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New site will help Detroiters recover stolen bikes

If your bicycle "goes missing," a new resource now exists to help you get it back. It will also help you be certain that the used bike you are about to buy was not stolen from its previous owner. The Detroit Bike Blacklist is a website where local cyclists can post profiles of their missing bikes (including photos, descriptions, dates when bikes disappeared, and contact information) in the hopes that people who come across them will return them to their rightful owners.

According to Detroit Bike Blacklist's founder, the site was inspired by a personal experience of purchasing a stolen bike:

"So, in October of 2013 I found out that the bike I was riding around on was stolen property.

It had been stolen from Eastern Market, donated to a local bike shop (by a parent maybe?), and I ended up buying it.

I pieced this together by meeting the former bike owner, and then talking with people at the bike shop. It was no one's fault - it just ended up that way.

But what if there was a way to check if the bike you were buying had been stolen?

Thus, the Detroit Bike Blacklist was born."


Have a look. Maybe you can help a fellow Detroiter get his or her bike back.

Source: Detroit Bike Blacklist
 

Relax! It's okay if suburbanites rep Detroit

"Where are you from?" asks a stranger on an airplane. It's a common first step in getting to know someone, especially when you're travelling.

"Detroit," you answer.

"Oh, Detroit, you say? Whereabouts, exactly? I love Detroit and know all of its neighborhoods."

"Well...er...I'm from Grosse Pointe Park, actually. It's an east side suburb of Detroit."

"Oh, I see..." says the stranger, putting on her headphones and raising her IPad, effectively ending all communication between you and her for the rest of your flight together.


But it doesn't have to be this way! Or at least that's what a recent article from CityLab entilted "Why You Shouldn't Mock Suburbanites Who Say They're From the City" argues.

"We need to allow for more wiggle room," write CityLab's Laura Bliss and Sam Sturgis. "Why? First, it no longer makes sense to generalize the experience of the 'actual city' as radically more heterogeneous than, or separate from, life in a suburb or exurb."

This of course raises the question, "Are all of us who live in this metropolis 'from Detroit?' And what does it mean when we build a barn between one municipality and another?" 

Read more in CityLab.

Midtown Inc. closes in on $50K fundraising goal for green alley project

Midtown Detroit Inc. is seeking to raise a total of $50,000 towards the development of the district's second green alleyway. If the organization succeeds in raising the funds through its Patronicity campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation will match the funds. At the time of this writing, donors have pledged just over $30,000 to the campaign.

The project is planned for an alley right-of-way bounded by Second Avenue, Selden, the Third Avenue alley, and Alexandrine. According to the project's Patronicity page, "the project will "transform the 415 foot long alley with the purpose of connecting future developments, promoting walk-ability and community connectivity - opening up business for restaurants like the Selden Standard."

For more details, visit the green alley project's Patronicity page.

Social Club Grooming Co.'s "Shop Talks" not your average panel discussions

The Social Club Grooming Company hosts panel discussion that are wholly unique in Detroit. During the Social Club's "Shop Talks," panelists have an intimate conversation with an audience about the future of Detroit -- while sitting in a barber chair and getting their hair cut.

The next Shop Talk is scheduled for Thursday, July 24 from 6-8 p.m. The Social Club will host a Duke and Harvard student-moderated panel discussion on the social-entrepreneurial climate and business innovation happening in Detroit. Panelists include designer Rick Williams, fashion photographer Piper Carter, chief talent officer for the city of Detroit Bryan Barnhill, and Crain’s Detroit Business's director of audience development Eric Cedo. The panelists will receive haircuts while speaking so the shop can collect the trimmed hair and use its nitrogen content to help grow vegetation in Detroit.

The Social Club’s Shop Talk series is designed to provide a monthly opportunity for the Detroit community to hear from a diverse group of community leaders, artists, business leaders, and activists about specific issues. The objective is to help young people develop thoughtful positions on topics being discussed in Detroit, as well as increase their understanding of the positions of others.

“There’s so much positive energy in Detroit right now,” said The Social Club founder Sebastian Jackson. “It’s wonderful to see tomorrow's leaders at Harvard and Duke take notice. The fact that these students are here to experience a firsthand account of what’s going on means we are beginning to change the narrative of Detroit. Thursday’s panel discussion gives these students an opportunity to interact and learn from the individuals influencing the future of Detroit.” 

Other panelists may be added.

The Social Club Grooming Company provides environmentally friendly grooming services to the Detroit community through socially responsible practices. The Social Club prides itself in catering to all who enter, regardless of race or gender. The shop is located at 5272 Anthony Wayne Dr. on the campus of Wayne State University.

For updates, visit the Social Club's Facebook page.
 

Essayist reflects on growing up in Detroit's North Rosedale neighborhood in piece for The New Yorker

In an essay published on June 17 in The New Yorker, native Detroiter and writer Rollo Romig reflects back on his time growing up in North Rosedale Park on Detroit's northwest side. Throughout the essay, entitled "When You've Had Detroit," Romig waxes nostalgically about the things that made his childhood neighborhood special while acknowledging the cruel realities of living in the heart of a city during a period of rapid decline.

My parents had no idea what a paradise North Rosedale could be until they moved in. All they knew was that they could buy a gorgeous house there for only thirty thousand dollars, and that was good enough. It was a big yellow-brick colonial, built solid in 1928 and clearly designed for a family with means: a wood-burning fireplace in the living room, a leaded-glass window on the stair...

It was good enough that there was a lot we were willing to ignore. Five months after we moved to North Rosedale, three men with guns took my mother’s purse while she chatted outside a friend’s house on a perfect May evening. When a cop arrived, my dad pointed out that the muggers now had our home address and our house keys. What to do?


Despite its challenges, Romig celebrates his neighborhood as a great place to be from.

"We’ve never wished we grew up anywhere else," he ends his essay.

The essay is slated to be published in the forthcoming Wildsam Field Guid to Detroit.

Re-examining the $500 house: You get what you pay for

Good Magazine makes a compelling argument with which many who have bought "cheap" homes in Detroit might agee: When it comes to the $500 house, you often get what you pay for. In fact, these houses often carry a negative value.

"Here’s why very cheap can mean very big trouble," writes Good's Angie Schmit. "Houses, in addition to the land they occupy, are the sum of their parts. That key threshold where "affordability" turns into market collapse is when housing becomes so cheap that the cost to repair the structure is more than someone is willing to pay for the house. Just because houses might sell for peanuts in Detroit, doesn’t make, say, roofing materials or lumber any less costly. In other words, if your home is worth less than it costs to fix the roof, there’s strong incentive to walk away. And that’s what thousands of people have done in cities like Detroit, Youngstown, Ohio, and Buffalo, New York."

In other words, cheap houses generally require large investments of time and money, which Good Magazine's Angie Schmitt argues is a big problem, especially for the working poor who inhabit cities where this is the case. She suggests that the solution to this problem is actually the addition of more expensive housing to weak markets like Detroit, as well as an overall a reduction of the supply of housing.

Source: Good Magazine

Crash Detroit festival to bring nationally renowned brass bands to Corktown

This weekend, renowned brass bands from around the country will join the Detroit Party Marching band for Crash Detroit, the city's first festival of street bands and art.

According to Detroit Unspun, on Friday, July 18, "More than 100 musicians will be scattered throughout the city giving a musical surprise to patrons, bar-goers, passers-by, or anyone else whom they might come in contact with. The mysterious concert schedules will be held in the strictest confidence, but they will take place between 8:00 pm and 11:00 pm.  You can keep track of the goings on as they occur on Twitter @Crash_Detroit."

On Saturday, July 19, Crash Detroit participants will host a more traditional performance in Roosevelt Park in front of Michigan Central Station in Corktown. The schedule is as follows:

2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m., BlueLine Brass Band

2:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band

3:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m., May Day Marching Band

4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Minor Mishap

5:00 p.m. – 5:45 p.m., Black Bear Combo

5:45 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Environmental Encroachment

6:30 p.m. – 7:15 p.m., Black Sheep Ensemble

7:15 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Detroit Party Marching Band

8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Mucca Pazza

Crash Detroit is run entirely by volunteers and musicians are performing without pay. Admission to the Saturday performance is free. To help pay the costs of putting on the event, Crash Detroit organizers have launched a crowndfunding campaign on Rocket Hub. Those who wish to support the festival can donate here.

Source: Detroit Unspun

Explaining an old trend: Anti-urbanism in America

Ever wonder why 20th century American history is chock-full of bi-partisan anti-urban rhetoric? Steven Conn, a historian at Ohio State University, recently published a book on exactly that subject called "Americans Against the City: Anti-Urbanism in the Twentieth Century."

In his interview with The Boston Globe, Conn defines anti-urbanism thusly: "On the one hand, it's the deep, deep fear of the messiness of urban life, and particularly the social messiness...And the other piece...is this deep suspicion of the role of government, and the idea that city life, especially starting at the turn of the 20th century, depends on government action and government intervention."

Conn sheds light on the challenges and changes cities like Detroit experienced during the postwar period, saying, "Starting in the 1950s but particularly in the 1960s, urban questions and racial questions became virtually synonymous, at least in the popular imagination...Cities became increasingly black and they became increasingly poor. So by the 1970s you have this really unholy mix of racial tensions and economic crisis...1975 to about 1985 was a real low-water mark for American cities. New York went bankrupt...Detroit’s economy really began to crumble in earnest...cities were saddled with the costs of poverty."

In response to recent trends in which Americans have become more in favor of urban living, Conn predicts the continued urbanization of formerly un-dense suburbs: "Even those places, whose very existence was predicated on the idea that we were going to leave the city, are recognizing the advantages of urban life, and one of those advantages is the social mixing. Even those places now are becoming socially more diverse. And in the long run, that is going to reshape our political ideas."

Source: The Boston Globe

Video: The case for historic preservation, not just demolition, in Detroit's war on blight

Last week, Mayor Mike Duggan and other dignitaries celebrated the city's efforts to remediate blight in conjunction with the demolition of a 19th century warehouse building on Fort Street. The building was demolished at the expense of its owner, the powerful Detroit International Bridge Co., which is controlled by the Moroun family.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Mayor Duggan praised the Bridge Co., saying, "If you’ve got a vacant commercial building in this town and you don’t have the ability to reuse it, we need you to step up and knock it down...We are going to need the business community to do what the Moroun family is doing here."

Yet the decision to tear down this structure was met by the skepticism of some who felt the building's historical and architectural significance and potential for redevelopment warranted its preservation. 

Blight and vacancy -- of land and buildings -- are two of Detroiters' greatest concerns when it comes to the livability of their neighborhoods. It's undeniable that Detroit has myriad structures that require demolition; yet demolition is not the only solution to Detroit's blight and vacancy problems.

In this video, the Michigan Historic Preservation Network argues that historic preservation and adaptive reuse are key elements to redevelopment efforts in the city.

In the words of Jerry Esters, preservation advocate and owner of the repurposed auto shop that Practice-Space calls home, "I can take you and show you buildings that have been refurbished and they're much nicer than seeing a vacant field."

Source: Michigan Historic Preservation Network

Detroit's Venture for America Fellows compete for Innovation Fund startup capital

In recent years, several talent attraction and development fellowship programs have sprung up in Detroit, each pairing young and mid-career professionals with jobs in public, private, and non-profit organizations based in the city.

Venture for America is one such program that began operating in Detroit in 2012. Modeled as a private sector version of Teach for America, VFA, a two year program, pairs recent college grads with startups in cities around the country. Currently 28 VFA fellows are based in Detroit.

"Venture for America 
focuses on entrepreneurship. It's kind of a career accelerator for individuals interested in entrepreneurship and doing creative things in their cities," says VFA fellow Eleanor Meegoda, who works at Detroit Venture Partners, a venture capital firm that backs and seeds early-stage technology companies based in Detroit.

As a part of the fellowship program, VFA fellows are eligible to participate in the semi-annual Innovation Challenge in which they are tasked with crowdfunding for side ventures that solve a problem or satisfy a need that fellows have identified. The ventures that raise the most money will receive additional support from the VFA Innovation Fund, with prizes ranging from $4,000 to $10,000.

This year, Detroit is well represented in VFA's Innovation Challenge. Ventures include Compass, a service that empowers small businesses to better navigate the complicated digital landscape by connecting them with people who know technology; Assembly of Commerce, a new, online-based “chamber of commerce” helping small businesses band together to create “economies of scale” and compete with the giants; Motor City Machine, an effort inviting all Detroiters -- artists, students, businesses, non-profits, faith organizations, Detroit City and Metro Detroiters -- to join in building a giant Rube-Goldberg Machine; Yumness, a platform for restaurateurs & aspiring chefs to connect and collaborate; and Zapenda, an e-commerce platform that connects artisans from the developing world to a global market.

The Detroit ventures and other proposals from VFA fellows around the country can be found at http://www.rockethub.com/projects/partner/vfa.

Detroit VFA fellow Eleanor Meegoda is part of the team behind the Motor City Machine project, which hopes to bring Detroiters together to build a giant Rube Goldberg machine collaboratively.

"The reason I'm doing this is because Detroit is a city of builders and makers," says Meegoda. "It's got a history that's linked with industrialization and the machine. What better way then is there to bring all sorts of Detroiters together?"

You can try your hand at building a Rube Goldberg machine by visiting the Motor City Machine team at Eastern Market's Sunday marketplace.

Source: Eleanor Meegoda, VFA fellow
 

Detroit City FC and Opportunity Detroit team up to screen U.S. soccer in Cadillac Square

Last week, Model D published a brief (and admittedly incomplete) guide to the best spots to watch World Cup matches in the city of Detroit. Somewhat flippantly, we challenged "Uncle Dan" (use your imagination) to pony up for a public screening of a U.S. soccer match. We felt that either Campus Martius or New Center Park would be an adequate location.

To our pleasant surprise, it appears that our friends at Detroit City FC and Opportunity Detroit have teamed up to meet our challenge. On Thursday, June 26 at noon, they will host a public screening of the U.S. vs Germany match in Cadillac Square (adjacent to Campus Martius Park). The event is free and open to the public.

Can you think of a better way to spend your lunch hour (well, more like 90 minutes with the potential for extra time)? There will be plenty of food options in the Detroit Street Eats area in Cadillac Square, including Mediterranean fare from Qais Food Truck, ice cream and smoothies from Eskimo Jacks, soul food from Heart to Soul, kosher options from Chef Cari Kosher, and more.

See you Thursday at noon!

Check out event details on Facebook.

New tool helps Detroiters document the condition of city parks

There are nearly 300 parks in Detroit. They range in size from 1,300-acre Rouge Park to block-sized neighborhood parks. They also vary dramatically in condition.

Earlier this year, Mayor Mike Duggan pledged that the city would maintain 250 city parks, a considerable improvement from the 20 or so it maintained last year.

To ensure that parks are being maintained, WDET 101.9 FM has created a tool called Detroit Parks Watch that empowers residents to track the maintenance of the parks they use or encounter on a day-to-day basis.

"We want to track Detroit park maintenance throughout the summer," says WDET's Terry Paris, Jr. in a recent blog post. "We will use reports from the city, WDET, and you out there in the community."

WDET has created two ways to do this. If you go to a park, or live near a park, or recently visited a park and remember its condition, you can go to DetroitParkWatch and submit your information, or you can text "Parks" to 313-334-4132 and receive a short four-question survey on the park you are at or reporting on.

WDET will map the collected information on its community parks information map.

To learn more about Detroit Parks Watch and view the map, visit http://detroitparkwatch.tumblr.com/

Vacant land in Detroit could help reduce airborne allergens

Researchers may have discovered a way to greatly reduce the level of ragweed that floats through the air every summer and plagues allergy sufferers. Their sollution: do nothing -- at least to vacant lots.

A team of researchers from the University of Michigan studied conditions in 62 vacant lots all over Detroit.

According to a recent story in Citylab, "in the ones that were mowed every one-to-two years, between 63 and 70 percent had ragweed plants, each one capable of releasing a billion pollen grains in a single season. These grains can travel hundreds of miles, but the vast majority stay within the neighborhood, creating for allergy sufferers a highly localized plague of sneezing, itchy eyes and throats, and noses that run like busted faucets."

However, only 28 percent of the lots that were never mowed contained ragweed plants because ragweed was forced to compete with other plants for space over the longer term.

"Although allowing vacant lots to reforest is controversial, it is already happening in many places across Detroit. Woody plants are establishing in vacant lots and reclaiming large chunks of Detroit," says U of M researcher Daniel Katz. "Regardless of whether people think that reforestation of vacant lots is a good or bad thing overall, it will have the benefit of reducing ragweed pollen exposure."

Source: Citylab
 

Aging Together: Photo essay chronicles faces and lives of seniors at St. Patrick Center in Detroit

St. Patrick Senior Center has been serving seniors in the heart of Midtown Detroit since 1973. The largest senior-centered activity center in the area, St. Pat's offers a daily meal, programs such as hustle dancing, yoga and fitness classes, a health clinic and an advocacy center. Serving more than 2,000 seniors in Metro Detroit, St. Pat's has an open and accepting environment, drawing all kinds of people to the former Catholic school building on Parsons Street.

As a part of Aging Together, a collaborative project of MLive Detroit, WDET 101.9 FM Detroit, and Model D, the following photos show just some of the hundreds of different faces that stream through the center everyday. Each portrait sits next to the subjects' responses to a short questionnaire about their lives and experiences aging in Detroit.

This is the first installment of the faces and lives of seniors at St. Pat's. Continue following the Aging Together project for more stories about seniors in the city.

Click here to view the photo essay.

Source: MLive Detroit

Second Avenue reconfigured for two-way traffic, gets bike lanes

Starting today, when we look out of the bay window of Model D's office at 4470 Second Ave. and see a car traveling southbound, we will no longer have cause for concern.

That's because Second Avenue is being reconfigured as a two-way street for the first time in decades. Sorry folks, but the pastime of watching cars going the wrong way down Second from the porch of the Bronx Bar is a thing of the past.

Second Avenue will now feature bike lanes, two-way traffic, and parallel parking (replacing angle parking on the west side of the street) between Cass Park (Temple Street) and the campus of Wayne State University (Warren Avenue). It's a similar transformation to those which occurred in recent years on Third Avenue and the portion of Second Avenue between Palmer Street and West Grand Boulevard just north of Wayne State's campus.

The conversion of two-way streets to one-ways became a trend in American cities after World War II as a means of relieving traffic congestion. In recent decades, as traffic counts have declined, a movement to convert one-way streets back to two-ways has emerged with the goal of calming traffic and spurring economic development along two-way corridors.

Source: Curbed Detroit

 

Finalists for Knight Arts Challenge grants named

On June 16, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation named the finalists for the second annual Detroit Knight Arts Challenge.

A group of 88 finalists was culled from a field of nearly 1,000 applicants who each submitted their best ideas for the arts in Detroit.

According to Knight Arts' press release, "The finalists propose a range of ideas -- from art and performance in viaducts, gardens and living rooms, to Javanese theater puppetry and Mexican dance, a “Story Census” and celebrations of opera, gospel, DJs, drumlines and ragtime. The majority of the finalists are grassroots efforts led by small organizations and individual artists."

Applicants were asked to follow three simple rules:

1) The idea must be about the arts
2) The project must take place in or benefit Detroit
3) The grant recipient must find funds to match Knight’s commitment

Last year, 56 proposals were awarded Knight Arts grants totaling $2.1 million. Winners of this year's Knight Arts Challenge will be announced in October.

For more information and a complete listing of 2014 Knight Arts Challenge finalists, visit the Knight Arts website.

D:Hive Build expands with Build Bazaar, a roving pop-up marketplace

If you read Model D's Startup News section or follow small business development in Detroit, you're likely familiar with several D:Hive Build graduates and their businesses. Since Build launched in 2012, roughly 350 entrepreneurs have graduated from the 8-week business and project planning class designed for aspiring and established entrepreneurs in Detroit. 

This summer, Build is finding ways to venture outside of D:Hive's downtown offices. On June 3, Build began holding summer classes in the Livernois Community Storefront on Detroit's Avenue of Fashion. Build also launched the Build Bazaar, a rotating pop-up marketplace celebrating emerging entrepreneurs from the Build program. The first bazaar was held on June 15 in Eastern Market. Future bazaars are planned for the Concert of Colors on July 12-13, as well as the Livernois Community Storefront August 21-24.

For more information, visit ?http://dhivedetroit.org/build/bazaar/.

Model D, MLive Detroit, and WDET announce collaborative series about aging in Detroit

It's no secret: as the Baby Boom generation grows older, the share of the United States' population that is elderly will increase dramatically. Detroit and Southeast Michigan are no exceptions to this demographic shift. The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments forecasts that nearly a quarter of the region's population will be 65 or older by 2040.

Yet despite these forecasts, far too little of our public discourse has been devoted to issues related to planning for an increasingly older population. That's why Model D has joined MLive Detroit and WDET 101.9FM Detroit in a project we are calling "Aging Together."

Over the course of the summer, we plan on exploring issues facing older adults in Detroit -- from transit to housing to safety to placemaking.

While the challenges facing our city's elderly residents are great, we believe the opportunities to provide for their needs are equally great. We intend to use this series to also explore how Detroit can position itself to be a city of choice for those who will grow old here.

After all, if we can work toward building places in our city that create a high quality of life for seniors, won't we in turn be creating a high quality of life for all residents?

Please follow the "Aging Together" blog for new stories from Model D, MLive Detroit, and WDET.

You can read Model D's first feature in this series here.

Aging Together is a summer-long project between MLive DetroitWDET 101.9FM Detroit and Model D Media that explores the issues of older adults in Detroit, Southeast Michigan and the state.

DesignLAB Detroit to host mobile conference on the People Mover

On Friday, June 13, a group of Detroit designers and architects will board downtown's elevated monorail, the People Mover, and present a 30-minute mini-conference to the public about the future of architecture in Detroit. The presentations will last for two circuits around the People Mover's 2.9 mile loop.

Presenters will include:

Shel Kimen, Collision Works 
Shel left a career as senior vice president with Saatchi & Saatchi advertising in NYC to develop Collision Works in Detroit. The community development project– focused on sustainable design, community growth, and storytelling while providing collaborative work space and mentoring programs– is in the planning stages of designing a 46-room hotel development in Eastern Market made of recycled shipping containers. www.detroitcollisionworks.com

Brian Hurttienne, Villages CDC
Brian Hurttienne is a community architect with a long resume of important Detroit redevelopment projects in Detroit including the Kales Building, Slows BBQ, The Carlton and Grinnell buildings. As the ED of the Villages CDC, Brian is helping to accelerate economic development through community advocacy, urban design, and planning. http://thevillagesofdetroit.com

Amy Swift, Building Hugger
Amy swift is an architectural writer, professor, preservationist, and designer. As the principal at Building Hugger L3C, Amy focuses on finding reinvigorated purposes for underutilized structures in Detroit’s downtown neighborhoods, that help add intangible value to the community in ways that are financially, environmentally, and socially sustainable. www.buildinghugger.org

Justin Mast, Practice Space
As the founder of Practice Space, Justin helps to incubate new business enterprise while providing event space, residency programs, and community-centered co-working opportunities in Detroit’s North Corktown neighborhood. Justin mixes architecture and development with a team of creatives to cultivate emerging business and grow a new community of practitioners in Detroit. www.practicespace.org

Victoria Byrd Olivier, Detroit Future City
Victoria Olivier is a Detroit Revitalization Fellow serving as program manager for the Detroit Future City (DFC) Implementation Office. She works on city systems, neighborhood, and civic capacity initiatives with a focus on creative placemaking, community arts and culture initiatives, and historic preservation. www.detroitfuturecity.com

Frank Arvan, FX Architecture
Frank Arvan is the principal of FX Architecture working as an architect on residential, office, institutional, and urban design. He is an avid supporter of the Detroit creative community as an architectural writer, board member for the Detroit Creative Corridor Center, past president and Executive Committee member of AIA Detroit, curator with D’lectricity, and exhibit designer at the Detroit Institute of Arts. www.fxarchitecture.com

More information is available at http://designlabdetroit.tumblr.com/

Attendees must register in advance of the event on Eventbrite.

Weigh in on the idea you like best to replace downtown's I-375

Local planners have unveiled six options for transforming I-375, a downtown freeway that divides Detroit's central business district from near east side neighborhoods including Lafayette Park and Eastern Market.

