for $500 or $1,000 could be the only available comparables, making it difficult to arrive at appraisals, which are based on sales of nearby homes, that reflect the actual price buyers are willing to pay.

"The result is a system where loans are not available across most of the city," writes Clark. "In Detroit, only 12 percent of home sales are financed, compared to 65 percent in Ferndale and 90 percent in Grosse Pointe. And they are not all at those infamously low price points. An $87,000 house in the Woodbridge neighborhood was recently bought with cash. So was the $1.6 million Fisher Mansion in Palmer Woods."

Clark reports that only 462 single family homes sold in Detroit in 2014 were purchased with a mortgage, and that nearly 87 percent of sales were cash deals, more than double the national average.

To learn about why the conventional mortgage system is failing Detroit and how groups like the Detroit Land Bank Authority and Talmer Bank are working to fix it, read more in Next City.

Ron Scott, Detroit peace activist, dead at 68

 
In the midst of a national epidemic of deaths of black men and women at the hands of white police officers, Detroit has lost one of its most outspoken critics of police brutality and staunchest advocates of peace.
 
Ron Scott, a founding member of the Detroit chapter of the Black Panther Party and, later, the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, passed away on Sunday, Nov. 29, after a battle with cancer.
 
"The Detroit Police Commission knew Scott's face well, as he spoke often at meetings, challenging decisions and procedures within the department," wrote MLive's Gus Burns in his Nov. 30 remembrance.
 
"Scott… dedicated his life to civil rights issues and worked up to the minute he took his last breath, his family said," write Robin Erb and Katrease Stafford in the Detroit Free Press.
 
Read more about Mr. Scott's life and legacy in the Detroit Free Press and MLive.

Washington Post examines 'unconventional' fixes for Detroit's unconventional housing market

 
From low appraisals to a dearth of conventional mortgage lending to a glut of supply (often in desperate need of renovation), Detroit's housing market faces a slew of issues that make it one of the most challenged and unusual in the country.
 
So how do you "restore a functional housing market in a city in which neighborhoods are disappearing, banks aren’t lending and property values are among the lowest in the nation?" That's the question the Washington Post asks in a recent feature story.
 
What they found in Detroit is that unusual circumstances are being met with unusual measures to prop up housing values throughout the city.
 
"Civic and business leaders are targeting eight neighborhoods that they determined have the best chance of turning around," writes the Post's Kathy Orton. "To clear out the inventory of vacant houses, the city is moving aggressively to demolish structures that are beyond repair and auction ones that are salvageable."
 
Read more about efforts to restore the weak housing market in Detroit's neighborhoods in the Washington Post.

How to do Small Business Saturday the easy way


With the holiday season (and all of the shopping it entails) upon us, there's good reason to feel stressed. Thankfully, several Detroit nonprofits are teaming up to make shopping easy and enjoyable, all while promoting city-based small businesses.

This Saturday, Nov. 28, the Downtown Detroit Partnership is hosting its 12th annual Shop Detroit event in conjunction with American Express's Small Business Saturday. Participants will be able to hop on busses at any of nine pickup locations around the city and be shuttled to a handful of retail districts, including the Cass and Canfield district, the shops at the Park Shelton, the Fisher Building, the Livernois Avenue of Fashion, and downtown. Along the way, the good folks at the Detroit Experience Factory will provide background on the shopping options, as well as historical tidbits about the city. The best part? The tours and shuttles are free and open to the public.

In conjunction with Shop Detroit, the Build Institute will be hosting a Build Bazaar in the atrium of One Campus Martius. Build Bazaar is a rotating pop-up marketplace celebrating emerging entrepreneurs from Build Institute's small business development program. To learn more about Build Institute's Shop Detroit Build Bazaar, click here. Can't make it this Saturday? Check out one of the other Build Bazaars happening between now and Christmas.

To RSVP for Shop Detroit, click here.

'Give grass a chance,' says Navin Field Grounds Crew about Tiger Stadium site

Since the demolition of Tiger Stadium in 2009, a group of unpaid volunteers calling themselves the Navin Field Grounds Crew have worked to maintain the site where the likes of Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and Hank Greenberg all played. Since then, countless people have enjoyed the historic site, from youth and vintage baseball players to Corktown residents walking their dogs to people trotting around the bases while imitating Kirk Gibson's legendary 1984 World Series home run off of Goose Gossage. A handful of couples have even gotten married at home plate.

The way people enjoy the historic site of Navin Field could soon change, however. Last summer, Detroit PAL, a sports organization serving youth in the city, was granted development rights for the site at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull. The group's plans call for housing, retail, and office space around the perimeter of the playing field, which will be replaced with artificial turf for the purposes of continuous youth sports programming.

That's where the Navin Field Grounds crew takes issue.

"All we are saying is give grass a chance," says Dave Mesrey, co-founder of the Navin Field Grounds Crew, which recently printed shirts sporting the same slogan.

Mesrey and the Grounds Crew point to recent stories suggesting that artificial turf could have negative health effects on children, as well historical importance of the original field as reasons for keeping the grass.