The Detroit Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is inviting members of the public to learn about and comment on these six design alternatives at a community forum on Thursday, June 12, 2014.  The open house event will be held from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Detroit Eastern Market Shed 5 (2934 Russell St.).

I-375 was built in 1964. Black Bottom, the neighborhood that served as the one-time center of economic and cultural life for Detroit's black community, was razed to make way for the freeway and urban renewal housing projects adjacent to it. In recent decades, the efficacy and overall usefullness of the freeway have been brought into question as traffic counts along the route have declined.

The six options for removing the freeway and replacing it with more pedestrian and environmentally friendly alternatives vary in cost from $40 million to $80 million.

To learn more about the proposals, visit http://i375detroit.com/.

Two national urban experts criticize Detroit's demolition plans

Two national figures widely considered experts on urban issues have weighed in on a local taskforce's recommendation to spend $850 million to demolish blighted structures in the city of Detroit. Stephanie Meeks, president and chief executive of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Andres Duany, an architect and founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism, both wrote short letters to the editor of the New York Times suggesting that Detroit think beyond demolition when addressing its blight problem.

Meeks suggests that preservation ought to play an important role in Detroit's attempt to reinvent itself.

"Preservationists understand that demolition must be part of the strategy for Detroit's future," she says, "but we need to ensure that the city's most important historic buildings are spared so they can become building blocks for the future."

Duany sees more value in funding young entrepreneurs than he does in spending $850 million on demolition.

"At $50,000 each there would be 17,000 loans or grants possible. Detroit would explode with activity and success. Its emerging reputation as the 'next Broolyn' would be fullfilled, even more quickly," he says.

Read both op-eds in the New York Times.
 

Local professor: To stop blight, first stop suburban sprawl

George Galster, a professor of urban planning at Wayne State University, is encouraging policy makers to stop taking a myopic view of Detroit's blight problem. He contends that blight in Detroit is not a problem the city can solve in isolation because it is the result of regional economic forces related to excessive housing development on the suburban fringe of the metropolis.

Says Galster:

"Since 1950, two-thirds of the city’s population has systematically been siphoned off by the region’s housing 'disassembly line.' In the tri-county metro area, developers have in every decade since 1950 built many more dwellings -- an average of more than 10,000 per year -- than the net growth in households required. Developers figured that their new suburban subdivisions could successfully compete against the older housing stock. They were right. As households filled these new dwellings they vacated their previous homes, which other households decided to occupy because they were viewed as superior options to where they were previously living."

Galster recommends the region establish a "a metropolitan growth boundary" to limit suburban development and stem the tide of blight in Detroit.

Read Galster's op-ed in the Detroit Free Press.

Detroit City FC to promote LGBTQ inclusion in sports

Detroit City FC will partner with the national You Can Play project for its June 6th match against the Erie Admirals. You Can Play is a nationwide endeavor founded to ensure that athletes are judged solely on talent, heart, desire and work ethic -- and not on the basis of sexual orientation or other discriminatory factors. Players and teams from all levels of athletics -- amateur to professional -- have created videos in support of You Can Play. Detroit City FC is proud to be a partner in this cause.

On Friday, June 6th at 7:30pm at Cass Tech High School in downtown Detroit, Detroit City FC will take to the pitch in special commemorative jerseys designed to promote LGBTQ equality and inclusion in sports.

After the match, each participating player's jersey will be auctioned off to the highest bidder in a silent auction held at the stadium. Additionally, a limited number of jerseys will be sold online at detcityfc.com. The funds earned in the auction and a portion of the proceeds of the jerseys sold online will go to support the Ruth Ellis Center (REC) in Highland Park, MI.

DCFC believes that this will be the first time an American sports team will take to the field and play a regulation game in a uniform that promotes LGBTQ inclusion in sports.

The Ruth Ellis Center is a youth social services agency that serves the needs of runaway, homeless and at-risk youth. They are one of the nation's leading experts on vulnerable youth who are experiencing residential instability. The mission of the Center is to "provide short and long-term residential safe space and support services for runaway, homeless, and at-risk lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender, and questioning youth."

The REC is the only organization in the country that has a Residential program for LGBTQ youth in the foster care and juvenile justice system, and is mission-specific to LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness. While the Center emphasizes serving LGBTQ youth who are often ostracized, shamed, and denied services by other agencies, no youth, regardless of gender identity and/or sexual orientation is turned away or denied services.

Le Rouge will be "kicking off" Motor City Pride weekend, which is being held in Hart Plaza on June 7 and 8. Motor City Pride is a project of Equality Michigan. Equality Michigan is Michigan's statewide organization serving the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) and allied communities.

Tickets for all DCFC games are $10 at the gate and $8 online. The most recent home match, held on May 23, drew over 3000 people and was the first sellout in team history. A large crowd is once again expected, and it is recommended that tickets be bought in advance.

To order tickets, visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/622530

Detroit Future City to host "Blight Bootcamp"

On the heels of the release of the most comprehensive data set ever on blight in the city of Detroit, Detroit Future City (DFC) is hosting its first ever "Blight Bootcamp."

This Saturday at Wayne County Community College District's Downtown Campus (1001 W. Fort St.), DFC is putting on a series of free workshops that will equip ordinary citizens with tools to address blight in their neighborhoods. Sessions include:

Transforming Blight into Gardens and Farms
Securing Vacant Properties
Community Art to Fight Blight
Green Space Solutions
Blight Mitigation Resources
Data Driven Decision Making
Blight and Public Health
Resident Led Neighborhood Safety
Deconstruction vs. Demolition
Repurposing Commercial Vacancies
Youth Engagement in Blight Mitigation
Advocating for your Neighborhood

Those interested in attending Blight Bootcamp can register here.

Visit Detroit Future City's website for more information.

Symposium stresses importance of higher ed to immigrant teens

Four inspirational speakers stressed the importance of higher education at the Immigration + Education = Economic Growth II Symposium on Friday, May 16 at the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit. Nearly 100 high school students from Dearborn, Detroit, Melvindale, and Hamtramck listened intently, as they heard Kirk Mayes from Mayor Mike Duggan's office; Rabelani Makwarela, a recruiter from Henry Ford College (HFC); P.J. Dada, a successful entrepreneur; and WSU student Adonis Flores share their insights and offer advice and encouragement to the group. Ana Cukovic from the Archdiocese of Detroit was also on hand to explain the path to citizenship.

The event was presented by the Caribbean Cultural & Carnival Organization (CCCO) and the Jamaican Association of Michigan (JAM).

"We are trying to stimulate the kids and show them that education is a rite of passage, not only for economic growth but for personal development. The whole process is not just getting a formal education and learning in books. It's becoming acclimated to different cultures. If you aren't in a college environment, you can't learn about the people you are going to work with down the road," said Sophia Chu, CCCO President.

Each of the speakers shared a unique perspective on the importance of higher education.

"You can change your life and your community completely from education," said HFC's Makwarela.

An immigrant from South Africa, she shared her story and talked about the two things that are important to her: her family and her love of travel.

"My money makes it possible to fund my passion, which is travel," she said. "Some people are just naturally talented, like Michael Jordan," she explained. "Most of us aren't. We need help to get there."

She stressed education can help them reach their goals and get there. Makwarela said they can save a lot of money by attending a more cost effective community college their freshman and sophomore years, then spend their junior and seniors years at the more expensive university. She explained the highest number of unemployed are those with a high school education or less.

"Now is when you have to make the decision to make the choices for the rest of your life," she explained. "If you don't make your choices early in life that you keep later on, someone else will make them for you.Education is about keeping your options open."

P.J. Dada immigrated to Lansing from Laos as a young child. Her parents were so protective of her she was never allowed to play outside with other children. Her social skills suffered greatly, and she was often bullied in school. In spite of her difficulties, she graduated from high school and attended General Motors Institute (GMI) graduating with a degree in engineering. Her first position was with AMWAY where she made soap and makeup. She suffered greatly in the work environment because she was not taught to socialize with men. As an engineer, she was often the only woman in the group and struggled to learn the social rules when working with the opposite sex. She forced herself to network and get involved, which took her out of her comfort zone. She continued to receive promotions and eventually went to work for the Detroit Water and Sewage Department. One year ago, she took a leap and opened her own consulting firm which is doing well.

She told the young people not go give up on their life's journey. "Each of us is different and takes different paths to get to our goal of success. Focus on the prize. Focus on what you want, so you can reset your goals as needed. Keep trying. Don't give up, and keep an open mind."

"Take your book," said Kirk Mayes' mother, a Jamaican immigrant. Mayes, the Deputy Group Executive of Jobs and Economy for the City of Detroit, explained it means much more than just those three words.

"It means to embrace your education and understand it for what it is. Absorb as much as you can in order to fill yourself with the knowledge that will build on you an asset no one can ever take away."

As Mayes told the group, he had no idea what he wanted to be when he graduated from Michigan State, but he knew he could do anything he wanted. He talked about the different jobs he took that weren't the right fit, and how he struggled to find the right position for himself. He finally formed Village Gardens with his friends, a nonprofit to help turn Detroit around. It was very successful, but it paid no money. He was so passionate about it, that at one point he was homeless and living in his car.

In 2010 he was approached by Skillman to be part of the Good Neighborhood Initiatives in Brightmoor. From there he was recently tapped by the new Mayor to take his present position where he is committed to improving the statistics that Detroit has 27 jobs per 100 residents. He is working to move businesses into neighborhoods that are sustainable.

He talked about the importance of being strategic and specific about who you surround yourself with.

"I wouldn't have been able to advance through a path unless I identified people along the way who I was confident knew more than me. If you have an opportunity, take on mentors and be active in that relationship. The best relationships I have had are the ones where I told them what I would like to learn and how I would like to grow. If you pick the right mentor and they are willing to invest their time in you, you will make them happy, and they will invest more in you when your success offers them a chance to do something for you again."

He stressed that you can do that here in the U.S. and then he shared his formula for success:
- Focus on yourself -- Get to know who you are. It makes you better able to focus on the right dream for yourself.
- Discipline -- Once you're focused on who you are and what your life will look like when you get there, you need discipline to stay on the path and complete the journey.
- Work Ethic -- That's the cap of this formula. You can focus and be disciplined, but you have to get up and go do it.

Mayes said to the young people, "You are in a City that is in desperate need of your vision! Don't let anyone take you off of your path."

Adonis Flores is a student at Wayne State University and an undocumented immigrant who came to this country from Mexico at age eight. He was active in the fight to pass the DREAM Act which would allow undocumented children to pursue their dreams and get an education. He has continued to encounter barriers to his education, but he has not given up.

In 2007 he received scholarships for school, but the recently passed law ending affirmative action prevented him from receiving those funds. They were for minorities. He couldn't renew his driver's license anymore after the law was passed, and he was forced to pay out-of-state tuition. He said his friend Gilbert came to the U.S. at age 17 and graduated from UofM Dearborn. He didn't qualify for the DREAM act because he was too old. When he recently lost his job, he was deported because of his undocumented status. However, because of his degree, he was able to obtain a position as an engineer at the Volkswagen Plant in Pueblo, Mexico.

"So, no matter what, education will definitely help you even when you think there is not hope," said Flores.

All of the speakers encourage the students to be true to their dreams. As they were leaving the event, students were heard talking about how inspiring the speakers were and how they were motivated to continue pursuing their goals in spite of any personal struggles.

In addition to the inspirational speakers, Ana Cukovic from the Archdiocese of Detroit gave some practical, step-by-step advice on how to apply for citizenship.

The event was sponsored by Global Detroit, Welcome Mat Detroit, ACCESS, Consumers Energy, AIS, MIC, Micron, and DES Electric.

Pop-up in Grandmont Rosedale: REVOLVE Detroit is seeking applications

REVOLVE Detroit is seeking applications for its pop-up retail program, this time in northwest Detroit's Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood. Over the last three years, REVOLVE has helped pop-ups open in vacant storefronts in Lafayette Park, West Village, Jefferson-Chalmers, and the Avenue of Fashion (Livernois at 7 Mile). Several of these businesses have made the transition from pop-up to permanent and several vacant storefronts that hosted pop-ups have taken on long-term tenants.

Now, REVOLVE Detroit is partnering with the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation and Charter One's “Growing Communities” initiative in seeking entrepreneurs to create two new pop-up shops on Grand River Avenue in Detroit’s distinguished Grandmont Rosedale community.

Applications are due June 15. For more information, visit REVOLVE's website.

Source: REVOLVE Detroit

Applications open for Write a House, a permanent writers residency in Detroit

Write A House is a different sort of writers residency. That's because it doesn't really end.

On May 15, Write A House began accepting applications for its inaugural writers residency, which will award an individual a home in Detroit to keep, forever.

Applications for the first Write A House residency may be submitted online between May 15, 2014 and June 21, 2014. There is no application fee. Writing quality is the most important part of the application, but judges will also look for the ability of applicants to contribute to the neighborhood and the wider literary culture of Detroit.

Eligible applicants must be low- or moderate-income writers with some history of publication. They must also be U.S. citizens and age 18 or over. Details about the application process and the Write A House program can be found at www.writeahouse.org/apply.

The process will be judged by a group of accomplished local and national writers, including Toby Barlow, Billy Collins, Sarah F. Cox, dream hampton, Major Jackson, and Sean MacDonald.

Write A House houses are located in Detroit just north of the enclave city of Hamtramck. The neighborhood is sometimes referred to as Banglatown for its sizeable Bangladeshi population.

Model D featured the Write A House residency and its neighborhood in a story that ran in January of this year.

Source: Write A House

Le Rouge footballers open regular season with win over Cincinnati

On May 7, Detroit City FC (DCFC) lost its first match of the year (only its third loss since 2012) to RWB Adria, a Croation American soccer club from Chicago, in a penalty shootout at the invitational U.S. Open Cup, the oldest tournament in American soccer.

But on Saturday, May 10, Le Rouge opened the National Premier Soccer League regular season with a 1-0 victory over the Cincinnati Saints on its home pitch at Cass Technical High School in downtown Detroit.

The lone goal of the game came in the 37th minute when DCFC's Zach Myers received a cross pass from Colin McAtee and put the ball past Saints keeper Ben Dorn.

League play continues on Friday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m. Le Rouge will square off against the Michigan Stars (formerly FC Sparta) under the lights at Cass Technical High School. Tickets are available on DCFC's website.


 

Preservation Detroit to host The Last Service, a memorial for the First Unitarian Church

On November 29, 1890, Unitarians in Detroit celebrated the first service at their new church at Woodward and Edmund, thereafter known as First Unitarian Church. On May 10, 2014, a massive fire destroyed the building. 

This Sunday, May 18, Preservation Detroit, along with community partners, will hold a final non-denominational service at the site of the church. The event is intended to provide closure to the community and to honor the building's 124-year history.

A candlelight vigil will be accompanied by music and readings, including a speech that was given at the first service of First Unitarian in 1890. 

The event is free to the public and will be held rain or shine. It begins at 7:30. 

Please contact Preservation Detroit with questions or visit the Facebook event page here.

Source: Preservation Detroit

Detroit Vacant Property Coalition empowers community groups to address blight

The Vacant Property Coalition was organized by Michigan Community Resources over two years ago to respond to the needs of communities facing challenges related to blight and the abandoment of property. The Vacant Property Coalition (VPC) promotes a policy agenda around vacant property issues. Composed of community groups and residents working to improve code enforcement and blight prevention policies and practices, the VPC raises awareness, shares best practices, and takes action to reduce the prevalence of blight and the harmful impact of vacant properties. Today, over 30 members that represent community groups across Detroit routinely participate in monthly meetings.
  
Watch the video “Meet the Vacant Property Coalition” to learn more about how community groups are joining the Vacant Property Coaltion to address some of the greatest challenges facing neighborhoods in Detroit.

Source: Michigan Community Resources

Michigan Urban Farming Initiative intern to live in city's first shipping container house

A lucky intern at the nonprofit Michigan Urban Farming Initiative will become the first person to inhabit a house made from a shipping container, reports the Detroit News.

The container is currently being converted into occupiable housing in the parking lot of General Motor’s Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant. Once completed, it will be moved to Michigan Urban Farming Initiative's headquarters on Brush Street in New Center.

The nonprofit purchased the container for $3,000, but estimates that it will cost between $20,000 and $25,000 to convert it into a home. According the News, "Local GM workers will volunteer to convert the container into a home and 85 percent of the materials will be scrap from local GM plants."

Read more in the Detroit News.

Celebrate National Bike Month with Tour de Troit

May is National Bike Month. It's also when Tour de Troit holds its annual Cycle into Spring ride. The ride will take place this Saturday, May 10 at 9 a.m.

For the third year in a row, the 20-mile cycling event held in collaboration with the Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative will begin and end on the banks of the Detroit River at Maheras Gentry Park in Detroit.

Cycle Into Spring attracted over 500 riders in 2013 and has raised over $5,000 for the Conner Creek Greenway since 2012. Seven miles of this greenway are currently complete, and funds raised at this year’s Cycle Into Spring will support programming and the development of the final two miles.

The police escorted ride, which is also sweeper and SAG-supported, goes from the Detroit River to 8 Mile and back again along the Conner Creek Greenway (CCG), which boasts nine miles of cycling infrastructure that traces the original Conner Creek and links people, parks, green spaces, neighborhoods, schools and shops. Sites along the way include Coleman A. Young International Airport, Mt. Olivet Cemetery, the Milbank Trail, the Chrysler Jefferson North Assembly Plant and Chandler Park.

Riders can register for ride at Eventbrite.

More information is available on Tour de Troit's website.

Rivera-Kahlo exhibit highlighting artists' time in Detroit coming to DIA

Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry murals are arguably the best know works of art associated with the city of Detroit. Between April 1932 and March 1933, Rivera and his wife, famed artist Frida Kahlo, lived in Detroit while Rivera worked on Detroit Industry. The Detroit Institute of Arts, where the murals are located, is currently preparing to host an exhibit highlighting Rivera and Kahlo's stay in Detroit, which is widely acknowledged as a creative period for the couple.

The Detroit Institute of Arts expects the "Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit" exhibit it's planning for March 15-July 12, 2015 to draw large crowds from around the country. According to Crain's Detroit Business, "Planning for the exhibit began several years ago."

Read more in Crain's Detroit Business.
 

Exploring the Detroit-Berlin connection

The Detroit-Berlin Connection is a collaborative, transatlantic effort to bring together creative individuals and communities in the two cities with the goal of driving cultural and economic growth in Detroit. The group's first Conference for Subcultural Exchange for Urban Development will be held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) May 23, 2014. The conference is free and open to the public. It begins at 4 p.m.

Partners in the project include Tresor/Kraftwerk Berlin, re:publica/newthinking, Electronic Beats, De:Bug/Das Filter, Womex and others from Berlin; and Model D, Paxahau/Movement, Ponyride, and Underground Resistance from Detroit. The program will include presentations by several Berliners involved in art/entrepreneurship efforts key to the German capital's revitalization over the past 25 years. A panel discussion featuring Berlin and Detroit participants will follow, along with a Q&A session and a chance for the public to mingle with the speakers.

More information about the Detroit-Berlin Connection can be found on its Facebook page. Register for the May 23 event at MOCAD here.

The Design Observer explores the urban ecology of Detroit and other cities

While many look at the overgrown grass and a resurgent swamps sometimes found on Detroit's vacant land as blight, the Design Observer points out that these occurences are the result of a complex urba ecology.

Author Peter Del Tredici, associate professor in practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and author of Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast: A Field Guide, makes the following observation:

"While Detroit is clearly a tragic story from the socioeconomic perspective, it is a paradise for spontaneous vegetation."

It's always good to look on the bright side of things.

Regardless, this essay is a fascinating read for anyone interested in the ecology of cities.

Read more in the Design Observer.

Detroit City FC announces schedule, tickets now on sale

Tickets are on sale now for the Detroit City Futbol Club's third season. Judging by Le Rouge's strong performance last year, this season looks promising.

Season tickets can be purchased for $40. The club plays nine home matches on Cass Technical High School's football fied in downtown Detroit.

For the uninitiated, Detroit City FC is a minor league soccer team that plays in the National Premier Soccer League’s Midwest Great Lakes Conference. Founded in 2012, Detroit City FC has established itself as one of the most talked about soccer teams in North America and the grassroots embodiment of a resurgent city.

View DCFC's complete schedule here:

http://www.detcityfc.com/dcfc-schedule

Crash Detroit, a new festival of street art and bands coming to Corktown this July

Detroit is getting a new street festival this summer called Crash Detroit.

According to the festival's Facebook page, "Crash Detroit invites the community to come together by providing free access to music and the arts while encouraging joyous human connection. The festival will connect bands from across the country and build upon the rich culture of music in Detroit. The festival is a celebration of place that aims to give life to underused spaces in Detroit and promote local business."

Crash Detroit is currently scheduled for The event is scheduled for Saturday, July 19 in Roosevelt Park. It is all ages and free to the public.

Follow Crash Detroit's Facebook page for updates.

More foreign investment coming to Michigan?

"Our state needs outstanding talent to help drive the new economy. Immigrants are net job creators," said Gov. Rick Snyder in a recent announcement. "In return, Michigan offers a wonderful place to live, work, play, and raise a family."

On the heels of Gov. Snyder's announcement last week, Michigan has been granted status by the federal government to create its own EB-5 "Regional Center." Michigan is just the second state in the country to do so.

The Detroit Chinese Business Association (DCBA), in conjunction with Global Detroit, Aspire Lending, and Ogilvy PR, will be hosting the Immigration Investment Opportunities in Michigan conference on Wednesday, April 23 from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the Iroquois Club in Bloomfield Hills. Civitas Capital, a firm that has leveraged over $280 million in EB-5 investments into the Dallas regional economy on projects creating over 8,000 jobs, will present at the seminar.

Never heard of an EB-5 visa? You're not alone. EB-5 is the fifth of five "Employment-Based" visas that help foreigners legally work in the U.S. Known as an "investor" visa, the EB-5 is specifically designed to spur business investment that creates jobs in the United States with particular emphasis on areas of high unemployment.  The program began in the early 1990s, and is authorized by Congress to issue up to 10,000 visas every year, though that limit has yet to be reached.

EB-5 visas allow foreign investors to obtain conditional residency, legal permanent residency, and, eventually, full U.S. citizenship, as long as they invest $1 million in a U.S. business that they "control," and that business in turn creates 10 U.S. jobs. Foreign investments in "Targeted Employment Areas" (TEAs), meaning "high unemployment" areas or rural areas, lower the total investment threshold to $500,000.

So, what does Michigan's new EB-5 Regional Center mean for a state like Michigan, and cities like Detroit? "This approval is an important step in helping harness top talent and international direct investment into the state to continue and accelerate Michigan's comeback," Gov. Snyder said in his press release.

The Governor hopes Michigan's EB-5 Regional Center will act as a vehicle that connects foreign investment with development projects across the state, as well as help foreign investors gain permanent residency for themselves and their families. According to Snyder, investors will be identified from a variety of places, including individuals and contacts made through Michigan's colleges and universities who are working to retain and attract current and former students.

The Center will work in coordination with Gov. Snyder's Michigan Office for New Americans created in late January and will be housed at the Michigan State Housing and Development Authority (MSHDA).

Scott Woosley, Executive Director of MSHDA, said Michigan is eager to deepen relationships internationally and bring home investment, projects, jobs, and possible new residents critical to Michigan's future.

"It's anticipated that once it's up and running, the regional center will generate $30-50 million of new private equity for projects each year and create 600 new jobs in communities where they are much needed," Woosley said in Snyder's release.

So what about cities like Detroit? Can a tool like the EB-5 and a platform like the Michigan Regional Center be utilized to leverage more investment in Metro Detroit? Joe Borgstrom, director of the State of Michigan's EB-5 Regional Center says that MSHDA's "decades of housing and development experience," makes him feel very "optimistic about the role EB-5 capital can play in the revitalization of cities as well as potentially retaining existing foreign national students and new immigrants."

If cities like Dallas and Philadelphia are any indication, EB-5 investments can come together in a powerful way, especially if there is a desire for coordination between public and private actors. The Philly Welcome Fund, a privately run EB-5 regional center that operates out of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, has raised some $600 million of investment capital that has created over 19,000 jobs.

Several years ago, the City of Dallas and Civitas Capital Group came together to run the City of Dallas Regional Center, an EB-5 center that has helped shepherd nearly $300 million dollars in foreign investment in a range of real estate projects in and around Dallas that have generated over 8,000 jobs. Success in Dallas is one of the reasons why Civitas has been invited to next week's Detroit Chinese Business Association conference on EB-5 opportunities.

"We're excited about this event," said DCBA's President Jerry Xu. "It brings together the best of both the public and private sector to discuss how we can continue to bring top talent and foreign direct investment into the State of Michigan."

The conference will feature dynamic speakers, including Bing Goei, director of Michigan's Office for New Americans, Joe Borgstrom, director of Michigan's EB-5 Regional Center, and Texas State House Member, Rafael M. Anchia, who also serves as chairman of Civitas Capital Group's advisory board.

"Events like this are great mediums to exchange ideas and information about how we can continue to bring highly skilled, job-creating immigrants to the State of Michigan," Goei said. "This is a key pillar of our state's economic growth plan and we're working diligently to move the right policies forward to support this initiative along with creating a welcoming community and culture for immigrants."

Civitas Capital Group CEO Dan Healy added that he is looking forward to the event, the dialogue it will generate and the opportunity to deepen relationships with key stakeholders across the state.

"Our full-service asset management approach for global investors and unique expertise with public-private partnerships have created thousands of jobs at zero cost to American taxpayers. This model is a great fit for the comeback taking place in Michigan," Healy said. "We want to play an influential role in the state's efforts to marry high-quality investment opportunities with the appropriate risk-return profile of global institutions and individuals."

The EB-5 Immigration Investment Opportunities for Michigan Conference is also sponsored by Global Detroit and Aspire Lending and will take place from 3-6 p.m. April 23 at the Iroquois Club in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Seating is limited and tickets are $50 in advance or $75 at the door (if available), which includes dinner, beverages and a cash bar.  Please register online at www.dcba.com or call +1-248-918-0391.

Founded in 1995, the Detroit Chinese Business Association (DCBA) is a Michigan-based, non-profit organization. Its primary goal is to advocate, educate and form business relationships between American and Chinese companies. For more information about DCBA, please visit www.dcba.com

Good Tyme Writers' Buffet returns to Hamtramck's Public Pool

How many times do you lie in a day, in a month, in a year? Is a lie the opposite of truth or simply the absence of truth? It’s safe to say that literature is a vast collection of lies, and writers are absolutely the very best liars. 

Bullshit or not, on April 19 at Public Pool in Hamtramck (3309 Caniff), six writers will potluck, neighborhood-style, and read short works on the subject of LIES. 

Martin Anand will DJ

Come potluck with us. Talk, Drink, Eat, Listen. 

Readers include:

Maia Asshaq
Hillary Cherry
Lolita Hernandez
Steve Hughes
Mark Maynard
Chris Tysh

Learn more here.

Excellent Schools Detroit Recommends top 31 elementary and middle schools in the city

Excellent Schools Detroit recently released a list of the top 31 elementary and middle schools in the city of Detroit. All schools have seats available. Detroit families now have the opportunity to show their demand for high quality education in the city by selecting from this list as they make enrollment decisions for next school year.
 
According to Excellent Schools Detroit, these 31 high quality schools offer families welcoming environments, caring teachers and staff, strong academics, family involvement, community partnerships and a rich array of after-school and extracurricular activities. The recommendations are based on information updated this winter, including fall MEAP scores.
 
“Where we send our children to school is one of the most important decisions we make for our kids. It impacts the rest of their lives. Now is the time for families to make that decision for next fall,” said Dan Varner, CEO of Excellent Schools Detroit. “This list will give them a head start in the right direction.”

For more information about each individual school and to read reviews from parents, students and teachers, visit GreatSchoolsDetroit.org.

Another green alley coming to Midtown

"Another Green Alley." No, we're not talking about a new album by Brian Eno. We're talking about a transformation coming to the alleyway between Cass Ave. and 2nd Ave and Willis and Canfield Streets. The alley's cracked concrete will be replaced with brick pavers and green infrastructure. 

According to Midtown Detroit, Inc. the Alley's transformation will begin later this month.

This will be Midtown's second green alley. The first is located between Prentis and Canfield off of 2nd Ave.

Source: Curbed Detroit

Read more here.

Detroit Voices Film Fest Accepting Applications

Detroit Voices, a part of the Cinetopia International Film Festival coming to Detroit and Ann Arbor in June, is accepting submissions from local filmmakers. Winners will have the opportunity to have their films screened in front of an audience that could exceed 15,000 people.

The media is full of coverage of Detroit. Houses for $1.00…Failing Schools…Burned-Out Buildings…Corrupt Officials…Bankruptcy… Detroit Voices asks local filmmaker, "What's the REAL story?"

To be considered for the Detroit Voices film festival, filmmakers must submit a short application and a YouTube or Vimeo link to their video at http://www.cinetopiafestival.org/detroit-voices/ by May 1.

Detroit Voices winners' videos will be screened at the Cinetopia International Film Festival in June.

Downtown property owners to vote on Business Improvement Zone on April 15

Owners of property located in Detroit's central business district have until April 15 at 4 p.m. to submit ballots for a Downtown Business Improvement Zone. 

253 property owners whose properties are located within the area bounded by I-75, I-375, M-10, and the Detroit River are eligible to vote. They are voting on whehter or not to tax themselves at a rate of approximately $4 million annually. The money would be used to collect garbage, sweep sidewalks, put safety ambassadors on the streets, and fund other things to keep downtown clean.

For more information, visit Crain's Detroit Business.

Forgotten mayors of Detroit the subjects of Beer and Politics discussion at Anchor Bar

On April 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Detroit's Anchor Bar, a longtime hangout of Detroit journalists and Red Wings Fans, Amy Elliott Bragg will give a talk about her favorite forgotten mayors of Detroit as a part of Anchor Bar's Beer and Politics community forum.

Elliot Bragg is a co-founder of the Detroit Drunken Historical Society and author of the book Hidden History of Detroit.
 

Detroit Restaurant Week participants announced

Detroit Restaurant Week returns April 11 through April 20. 18 Detroit restaurants have signed on as participants this spring. They are:

24Grille – Westin Book Cadillac Detroit 
Andiamo Detroit Riverfront – GM Ren Cen 
Angelina Italian Bistro – Downtown 
Cliff Bell’s – Downtown
Coach Insignia – GM Ren Cen 
Cuisine – New Center
Da Edoardo Foxtown Grille – Foxtown 
Detroit Seafood Market – Paradise Valley
Fountain Bistro – Campus Martius Park 
The Grille Midtown – Midtown
The Jefferson House – Crowne Plaza Pontchartrain 
La Dolce Vita – Palmer Woods District
Rattlesnake Club – Stroh River Place 
Roast – Westin Book Cadillac Detroit
Roma Cafe – Eastern Market 
Santorini Estiatorio – Greektown
The Whitney – Midtown 
Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina – MGM Grand Detroit

The program for 2014 includes, adding mid-level fine dining restaurants to the participating roster, possible summer events, fall kick-off event and working closely with charity partner, Forgotten Harvest on setting new goals for the year.

Visit www.DetroitRestaurantWeek.com for the latest updates about menus, upcoming events, and to sign-up for the exclusive Detroit Restaurant Week e-newsletter.

Detroit Restaurant Week was created to promote fine dining options in the city of Detroit. Since its inception in 2009, over 290,000 diners have enjoyed the event.
 
Detroit Restaurant Week is presented by Shinola, the Detroit-based manufacturer of premium Detroit-built wristwatches, bicycles and other consumer products. Quicken Loans/Opportunity Detroit also returns as the supporting sponsor.
 
 


Hell yeah, Hamtramck!

Blowing up this week on Facebook, this gem of a list features many of our favorite Hamtown spots, including the underrated Krakus Polish restaraunt (people, just go; it's actiually in Detroit, just north of the Hamtramck city limits), Recycled Treasures, B&H Bar & Grill (one of two Bosnian-owned food businesses on Caniff), Planet Ant Theatre, Srodek's Quality Sausage (ask for the blood sausage, called kieska in Polish), Lo & Behold and Public Pool. Oh, hell, here are the other gems in the story: Hamtramck Disneyland, St. Florian Church, New Palace Bakery and the Detroit Zen Center. That makes 10. All great.

Read all about it here.

Live/Work artist space available in Northend's Fortress Studios

Fortress Studios, a live/work studio space for artists, is currently accepting applications for its residency program. If accepted, artists receive housing and studio space, as well as training opportunities for a $500 monthly fee. In addition to the live/work residency, Fortress Studios offers short-term project-based residencies, studio space, and workshop space (prices vary).

Founded in 2010, Fortress Studios are located in Detroit's Northend neighborhood.

Learn more at http://www.fortressstudiosdetroit.com/opportunities.htm and http://detroit.craigslist.org/wyn/ats/4387152097.html

DetroitUrbex launches new site that visualizes city's evolution

DetroitUrbex.com, a site well known for its visual documentation of the city of Detroit over the years, has launched a new project that showcases the stark changes in the city's lanscape over the last 134 years. The site, entitled "Detroit: Evolution of a City," features images of a location overlaid with images of that same location from a different era. The result is truly mind blowing.

Visit for yourself: http://detroiturbex.com/content/ba/feat/index.html

New York Times: DSO getting national attention for live streaming

The sounds of brilliantly played music composed by classical masters is nothing new for fans of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. What is new is that you can live stream DSO concerts on your digital device from the DSO site. The New York Times reports that the Midtown-based orchestra is a global leader in providing this service. How cool.

Read about it here.

New Packard owner joins Freep Film Fest panel

Great to hear Fernando Palazuelo, who bought the Packard Plant in last year's foreclosure auction is in town and talking publicly about his massive redevelopment project.

Curbed Detroit reports that at last week's premier of the doc Packard: The Last Shift he told the audience that he will have a redevelopment plan for the site within three to four months. Sounds mighty good to us.

Read on here.

'Rust Belt Chic: The Detroit Anthology' to be released in May

The Detroit Anthology, edited by Anna Clark, is set to be published by Rust Belt Chic Press in May, 2014. Contributors include Grace Lee Boggs, John Carlisle, Desiree Cooper, dream hampton, Steve Hughes, Jamaal May, Tracie McMillan, Marsha Music, Shaka Senghor, Thomas J. Sugrue, as well as Model D contributors Nina Misuraca Ignaczak, Keith Owens, Francis Grunow, Veronica Grandison, Aaron Mondry, and Matthew Lewis. For more details, see http://beltmag.com/detroit-anthology/

Local drone enthusiast documents the D

Local drone enthusiast Harry Arnold has transformed his hobbies -- radio-controlled hellicopters and videography -- into a business. Clients in Detroit are paying him for the unique aerial perspective captured by his drones. Arnold films everything from events to building demolitions to fires. Read more about Arnold and check out some of his amazing aerial footage on The Atlantic Cities.


Techno titan Carl Craig talks to Thump about Detroit

OK, the interviewer misidentifies the Packard Plant as "a club," but it's a forgivable error in an otherwise solid Q&A with the west side kid from Cooley High who started and continues to run Planet E records, one of the most influential labels in global techno. 

An excerpt:

THUMP: The film mentions Packard, a club at which Richie Hawtin was closely tied to. Did you have much to do with the Packard, or other Detroit parties like the Music Institute? What were those parties like, and how did the Music Institute differ from other parties, including Packard, at the time?
 
Carl Craig: The parties at the Music Institute came before the parties at the Packard Plant. I came in as a spectator, as a music lover for the Music Institute after it had started. That was Derrick May, George Baker, and Alton Miller that were involved in that. The Music Institute was my music education. It was the closest thing to having a Paradise Garage or a Music Box in Detroit. The Packard was also the result of the Music Institute not being around anymore. It moved a couple of doors down, but it was never the same.

Read more here.

Site of former Kettering High to become 27-acre farm

Here's an item we call bittersweet, largely because some of us remember some great athletic programs, featuring prep basketball stars like Lindsay Hairston, Joe Johnson and Eric Money, at Kettering High in the 1970s. Time marches on nevertheless, as Curbed Detroit reports in this excerpt below:

One of Detroit's abandoned schools is about to begin a remarkable transformation. This summer, the east side's former Kettering High School will into a 27-acre urban farm known as the Kettering Urban Agricultural Campus.
According to the AP, the soon-to-be farm will provide food for the Detroit Public School System, while the old building itself will become afood processing facility. This summer will see the property prepared for growing food and the installation of eight hoop houses (green house-like structures).

Read more here.

Move to Hamtramck real estate site launches

We think all Detroit neighborhoods should have a "Move to" inititiative and it looks like some enterprising folks in Hamtramck have the exact same idea. Why not create an online forum where people can find houses, apartments, buildings and businesses for sale or rent? Why not, indeed.

Hamtown has urban assets aplenty, incuding food, art, music, walkable neighborhoods, ethnic diversity and affordability -- with bike lane connectivity to Eastern Market, Midtown and the Riverfront coming soon. 

Check it out on Facebook and Twitter.

Model D and the Nain Rouge take over Great Lakes Coffee

On the eve of this Sunday's Marche du Nain Rouge, join us for Another Last Temptation of the Nain Rouge.

Last year you joined us for the Nain's last hurrah at the Model D house. Well, it's his last, last hurrah. But maybe not.
 
This year the harbinger of doom has decided to enjoy his last night of debauchery at Great Lakes Coffee with rouge libations, a dance party, and a toast! 
 
Join us Saturday, March 22 from 7 to 11 p.m. at Great Lakes Coffee for a final frolic before we bid farewell to Detroit's dastardly devil at the Marche de le Nain Rouge on Sunday. 
 
In case you're wondering, yes, our DJs promise to bring the appropropriate bloodlust to the proceedings.

They are:
Walter Wasacz of nospectacle
Matthew Lewis
Soul Deep's Mike Dutkewych
 
Toast promptly at 9 p.m. by Hidden History of Detroit Author Amy Elliott Bragg.
 
Sip on the Nain's favorite, "The Beetdown" featuring Blue Nectar Tequila & Mcclary Bros. carrot-beet shrubs.
 

Call for apps: Detroit nonprofit to win brand makeover

Impact48 brings together the Detroit region’s most talented design professionals to donate their time for 48 hours to help one lucky nonprofit to collectively create a new exciting brand. After the two days of creative brainstorming and collaboration, the organization will come away with a brand identity package -- logo design or redesign, letterhead and envelope business card, social networking graphics and more.

If you are an eligible nonprofit organization in the Detroit Metro area that would like to be considered for this exciting event, go here and submit your application by April 7. The winning organization will be announced April 14.

Freep Film Fest features Michigan-based docs, panel discussions March 20-23

This much anticpated inaugural event kicks off this Thursday (March 20) and runs through Sunday (March 23) focusing on Detroit- and Michigan-themed documentaries.
 
Screenings are being held at the Fillmore Detroit and Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts. You can view the full lineup with quick descriptions of all the films here.
 
There are tons of highlights to pick from on the schedule, but here are some you may want to circle:
 
• Following the "Packard: The Last Shift" premiere Thursday evening, there is a panel discussion including new Packard Plant owner Fernando Palazuelo; Roger M. Luksik, president of the Packard Motor Car Foundation; Dan Kinkead, director of projects for Detroit Future City Implementation Office, and “Packard: The Last Shift” director Brian Kaufman. It will be moderated by Free Press business columnist Tom Walsh.
• On Friday evening, the screening of "Do You Think a Job is the Answer?" will be followed by a discussion led by Free Press editorial page editor Stephen Henderson. Panelists will include producer-director Gary Gilson; Tonya Allen, president of the Skillman Foundation; Pamela J. Moore, president and CEO of Detroit Employment Solutions Corp., and William F. Jones, CEO of Focus: HOPE.
• After "Lean, Mean & Green" on Sunday afternoon, a panel will be moderated by Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley and include director Carrie LeZotte; the Free Press' John Gallagher, who is a co-producer; Riet Schumack, co-founder and program coordinator Neighbors Building Brightmoor; Kenneth Cockrel, Jr., executive director of Detroit Future City’s Implementation Office and Adam Hollier, vice president of Hantz Woodlands.

Everything you need to know is packed in here

Detroit, oui: In French, Le Figaro waxes cool about the city

Some great Detroit peeps and locations -- including artists Shades, Rob Smith, Chris Turner, Thornetta Davis and the Blackman, Detroit Farm & Garden's Jeff Klein, and the Packard Plant -- make an appearance in this piece (only in French). Wonderful photography by former Model D lensman Dave Krieger.

See it here.

HuffPost Detroit: 11 ways Detroit changed the world for the better

The hits keep on coming of late from our pals at HuffPost Detroit, including this roundup of impressive contributions the city has made to the rest of the world.

Read all about it here.

Detroit love: Come feel it at daylong event at Charles H. Wright

Some outstanding speakers are lined up for this event Thursday, March 13 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. They include: digital brand specialist Hajj Flemings, artist-educator Chazz Miller, president/CEO of Techtown Leslie Smith, John George, founder of Motor City Blight Busters and many others.

All the info you need is right here.

Freep: Check out updated map of M-1 Rail line

OK, here it, the latest graphic for the M-1 route, set to break ground this spring. The Freep published a map. Check it out.

An excerpt:

Naming rights for the urban rail line -- like in Cleveland and other cities -- could bring $1 million or more to help pay for the line, slated to run 3 miles along Woodward from Jefferson Avenue downtown to Grand Boulevard in New Center.

More here.

HuffPost Detroit: Get fresh spin on unknown classics of Motown

Our old friend Ashley Woods penned this awesome piece on little known gems produced by the Motown music factory. What's most amazing is that the tunes she picks are as swingin' and heartfelt today as they were when they were released 40-50 years ago.

An excerpt:  

The label began by Berry Gordy in a little house on Detroit's Grand Boulevard had more hit songs, and more talent, than those four walls could ever hold. And for every hit single crafted by Smokey Robinson or the crack songwriting team Holland-Dozier-Holland, there were equally great songs that flopped, and equally talented singers who were unfairly denied marketing or access to tracks. There were lawsuits, feuds and falling outs.

Read more, check out the music here.

HuffPost Detroit: Meet eight women of color transforming Detroit

HuffPost Detroit is right on target in profiling these women, all leaders or innovators making it happen in the city.

An excerpt:

Detroit, in particular, often feels held together by the passionate individuals who wake up every day determined to make it a better place to live.

Take the eight women below, identified with the help of the Detroit Urban Innovation Exchange (UIX), a local initiative that highlights people interested in transforming the city. Through food and music, engineering and education, these women are using their skills to find new ways to remake their communities.

Read on here.

UK techno artist Powell performs in newly branded Corktown venue

Oscar David Benjamin Powell - better known simply as Powell - produces 80's era inspired electronic music, drawing from the vast environs of post-punk, no wave, and industrial. "The tracks made by the 30-year-old Londoner sweat with a trudging labor, rather than an abandon of dance - but there's still a seam of funk" says British daily newspaper, The Guardian, who recently named Powell one of 10 music stars to break through in 2014.

His releases so far, from his debut EP "The Ongoing Significance of Steel & Flesh (including a Regis - that’s Karl O’Connor of British Murder Boys - remix)" and its follow up "Body Music," both for Powell's own London-based Diagonal label, the "Fizz" EP for Liberation Technologies and a remix of Silent Servant for Jealous God, are ideal fits for dark deep basement dance parties. 

Powell makes his Detroit debut Friday, March 7 at 1426 Below (1426 Bagley St. in the basement of St. Cece's Pub). DJ support by Justin Carver and Daniel Stolarski (Something Cold / Detroit) and Drew Pompa (We Are All Machines / Detroit). Cover is $10 all night long. This event is 21 and up.

This is a We Are All Machines and nospectacle co-production. Sound will be provided by the Audio Rescue Team.

Martin Anand's 'Big Happy Lie Did Not Come True'' opens at Public Pool

Since moving to Detroit from Dusseldorf in the 1990s, Martin Anand has been a contributor to the electronic music community as a producer, promoter, independent label owner, artist and DJ. Anand has also contributed to Detroit's art, literary and food scenes as an abstract expressionist painter, writer, critical theorist, marathon conversationalist, vegan sandwich maker and juicer. 

The unconventional, multi-layered show, called The Big Happy Lie Did Not Come True and opening March 8 at Hamtramck's Public Pool, features a three person music collaboration during the reception featuring Anand and special guests. Also part of the show are visual and literary works by Anand and Detroit painter Don Staes, a classically trained abstract expressionist inspired by Mexican muralists. Staes is known to return again and again to unfinished paintings, adding layers years after beginning the pieces. 

Anand moved to Detroit from Germany in large part for the city's techno music scene. His musical interests coincided with what some regarded as a "third wave" of Detroit electronic music production in the late 1990s, when artists like Adult., Ectomorph, Dopplereffekt, Perspects, Goudron and other electro specialists were peaking. He founded the label Kenaob in 2004 and released music by Andy Toth, Colin Zyskowski and Charles Preset. Later, he was also associated with Toth (ex-Detroit Grand Pubahs) and Zyskowski on the Woodbridge-based People Mover Productions label.

Anand then opened and operated Atom's Java & Juice Bar in Grosse Pointe Park, where his art, poetry and critical writing filled the walls while DJs from Detroit Techno Militia, Paris '68 and solo artists like Andy Garcia, Greg Mudge and George Rahme filled the room with strange, often discordant music.

Join us at Public Pool for this unique exhibition of visual works, confrontational words and abrasive sounds -- all making up what Anand calls "social sculpture." During the run of the show, the artist will be spending Saturdays at the gallery talking, listening, debating and arguing with anyone who drops in. 

The The Big Happy Lie Did Not Come True runs from March 8 through April 19. Saturday gallery hours are 1-6 p.m.

Public Pool is at 3309 Caniff, in Hamtramck.

Conde Nast Traveller checks in on Detroit food scene

We're happy anytime we see a story about lovely foodie things happening in Detroit neighbourhoods using British English spellings.

An excerpt from Conde Nast Traveller:

One neighbourhood that's booming is Corktown, a previously near-deserted stretch of Michigan Avenue in the shadow of the abandoned Michigan Central Station. Now it's bustling with the likes of craft-beer specialist Slows Bar B Q, coffee shop Astro, and new Italian restaurant Ottava Via. Other newcomers include Two James, the first distillery to open in Detroit since before Prohibition, which sells a range of handcrafted vodka, gin, bourbon and whiskey. Order the bourbon-based Corktown Flip at its industrial-style bar. Gold Cash Gold, a restaurant opening this summer in a former pawn shop, shows how far the area is transforming.

Read more here.

Global Detroit audio: Thoughts on Gov. Snyder's immigration initiative

Steve Tobocman, director of Global Detroit, makes a strong case that not only could the city use highly-skilled, college educated immigrants -- which Gov. Snyder outlined in his recent State of the State address -- but that the city needs more working class foreign-born newcomers as a way to revitalize the local economy.

Check out this audio report on Michigan Radio. Mighty important stuff, indeed. Listen here.

Shinola to wind up four big clocks downtown

Ever since hitting the ground running in Detroit a couple years ago, Shinola has not failed to amaze with its marketing acumen. Take this latest move, to place four big clocks in strategic downtown locations. We like what Curbed has to say about that in this excerpt:

The sidewalks of Detroit will sprout four 13' street clocks by the beginning of March, courtesy of an interesting marketing move by Detroit's local watchmaker/voluntary cheerleader, Shinola. The permanent fixtures are meant to replicate the design of the company's new pocket watch, which is meant to replicate an era when people actually used pocket watches.

Read on here.

Calling all artists: Apply now to do creative makeover of viaducts

Midtown Detroit, Inc. (MDI) in partnership with the New Economy Initiative (NEI) is seeking proposals to transform the undersides of two viaducts located in Midtown Detroit’s TechTown district with public art and light. MDI is pleased to announce that its Call for Entries is now open.

The Second and Cass Avenue viaducts are two fully operational railroad bridge grade separations located between Baltimore and Amsterdam Streets in TechTown. Originally constructed in 1934, these once magnificent viaducts have been poorly maintained over the years and lack adequate lighting, contributing to unsafe perceptions of the district. This call seeks to give these industrial bridges new life—making them a choice destination rather than a place to pass through.

Accepted proposals will be funded up to $75,000 per viaduct. Applicants may provide proposals for either one or both viaducts. If applying for both viaducts, proposals may treat each viaduct as two separate installations or visually connect the two viaducts with a cohesive design.