On Wednesday, Oct. 28, the Navin Field Grounds Crew and the Corktown Community Organization are hosting a forum on the future of Navin Field at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local at 1358 Abbott St. in Corktown. The event, which starts at 6:30 p.m., will feature a public discussion on public access to the Navin Field site, artificial turf versus natural grass, retail and residential development, and more.

Representatives will be on hand from the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, the Navin Field Grounds CrewDetroit PAL, and Tiger Stadium Partners.

To learn more, click here.

Detroit Experience Series returns with Oct. 24 tour of northwest Detroit

Since 2005, Model D has told stories of positive neighborhood transformation, from the development of new businesses to the redevelopment of old buildings to the perseverance of long-term residents in the face of challenges. As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, we invite you to experience neighborhood transformation in Detroit firsthand through the Detroit Experience Series, a partnership between Model D and the Detroit Experience Factory.
 
Our tours will re-introduce (or simply introduce) you to the small businesses and people in the following neighborhoods:
  
Northwest Detroit (Saturday, October 24, 10 a.m.-noon) – Includes Palmer Woods, Sherwood Forest, University District, and the Avenue of Fashion. (Get tickets)

Jefferson East (Saturday, November 14, 10 a.m.-noon) – Includes the Villages, the East Riverfront, and Jefferson-Chalmers. (Get tickets)
 
Tours cost $25 for early bird tickets and $30 for general tickets and last approximately 2 hours.
 
Whether you're a long-term resident wanting to learn more about your neighborhood or a complete newbie, you'll discover something new through the Detroit Experience Series. Sign up today!

Grace Lee Boggs, Detroit activist and philosopher, dies at 100

 
Democracy Now! and the Metro Times are reporting that one of Detroit's most well-known and best-loved activists, Grace Lee Boggs, has passed away at age 100.
 
Ms. Boggs was known for her work in the civil rights, labor, and black power movements. She inspired generations of leaders in the world of social justice activism. She founded the Detroit Summer youth program in 1992. Her live and work were documented in the 2014 PBS film "American Revolutionary" by director Grace Lee.
 
The James and Grace Lee Boggs School, named in honor of Ms. Boggs and her late husband, also a beloved local activist, issued the following statement on its Facebook page:
 
"With heavy hearts, we want to share the passing of Grace Lee Boggs today. She was 100 years old. We want to give families a chance to talk about it with children before we talk about it here. We will be talking about it as a school tomorrow at our all-school morning meeting. Our school community will miss her deeply."
 
Read more: Democracy Now!, Metro Times

Knight Cities Challenge returns, wants your ideas to help Detroit succeed

 
For the second year, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is accepting applications for "the best ideas for cities to succeed" as a part of its Knight Cities Challenge. The application period is open now through Oct. 27 for anyone living in one of the 26 communities where the Knight Foundation invests, Detroit included.
 
According to a release from the Knight Foundation, "winners will receive a share of $5 million and become part of a network of civic innovators; funding will be granted at all levels from small to large amounts." Last year, 32 Knight Cities Challenge winners were selected from over 7,200 applications. Five of those winners were located in Detroit. For descriptions of those projects, click here.
 
One of the hallmarks of the challenge is its openness with regard to who can apply. "The challenge is open to anyone from anywhere: neighbors, architects, activists, artists, city planners, entrepreneurs, students, educators, city officials, as well as governments and organizations," writes the Knight Foundation.
 
If you have questions about the challenge, the Detroit office of the Knight Foundation invites you to virtual office hours or in-person events to learn more. Two public information sessions will be held at TechTown (440 Burroughs, Detroit):
• Tuesday, Oct. 6, 6 – 8 p.m. Limited seating. RSVP here.
• Monday, Oct. 19, 6-8 p.m. Limited seating. RSVPhere.
The schedule of all in-person and virtual office hours, which is regularly updated, can be accessed here.
 
Learn more and apply to the Knight Cities Challenge at knightcities.org.

What will Detroit look like in the next 25-50 years?

If we think of the city as a platform, how can we make sure Detroit is ready for the next 25 or 50 years and beyond? What changes should happen in the world of technology and city infrastructure? We want to hear your thoughts at a discussion taking place on Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 5:30 p.m. at Bamboo Detroit.

Join us for food and the following: 

5:30 p.m – 6 p.m. - Meet and greet 
6 p.m. – 7 p.m. - Panel discussion 
7 p.m. – 8 p.m. - Mingling and networking

Joining us on this panel is April Boyle, executive director of Build Institute; Marc Hudson, co-founder of Rocket Fiber; Eric Williams, head of entrepreneurship at WSU; and Steve Baker, director of IT strategy and innovation at DTE Energy. This discussion will be moderated by Matt Lewis, managing editor of Model D.

This event will be hosted at Bamboo Detroit, a co-working space on the second floor of 1442 Brush street. Parking is located in lots off of Gratiot and Brush, and nearby at the Opera House and Z Lot.

Learn more: Facebook
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