The deadline for all applications is April 30.

More details here.

Detroit Party Marching Band home from EU blast

One of Detroit’s biggest bands, literally speaking, just got back from their first European tour. The 30 strong Detroit Party Marching Band played four shows over the course of a week in Holland. They also just played a welcome-home gig at the Trumbullplex in Woodbridge.

John Notarianni, media specialist for Model D's parent company Issue Media Group, and Jason Marker are in the band. They spoke with WDET's Travis Wright.

Listen in here.

Live chat today with Freep's John Gallagher and sociologist Thomas Sugrue

Join a live chat with Tom Sugrue, director of the Penn Social Science and Policy Forum at the University of Pennsylvania and author of "The Origins of the Urban Crisis," and John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press. Sugrue is an expert on the history of Detroit deindustrialization and the dynamics of race in the city.

The live chat begins today (Feb. 25) at noon. Start posting questions here now.

Richard Florida: Why gayborhoods matter

Not since the heyday of Palmer Park in the 1970s and 1980s has Detroit had its own gayborhood. We've long believed in the economic and cultural benefits of such 'hoods. So does Richard Florida, in this excerpt from Atlantic Cities:

Economists have long speculated about the effects of gayborhoods on everything from diversity to gentrification to housing prices. One common theme of this analysis is that neighborhoods with a higher than average density of gay residents are by definition more diverse and open-minded, with a wider range of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups as well. Another common argument is that gays often pioneer the revitalization of disadvantaged, crime-filled urban neighborhoods – and their presence can be seen as an early marker of gentrification and a precursor to a jump in housing prices.

Did he just say gentrification? Why yes, yes he did.

Read more here.

Curbed Detroit updates Gar Building progress

It's good to get a progress report on the rehab of one of Detroit's most fascinating turnaround building projects, as seen in Curbed Detroit:

Where most people saw an abandoned castle with an attic full of bird turds, local production company Mindfield saw office space. Roughly two years have passed since we first wrote about the impending renovation. According to the original timeline, the GAR should be little more than a good Swiftering away from its debut. Alas, intense renovation work continues, with an updated goal of opening this fall.

Read more here.

VoteForDetroit.com to give 'Move to Detroit' presentation at SXSW

By the time this year’s SXSW-Interactive in Austin begins in early March, Lowe Campbell Ewald will have moved over 500 employees to Detroit. The advertising firm will be doing a 'Move to Detroit' presentation at the festival in the Texas capital. See an excerpt below:  

Despite what you might read in the media, Detroit is quickly becoming rich in creativity, innovation and inspiration. In fact, Detroit was one of seven North American cities selected to be part of Google’s Tech Hub Network, and with tech investors like Detroit Venture Partners, it's becoming easy for startups to create opportunities. And in Detroit, everything needs help, so there are endless opportunities.

With a "we're all in this together" mentality, everyone is becoming friends and utilizing their skills to not only help one another, but define Detroit's future. Whether you're a designer, an innovator, an entrepreneur or an investor, the talent is moving to Detroit. And so should you.

Read more at VoteForDetroit.com here.

Henry Ford Academy students receive scholastic art awards

Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies (HFA: SCS) middle and high school students received 21 regional Scholastic Art Awards during an award ceremony at the Detroit Institute of Arts! Detroit Film Theater on Feb. 12. In addition to earning a significant total number of awards, for the first time an HFA: SCS student has also attained the highest regional award and will represent the school on the national level.

The Southeastern Michigan Region of the Scholastic Art Awards received more than 5,500 individual works of art from middle school and high school students and 291 senior portfolios, which were then judged in a blind process and selected for Honorable Mentions, Silver and Gold Key Awards, American Vision nominations, and Best of Show Portfolios.
 
Joshua Rainer, 12th grade, is one of five young area artists who will represent the region on the national level as American Vision nominees, chosen as Best of Show from all of the artwork entered in this year's Southeastern Michigan regional competition. Each regional program across the country selects the five most outstanding works of art from their Gold Key recipients. These five young artists represent the region on the national level as American Vision nominees. A national panel selects one of the nominated works from each region as the American Vision Award Recipient for 2014. Each of these selected artists will receive a gold medal at the national ceremony held in New York City. 
 
At a time when many schools have cut visual arts programs, all students at the tuition-free college prep middle/high school engage in intensive art and design course work, with curriculum and instruction developed in partnership with the College for Creative Studies. HFA: SCS students won eighteen individual awards in a range of media categories, including:

Gold Key
John Griffith - Painting
Mark Hall - Photography
Deja Jones - Fashion (2)
Joshua Rainer - Painting (3)
Jaylen Tate-Lucas - Mixed Media
Joshua Williams - Drawing

Silver Key
Rachel Fernandez - Photography
Mark Hall - Photography (2)
Franchesca Lamarre - Fashion
Morgan Parker - Photography
Joshua Rainer - Painting

Honorable Mention
Naomi Cook - Painting
Deja Jones - Fashion
Joshua Williams - Drawing

Franchesca Lamarre and Joshua Rainer also received Gold Keys for their Senior Art Portfolios, which are a critical body of work for any student pursuing post-secondary education in a creative field.


New America Media: Immigrants key to Detroit revival

This report in New America Media, especpially the following three paragraphs, caught our eye last week. Who can doubt that welcoming immigrant communities to Detroit is an excellent idea? 

An excerpt:

While Detroit’s population has gone down by about 26 percent, the Latino population, particularly in the southeast side of the city, known as "Mexicantown," continues to rise, along with Latino-owned businesses.

Over the last two decades, according to census data, Detroit’s Latino population nearly doubled to 50,000 in 2010. Latinos in the city are also fairly young, with a median age of 24. 

According to an Associated Press report, more than $200 million in the past 15 years has been invested in Mexicantown, a few miles from downtown Detroit. This investment has attracted more restaurants, retail stores, and new residential buildings, including an $11 million condominium development.

Read more here.

Duggan and Obama meet, talk jobs for Detroit

The Freep reports that Obama and Duggan were joined at the lunch by White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett and Don Graves, Senior Adviser at the National Economic Council. 

Duggan said he didn’t ask the president for money but instead was talking about strategies to create more jobs.

He wouldn’t specify what ideas he talked about with Obama, saying he wants to present them in detail to the president first.
But Duggan mentioned his administration has a request in for more buses because "we've got to get people to these jobs."

Read the entire story here.

We'll drink to that: Hopcat to open at M-1 Rail stop

The building at 4265 Woodward (most recently inhabited by Agave) is being converted into the new Detroit home for HopCat, which will become city’s largest beer bar featuring 130 taps with an emphasis on Michigan craft beers.

The business is reportedly investing $3.3 million into the building at the southwest corner of Woodward and Canfield, vacant since 2006. The location is where a stop on the M-1 Rail streetcar line will be.

The Detroit location will feature an outdoor beer garden and live music. Read more here.

#DetroitWeek of entrepreneurship and innovation up and running

#DetroitWeek, which began yesterday and runs through Feb. 23 is being called a "celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation" It's a week packed with cool stuff. Take a look at the calendar of events planned for downtown and Midtown. 

We caught up to Hajj Flemings, a personal brand strategist and founder/CEO of Brand Camp University who is running the festival for a short Q&A: 

How did the idea for Detroit Week originate?
 
The idea for Detroit Week was birthed from a phone call my co-founder, Delane Parnell, and I had with IBM (one of our partners) about co-organizing a few events for National Entrepreneurship Week. Unfortunately, the plans fell through and after an internal discussion we decided to create a platform that could interconnect the city's tech and broader business community while unifying the local support organizations.
 
What are the goals you hope to achieve after a week of activities, events, discussions?
 
Our goals are synonymous with everything we do; we want to inspire people to follow their passions, connect members of the community with each other, help shift our city's culture from developing ideas to creating products, and facilitate partnerships between local support organizations. Although Detroit Week will end on Feb. 23, our mission won't stop there. Throughout the year we plan to continue introducing programs, events, and activities to the community that will amplify and further the dialogue around entrepreneurship and technology throughout the entire state of Michigan. But as far as Detroit, Mayor Duggan said it best, we're open for business.

Model D will be hosting a featured #DetroitWeek event. Join us Feb. 20 for a happy hour at the Model D House (4470 Second Ave., Detroit), 5:30 - 7 p.m. RSVP Here.

Queer Detroit underground: Carleton Gholz of DSC on forgotten innovators of techno

When club kids and other music peeps need to know which way is up or down in global dance culture they turn to Resident Advisor, which has editorial outposts in Berlin, London and Tokyo.

We found this recent piece on LGBT influence on the international scene on RA especially fine, with insights by Carleton Gholz of the Detroit Sound Conservancy on the origins of Detroit Techno particularly perceptive. Gholz is currently finishing up a post-doctoral teaching gig in Boston - not to mention finishing his book, Out Come the Freaks: Electronic Dance Music and the Making of Detroit after Motown - and moving back to Detroit where he belongs this spring. Dude, welcome back. 

No spoliers, just read the whole beautiful damn thing here.

MOCAD opens two new shows with Friday party

The opening of the next exhibition season at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) happens this weekend and features musical performances by Jamaican Queens and Doc Waffles beginning at 9 p.m. 
 
Jamaican Queens (Real Detroit's Artists of the Year 2013): post-everything pop, heavily influenced by the southern rap beats of Three 6 Mafia, Gucci Mane, and Young Jeezy, as well as the experimentation of Brian Eno and Lee Scratch Perry. The outcome is an urgent canvas overlaid with pop hooks that would make David Bowie blush.
 
With Doc Waffles, experimental rapper, rare book dealer, and founder of the Big $$$ Cacuts Center for the Advancement of Horizontal Scholarship. Embracing automatic and chance-driven writing practices, with influences ranging from Duchamp to Beefheart to Ghostface Killah, Doc Waffles is one of Detroit's most unique and compelling songwriters.

Public Opening is 7 p.m. Admission is a suggested $5 donation and free for MOCAD members. More details here.

MOCAD is at 4454 Woodward Ave. in Midtown.


Breaking news? Detroit still the new Brooklyn

We may kid with our headline, but actually this piece in CCNMoney is a solid look at the patterns of Detroit development that match up quite well with what happened in New York during the latter half of the last century, still moving forward unabated today.

An excerpt:

How is this revival happening? The old way it seems; in that sequence that has always pioneered the revitalization of cities: the artists with a good eye, the penniless young people with a sense of adventure, and the fearless entrepreneurs. These were the pioneers of the Left Bank of Paris in the 1870s, Greenwich Village of the 1920s, SoHo in the '60s, Miami Beach in the '80s, and Brooklyn today. They are the first wave in a succession that thrives below the horizon of bureaucratic control. They can be classified as the risk oblivious cohort.

Read on here.

Come to D:hive's LiveWorkDetroit! event this Friday

Are you looking for a job in a city filled with opportunity? With high-tech startups, cutting-edge medical researchers, creative entrepreneurs, unrivaled restaurants, world-renowned museums, and affordable places to live, Detroit is that city. Join us Feb. 7 for a LiveWorkDetroit. one-day Detroit experience where you will network with award winning employers, meet students from around the state and get a first-hand look at the best places to live, work and play. 
 
Registration required ($15 after Jan 31) and includes food, transportation, and entertainment. Register here.

Event features: Employer Networking, 2-4 p.m.; Insider Tour by D:hive, 4-6 p.m.; Dinner and Panel Discussion, 6-8 p.m.

It's this Friday Feb. 7, 2-8 p.m. at the Westin Book Cadillac, 1114 Washington Blvd., downtown Detroit.
 
Got any questions? call 313-962-4590 or go to info@dhivedetroit.org.


Pure Detroit to open shop at Belle Isle aquarium

We say wunderbar! to Pure Detroit's decision to open another location, this one in the fab Belle Isle aquarium. It'll only be open on Saturdays, but that's fine with us. An excerpt from Crain's Detroit:  

"We love the aquarium; it's a phenomenal Albert Kahn building," said Kevin Borsay, co-owner of Pure Detroit. "We have an affinity for Detroit landmark buildings, and I think things are moving in the right direction over there. There's a lot of interest and effort to bring the aquarium to a great level and we want to be a part of that."

Pure Detroit will also be selling newly designed T-shirts that are an ode to Belle Isle. They will be similar to the "All In for Belle Isle" shirts that state and city officials wore at a recent press conference.

Read on here.

Legendary Baker's Keyboard plans second location downtown

Detroit performing arts entrepreneurhip is one of our editorial themes for 2014 and we'll be keeping track of all the greatest hits of the year, like this one, a proposed second location, in downtown's Capitol Park, for Baker's Keyboard Lounge.

An excerpt from DBusiness:

Since 1934, Baker’s has hosted such legendary jazz artists as Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Earl Klugh, John Coltrane, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Sarah Vaughn, and George Benson. Klugh says he began playing at the club in the 1970s as a teenager (accompanied by his mother). Smith says Capitol Park is an ideal location.

In recent years, several buildings bordering the triangular park have changed hands. Bedrock and its various entities have acquired some historic structures, as well as Broder & Sachse Real Estate Services in Detroit and Karp and Associates in Lansing.

Yeah, man, we'll see you downtown. Meanwhile, read on here.

Grande Ballroom '68: Detroit music in pictures

The hippie dream was alive, well and prospering in Detroit in the late 1960s. Local groups like the MC5, the Stooges, the Up and dozens of others were playing a blistering brand of acid rock, distinctly different than the so-called flower power doodling found on the west coast. More like was happening in New York (Velvet Underground), but not really. It was louder and, uh, more messed up here, more true to the rowdy spirit of rock 'n' roll.

In 1968, it was happening at the Grande Ballroom, in the old Riviera Theater on Grand River near Joy Road. We found this series of photos on a site called Retrokimmer. Jimi, the Who, Cream, the MC5 and just your average longhaired boy and girl fans are captured.

Check it out here.

Video report: Mapping Detroit blight

A newly formed task force has been charged with spearheading an effort to electronically catalog blighted properties in the city. That's certainly a good start to addressing a complex problem. Watch this Voice of America report on the Motor City Mapping Project in this video.

As a bonus, here's the Freep's John Gallagher asking "what's next" after the rubble has been cleared. Will measures that came out of the work done by Detroit Future City, including building on urban ag and other green and blue (daylighting subterranean creeks that exist on the city's east side) projects, be implemented? Good questions, John.

See Gallagher's piece here.  

IAYD plans year of helping young entrepreneurs succeed in business

I Am Young Detroit, the social venture that promotes entrepreneurship as a means to combat youth unemployment and boost economic impact in Detroit, turns 5 years old this month. 

To celebrate the organization will be hosting a live event Saturday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m when it will launch its 2014 programs, which include: memberships, micro-grants and fellowships, pop lab, and startup services.

The event will take place at the Untitled Bottega in Detroit, and feature conversation, live performances by Cold English, food vendors, and its first pop lab pop-up: EMLE Clothing.

This year IAYD is doubling down on helping young entrepreneurs like EMLE launch companies in the seed stage. 

New programs include:

Membership
I Am Young Detroit members get access to exclusive resources and tools, discounts on products and events from partners, early access to beta apps and programs, discounts on premium services, and more. Three membership levels are available. Applications open Jan. 25.

Grants & fellowships
Five years in the making, I Am Young Detroit will be awarding monthly grants to Detroit entrepreneurs between the ages of 16 and 30, providing seed money to allow them the opportunity to begin turning their dreams into reality. Awards include micro-grants up to $1,000, mentor matching, "Doer" membership, opportunity for matching high school fellow, and access to co-working space. Applications open Jan. 25.

I Am Young Detroit's high school fellows are matched with select grantees based on their career goals and interests and receive a small monthly stipend, hands-on experience, and access to co-working space for the duration of their fellowship.

Pop Lab
In partnership with Dpop, I Am Young Detroit is providing a unique opportunity for Detroit-based entrepreneurs between the ages of 16 and 30 the opportunity to pop-in to vacant and underutilized spaces with their retail business ideas. They'll provide marketing, commercial design, media, place-matching, and logistics support. I Am Young Detroit will even match entrepreneurs with a mentor or two and help launch pop-ups in style with a fabulous event. Applications open Jan. 25.

Startup Services
I Am Young Detroit will be offering a curated selection of startup services to help launch local business. Services will include logo design, explainer video production, and retail design.
 
I Am Young America is a social venture that promotes entrepreneurship as a means to combat youth unemployment and boost economic impact in cities. Our mission is to help revitalize American cities by empowering young entrepreneurs to launch businesses, and mobilize citizens everywhere to champion them.

Get updates on I Am Young Detroit's Facebook page.

Detroit Bikes partners with Bicycle Technologies International for U.S. distribution

Detroit Bikes, LLC, and Bicycle Technologies International recently announced that they have begun working together to bring Detroit Bikes to over 4000 of BTI's clients.
 
Bicycle Technologies International is one of the largest distributors in North America, with over 23,000 unique bicycle parts, accessories and clothing items representing over 300 premium brands. BTI supplies local bike shops across the country, bringing high performance products from around the globe. BTI celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2013 and looks forward to growth in the next 20 years by partnering with brands that are committed to fostering the cycling community with great products.
 
Detroit Bikes, LLC is a bicycle manufacturing company in west Detroit, marking the return of high-volume frame manufacturing to the United States. Each bicycle frame is built from 4130 chromoly steel tubing cut, coped, welded and painted in Detroit Bikes' 50,000 square-foot factory. This location has the capacity to produce 40,000 bikes a year.
 
Detroit Bikes seeks to encourage cycling by making an accessible, enjoyable bicycle while continuing Detroit's legacy of quality manufacturing and design. Its headquarters and factory are located at 13639 Elmira Road, Detroit. For more information, go here.


'Geektown Detroit' illustrates city's early techno scene

Geektown Detroit is a book project by German graphic design and illustration student Sandra Leidecker about early Detroit techno. For her diploma thesis at Bauhaus Universität Weimar she did interviews with DJs, producers and label owners from Detroit and all over the world to learn about the roots of techno music. She did illustrations of main characters, studio gear and places in Detroit.

There's plenty of good stuff here for techno peeps and anyone else interested in the creative energies that flow through the city.

See more here.

State of Opportunity series follows Detroit's Boggs School in sound and pictures

This report by Zak Rosen and Andrea Claire Maio is part of an ongoing series on the James and Grace Lee Boggs School in Detroit. Listen to the report and watch the video below. Here's an excerpt:

The students at the Boggs School spend a lot of time dreaming about what their ideal neighborhood would be like. But they're also thinking about ways to make that dream possible. That's why the back of their class t-shirts has the word "solutionary" printed on them. At the Boggs School, students aren't just students. They're problem solvers, they're change agents, they're citizens of Detroit.

Check it out here.

Very Zen: Raw food rules at Hamtown's Buddhist center

When thinking of food options in Hamtramck the list is most impressive: ethnic choices (South Asian, Middle Eastern, Polish, Balkan) abound, not to mention new kitchens at Rock City Eatery and Revolver rolling out creative takes on American classic dishes.

But don't forget the café at the Detroit Zen Center (tucked away in a residential neighborhood at the corner of Casmere and Mitchell streets, one block east of Jos, Campau), says Melody Baetens of the Detroit News.

An excerpt: 

The café is rustic, clean and warm, and can seat a few dozen. Diners can choose to sit at low tables on a raised, heated platform, or in traditional tables and chairs.

Food is cooked in an open kitchen, the same used to make the center’s line of Living Zen Organics food, which includes kale chips, fresh kale salad, raw granola, raw brownies and flax crackers. (Living Zen Organic products can be found at Eastern Market, Western Market in Ferndale, Honey Bee market in Detroit, Plum Markets and healthy food stores across Metro Detroit.)

Read on here.

Immigrant entrepreneurship driving local economies

Our friend Jordi Carbonell, and his wife Melissa Fernandez, of Cafe Con Leche in Southwest Detroit are featured in this issue of Immigrant Impact, which focuses on the mighty good that entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world are doing in building American community life.

An excerpt.

A new report  from the American Immigration Council explains the journeys of three places -- Detroit, Michigan; St. Louis, Missouri; and rural communities in Iowa -- to implement strategies for future economic success that depend in part upon immigration. Despite tepid federal efforts at reform, such places are embarking on exciting ventures, such as Global Detroit and the St. Louis Mosaic Project, to attract immigrants to their communities, support new and existing immigrant entrepreneurs, and create synergy between immigrants and native-born citizens. This trend recognizes the growing significance of immigration as an economic factor, but it is also a major rethinking of how individuals and communities accept and welcome newcomers and encourage their successful integration. 

See more here.

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.

Discussion and screening of 'Girls Gone Vinyl' work in progress

An official selection of New York's Athena Film Festival-2013, the locally-produced documentary Girls Gone Vinyl will be getting a screening of the work in progress this Thursday at Cinema Detroit in Midtown's Cass Corridor.

There is also a panel discussion and VIP reception as part of Thursday's event, also a fundraiser to complete production of the film. 
 
The panel is made up of:
 
Jenny Lafemme- DJ and producer of Girls Gone Vinyl
Maggie Derthick- promoter and producer of Girls Gone Vinyl
Rebekah Farrugia - professor and author of Beyond The Dance Floor
Ted Krisko - DJ/producer currently playing across the Americas and Europe
Walter Wasacz - journalist and managing editor of Model D
 
VIP reception is 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. and is $75. That gets you cocktails and lite fare, a guaranteed seat for screening and the panel discussion, and a VIP gift bag.
 
General admittance is 7:30 p.m. and is $25 at the door. Screening is 8 p.m. Discussion and Q&A follows the screening. The night will feature the sounds by resident Girls Gone Vinyl DJs supported by the Audio Rescue Team.
 
Your ticket purchase directly funds the final needs to finish the film, editing and script writing.

The event is Thursday, Dec. 12 at Cinema Detroit, 3420 Cass Ave.

Urbanist Dispatch: Detroit music scene has potential to grow beyond current $1 billion

We thought this report from the Urbanist Dispatch would pair nicely with our Detroit music feature from last week.

An excerpt:

Despite its legacy, research by Florida and his colleagues at the University of Toronto’s Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) suggests Detroit is not fully capitalizing on its local music scene. An analysis of figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis allowed MPI to develop a Metro Music Index to rank cities based on the local music scene.

Nashville tops the list, followed by the obvious (New York City and Los Angeles) and the surprising (Rochester, New York). Detroit doesn’t crack the top 25. It comes in at 37; unable to even beat much smaller Kalamazoo, Michigan, which is ranked eighth overall when small metros are included.

C'mon people, let's begin to rebuild and reload our funky groove thing. Read on here.

News: 'New Wave' brings energy to greater downtown

Oh, yes, we are definitely feeling the good urban vibes that are multiplying around the city, particularly in the greater downtown area visited by Michael H. Hodges for this piece. It's a good one. Here's an excerpt: 

That energy is visible in the commercial flowering in Corktown, where Two James Spirits and an expanded Motor City Wine recently joined more established businesses like Slows Bar BQ and the Mercury Burger Bar. You can see it in the 34 floors of spanking-new apartments -- every last one rented -- in the David Broderick Tower, once a dark, depressing sentinel that loomed over Grand Circus Park.

And you can hardly miss it in the annual Nain Rouge parade, or the formal pop-up dinner parties that briefly take over public spaces -- both animated by a new sense of fun and delight in the city.

Read more here.

Derrick May: Detroit music legends can do more for their city

Techno legend Derrick May has been an articulate spokesperson for creative Detroit life for nearly 30 years. He's a coveted interview by culture-based media around the world. So when asked by the UK's Guardian what this city needs he responded that successful artists must do more for the place that helped them prosper.

An excerpt: 

Detroit is an original city and we have got to the point of no return. We've hit the bottom of the bottom, now we're recreating ourselves, a whole new creative class, a whole new energy that will be instilled upon kids my young daughter's age. We will be talking about Detroit till the day we die. It will always be something magical.

Read more here.

Ponyride hosts second annual open house this Friday

Last year, over 500 people attended Ponyride's first open house and organizers are expecting even more this year. The Corktown co-work space and incubator is holding its event this Friday, Dec. 6, from 6 to 10 p.m. 
 
Called the Holiday Open House, there will be a pop-up marketplace featuring Ponyride's tenants and local independent maker-preneurs. 

Ponyride is at 1401 Vermont St., Detroit.

HuffPost Detroit: What Detroit could look like in 20 years

We were pleased to see this piece by former Model D section editor Ashley Woods, now editor of Huffington Post Detroit, get tons of play on social media last week. And with good reason: it compiles many splendid ideas that could work (some are already in motion) in Detroit in the coming decades.

An excerpt:

Change is brewing in the Motor City. New projects are targeting investment in hotspots like downtown and Midtown, and the city's neighborhoods could see major transformations under long-term plans like Detroit Future City.

Some of those changes are a long way off, but others are already under way -- enough that we can take a peek at 18 examples of the Detroit of the future...

Well said, Ash. Read on here.

Green builders raising funds for AFTERHOUSE project

We ran into people behind this project at Eight & Sand last week and were thoroughly intrigued and impressed. They are working on a house in the NoHam neighborhood near the Power House, Hinterlands Detroit and other cool neighborhood projects, converting a irrepairably damaged structure into a productive, sustainable greenhouse.

Here's more info: 

The process for building AFTERHOUSE is quite simple. First the damaged parts of the house are removed while preserving the foundation. Then a stairwell is excavated down to the basement level. After that we build a simple shed-style greenhouse covering the existing basement foundation, rotating the slope to face due south and maximizing solar exposure. We then construct an insulated platform facing the street, maintaining the cultural and urban character of the original house porch while guarding against temperature fluctuations. Lastly we build a series of planters into the insulated platform to grow summer crops and shade the greenhouse from the summer heat.

$12,000 will pay for the demolition of the house, utility disconnections and permitting fees, building materials to construct the greenhouse such as lumber, polycarbonate, insulation, siding and roofing material, subcontracting fees for specialty trades such as electrical and plumbing, as well as plants and growing material.

If you'd like the help this project get funded, go here.

Detroit to receive PlacePlans econ assistance

Detroit is among eight Michigan cities selected to receive technical assistance with key economic development projects designed to attract and retain residents and employers. Specifically, Detroit will get help in designing a new neighborhood center on the city’s southwest side.

Detroit, along with Cadillac, Flint, Kalamazoo, Holland, Jackson, Marquette, and Midland, will participate in PlacePlans, the Michigan Municipal League announced last week. The eight cities were selected as part of a statewide application process.

PlacePlans is a joint effort between the MML and Michigan State University to help communities design and plan for transformative placemaking projects. The PlacePlans are done with support from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and Governor Snyder’s MIplace Partnership.

The Southwest Detroit Business Association’s plan for the Vernor Livernois Project will support the redevelopment of a vacant and blighted property in the heart of one of the city’s strongest commercial districts. The plan will design a new neighborhood center area on what is currently a 6.9-acre brownfield site at West Vernor Highway and Livernois Avenue in the heart of southwest Detroit. The Vernor Livernois Project will become a focal point for this vibrant and diverse community, providing a public square, locally oriented retail and community meeting space as well as new employment opportunities.  

Gary Heidel, chief placemaking officer for MSHDA, said the eight communities selected are from all areas of the state and the projects involved range from revitalizing a historic downtown block in Cadillac to transforming a key commercial corridor in Detroit.


Start making Noel Night plans now

The 41st Annual Noel Night is Saturday, Dec. 7 from 5 to 9:30 p.m. in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center Area. Over 70 institutions, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Historical Museum, the Detroit Public Library, and Model D HQ among many others, open their doors to the public free of charge during this Cultural Center-wide holiday "open house."

Activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday shopping, family craft activities and performances by over 120 area music, theatre, and dance groups. The evening’s festivities culminate with a community sing-along on Woodward Avenue.

Noel Night activities take place in and around Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center institutions, primarily between Cass and John R and Kirby and Willis. Free shuttle service is offered between participating venues. Convenient parking is available in area lots. 

Noel Night is produced by the University Cultural Center Association, a nonprofit community development organization that supports economic growth in Detroit's Midtown district. Go here for more information.

Detroit 'Gayborhood' idea gets play in Slate, Deadline Detroit

Most major U.S. cities (and major world cities) have neighborhoods that are either organically or intentionally filled with LGBT-oriented commercial and residential districts. The last area Detroit claimed as a "gayborhood" was Palmer Park, bordered by McNichols, Woodward and Pontchartrain Blvd. Prime time for the neighborhood filled with gorgeous apartments (now under restoration) was the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Talk is getting a bit louder that it'd be a mighty fine idea to develop a gayborhood in the city once again. Read an excerpt from Slate (which itself was excerpted in Deadline Detroit):

(KICK's) Curtis Lipscomb hopes to make Detroit’s LGBTQ community more visible. Although gay neighborhoods usually develop organically, Lipscomb has been meeting with a group of about 10 people from the banking, nonprofit, and community development sectors who want to establish a gay enclave in Detroit. "Detroit has more gay bars than the suburbs, better nightlife, and arts that make it attractive. And depending on the area, it has cheaper rent too," he said.
 
The gay neighborhood, which could include retail locations, housing, cultural institutions, places of worship, and gay bars, would likely be developed in Palmer Park, Midtown, or downtown Detroit.
 
Read more here.


News: Detroit Soup cooking up neighborhood entrepreneurship

Our friends at Detroit Soup have been doing their rock steady, micro-funding dinner for nearly four years now. It's a great thing when more people notice and give them some props, like in this piece in the Detroit News this week.

An excerpt:

From Grandmont-Rosedale to downtown, Livernois Avenue to Brightmoor, Detroit residents are gathering over a meal to finance new businesses, nonprofits and artistic ventures that will benefit their slice of the city. It’s the latest evolution of Detroit Soup, a monthly micro-funding dinner that, now in its third year, has branched out to include smaller, quarterly events in about 10 neighborhoods.

"Soup has become the new town hall," said 32-year-old Soup director Amy Kaherl. "The neighborhoods want a space to share and collaborate."

Right on, Amy. Read on here.

Midtown Detroit Inc. receives its first ULI Global Award for Excellence

Midtown Detroit Inc. (MDI) President Sue Mosey accepted the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Global Award for Excellence at ULI’s Fall Meeting in Chicago last Friday on behalf her organization and its partners. This year marks Mosey’s 25th year as Midtown development leader.   

Widely recognized as the real estate industry’s most prestigious honor, the award recognizes superior development efforts that go beyond good design, including leadership, community contribution, public/private partnerships and financial success. MDI joins six other Michigan-based projects that have won the prestigious award.

The award honors six development projects development projects, master plans and initiatives that have been spearheaded by Midtown Detroit Inc. and its partners. The winning submission recognizes the Woodward Garden Block development, the Sugar Hill Art District, The Ellington & Detroit Whole Foods Market, the Auburn, the Green Garage and the TechTown District Plan – which will begin implementation in 2014 with support from a grant from the Knight Foundation.

$122.5-million of investment is represented in the six projects that were part of the winning submission – 3.3-billion of public and private investment has been made in the Midtown District over the last decade. Twenty-four new businesses have opened in the past year with nearly a dozen more in the pipeline. Over the past three years Midtown has sustained a 96 percent residential occupancy rate.

Partnership programs such as the Living Cities Integration Initiative and the Midtown Anchor Strategy forged with philanthropy and the district’s higher education and healthcare institutions were key to Midtown’s winning entry.

Midtown Detroit Inc. is one of 12 recipients of the award from a global pool of nearly 200 entries. It was selected as one of 27 finalists for the award in June.   

Guardian UK weighs in on young professionals investing in Detroit

We must have a sweet spot for British press accounts of what's happening on the Detroit cultural, development and real estate scene -- including social networking and buyiung into several city neighborhoods.

Here's a report from the Guardian on young professionals finding affordable places to live in Detroit. An excerpt:

Engineers Alessandra Carreon, 28, and Drew McUsic, 27, are two of the risk-takers who left a cozy but expensive city – Seattle – to buy a house in Detroit, hoping to put down roots in a city where they could carry out their dream of sustainable living. Carreon and McUsic paid only $25,000 for an early 20th century five-bedroom, four-bathroom house in Detroit’s West Village area.

Carreon says they expect to spend another $25,000 to $35,000 on renovations, including the cost of solar panels, which they will be installing this December.

Not bad, eh? Read more here.

Joe Posch: Duggan's victory speech historic for Detroit's LGBT community

Yes, Joe, we too believe Duggan's verbal victory lap, like his campaign, was all about inclusivity. It is at the top of the list of social and cultural neccessities as Detroit moves into the future. The city is in fact poised, by building a strong foundation of quality leadership, to lead the charge for unity and set an example for the sleepy State of Michigan. Welcoming the LGBT community, all ethnic minorities and recognizing and respecting longtime Detroiters are all part of a social contract we can get behind near and far.

An excerpt from Posch's opinion piece in the Freep: 

At the end of his acceptance speech, mayor-elect Mike Duggan said: "The way we are going to rebuild this city is to value every single person in our community. It will no longer matter if you are black, brown or white. It will no longer matter if you are Christian, Jewish or Muslim. It will not matter if you are gay or straight. We want all of your talents. You’re all going to be equally valued and welcomed, because only in that way will we rebuild the kind of Detroit everyone in this city deserves."

It seems like a little thing, in 2013, to include the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in a statement of acceptance and unity, but politics and the power of the pulpit have kept gay people out of the discussion in Detroit for years.

Read more here.

Public Pool to host fundraiser for Hamtown Farms

Last week, we reported on Hamtown Farms' efforts to raise money to keep its green investment moving forward on Lumpkin St. just south of Holbrook in Hamtramck.
 
Michael Davis, who launched the community-based project in 2012, is attempting to raise $10,000 to purchase the lots where his productive garden grows. The lots are presently owned by the city of Hamtramck. Neighboring Kowalski Sausage has said it is also interested in purchasing the property.
 
This week, the Farms' allies in Hamtramck are stepping up to help support the project. 
 
On Wednesday (that's tomorrow, Nov. 13), Rock City Eatery servers will be asking patrons if they'd like to give $3 to the farm. If they say yes, $3 will be added to their bill. The truly fab Rock City is at 11411 Jos. Campau, one block north of Caniff.
 
On Friday, Nov. 15 a benefit dinner is being held at the Hamtramck Moose Lodge #1670. The lodge is at 9421 Conant (that's a block and a half north of Holbrook). Dinner starts at 6 p.m. $10 donation.

And on Saturday, Nov. 16, Public Pool (3309 Caniff, Hamtramck) hosts a presentation by Davis, who will talk about the Hamtown Farms project and its current campaign to raise funds. Also on the bill are Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski and Model D Green City diarist Matthew Piper, who wrote this piece last year that included Hamtown Farms.
 
The event begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m. An art show called Cut Paste Borrow Burn, featuring work by Hamtramck collage artists Anne Harrington Hughes and Christina Galasso, is currently up. Viewing of the exhibit is encouraged. Expect good beer, good wine and good snacks. Invited guests begin their talk at around 7 p.m. Donations will be accepted throughout the evening.

Anthony Bourdain essays love and respect for Detroit

For those of you who missed Sunday night's 'Parts Unknown: Detroit' here are some video excerpts along with a written companion piece cultural explorer Anthony Bourdain included as part of his experience in the city.

The highlights are many: the Packard Plant (no, it was not too long as some suggested. And here is our own answer to Bourdain's question: who drove the Packard? This comes from the film 'Chinatown.' In this famous scene (spoiler alert!), Faye Dunaway's character drives a white convertible Packard, a real beauty); examples of street level entrepreneurship (Greedy Greg's BBQ, and the secret pupuseria); eating at a Detroit fire station and offering to wash the dishes afterward; joining the mower gang at an overgrown city park; D-Townn Farm and sitting down for a fabulous-looking dinner at Guns and Butter.

Not enough hipster entrepreneurship? No references to the Stooges, Bourdain's favorite band? Too much Charlie LeDuff? Yes, yes, yes, maybe so.

To those who say showing the ruins of the greatest, most inspired industrial network the planet has ever known won't attract some to come here to look and leave, but others to live and lead, are just plain wrong. People are coming, more on the way, largely because this place is one of kind, fascinating, irreplaceable, 300-plus years old and still fierce as hell.

Bourdain makes an observation and asks a great question at the end of the broadcast. Here it is:

Detroit is shrinking. And changing. The artists and innovators, activists, and artisans, who are coming in will no doubt, do much to transform the city -- mostly in very positive ways.

But who will live in the Detroit of 25 years in the future?

It will still be beautiful. That's for sure. It will certainly be smaller.

But will all the tough bastards who stuck it out for so long -- against ridiculous odds -- who fought and continue to fight for their neighborhoods and their homes -- will they still be there?

News' Daniel Howes: Next wave entrepreneurs making big impact

It's always good to get validation in print for something many of us already know and spend a good deal of time advocating. That is, cultivating entrepreneurship in its multiple forms, as a way of driving economic development in Detroit, the region and the state.

Here's Daniel Howes' take in his Detroit News column. An excerpt:

And partly it’s because the state’s homegrown entrepreneurs, born from the rubble of Michigan’s economic implosion, are ahead of the capital they need to grow and to prosper. Their success, their stories, would help to change the conversation about a state marked by the traumas of federal bailouts, municipal bankruptcy and the edge of financial collapse.

"None of us were around to remember when GM was just another startup," said Jeff Helminski, managing director of Blackford Capital LLC in Grand Rapids. "Of what? Two hundred auto companies."

More than three, anyway. That’s the power of entrepreneurialism -- someone wins, big.

Intriguing, yes? Read more here.

Hamtown Farms raising funds to save green investment

Last summer, we ran this great piece that included Hamtown Farms as part of our Green City Diaries series. We have followed the efforts of urban farmer Michael Davis before and after the piece. And now we report a potential hiccup in the progress of this noble project. Under emergency finacial management, Hamtramck was about to sell the city-owned land to neighboring Kowalski Sausage, which has designs on converting it into a "a parking lot or a buffer." (Now hold on, Kowalski, we love your kielbasa and assorted lunch meats, not to mention you guys have the best neon sign in the entire region, but a parking lot vs. a productive urban farm that has already planted myriad seeds of cultural growth in the community is simply no contest.)

An excerpt from Eclecta: 

The good news is that Hamtown Farms has received what Michael Davis is calling "mind blowing support." They have created a fundraising page at the crowd-funding website Indiegogo. It is their hope that they will raise enough money to be able to outbid any other groups in the auction, including Kowalski Sausage, and then own the property outright.

One more thing: this is a major opportunity lost by Kowalski Sausage. They could be the good guys here, the good corporate citizen that made an investment in their community to make it a better place to live. Instead, they have chosen not to do this and, in fact, to do the exact opposite. They told Emergency Manager Square that they didn’t have any specific plans for the land, they "just wanted to have it." They told Fox News Detroit it would be turned into a "parking lot or a buffer." What could have been a tremendous contribution to the community is ending up being a public relations disaster for Kowalski Sausage. If they see turning this remarkable farm space into a parking lot as somehow a good thing will benefit them, they are decidedly wrong. It's hard to imagine why they think this is a good approach. Read more here.

Fundraising continues until Nov. 19 here.

DTE Energy partners with Eastern Market on $750K social space

Fabulous news from the ever-growing-in-all-the-right-ways Eastern Market, which is rapidly becoming exactly what it promises to be: a 24-hour neighborhood with food, social and cultural options galore.

An excerpt from the News:

"The DTE Energy Plaza will serve as a convivial gathering place to create a stronger market, and we are very grateful for the DTE Energy Foundation’s generous support and naming of this new community asset," Dan Carmody, president of the Eastern Market Corp., said in a statement. "The DTE Energy Plaza will be a welcoming place where people will gather to enjoy each other and the bounty of Eastern Market."

In June, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. awarded the farmers market, which is open year-round on Saturdays and on Tuesdays in the summer and early fall, a $1 million grant for the renovation. The project has received funding from other foundations, corporate sponsors and the city, which is supporting it through bond revenue valued at $1.5 million and a community development block grant for $330,000.

Read on here.

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.

High speed rail from coast to coast? Yes, please

True, it's a work of transportation imagination, but we do love when smart, creative people plant seeds for thought -- remember Neil Greenburg's Model D piece in 2011 on his Detroit-based Freshwater Railway? -- like this one we caught up with in Upworthy.

Yes, it would be nice to take the train from Detroit to Montreal, then drop down to Boston at 220 miles per hour. Or head the other direction to a Chicago transit hub, and either keep heading west to LA, drop down to Austin (during SXSW) or to Miami for some serious beach time. Not to mention all the economic development opportunities a network like this would stimulate.

Cool stuff. Check it out here.

Planet Ant celebrates 20 years of creativity

Planet Ant Theatre celebrates its 20th anniversary with an evening of performances featuring current and former Planet Ant artists Friday, Oct. 11 at Detroit's Gem Theatre.

This event will celebrate the theatre's rich history of music, theatre and improv comedy. Hosted by Planet Ant Artistic Director Shawn Handlon, performances will include musical numbers taken from some of Planet Ant's best original productions, improv from the renowned Planet Ant Home Team and The 313, plus live band performances by 19.5 Collective, The Twilight Babies, and Pewter Club with Scott Sanford.

Tickets for Planet Ant's 20th Anniversary event are $30 balcony and $50 main floor and are available now here. Doors open at 7 p.m. with performances beginning at 8 p.m. A cash bar will be available, and a $10 discount is available for anyone who has been involved with a Planet Ant show or production. The Gem Theatre is at 333 Madison Ave, downtown Detroit.
 


'Heavy Metal Boyfriend' rocks local fashion scene

This exciting Detroit music culture inspired clothing line for women is brought to us courtesy of the UFO Factory-His Name is Alive-Princess Dragon Mom sound-sight axis of noisy creativity. Designed and manufactured by witches in southwest Detroit.  We're loving Heavy Metal Boyfriend big time.

Check it out here.

Greenway construction begins on link from RiverWalk to Hamtramck

John Gallagher writes in the Detroit Free Press that "construction is under way on more than 10 miles of greenways that will link the RiverWalk to Eastern Market, Midtown and Hamtramck in about a year’s time."

Nice. We never get tired of hearing updates on the non-motorized trail that cuts up the near East Side.

More from Gallagher:

"The work includes an extension of the popular Dequindre Cut north into Eastern Market, as well as streetscape improvements in the market, work in Midtown and creation of the Hamtramck Connector bike lanes north from the market to that community."

Read the rest of the article here.

Proposals for Grandmont-Rosedale business revitalization due by Oct. 7

The Grandmont-Rosedale Development Corporation (GRDC) is seeking proposals from businesses and entrepreneurs wishing to locate in the Grandmont Rosedale area. 

The deadline for proposals is Monday, Oct. 7. GRDC works with local business owners to promote storefront design that is good for business and good for the neighborhood.

For more info go here.

Hoops come to Cadillac Square

The Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP) is bringing a new basketball court to Cadillac Square at Campus Martius Park, located just north of the First National Building.
 
DDP’s placemaking efforts drew crowds throughout downtown Detroit this summer during concerts and events in the parks, at food vendors in Cadillac Square and at the Beach at Campus Martius Park.
 
The basketball court, located between Woodward and Bates, is open now through Friday, Oct. 11. The court is available for play daily during park hours from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Other free activities in Cadillac Square through Friday, Oct. 11 include ping pong, bean bag toss, washer toss, bocce ball, checkers, chess and backgammon. Games and basketballs can be borrowed at the games kiosk in Cadillac Square, weekdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 
Additional information about events taking place in the parks is available here.
 

NCB Capital Impact and Kresge Foundation launch Innovative Woodward Corridor Investment Fund

 NCB Capital Impact and The Kresge Foundation are launching the Woodward Corridor Investment Fund, developed to invest in transformative real estate projects that advance the physical redevelopment of Detroit’s Woodward Corridor.  

With the support of MetLife, Inc., PNC Bank, Prudential, Calvert Foundation, Living Cities, and the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, the Fund will provide capital to projects that are mixed-use, mixed income, transit-oriented and promote density, diversity, vibrancy, and walkability in Detroit’s core.

The $30.25 million Woodward Corridor Investment Fund is designed to support Detroit’s revitalization by financing critically needed housing units along Woodward Avenue, a main artery and home to major medical and academic campuses and arts and entertainment venues. The Woodward Corridor includes Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood, where occupancy rates exceed 95 percent and demand is high for hundreds of additional units. By focusing on the Woodward Corridor, home to many of Detroit’s largest institutions and employers, the fund will help attract residents and commercial activity, establish a model sustainable corridor, and expand economic opportunity for all residents.

The Fund will provide long-term fixed rate loans under terms not currently available through traditional financial institutions, allowing a single loan source rather than the many layers of capital that can be time consuming and difficult to assemble. This will allow developers to commence construction on their projects more quickly. 

PNC’s capital was also pivotal to catalyzing the fund as it demonstrated how a local Detroit bank’s finances leveraged funding from other national partners.

 The Fund will begin accepting applications Oct. 1. It will make initial loan approvals before the end of 2013 for projects that will start construction prior to the end of 2014. More information is available here.


WSU Press 'Celebration of Books' fete this Thursday

Wayne State University Press and the 2013 Host Committee cordially invite you to a Celebration of Books this Thursday, Sept. 26, at 5:30 pm to highlight new titles, over 100 other new and favorite books, and dozens of authors.

Featuring a strolling dinner, cash bar, book sale, trivia game, door prizes, and a short program by Bradford Frost. Frost's new book Reveal Your Detroit documents a one-of-a-kind photography project sponsored by the Detroit Institute of Arts that showcased thousands of images from the perspectives of hundreds of Detroit residents.

Tickets are $50 ($25 tax deductible). Includes strolling dinner and cash bar. RSVP here.

What's happening at Detroit Design Festival?

Those of you going to tonight's DDF opening party at the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education no doubt know the answer to what's up from now until Sunday, Sept. 22, when six days of intense creativity and innovation in design comes to a close.

But not everyone knows. So here is your portal to the happenings for the week, including a design dash, a Mies van der Rohe walk in Lafayette Park, a John Cage show at the College for Creative Studies' Center Galleries, the grand opening of the Untitled Bottega and other super cool events.

Check it all out here.

The Urbanist podcasts from Detroit again

Glossy and dense with words and pictures, British magazine Monocle we love you, let us count the ways. Well, for one you appear to give us a lot of love us back, evidenced by podcasts produced under The Urbanist series. Here's another that focuses on bringing people and money back to the city.

Enjoy!

MSNBC drops in on city's green scene

Sure, we all know urban farming has been a big part of the Detroit redevelopment narrative for some time. But it's still awfully nice to see national media paying attention and updating the story. Make that multiple stories.

Check out MSNBC's report here.

Reserve table for Detroit Restaurant Week

Take a look at this list of restaurants below, click into the menus and grab a table for one of our favorite weeks of food and drink indulgence. 

There are some tasty new additions -- including the Jefferson House at the Crown Plaza (formerly the Pontchartrain Hotel) -- and some old favorites (Roast, Rattlesnake Club, many more) to choose from. 

It runs through Sunday, Sept. 29.

Find your spot here.

Sign up now for TEDxDetroit Oct. 2 conference

We couldn't say it any more enticingly ourselves, so here is the mighty lowdown on the fifth TEDxDetroit conference straight from the source.

Q. Who is TED?

A. TED isn't a who, it's a what. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, three broad subject areas that are shaping our future. TEDxDetroit is an independently produced offspring of the annual TED gathering of big brains and cool creators. Learn more about the TED conference at TED.com. To learn more about TEDxDetroit, keep reading or see the FAQ.

Q. And the X?

A. We are the X. The multipliers. The catalysts. The connectors. The amplifiers. We challenge the status quo. We come together to collaborate, to share fresh ideas and to find inspiration. We are optimistic about our future. We believe Detroit's best days lie ahead. We are the people who are making it happen. We believe that is an idea worth spreading.

Q. Why here?

A. Because we love Detroit. And we're not alone. Innovation, artistic expression and entrepreneurship in Detroit are on the rise. Detroit is where the young, bright, creative & entrepreneurial are making it happen. But don't take our word for it: Read The New York TimesThe Atlantic and The Wall Street Journal. This is the fifth year of the TEDxDetroit conference. It's Oct. 2. That's this Wednesday. Register here now.

Are you ready for some cornhole?

Yes, we love some cornhole action at Model D. We encourage one and all to attend the 2013 Detroit Cornhole Championship this Sunday, Sept. 22, in Corktown's Roosevelt Park. It begins at 11 a.m. and festival fun goes on and on until 10 p.m.

The tournament will be part of the R. Park Festival with all proceeds going to the all-important Roosevelt Park. Music, food, roller skating, kids zone and more are all part of the event festivities. 

Sponsored by Opportunity Detroit and Kresge Foundation. Festival Hosts are Roosevelt Park Conservancy, Detroit Future City, Soul Skate, Party Time Cookin', and Urban Organic Entertainment.

For more info go here.

Join Let's Save Michigan Twitter Town Hall today at noon

Join Let's Save Michiganon today (Tuesday, Sept. 17) for a live discussion – via Twitter – with three leading experts on urban planning, design, and how transportation planning is an integral part of building healthy communities.

The panelists on our town hall are:

Angie Schmitt: a writer and activist working for Streetsblog, a national transportation advocacy group, and founder of Rust Wire, exploring urban issues in industrial cities.

Stefanie Seskin: Deputy Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition at Smart Growth America, assisting in the implementation of Complete Streets Policies across the country. 

Jess Zimbabwe: Executive Director of the Urban Land Institute's Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadershipand the ULI Center for Cities, guiding education, policy and practice forums on topics in public/private real estate development. 

To participate in the conversation, follow the hashtag #HighwaysforHabitats on Twitter today, noon – 1 p.m. You can also follow the Twitter feed @LetsSaveMich and Tweet with #HighwaysforHabitats between now and the event, with questions for panelists during the town hall.

We've got winners for Knight Arts Challenge

The winners are mostly small groups and individual artists, homegrown talent working across a range of disciplines. If they have one thing in common it’s that they keep the community at the heart of their projects. The arts don’t just inspire, they help build community, the kinds of common experiences that get people excited about their neighbors and neighborhoods.

With no further adieu, here are the winners. Congrats to all!



Link Detroit, extension of Dequindre Cut, set to begin construction

Our friends at Mode Shift Move Together updated a story near and dear to us: the extension of the greenway that currently cuts through the near East Side from the riverfront to Gratiot, just south of Eastern Market.

An excerpt:

To start with, Eastern Market will be getting a major upgrade. The street curbs on Russell Street will be lined up in a consistent manner, and the area will be spruced up with trees and greenery. In addition, new bike parking structures will be installed at the district's main parking lot and at the corner of Russell and Wilkins.

The market will also feature easy access to the Dequindre Cut, a below-street level biking and walking path built on an old railroad line in downtown Detroit, which will be extended as part of the project. Currently, it runs from Woodbridge Street near the Milliken State Park at the riverfront to Gratiot Avenue. The extension will take it a mile north to Mack Avenue. Three bridges spanning the Cut will also be repaired and another taken down.

Read more here.

Artists from Detroit and Zimbabwe connect via bedroom portal

A struggling economy, a population exodus, huge swatches of blight and abandonment, and a flurry of artists moving in to respond and fill the gap. Sounds like Detroit but it actually describes Zimbabwe, too. So just how do artist respond to similar circumstance -- from one continent to another, from an entire country to a city, and from the visual arts to song to the written word, and beyond?

Find out at Public Pool’s upcoming show Kumusha, running Sept. 14 -- Oct. 19. Kumusha, the Shona word for home, displays the results of cultural exchange happening through a digital portal in separate but identical bedrooms –- one in the new Zimbabwe Cultural Center of Detroit and another in the new Detroit Cultural Center of Zimbabwe. 

For one installation, artists received photographs of scenic views from the collaborating city, and turned them into drawings in postcard format. For another, a video recording of Zimbabwe singer Hope Masike sings Eminem’s I’m Sorry Mama, inspiring a response from Detroit singer Monica Blaire. In another, Chido Johnson carves on the living room floor of the Zimbabwe Cultural Centre in Detroit, turning the house into a printmaking woodblock. This is a reproduction of an image carved by Admire Kamudzengerere onto the wooden floor of a house in Harare, Zimbabwe. A radio station, films, t-shirt screenprinting, Dj’d mixed tapes and more are all part of this ambitious project. 

Kumusha opens on Sept. 14 with an opening party. Public Pool patrons are also encouraged to visit the Detroit Portal at the Zimbabwe Cultural Center of Detroit throughout the run of the show.

Public Pool is at 3009 Caniff, Hamtramck.

Tonight at WSU: "Beauty in Unexpected Places"

Can beauty be used as a catalyst for urban revitalization? The 2013 Van Dusen Urban Leadership Forum at Wayne State University will pair a nationally renowned author, public art specialist and creative entrepreneur with existing and emerging community leaders to explore this very idea.
 
Speakers include author of The Geography of Bliss and Man Seeks God, Eric Weiner; ArtWorks Cincinnati’s Executive Director Tamara Harkavy; and Alison Cross, Founder of the Atlanta-based BoxCar Grocer.
 
The public lecture and panel discussion begins at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 10 -- that's tonight -- in Wayne State’s Community Arts Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP here.
 
Additional details and speaker bios are available here.
 
The 2013 Van Dusen Urban Leadership Forum is being presented by Wayne State University, with support from: Hudson-Webber Foundation, D:hive, Model D Media, DPTV and Recycle Here.

Folk-rocker Audra Kubat revives open mic at Union Street

Yes, we love our Detroit art and music talent. Unapolegetically. When that talent keeps producing and performing year after year after year, well, our love tends to grow along with it.

We're mighty happy to see singer-songwriter-poet-artist Audra Kubat getting her open mic scene back up and running at Midtown's Union Street. The Freep's Rachel May has the scoop:

Back in 2006, Kubat hosted the weekly series, which was wildly popular among all types of local players. "When I started the open mic at Union Street, there wasn’t really a place for young, up-and-coming artists in the heart of the city," says Kubat. "It ended up being pretty big. We would have a huge list of players and a ton of people just coming to listen."

Read the rest of the story here. Then get over there to check it out.

Ride It Sculpture Park readies for phase II upgrades

One of our favorite Detroit neighborhoods -- dubbed NoHam, Bangtown or Power House, after the off-the-grid residential project launched by artist-architect couple Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert -- is featured in this Metro Times story on the area's unique skateboard scene that attracts vistors from as far away as Germany. Not to mention kids from the immediate neighborhood.

An excerpt:

The park, dubbed Ride it Sculpture Park, has grown over time as Power House has continued to raise the money necessary to build it along a stretch of East Davison, off Klinger, in the Detroit neighborhood north of Hamtramck where several artists have bought houses in recent years. The park is gaining some notoriety in the skate world -- and among neighborhood kids, some of whom have never seen a skateboard.

Cool stuff, yes? Read on here.

Young men, looking for educational options? Check out Loyola

After a recent City Kids features, we got a message from Loyola High School of Detroit, a West Side Catholic school in the Jesuit tradition. Last year, the school celebrated its 20th Anniversary educating young men in Detroit. 

Loyola High School is open to any male student of high school age from a private or public school background, provided the student meets the admissions criteria and provided he and his family are supportive of the mission and philosophy of Loyola.

Loyola charges a tuition of $4100 plus fees, and makes every attempt to take qualified students regardless of their financial resources. Scholarships are available up to the full tuition amount.

A student interested in Loyola High School takes an entrance exam and furnishes the school with a record of his last several academic years. Then he and his parents/guardians meet with the director of admissions or the principal. During this conversation, the student's test scores and previous academic records are reviewed, and the school's mission philosophy and policies are discussed. This interview allows the family and the school to get to know more about each other and to help determine the appropriateness of Loyola for the student.  

Loyola is designed to start with its students in the ninth grade. However, varying from year to year, the school might be able to take in a very limited number of transfer students who meet all of Loyola's requirements. The principal and the dean will handle these cases, at most few in number, on an individual basis. 

For more info on Loyola, go here.  

Remembering Colin Hubbell on fifth anniversary of his passing

In August 2008, shortly after developer Colin Hubbell lost his battle with cancer, we published this heartfelt remembrance of one of Detroit's truest and dearest friends. His spirit lives on in developments accelerating throughout Midtown and in other parts of the city.

We also found this video that, for those not familar with Hubbell's life and work, provides an excellent introduction.

Please note there is mention in the video of the Colin Hubbell Fund, which is now closed. During its over 5-year existence, the fund supported improvements for small businesses and public spaces in Midtown Detroit, where Colin was instrumental in developing housing (most notably on Canfield and Ferry Streets) and advocating for more walkable, bikeable neighborhoods.

Does high auto insurance impact Detroit elections?

Something everyone knows but is rarely seen in print is how high insurance costs in Detroit impact the quality of life and, yes, the quality of electoral politics.

From Bridge Mag via the Freep:

Vince Keenan, founder of Publius.org, a Michigan voter-education and civic-participation program, says the link between insurance rates and one’s registered address is "the most well-known single fact" about voting in Detroit. And he doesn’t like it.

"It's an unintended consequence of Motor-Voter," he said, or the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which tied voter registration to one’s driver’s license. "It was very successful at getting people registered, especially in Michigan, because we drive so much. But by marrying the two, we have to think about (the auto-insurance issue), and we shouldn’t have to. For a voter to have to worry about where their car insurance is, is stupid. We’ve made it easier to commit community fraud, where you’re living and working in a community that you’re not voting in, than to commit insurance fraud."

Keenan knows the price of honesty from experience. In 2002, he moved two blocks -- from one block north of Eight Mile Road, in Ferndale, to one block south, in Detroit, and saw his annual premium jump from $1,700 to $3,700.

"We need voters in Detroit who are active and engaged about it," he said. "Where you choose to vote should not be governed by your car insurance, period."

Read more here.

Curbed Detroit: Palmer Park rises again

We love Palmer Park. The residential buildings, the accessability of nearby Palmer Woods, Sherwood Forest, the Avenue of Fashion and other leafy neighborhoods. Not to mention the lovely green space itself.

Curbed Detroit updates impressive work being done on the apartment houses here.

Sugar House earns 'Best Cocktail in America' tip

Nationally recognized, extraordinarily origianl and innovative drinks aplenty at Corktown's Sugar House? Why, yes. No surprise to us nor to fans of the tiny liquor den on Michigan Avenue near 14th St.

Read all about the boozy accolades here.

Detroit Bikes ready to roll (and rock)

Detroit Bikes LLC rolls-out its new A-Type commuter bicycle Aug. 16 at a launch party at the Old Miami bar on Cass Avenue.  The first in a series of such events throughout the United States and Canada, the Detroit launch party will feature displays and demonstrations of the A-Type, complimentary food and a performance by the Detroit Cobras. The party runs 5 to 9 p.m. for the general public.

The Detroit Bikes A-Type is the company’s first model, a minimalist bike with smooth shifting three-speed internal gears, a lightweight chromoly-steel frame and a durable, matte-black powder-coat finish.

Each bicycle frame is built from steel tubing cut, coped, welded and painted in Detroit Bikes’ 50,000 square-foot factory on Elmira street on the city's West Side. The company also builds the wheels and fabricates the bike's rear rack, chain guard, and bottom bracket on site. Final assembly in the Detroit factory includes these, and other components, plus steel fenders and pedals from Taiwan.

The Canadian roll-out begins Aug. 17 in Windsor.

The A-Type commuter bicycle is available in the U.S. for a suggested retail price of $550 and will be available for sale locally at the Wheelhouse on the Detroit River Walk.

Detroit Bikes seeks to encourage cycling by making an accessible, enjoyable bicycle while continuing Detroit's legacy of quality manufacturing and design. Its headquarters and factory are at 13639 Elmira, Detroit.

Tour de Troit forms nonprofit to promote cycling, walking and running in Detroit

Tour de Troit, which will host its 12th annual signature ride through the neighborhoods of Detroit on Sept. 21, is celebrating its new status as a 501(c) 3 nonprofit with an open-house event for supporters at its new offices at 2727 Second Ave. this Wednesday, Aug.14, 5-7 pm.

The nonprofit was established in January with a mission to "promote and encourage bicycling and bicycle safety through education, public events, collaboration with community and government organizations and support for non-motorized infrastructure."

In addition to the signature Tour de Troit event, the organization also sponsors four other events throughout the year: the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Bike Ride in January, Hamtramck PaczKi Run in February, the Run du Nain Rouge in March, and Cycle into Spring in May.

A nine-member board now oversees the organization, which was started by Detroiters Mike Kiewicz and Edward Potas in 2002 as a casual ride through city neighborhoods. Since 2005, the organization has raised more than $120,000 for Detroit greenways and non-motorized transportation projects.

Writer: Nina Ignaczak

SMART general manager John Hertel to lead RTA

The Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan has voted 9-1 to offer John Hertel, general manager of SMART, the position of chief executive. The vote took place Aug. 7. 

Hertel was chosen from an initial field of 11 candidates that was whittled down to three. The other two finalists include a former deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation and a former president of a transit agency in the St. Louis area. 

Hertel led the Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Coordinating Council in developing the 2008 Comprehensive Regional Transit Service Plan, which laid groundwork for the eventual creation of the RTA.

Read more about it here.

Writer: Nina Ignaczak

D:hive announces Pilot winner, bringing CANVASxDetroit downtown

On Monday, D:hive announced the winner of its Pilot program, awarding two months of free retail space to Brandon Colvin of CANVASxDetroit.

CANVASxDetroit is an exploratory art business providing classes and art-based entertainment. Colvin will receive two months of free rental space at 1249 Woodward Ave., along with marketing and build out support for the space. 

"We're excited to bring additional art and entertainment to the city," said April Boyle, director of small business initiatives for D:hive Detroit. "CANVASxDetroit follows a business model that’s proven successful in neighboring areas, and will help enhance our art community in the city."

CANVASxDetroit will be open for business Aug. 12-Oct. 5. The pop-up will offer guided and open paint sessions for groups and individuals providing music, prominent art instructors, and other art-focused events. It will also include Free Paint Sessions where individuals can rent out the space and equipment for a flat fee.

Brandon Colvin, founder of CANVASxDetroit, has over 10 years of strategic marketing and business experience. Colvin has been practicing art for over 25 years. Colvin also has significant experience in educational instruction to both adults and youth working at the YMCA and studying pedagogy as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and UNCF Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellow.

Pilot was developed by D:hive Detroit and Opportunity Detroit to spur retail business growth in the city. For more information on Pilot, go here.

So what do people overseas think of when they think of Detroit? Techno, of course

This may come as some surprise to the non-dancing, groove-intolerant among us, but not to those of us who heard the rhythmic call of the wild beginning in the 1980s and stuck with it. Go to any big city most anywhere in the world and you will hear Detroit techno in clubs, festivals, restaurants, cafes, cool retailers and record stores; and meet people who are considering a pilgrimage just to experience the danceable, soulful vibe of this place.

MLive has the story here.

Making it in Detroit

Do we ever get tired of writing about the producers and makers that appear to be multiplying, in the central business district at least? Nah. Neither does national media like Fast Company, which featured a two-part series on the innovators that are bringing change to the regional economy.

Read all about it here.

RT America takes inside look at local innovators and entrepreneurs

In this video report, cameras head over to Techtown to talk to president and CEO Leslie Smith about growth over the past 3-5 years; and our own Model D publisher Claire Nelson, who talks about the resurgence of neighborhood retail districts.

Good stuff. Check it out here.

Freep: Next five years likely better than the last 10 in downtown

Detroit John Gallagher reporter lists the developments that are changing downtown for the better, creating a more vibrant place for people who work, live and visit there. We see it happening before our eyes.

Read his report here.

NYT: 'Low Winter Sun' plays like season 6 of the Wire

Well, like yeah, wow. We've heard some pretty good things about this new series about bad Detroit cops seeking redemption in a hard city, but nothing so poetically right on as David Carr's piece with tasty quotes from cast members of 'Low Winter Sun,' which premieres this Sunday (Aug. 11) on AMC.

Read it all here.

Detroit Cobras to party for Detroit Bikes

Put this on your August calendar, rockers and cyclists. It's a Detroit Bikes launch event featuring the badass Detroit Cobras, who've been doing the "cha cha twist" all around the world since forming in 1994.

It's Aug. 16 at the Old Miami, free and open to the public. There will be snacks, drinks, and great music, so grab a girl or guy and come on down and dance up front by the stage. Our friends at Wheelhouse Detroit Bike Shop provide the bike racks.

For more details go here.

Hey Congress: Say yes to path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants

This opinion piece from a far away land -- Salt Lake City -- hits some important points on current discourse and forthcoming legislative action on immigration law. The U.S. Senate is giving reform a chance; the House, not so much, despite overwhelming evidence that hardworking, self-starting immigrant populations stimulate regional economies and fill cities with life.

An excerpt: 

Roughly 85 percent of undocumented immigrants have lived in the United States since 2004. Undocumented workers comprise 5.4 percent of the labor force and are essential to agriculture and other sectors. They will not go away. On average, they are younger and have a higher participation rate in the labor force. Several recent studies indicate that immigration reform would bolster Social Security and the economy.

Read on here.

Detroit not dead? Nope, the proof in pictures

Of course, we know that Detroit is not dead. On the contrary, in so many ways the city has never been more alive with ideas, innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity.

HuffPost Detroit's Kate Abbey-Lambertz put together this pictorial essay that sees the light without pulling punches.

Check it out here.

Sorting out national coverage of Detroit bankruptcy

The Detroit bankruptcy narrative is on front pages all over the country. It has become fodder for news all over the world. Some of the coverage is balanced, fair and on target. Much of it is not, stained by ideology, demogoguery and partisanship.

The Freep puts much of this media noise into perspective in this piece.

An excerpt: 

Many of the sins come from oversimplifications of a complex problem in the making for decades. The national media and other commentators, either as slaves to pith or ideological belief, say simply that "Detroit has failed" or that years of one-party rule are to blame. Like the fall of Rome or the causes of the Civil War, it’s not just one thing but a long, multi-faceted process at play.

Well said. Read on here.

You want more info on Detroit candidates? We've got video

A group made up of UM-Dearborn students, the League of Women Voters and DPTV recently conducted 56 interviews with Detroit City Council, mayoral, city clerk and police commission candidates. Mighty good stuff, highly recommended for all voters.

It's fresh video. Go here to check it out.

"X Games" goes to Austin, so what?

Another story about the failure to win the "X Games" bid for Detroit? Nope. Here's HuffPost's terrific comeback, itself a testament to the quirky resiliency we live and breathe around here.

An excerpt:

We know you've seen the lists. Worst Neighborhoods In America. Most Miserable City. Worst Reputation. Yeah, that's Detroit: an extremely bad reputation. If Detroit were in high school, ESPN, we'd be that skateboarding, X-Games-loving rebel kid your mom told you to stay away from. See where we're going with this? Not only would some of that attitude and authenticity have rubbed off on your event, but with international eyes on Detroit, some might have started to see the city in another light.

Great stuff, yes? Read more here.

M-1 Rail outlines plans, provides update about streetcar project

M-1 Rail officials presented at the Downtown Detroit Partnership’s summer stakeholder meeting last week, telling the crowd their goal is to minimize the impact the construction of the 3.3-mile streetcar circulator has on businesses, residents, pedestrians and visitors of the Woodward Avenue corridor. 

With construction scheduled to begin by late summer/early fall of this year, M-1’s Chief Operating Officer, Paul Childs along with Director of Governmental and Community Affairs, Sommer Woods presented some of their planning details to the people who attended the meeting at the Compuware Building.

Construction for the streetcar line will occur in two segments with the first segment -- Larned to Adams -- scheduled to break ground this year.

Details discussed include:

• Woodward Avenue will be closed to traffic and pedestrians but clearly marked detours will be available. Construction is expected to be limited from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.
• All cross-streets will be accessible during construction except for when active work needs to take place in the intersection.  Anticipated time for closure for each intersection is four calendar days.
• One lane of vehicular traffic will be maintained around Campus Martius Park during construction.
• DDOT, SMART and Transit Windsor will maintain service during construction and M-1 Rail is working with them to redirect bus routes and create temporary stops.
• Utility service interruptions will be avoided when possible; however when necessary stakeholders will be given 5-days advance notice.
• Access for emergency responders will be maintained at all times. A complete emergency access plan is being developed. 
• Crosswalks will still be provided at major intersections. 
• Sidewalks will be provided during construction; however, they will be no larger than six-feet in width.
• Limited number of short-term sidewalk closures may be required, but will occur on one side of street during off-peak hours. 

Construction of Segment 2 -- north of Adams to West Grand Boulevard -- will begin next year.   

Palmer Park expected to make splash come August

Detroit’s Palmer Park will soon be the new home for a state-of-the art Splash Park, thanks to the generosity of Lear Corporation and support from the City of Detroit. Construction is proceeding quickly and water should be flowing by mid-August, providing welcome relief from the heat for children of all ages.
 
 Palmer Park was chosen by the City of Detroit Recreation Department as the location for the second splash park in the city to be built by Lear. The new Palmer Park Splash Park will be motion-censored and will be programmed to turn on at 10:00 am, and automatically shut off at 10:00 pm, when Palmer Park closes. 
 
Construction at the site of the former pool began in Palmer Park earlier this month, and is expected to be complete by mid-August. The City of Detroit suggested Palmer Park primarily because the People for Palmer Park (PFPP), a nonprofit 501(C)(3) entity, has adopted the park and has collaborated with the city and community to revitalize the recreation and nature site. PFPP has launched extensive recreational programming this summer, offering baseball, organized weekly bike rides, tai chi and yoga classes, and tennis lessons for children and adults. 
 
The Splash Park will replace the non-functional pool in Palmer Park, which has been closed for many years, after vandals removed all mechanical infrastructure for the pool. The site of the Palmer Park pool is now a large excavated hole, which has been drained, and will be filled with a stable material, followed by the construction of the Splash Park. Go here for photos of the future Splash Park. 
 
In the near future, the City of Detroit also has plans to construct a new playscape in the area adjacent to the pool. The People for Palmer Park have been working with the General Services Department on design, siting, selection of the proposed structure and more. 
 
Palmer Park is located between McNichols and Seven Mile Road, and just west of Woodward Avenue. The Splash Park and playground will be located on Merrill Plaisance, which intersects with Woodward Avenue just north of McNichols and borders part of the southern periphery of the park.

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.

Introducing finalists for Detroit Knight Arts Challenge

Plenty of worthy individuals, groups and orgs are on this list. Find your favorites and support. Lots of great stuff going on in Detroit right now.

An excerpt:

What we found was a community bursting with creative, innovative and distinctly DETROIT ideas. Many of the ideas came from individuals and small collectives (something we hope you will see reflected in the list of finalists). Several investigated the use of space/place and art. Some looked to marry Detroit’s past and its future. All were thoughtfully reviewed and considered by our panel of local reviewers and Knight staff.

Want more? Here you go: here.

Sound Conservancy fundraiser tonight at Magic Stick

It's called "Two Worlds, One Sound," a followup of sorts to last year's benefit at Model D that also honored our building's rich history as Zoot's, a hotspot for local music in the mid-1990s. 

Here's the lowdown from Detroit Sound Conservancy founder Carleton S. Gholz:

LipCity and BMG never met until the DSC brought them together to organize around Detroit’s rich musical legacy in front of the Blue Bird Inn on Tireman. Both archivists, historians, writers, and sound-organizers, LipCity and BMG were raised in Detroit’s imaginative soundscape, schooled by DJs like Ken Collier and the Electrifying Mojo, and activated to embrace their communities. They will bring their two worlds together under one sound to raise funds for the Detroit Sound Conservancy who are working with the Detroit Public Library Friends Foundation to enhance the stewardship surrounding Detroit’s musical heritage.

Nicely said, but just who are LipCity and BMG? Regular peeps know them by their real names Curtis Lipscomb (yes, executive director of KICK) and Brendan M. Gillan of electro-space disco innovators Ectomorph.

This is quality talent performing for a quality organization. $10 (or more) donation suggested. Magic Stick is at 4140 Woodward Ave. in Midtown. Starts at 9 p.m. tonight, Tuesday June 18, goes til 2 a.m. (editor's note: and the after-party?)

Death, pioneering early-70s, East Side punk band featured in new doc

Nearly 40 years after forming in an East Side Detroit neighborhood, the time has come today for a band called Death. 

The group has had its 1970s material released, performed at the first Orion Festival this past weekend and is the subject of a new documentary.

An excerpt from a review in Crave:

Artistic integrity, within the brothers, starts at an early age. Raised in (Detroit), the birth place of Motown, the Hackney brothers were allowed to experience all kinds of music by their loving, open minded parents. In one scene, the surviving brothers reminisce about their father making them watch the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. As the sixties music scene grew, the Hackney’s became inspired as much by Alice Cooper as Berry Gordy.

"Hell yeah!" to that, we say.

Read a review for the doc here. Buy the download here.

Surface road to replace I-375? We hope so

The history of I-375, and all it displaced (Detroit's Black Bottom-Paradise Valley, where jazz and blues thrived in the 1940s and 1950s, hosting greats like Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald regularly) is a long, twisted and wicked tale. There is growing talk of filling in the ditch and making it into a surface road. We are happy to hear it. Let's do it right and begin to develop the east side of downtown that does honor to the past and stimulates growth and prosperity for all in the future.

An excerpt:

"As it exists, 375 represents a barrier," said Faye Nelson, president and CEO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy. "It separates the community east and west of Jefferson. We are really looking to gather with our chief stakeholders to have a conversation on whether this is the right time to evaluate 375, and what is the best approach to take with respect to this issue. Hopefully, we can come up with a solution on whether there will be any changes to the freeway, what they are, how they will be funded."

Sounds cautiously promising. Read more here.

Gilbert's $1.5 million contributions back Venture for America fellows

Few people that we know spend money, and lots of it, more wisely than Dan Gilbert. This short announcent by Venture for America says it all. An excerpt:  

Last week, the Quicken Loans chairman and founder continued his quest to remake Detroit, with the goal to "turn downtown into a high-tech hub, where young entrepreneurs both live and work." He took another step toward achieving his goal by announcing a $1.5 Million pledge to Venture for America to continue sending our talented and enterprising Fellows to Detroit and Cleveland over the next five years. Already, he’s pumped about $1 billion into the city to acquire almost three million square feet of real estate.

Not bad at all. See it all here.

Atlantic Cities: Detroit, new American design capital?

This is rather flattering. Steven Heller, co-chair of the MFA Design program at the School of Visual Arts and co-founder of the MFA Design Criticism program at the NYC school, recently visited Detroit.

Here's what he had to say in Atlantic Cities: 

I was blown away by this surprisingly little known but inspiring incubator of art and design - the rare collegiate creative enclave that engages with, reflects, and embodies the city it's in.

That city is, of course, a poster child for urban blight and urban flight. But it's also the storied home of American manufacturing and industrial innovation, and with the help of College for Creative Studies, it could well become the design capital of the United States again.

Awfully nice of you, Steven. Read on here.

Vacant Land Treatment Program is collab effort

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is working collaboratively with The Greening of Detroit, SEMCOG, and the Michigan Land Bank to transform vacant lot properties. This partnership also aligns with Detroit Future City framework. 

The Greening’s Vacant Land Treatment Program is transforming 10 vacant residential property lots in Detroit’s Cody Rouge neighborhood. Lots are being treated with four different low-maintenance land treatments, designed to stabilize and beautify, increase tree canopy, and mitigate storm water runoff. Nine of the 10 properties are complete.

West siders alert: if you are around the Cody Rouge neighborhood -- specifically 8601 Brace St., where eight trees will be planted -- this Thursday, June 6, 10 a.m. come check it out.   


HuffPost Detroit slideshow rounds up 2013 development

With Detroit's first Whole Foods Market opening this Wednesday in Midtown and other quality of life developments in the greater downtown area, there is a palpable commercial buzz in the air.

HuffPost Detroit can feel it. Here is a piece that rounds up some of the best developments we've experienced in the last 5-6 months.

An excerpt: 

Austin Black, President of the City Living Detroit real estate brokerage, told The Huffington Post that residential demand in downtown and Midtown has increased steadily over the last three years. He calls the opening of the Whole Foods grocery store in Midtown, in particular, "a game changer" that has encouraged people to start businesses and relocate downtown.

Well said, Austin. Read more here.



Register now for seventh annual ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Day

Registration is open for community groups, block clubs, churches and businesses to be part of the seventh annual ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Day, which will be held later this summer in neighborhoods throughout Detroit.

The event is not until Aug. 3. Yes, that's two months away but registration has started. Go here to sign up.

Indian Villagers hold 40th annual home tour

Here is something we encourage everyone to make each year: a home and garden tour of one of Detroit's most amazing neighborhoods.

Historic Indian Village consists of about 350 homes, built mostly between 1895 and the late 1920s. This residential neighborhood is located three miles east of downtown Detroit, bounded by East Jefferson on the south, Mack Avenue on the north, and Seminole and Burns on the west and east sides.

The area’s finest homes and gardens, historic churches and schools will be open in this Detroit neighborhood listed on national, state and local historic registries. Visitors this year will view seven homes and garden venues.

The tour is this Saturday, June 8, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is the tour’s 40th year.

Tickets are $18 per person for advance purchase; guided tours $2 extra; groups of 10 or more $15; $20 per person on Tour Day; guided tours $2 extra; group $18.

Tickets sold online at here via PayPal. On tour day, tickets can be purchased at Iroquois Avenue Christ Lutheran Church, 2411 Iroquois at Vernor; Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church, 8625 East Jefferson at Burns;  and Detroit Waldorf School, 2555 Burns at Charlevoix. 

More information at 313-922-1736 or go here.

White House highlights Amy Kaherl as a 'Champion of Change'

It's not every day that we get to edit a press release from the White House. We are geeked to help break the news that Amy Kaherl and Detroit SOUP are being honored today as "Champions of Change," one of 12 people across the country to get this inspirational award.

Here you go: 

On Tuesday, June 4, the White House honors Amy Kaherl as one of twelve people who are Crowdfunding "Champions of Change." This Champions event will focus on entrepreneurs who exemplify the promise of crowdfunding to fuel the growth of startups, small businesses, and innovative projects across the Nation. "Crowdfunding" means raising money in small increments from many individuals, typically using an Internet platform. Donation-based crowdfunding is already empowering many entrepreneurs, while investment-based crowdfunding platforms will soon be facilitated by the bipartisan Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which the President signed last year and the SEC will implement.

"The Champions of Change that the White House is honoring today are using crowdfunding to create jobs for our nation's veterans, accelerate the deployment of solar energy, revitalize our cities, and expand the frontiers of citizen science," said Thomas Kalil, Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. "Crowdfunding is the 21st century equivalent of barn-raising. We can use it to help our neighbors and fellow citizens start a business, enrich our culture, and apply grassroots creativity and imagination to challenges big and small."
 
The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White house to feature groups of Americans – individuals, businesses and organizations – who are doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.  

To watch this event live, go here today at 2:30 p.m. To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program and nominate a Champion, go here

Amy Kaherl is the Director of Detroit SOUP. She received her MA in Theology (emphasizing in popular culture) in 2008 from Fuller Theological Seminary. Detroit SOUP is a microgranting dinner that celebrates creative projects in the city and has helped Detroiters giving back to Detroiters through over $30,000 towards art, social justice, social entrepreneurs, education, technology, and urban agriculture. While not running SOUP, Amy is also involved in planning the Nain Rouge Parade in Midtown and serves as DJ Amy Dreamcatcher with a monthly party called "Nothing Elegant."

Inc. staff writer chooses Detroit over Silicon Valley

It's nice to see Detroit and Silicon Valley used in the same sentence. It seems to happening a lot more of late, thanks to goings-on at the Madison Building in particular.

An excerpt from Inc.:

When tech entrepreneur Bob Marsh is on the phone with a prospective client and they ask him where LevelEleven is headquartered, he doesn't hesitate to declare: "Detroit."

"You can hear the smile in their voice on the phone," he says, "They say, 'Wow. It's so cool to hear that.'"

We think it's cool, too. Now let's fill up two or three more downtown towers with techie entrepreneurial nerds and make sure the scene continues to grow.

Read more here.

Cadillac Square getting ready for summer market

There is more shopping possible in downtown now than in recent memory. We like the pop-up to permanent vibe on Woodward and we like the use of Cadillac Square, just east of Campus Martius, for more retail this summer.

An excerpt from the Detroit News:

The retail market, simply called "The Market," will take place every fourth Friday and Saturday in June, July and August. According to the Campus Martius website, it will "feature an area dedicated to dynamic retailers, artists, designers, crafters, vintage/antique dealers, craft-prepared food products, and distinctive apparel.

Nice. We'll meet you downtown next month. More here.

Freep's Dickerson: Same-sex marriage a no-brainer for Michigan

Brian Dickerson's opinion piece in the Freep matches up perfectly with today's lead feature on same-sex marriage

It's filled with numbers -- a near 20 point swing, in fact, over nine years -- that show the changing views of Michigan residents on gay marriage.

An excerpt:

A new survey by the respected Glengariff Group, which has been polling Michiganders’ attitudes toward the issue annually since October 2004, reveals that voters in the Great Lakes State now back gay marriage by a 57 percent-38 percent margin -- an almost exact reversal of the electorate’s disposition nine years ago, when 58 percent of Michigan voters supported a state constitutional amendment outlawing the recognition of same-sex marriages.

Read more here.

Sign up now for Global Great Lakes June 6 event

On June 6, the first Global Great Lakes Network convening is being held in Detroit.

Initiatives from across the midwest will come together to begin to form a collaborative network where best practices and strategies can be shared.  A cohesive strategy will be developed to further connect the midwest to a global economy and move towards a view of immigration as an economic development tool for the region.

The Global Great Lakes Network invites you and anyone else who is interested in being a part of this exciting immigration movement. The June 6 event is at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, 651 E. Larned, downtown Detroit.  

For more information and to RSVP, go here.

City Year parties at Fountain Bistro to raise funds

City Year Detroit is partnering with Fountain Bistro to host a fund raiser for the Detroit corps. The party is next Thursday, May 23, 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.

There will be live music, strolling hors d'oeuvres, beer and wine, champagne and a chance to learn about this organization that uses volunteers to make a positive impact on schools and kids in Detroit.

The event is $50. You can register here. Fountain Bistro is inside Campus Martius, 800 Woodward Ave., downtown Detroit.
 

Belle Isle Conservancy president answers questions about future of city park

The Belle Isle Conservancy is like Switzerland. It will work for the greater good of the island park with nearly everyone who comes to the table.

An excerpt from this Q&A with the group's president Michele Hodges:

It’s important to be open to options and find the model that is going to work best for the city of Detroit. Certainly, one of the models is the Central Park Conservancy (in New York). When they started out in the 1980s, Central Park was in far worse condition than Belle Isle. And they found one project, their Dairy Barn, which was their starting point, and look where they’ve come since then.

They've come a long way, indeed. Read on and watch the video here.

National Bike to Work day gathering at BCBS

On Friday May 17, celebrate national Bike to Work Day in downtown Detroit by riding to a gathering of likeminded cyclists. Food and limited giveaways will be available.

 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will host a morning reception 7 - 9 a.m. in the outdoor courtyard of its downtown Detroit Tower headquarters. 

Though registration is not required to ride, BCBS would like to know if you're coming. Go here to sign up.

Listen up: Greening of Detroit Grandmount-Rosedale project on WDET

Browsing the usual suspects for awesome stuff that happened in the past week, we came upon this, a sweet report on WDET on Greening of Detroit doing a planting in Northwest Detroit.

An excerpt:

Dozens of volunteers joined WDET and the Greening of Detroit to plant trees on Saturday in the Grandmont-Rosedale neighborhood. The nonprofit has planted more than 80,000 trees in the city since it first put "roots" down in 1989. WDET’s Pat Batcheller spoke with the Greening of Detroit’s Dean Hay and Trish Hubbell. With all the things Detroit needs, they explain how trees fit into that and how they improve life in the city.

To listen to the broadcast hit the link at the top of this page

Detroit is finalist for Summer X Games

It's official, reports HuffPost Detroit, Detroit impressed ESPN enough to be named a finalist last week for the Summer X Games beginning in 2014.

An excerpt:

ESPN announced the competing cities had been narrowed down to Detroit, Chicago, Austin, Texas and Charlotte, N.C. Organizers Kevin Krease and Garret Koehler, with the support of city administration, business leaders and other stakeholders, submitted their official bid for the project in early April. Good work, guys.

More here.

Detroit 2020: Midtown rolling with momentum

It was nice to see Channel 7's Detroit 2020 focus on the recent successes of Midtown and, in particular, the dedicated vision and leadership of Midtown Inc. president Sue Mosey.

An excerpt: It takes a quick pace to keep up with Sue Mosey.

She’s the dynamo leading the redevelopment of Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood. "It’s taken a very long time to get to the point where acceleration is moving very quickly, but I think we’ve reached that point now," Mosey says.

Read on and watch the segment here.

Detroit Archdiocese relocates to Capitol Park

There are a couple of promising developments in one move here: Capitol Park gets an anchor tenant in the Archdiocese of Detroit; and its vacated properties -- most spectacular among them the gorgeous Chancery bilding on Washington Blvd, adjacent to St. Aloysius church -- are being put on the market. The Freep got the story first but Curbed got the pictures.

Take a look here.

Richard Florida: Redevelop neighborhoods for true urban prosperity

Sure, another day, another verbal transmission from Professor Florida. This piece has some of the usual Detroit suspects: Gilbert, Slows, the 7.2 data. But it also reprises an old creative class chestnut that actually answers the urbanist's chicken or the egg question: what comes first talent or capital?

An excerpt: 

I have long believed that talent attracts capital far more effectively and consistently than capital attracts talent. The most creative individuals want to live in places that protect personal freedoms, prize diversity, and offer an abundance of cultural opportunities. A city that wants to attract creators must offer a fertile breeding ground for new ideas and innovations.

Recent college graduates are flocking to Brooklyn not merely because of employment opportunities, but because it is where some of the most exciting things in the world are happening--in music, art, design, food, shops, technology, and green industry. Economists may not say it this way, but the truth of the matter is: being cool counts. When people can find inspiration in a community that also offers great parks, safe streets, and extensive mass transit, they vote with their feet.

We haven't used the word "cool" in a while. Feels, uhm, a bit nostalgic. Read more here.



Bloomberg: Startups providing entrepreneurial spark in Detroit, NOLA

It may be an old story for us to read about techie entrepreneurs setting up shop in old U.S. cities like Detroit. But it's still some sort of validation when Bloomberg News picks up the ball and runs with it.

An excerpt:

While the bulk of venture capital dollars go to Silicon Valley and New England, cities little heralded for their tech scenes have been successfully coaxing technology entrepreneurs to set up shop in recent years. That includes Detroit, New Orleans and St. Louis, where municipal and private initiatives are attracting newbies and natives returning from the coasts.

Read more here.

Listen to Model D publisher Claire Nelson co-host 'Prosperity Agenda'

Here at Model D, we never tire of listening to Claire Nelson talk about the city she loves. You can do the same by clicking on the link below, which leads you to the 'Presperity Agenda," an hour-long radio program hosted by Dan Gilmartin, CEO of the Michigan Municipal League (the League). The show is sponsored by the League and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA).

Nelson co-hosted a recent episode. Check it out here.

Who doesn't like Founders beer? Vote for your fave style in Pure Michigan promotion

With the craft beer craze continuing to sweep Michigan and summer approaching, Pure Michigan and Founders Brewing Co. have teamed up to give fans and craft beer enthusiasts a chance to pick a Founders beer style that best represents Pure Michigan. 

The beer chosen by fans will be featured in the Founders tap room in downtown Grand Rapids throughout July as part of Michigan Craft Beer Month.

Running through Friday, May 3, fans can vote between the following three beer styles – Vanilla Stout, Apple Ale and Wheat IPA. To vote, go here. Individuals 21 and over can vote once a day for the duration of the contest and the winning beer will be announced in May. 

Home to more than 100 breweries, Michigan is fifth in the nation for the number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs. Michigan’s craft brewers are also part of a close knit community, promoting all that the Great Beer State has to offer.

Let's get growing: Pot & Box pops up at D:hive

Hey, gardeners and other flora lovers, Pot & Box: Detroit, which is planning on opening a permanent location in Corktown later this year, will be in residence at downtown's D:hive from May through July this summer.

Join the celebration this Thursday, May 2 for a ribbon cutting promptly at 6:15 p.m. with cans of champagne (P&B's signature shop drink at the Ann Arbor location), pizza from Supino, and other treats.

D:hive is at 1253 Woodward Ave., Detroit.

Get more info here.


NYT: Late artist Mike Kelley's mobile homestead coming to MOCAD

We were saddened to hear of the death of Los Angeles-based Mike Kelley, an artist with Detroit roots. Kelley had been working with the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit on his mobile homestead project for several years prior to his passing.

We've been following the project, still in the works with a launch planned this spring, as has the New York Times.

An excerpt:

The New York The house is a faithful replica of the suburban Detroit childhood home of the artist Mike Kelley, who shepherded the details of its creation up to the final days of his life in January 2012, when he committed suicide at his home in South Pasadena, Calif. Kelley was one of the most influential artists of the last several decades. And though he made his name in the Los Angeles art world, much of the look and feel of his art came from his working-class, Irish Catholic upbringing here, in a city whose affliction he seemed to embody.

Read on here.

World beat: Dan Gilbert's downtown makeover gets play in London media

Sure, we hear about another new purchase by Dan Gilbert's real estate team every other week or so, but what's not to like about a major league redevelopment project that aims to turn downtown Detroit into one of the country's most liveable neighborhoods?  

Even the Brit journos are noticing. Another good sign. An excerpt:

His Bedrock property management company owns 22 buildings with more than 3m square feet in the city. He's attracting big names back into the city. Gilbert convinced Chrysler to take office space downtown and renamed a building after the car firm; he recently toured the city with Microsoft's Steve Ballmer. He's effectively created a business campus in the heart of a city some had written off as dead. A death that had been a long time coming.

Blimey, how dramatic. Read more here.

HuffPost Detroit: Filmmaker talks about how Highland Park became his muse

Highland Park, once one of Detroit's most prosperous suburbs and home of the world's first assembly line, is the subject of a feature film starring Danny Glover and Parker Posey.

HuffPost Detroit talked to the film's director. An excerpt:

How did you first become interested in the city Highland Park?

The main thing I was looking for … was a prototypical rags-to-riches-to-rags-again community that highlighted the Rust Belt economy. I immediately hit on Highland Park as this ultimate symbol of everything that went right, and then everything that went wrong, at the same time. How a small community went from farmland, to the cradle of the American dream, back to almost farmland or prairie in only 100 years.

Good stuff. More here.

Feds give final approval to 3.3-mile M-1 rail

On Monday, the 3.3-mile circulating streetcar along Woodward Avenue received clearance to proceed from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Also, M-1 Rail President and CEO Matthew P. Cullen welcomed eight new members to the nonprofit’s board of directors and introduced Jeni Norman as Chief Financial Officer.
 
The FTA has completed the environmental clearance for the Woodward Avenue Streetcar Project. With the issuance of the Amended Record of Decision (ROD), the project is allowed to move forward to the next phases of design, right of way acquisition and construction. This is the last approval step under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. 

Now that the process for approval of the Amended ROD has been completed, the M-1 Rail organization continues to strengthen its team with the hiring of a chief financial officer and by electing eight new members to its board of directors. These announcements come about two weeks after hiring a chief administrative officer and director of governmental & community affairs.

Deadline for Knight Arts Challenge is April 22

The Knight Arts Challenge Detroit, a $9 million initiative to draw the best and most innovative ideas out of local organizations and individuals, wants you to engage and enrich the community through the arts.  

No idea is too large or too small, as long as it follows three basic rules:

• Your idea is about the arts.
• Your project takes place in or benefits Detroit.
• You find other funding to match Knight Foundation’s grant.

The Knight Arts Challenge Detroit has a simple, 150-word application process. All you need to know is here.

NYT goes deep into Gilbert's private reclamation of downtown

Not one page, not two, not three "People my age, we would hear from our parents and grandparents who were raised in Detroit about how great this city was, from 1900 to the 60s," Mr. Gilbert said. "But none of us had any memory of that. And it wasn’t until my late 20s and early 30s, when I started traveling for business, to places like New York City and Los Angeles, that I realized how much we were missing. As I started visiting these great American cities, it hit me -- man, how did we blow this so badly?"

Yes, the Mr. Gilbert talking is downtown Detroit redevelopment specialist Dan Gilbert. There is a lot in this New York Times profile you already know, and some things you probably did not.

Read more here.

HuffPost Detroit: WSU looking for Midtown mixed use proposals

Huffington Post editor Ashley Woods reports in a recent edition of the online mag that Wayne State University has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for new mixed-use residential and retail apartment buildings in Midtown, as part of its second phase of the South University Village District. 

An excerpt:

Much like the Auburn, Wayne State is calling for a development that boasts energy-efficient features, bike storage and common spaces for resident in a pedestrian-friendly setting. It must also provide some parking for residents, with additional spaces made available by a WSU parking facility on Forest Avenue.

Much more here.

Fast Company: How social entrepreneurship is rebuilding Detroit

Fast Company jumps into the early 21st century Detroit narrative, complex and ever-changing as it is to us here on the ground, in this feature published this week.

An excerpt: 

But the city's depression -- and the depressed real estate prices that came with it -- created opportunities. And opportunity lures entrepreneurs. The startup types, like Paffendorf. And the ones with lots of money, like Dan Gilbert, the founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, the third-largest mortgage provider in the country; he moved 1,700 employees downtown in 2010, giving him 7,000 employees there and making him Detroit's third-largest landowner (trailing only the city and General Motors). With slicked-back hair and a perpetual poker face, Gilbert has just gotten started on his plan to transform the area.

More to dig into here.

Can't take the Detroit music out of Ben Blackwell

Cousin to Jack White, drummer for the Dirtbombs, boy-musical-wonder Ben Blackwell says he moved to Nashville for music biz reasons (editor's rant: another reason we need to build a sustainable music industry here) but left his heart in Detroit.

Dust and Grooves caught up with Ben, and his records, in the mid-south for this great Q&A with some fab pics. An excerpt: 

Q: Tell me more how your passion for vinyl has affected your life.

A: For years touring with the Dirtbombs most of the money I made was just spent on records. I was living with my mom and I had nothing else to really worry about finance-wise. I was extremely lucky. My wife Malissa is very similar to me in her appreciation for vinyl and often says the only difference between our record collections is that she’s listened to all of her records! I’ve been very lucky (or discerning?) that almost all of my jobs have been tangentially connected to vinyl…working at Car City Records (store) in St. Clair Shores, Archer Record Pressing (plant) in Detroit or Third Man or Cass (labels).

More cool Detroit music talk here.

Freep's Gallagher: Nonprofit oversight leads to Detroit improvements

In his new book, Revolution Detroit: Strategies for Urban Reinvention, John Gallagher goes into detail how cities are entering into partnerships with conservancies, foundations and nonprofits to offer better services for the public.

He writes about it in this piece in the Detroit Free Press. An excerpt: 

As emergency manager Kevyn Orr begins his work in Detroit, he may find one of the best ways to reshape city government is a practice already under way.

That practice is the spinning off of pieces of municipal governance to a series of quasi-public conservancies, public authorities and similar nonprofit bodies that are professionally managed. 

Read on here.

See our Q&A with Gallagher in today's Model D.

Ride It Sculpture Skate Park gets $30K from Tony Hawk

More love, all of it deserved, for Gina Reichert and Mitch Cope's Power House project, which includes a skate park at the corner of Davison and Klinger St. 

Now the world’s most famous skateboarder, Tony Hawk, is supporting this unique Ride It Sculpture Park, a non-profit and community-based skate-boarding project. It is receiving a $30-thousand dollar grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation. Well done.

Pete Whitley is the foundation’s programs director. He says Ride It is unlike any skate park he’s ever seen. Listen up: he tells WDET's Travis Wright how Tony Hawk went from kink flips to philanthropy.

UK mag FACT tips Detroit dance producer 'brilliant up-and-comer'

In more Detroit music news (keep making it, kids, and we'll keep finding it and reporting on it), a new electronic producer is getting some props from overseas.

An excerpt from the UK mag, FACT:

Manuel 'MGUN' Gonzalez hasn’t exactly sprung out of nowhere -- he collaborated with Wild Oats boss Kyle Hall as NSNT PRJCT back in 2010, released the fine The Upstairs Apt EP on Semtek’s great Don’t Be Afraid label, and returned to Wild Oats for the Harmnear 12. His real critical payday, though, came with this year’s genuinely exceptional The Near Future EP for The Trilogy Tapes -- a motley collection of bruised trance, brooding L.I.E.S-ready techno and looped psych in the vein of early Gaslamp Killer.

Yeah, man, that's what we're talking about. Read on here.  

MOCAD hires new director with local roots

Elysia Borowy-Reeder, 39, is the new executive director of Detroit’s Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, better known as MOCAD. She’ll take over the job, vacant since November 2011 when former director Luis Croquer left to take a job in Seattle, next week.

An excerpt:

Borowy-Reeder, who grew up in metro Detroit and East Lansing, has a bachelor’s degree in visual arts from Antioch College and master’s degrees in art education and art history from Michigan State University.

She recalls how childhood visits to the Detroit Institute of Arts helped inspire her love for her chosen field. “You’d be on the floor of the Diego Rivera mural room drawing. ... That’s what got me hooked on museums,” she says.

Read more here.

Feature film projects come to Detroit, Hamtramck

The Michigan Film Office says How to Catch a Monster, a feature film that marks actor Ryan Gosling’s writing and directing debut, was awarded an incentive of $1,750,909 on $6,238,922 of projected in-state expenditures. The project is expected to hire 104 Michigan workers with a full time equivalent of 30 jobs.

The film will shoot in Detroit and other metro locations and features Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Saoirse Ronan (Atonement), Eva Mendes (The Place Beyond the Pines) and Matt Smith (Doctor Who). 

Also approved for a state film encentive is Landlordwhich shoots in Hamtramck, and follows the tale of Elvis Martini, a widowed landlord dealing with spiritual conflict and the abduction of his daughter.

Follow news from the Michigan Film Office here.

Register here for Pure Michigan Entrepreneurship Challenge

Individuals and teams will have until April 10 -- next Wednesday -- to submit an initial application as a New Idea or Emerging Company for the Pure Michigan Entrepreneurship Challenge.

Applicants will then get access to coaches and special events to support the preparation of their final submission before a deadline of May 20.

All you need to get started is right here.

Opportunity Detroit behind downtown retail plan

For a roundup of all the exciting downtown redevelopment and retail growth news that was announced last week, see Nicole Rupersburg's Dev News piece here.

For a closer look at Dan Gilbert's Opportunity Detroit initiative, including Papa Joe's opening in the First National Building, check out Ashley Woods' story in HuffPost Detroit.

An excerpt:

Sidewalk cafes and basketball courts. Free wi-fi in Campus Martius Park. Food trucks and outdoor art installations. Parking garages emblazoned with the work of world-famous graffiti sprayers. An accessible waterfront and surf lounge (even Dan Gilbert himself was befuddled by that idea). Opportunity Detroit's brand of populist city placemaking creates interlocking activities, distractions and opportunities for lingering, daydreaming and visiting. It's a chance to make Detroit's downtown itself the star attraction, luring residents and visitors alike.

Very nice. Read more here.

Motown's fab Funk Brothers get star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

This is the kind of news Detroit music fans, at home and around the world, want to hear. We were happy to catch up to it this weekend.

An excerpt:

Thirteen members of the Motown studio band -- all but three of them deceased -- were named as official star honorees by Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President Leron Gubler.

"The Funk Brothers were a closed club -- we suffered together, we laughed together, we argued together, and we made hit records together," percussionist Ashford said during a brief speech. "We didn’t make hit records for white people. We didn’t make hit records for black people. We made hit records for everybody on the planet, and that’s the excellence we strived for."

Willis choked up as he remembered his fellow players.

Read the rest of the story here.

Curbed: Gilbert group to develop two residential towers on Hudson's site?

It's hard not to get excited when the words "two residential towers" and "downtown Detroit" are used in the same sentence. This may or may not happen the way it appears in this little piece in Curbed Detroit, but it sounds incredibly reasonable and possible.

An excerpt:

Bedrock head honcho Jim Ketai dropped the name Grand Circuit Park in a reference to Gilbert's real estate "target area" along Woodward...sorry,Webward Avenue. That wasn't the only interesting tidbit: Ketai also mentions plans for the Hudson's site involving two residential towers.

Go here to read on.

HatchArt group looks for show entries, increased membership

There's lots going on in the Hamtramck art scene, including a show seeking entries at HatchArt.
 
All entries must be received by by Monday, April 1. That's next Monday.
 
All media accepted and entries will be judged from digital files. Images should be about 800x600 pixels at 72 dpi. Include your name and deliver your digital images by email to schneider@hatchart.org. Include HATCHBACK 7 in the subject field. If you prefer, you can burn your images to a CD and mail the disc to HATCH, 3456 Evaline St., Hamtramck, MI 48212.

Entry fees can be paid online via HATCH’s PayPal account. Go to hatchart.org for information on paying online.

HATCH members: $10 for two entries, $5 each additional entry (no limit).

Non-HATCH members: $20 for two entries, $5 each additional entry (no limit).

You can become a HATCH member at the time of entry for $30.

You will be notified of the juror’s decisions by email by Saturday, April 13. If you’d like to be notified by mail, send a SASE.

Performing Arts: HATCH is looking for live, free performances of all sorts for the April 26 opening and the following Saturdays during the show’s run: April 27; May 4, 11, 18 and 25. To send us a demo of your act, please follow the entry procedure noted above (there is no entry fee for performers).

For more, including membership info, go here.

Toledo Blade: Entrepreneurship key to Detroit recovery

It's nice to see our Ohio friends to the immediate south in Toledo taking a deep dive into contemporary Detroit, interviewing enterprising people like Torya Blanchard, Josh Linkner, Shawn Geller (of Quikly), Kurt Metzger and others. Solid reporting, without pulling punches.

Check it out here.

A modest tax proposal from LOVELAND Technologies

One of the most enterprising social innovators in town, Jerry Paffendorf, has come up with a relatively simple idea to collect outstanding property taxes in Detroit.

Here's an exerpt of the plan: 

Detroit, which is undergoing a financial emergency, has a humungous, outsized, world-record-setting problem collecting property taxes, with nearly half-a-billion dollars outstanding and approximately 70,000 properties facing tax foreclosure. A lot of people don’t pay their taxes because they find the whole process scary, intimidating, and confusing. We can change this in 30 days using the twin super powers of the internet and simple design, if given the chance.

There is plenty more, including charts here.

Soul of the city: Detroit School of Music emerges

We've heard good things about the newish (established in summer 2012) Detroit School of Music from our friends at D:hive and from an appearance on Channel 7's Detroit 20/20. Now a little more love from Detroit Unspun.

An excerpt:

The school is located in what was formerly the Malcolm X Academy, in a building that used to be a part of the public school system. Even though the system has left it, the outside of the School of Music reverberated with the hum of progress and potential that so many buildings in the area give off.

Music is important. I bet you didn’t know that individuals who study music demonstrate higher abilities in nearly all academic areas, a decrease in aggression and violent behavior, lower likelihood of abusing drugs and alcohol, and a lower instance of developing Alzheimer’s or other degenerative mental disorders. In short, music isn’t just about what your ears, but about your mind and soul.

Sounds good, yes? Read on here.

DC3's Matt Clayson reacts to Campbell Ewald move downtown

When we heard that Campbell Ewald was making its move downtown from Warren, we couldn't wait to ask an expert for a proper Detroit reaction. Turns out one of the city's top talent watchers, Matt Clayson, was answering the questions before they were asked. An excerpt from the Detroit Creative Corridor Center site: 

Detroit’s colleges and universities are pumping out qualified advertising students at a competitive rate. On average, they award approximately 523.2 degrees in advertising related fields per year. To put this into context: Detroit’s colleges and universities award 10.9 degrees in advertising related fields per year per 100,000 residents, on par with New York’s 11.7 degrees per 100,000 residents, Chicago’s 12.0 degrees per 100,000 residents and San Francisco’s 7.2 degrees per 100,000 residents. To add another fun caveat: this data does not include advertising and communication arts powerhouses University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

Read more here.

Video: CCS partners with Shinola on design project

We've been marveling at how quickly Shinola has captured the imagination of the Detroit public. The College for Creative Studies has been doing more than that. The art and design school is partnering with the watch and bicyle maker on a research project. 

An excerpt:

Research projects are highly conceptual and allow students the opportunity to participate in creative, research-based assignments within real-world design parameters. Our corporate partners commit design and technical staff to students by providing guidance, expertise and feedback. Organizations financially sponsor conceptual design projects for CCS students and encourage inventive and unique design concepts. The corporate sponsors typically work with teams of CCS undergraduate juniors and seniors or graduate students and are supervised by CCS faculty to pursue new directions in design for their products. CCS’ corporate partners are continuing to expand and diversify their relationships with the College. 

Read more about it here.

WSJ: Detroit App builder Glyph gets national attention

Nestled in downtown's Ford Building, the year-old startup and its team of seven people launched its iPhone app last fall and is working on an Android version. The company raised $500,000 in angel funding in 2012 and plans to close a Series A round of investments in 2013.

Now this, a nicely-timed mention in the Wall Street Journal:

With a partner, (Mike Vichich) launched Glyph at the App Store in November, after attracting $500,000 in seed capital from local investors earlier in the year: "I'm by no means a developer now, but at least I can speak the language," he says.

Read more here.

NYT weighs in on public-private Detroit divide

A bit of a reality check from the latest report on Detroit by the New York Times, this piece examines the differences between what's happening in the private vs. public sectors.  

An exerpt:

For all the talk of a private sector renaissance, demographers say that much of the economic growth remains mostly around the downtown and Midtown sections, a small fraction of a vast 139-square-mile city that is otherwise wrestling with vacant homes, empty blocks, darkened streetlights, crime fears and overburdened police officers. While businesses have returned to Detroit, some others have left, and this city’s most essential problem, its swiftly dipping population, demographers say, has yet to reverse itself.

More here

HuffPost Detroit: "The unknown going forward"

Dig in and stay with this poetic blog entry in HuffPost Detroit by Nancy Kotting.

An excerpt: 

Detroit is not broken. It has simply blown beyond conventional definition. It does not need to be 'fixed' by attempts to make it something it has already been. Detroit does not need to be re-tooled into some economically acceptable form that can continue to contribute to a long dead paradigm. Detroit needs to be recognized for what it is: a place where courageous, creative people can actively participate in the unknown going forward, carving the trail ahead.

Well said, Nancy. Read the rest here.

Read excerpt from John Gallagher's 'Revolution Detroit - Strategies for Urban Reinvention'

In his new book, the Freep's John Gallagher looks at steps taken by medical and educational leadership in Cleveland to improve public safety with strategies that come out of the private sector. Interesting solution to a growing problem not just in the rustbelt but all over the country.

An excerpt: 

That's the truth in so many towns. Perhaps the time has come to stop looking at groups like UCI as a backstop for weak or nonexistent city services and more as a model for a new way of governing urban places. These hyper-local, government-like bodies might be combined with regional entities -- some of which may not even exist yet -- to provide flexible, efficient delivery of services. Ronayne, for one, is already thinking along these lines:

"The new construct is less federal-state-local and more neighborhood-regional-global. I would envision a day when we're given the rights to tamp potholes and maintain basic infrastructure, to plow streets. ... (Y)ou're going to see groups like ours grow in municipal services. Now, some people argue that (by) providing the service, you're giving the city an out. I don't, as a former chief of staff, look at it that way. I look at it as somebody's got to get the job done, and however it can get done most economically and efficiently, let's do it."

Read on here.

Gilbert gets extension on developing Hudson's site

Billionaire and savvy downtown investor Dan Gilbert received an extension until June 30, 2016 to develop plans for the site of the former Hudson's flaghip department store on Woodward, between Gratiot and Grand River. Gilbert has launched an international design competition for the site and plans a mixed used project made up of commercial, residential and parking.  

An excerpt:

The city-controlled site has been vacant since the city demolished the flagship store for the J.L. Hudson Co. in 1998. The vacant Woodward block sits atop an underground parking structure, with infrastructure already in place to have a building constructed above it.

More from the Detroit News here.

Camp Detroit calling for entries for Movement installations

Here you go, artists and artisans: a message from the Community Arts Moving Projects (aka CAMP) people to let you know they are now accepting proposals for projects to be displayed at this year's Movement Festival, held during Memorial Day weekend.

An excerpt:

We believe that the continued progress of Detroit may be augmented through the exhibition of the region’s exemplary creative talent on the global stage. The CAMP (Community Arts Moving Projects) program aims to facilitate this by giving Detroit artists, makers and thinkers the opportunity to create beautiful and inspired projects that will be displayed at Detroit’s Movement Electronic Music Festival before they are relocated into our neighborhoods.

We are challenging creators to make pieces that will reflect the heart and future of Detroit while taking advantage of the unique resources available to the city.

Read more here.

Whole Foods opening Midtown store in June

Yes, we knew it was coming. It is still impressive to note that Whole Food Market is opening its first Detroit store, at Mack Avenue and John R, on time.

An excerpt:

(WFM), the world’s leading natural and organic foods supermarket, will open a 21,650-square-foot store in Detroit, on Wednesday, June 5 at 9 a.m. The much-anticipated store will add to the vibrant, growing food scene in Detroit. The store joins more than 345 other Whole Foods Market stores in North America and the United Kingdom.

More here.

HuffPost Detroit: North End Photographer lives father's legacy

Many of us knew Ameen Howrani, a pioneering photographer whose studio on E. Grand Blvd. was (and still is) a beacon of creativity. He died in 2010, but his son Ara was there to take over this unique Detroit family business.

An excerpt: 

Ara Howrani had some big shoes to fill. After a stint in Los Angeles, the young photographer and videographer returned home in 2005 to take over Howrani Studios in the North End neighborhood of the city, carrying on the studio's legacy with a style that is truly his own.

Read more here.

Richard Florida reacts to 7.2 greater downtown study

In a piece last week in Atlantic Cities, Richard Florida tackles the recently released 7.2 study that shows greater downtown to be better educated and more diverse than the city at large. There is much complexity to this finding, such that we plan on following what it all means in a variety of ways in the near future.

Here's an excerpt from Florida's story:

The Greater Downtown corridor has a population of 36,550 people or 5,076 people per square mile. It might not be not downtown Manhattan, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, or Philadelphia, but it compares favorably to other Midwest city-centers, like downtown Minneapolis, with 3.4 square miles and 28,811 people; downtown Pittsburgh at 1.3 square miles and 4,064 people; and downtown Cleveland at 3.2 square miles and 9,523 people. Of these downtowns, only Minneapolis has greater density than Greater Downtown Detroit.

Read more here.

'Sugar Man' wins best doc feature Oscar

It was a huge favorite to win an Academy Award so, no, we weren't surprised to see Searching for Sugar Man come away with the Oscar for best documentary feature. And, no, were't entirely surprised when the subject of the film, Detroiter Sixto Rodriguez, didn't attend the spectacle.

Good stuff all round, summarized in this excerpt from a piece in HuffPost Detroit:

The film was the leader of a strong pack of nominees. The documentary focused on the search for Sixto Rodriguez, a failed singer-songwriter from the 1970s who was an unexpected hit in South Africa. Directed by Malik Bendjelloul, Searching for Sugar Man was an audience award winner at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and won Best Documentary from BAFTA and the Producers Guild of America.

Read the rest of the story in HuffPost Detroit here.





The News: Detroit Soup stays hot

Always nice when our friends at Detroit Soup get some media love from near and far, this time from the Detroit News.

An excerpt: 

These days philanthropy is being fueled by regular folks funding local projects they feel a passion for. And their modest contributions really add up for projects that may need only a few hundred (or thousand) dollars to get off the ground. 

Doing this online via sites like IndieGoGo or Kickstarter is easy enough, but what if you'd like to feel more personally involved or would like to meet face to face with the artist/educator/entrepreneur who will use your money?

Detroiter Amy Kaherl has an answer: Check out Detroit Soup.

Read the rest of the story here.

Metro Jacksonville.com finds Detroit's Villages impressive

So nice to see observers from distant lands (sure, northern Florida qualifies) come up to one of Detroit's historic neighborhoods and see the simple, elegant beauty of the place. Well done, Metro Jacksonville.com, well done.

An excerpt:

Indian Village is a historic neighborhood located on Detroit's east side and is listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The district has a number of architecturally significant homes built in the early 20th century. A number of the houses have been substantially restored, and most others well kept up.

Many of the homes were built by prominent architects such as Albert Kahn, Louis Kamper and William Stratton for some of the area's most prominent citizens such as Edsel Ford. Many of the homes are very large, with some over 12,000 square feet. Many have a carriage house, with some of those being larger than an average suburban home. Some of the houses also have large amounts of Pewabic Pottery tiles. The neighborhood contains many historic homes including the automotive entrepreneur Henry Leland, founder of Lincoln and Cadillac, who resided on Seminole Street.

And there's more. Read on here.

Short film shows glimpse of current Detroit music scene

Detroit, music city. Yeah man, we're all over that plain but huge matter of fact. This is the original (and only) home of Motown (c'mon L.A., stand down, please); the birthplace of the sickest garage rock (Stooges, MC5, Gories) and electro (Adult., Drexciya, Dopplereffekt) ever made, trailblazing hip hop (foremost Slum Village, James Dewitt Yancey aka J Dilla) and, of course, techno (Cooley High peeps alone -- notably Carl Craig, Mike Huckaby, Anthony "Shake" Shakir -- produced more talent than most Johnny-come-lately "dance music capitals" anywhere in the world, baby).

So, yes, we're well aware of our innovative sound heritage. This short film helps us understand part of what's happening now, in Midtown, Hamtown and other bars, and especially at next gen private house parties.

Check it out here.

Get to know the makers rebuilding Detroit by hand

Shinola, OmniCorp Detroit, Ponyride, the Detroit Creative Corridor Center and other havens for the doers and changemakers literally reconstructing Detroit are profiled in part II this story (with video) by Matt Haber. Good stuff. Well done.

Catch up to part I then take a look at part II here.

MOCAD renovation winning awards even before construction begins

Great news from the Museum of Contempory Art Detroit last week about MOCAD's upcoming redesign by Rice+Lipka Architects and urban design/landscape architects James Corner Field Operations.

This excerpt from HuffPost Detroit:

The design won the Architectural Review's 2013 Future Project award in the "Old and New" category.

The judges hailed the MOCAD design as "an inspirational project that combines past and present in a well resolved and convincing manner. It creates new space for new creativity in a post-industrial city."

The two firms will work to make the interior more energy-efficient. They'll also reconfigure exhibit, event and storage area. Exterior changes will also create a brand-new outdoor event space.

Read more here.

Study: Greater downtown growing in wealth, diversity

A report published today and to be shared with investors, developers and city planners, found that greater downtown residents are wealthier than Detroiters at large, but less affluent than the average for the full populations of cities such as Minneapolis and Pittsburgh, which some see as prime examples of successful urban rebirth.

John Gallagher of the Freep has the scoop. An excerpt:

(Data Driven Detroit's Kurt) Metzger pointed out that things are changing so rapidly in the areas that the report may already be slightly dated. For example, gains from the Live Downtown and Live Midtown incentive programs that have bought hundreds of new residents who work for participating businesses into the area in the last two years are not fully captured in this report.

Read the rest of the story (and the full reporthere.



Kresge's Art X reloads for April Midtown return

The second edition of Art X Detroit: Kresge Arts Experience will take over Midtown for five days starting April 10. The event, to be held in multiple locations, is free. 

The Detroit Free Press has the scoop. An excerpt:

Event producer Midtown Detroit Inc., announced today that the cultural celebration, funded by the Kresge Foundation, will be held at more than two dozen venues. The inaugural Art X event was in 2011. 

There will be visual artworks created by the 38 Kresge Eminent Artists and recipients of Kresge Artist Fellowships. A special visual arts exhibition will be on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit. This year’s programming will also feature dance, musical and theatrical performances, literature readings, workshops and panel discussions. 

The complete schedule of Art X events will be announced soon, organizers said. To learn more about the event, go here.

CCS photo show features Detroit entertainment icons

Fashion photographer Jenny Risher, who graduated from College for Creative Studies in the late 1990s, has a show up now at CCS of her pictures of Detroit popular culture figures. It will be up there until March 2, before moving to the Detroit Historical Museum in July.

An excerpt:

Risher started working on the project in 2010. Talking to her friend and model Veronica Webb, who hails from Detroit, Risher started thinking about the many famous and interesting individuals who come from the city.

"I said to her, wouldn't it be cool if someone did a book of all the amazing people who have came out of Detroit," Risher said. "For three months the idea just kept bugging me and I couldn't let it go so I thought I would make a list of all the people I would love to photograph from the area and reach out to them, reach out to five and if they said no, leave it, but all those five said yes."

It snowballed from there. From Eminem to Lee Iacocca, Risher was pleased to see how many of the illustrious Detroiters agreed to participate in her project.

Read more here.

Revitalization program looking for a few more good young men and women

The Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program is looking for a few more good men and women to help advance the renewal of Detroit and build upon the ongoing success of its 2011-13 cohort. In 2011, 650 young professionals from across the country applied for 29 opportunities to move to Detroit and work for a variety of local organizations. Those fellows have made significant contributions to their employers, and the vast majority plans to remain in Detroit when their two-year commitments end in August.

Wayne State University, which administers the program, is now accepting applications for the next class of fellows, who will begin their assignments in August 2013. The deadline to apply is March 1. Both fellows and employers are encouraged to apply. Additional information, eligibility requirements and the application form can be found at here.

The Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program seeks to build capacity for key organizations focused on the revitalization of Detroit, provide leadership development and training for fellows working in these organizations, and develop a network that fosters inter-agency connections and organizational collaboration.

The Kresge Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Hudson-Webber Foundation, the Skillman Foundation, the DTE Energy Foundation and Wayne State University have funded the program.

In addition to two years of full-time employment in a job that can enhance Detroit, fellows are assigned a mentor and a professional coach, take three study trips around the country, and meet monthly to learn more about leadership, urban planning, community and economic development, and residential and commercial real estate development.

Organizations are encouraged to apply to participate in the Detroit Revitalization Fellows as employers. Fellows will be placed in organizations that contribute to the revitalization of the city, with a focus on:
  • Real estate finance and development
  • Community and economic development
  • Land use planning/implementation of the Detroit Future City Strategic Framework
  • Workforce development
Employers receive a stipend to pay for a portion of a fellow's salary.

The Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program is modeled after the successful Rockefeller Foundation Redevelopment Fellowships launched in 2007 in New Orleans. That program, administered by the Center for Urban Redevelopment Excellence at the University of Pennsylvania, enabled key redevelopment organizations in New Orleans to recruit qualified professionals from across the country to work on the rebuilding process there.

For more info on the program go here.

Detroit River dip raises money for Special Olympics

A sure cure for the winter doldrums, the Detroit Polar Plunge at Milliken State Park will involve 500 or so brave "plungers" who consentingly jump into the Detroit River -- a frigid 30 degrees Fahrenheit or so -- all in the name of a good cause.

The Feb. 16 event will benefit Special Olympics Michigan, which hopes to raise $200,000 at the Detroit event and more than $1 million across the state of Michigan at 28 Polar Plunge events.

We endorse it for all able bodied, and fearless, Detroit ladies and gentlemen.

More info here.

HuffPost Detroit: Mapping new tools for land reuse

We have supported the restlessly energetic endeavors of Jerry Paffendorf ever since he moved to Detroit a few years and joined (nay, helped start) the local social innovation revolution.

HuffPost Detroit has also taken notice, like this piece last week on an update to Paffendorf's website.

An excerpt:  

Loveland Technologies
, the firm that mapped the city of Detroit's foreclosure crisis in stunning detail as thousands of land parcels were auctioned off by Wayne County, introduced a sophisticated update to the WhyDon'tWeOwnThis? website on Friday.

WDWOT 2.0 is the result of four months of development, design time, "soul-searching and talking," said Loveland's founder, Jerry Paffendorf.

See more here.

ArtHopper digs current show at Public Pool

Every six to eight weeks we can't help but say something nice about Hamtramck's Public Pool. The storefront art space has too many damn fine shows by Detroit (and soon to showcase out-of-town) artists.

The blog ArtHopper recently popped in to see Contorted, an all female show curated by Jessica Frelinghuysen.

An excerpt: 

Having peeked at what I guessed I was not meant to see, I realized all the work in Contorted keeps the inner workings under wraps. Experiencing women retreating into mystery with a humorous wink, demands that the viewer look closer for the kernel of conflict. In Nicola Kuperus’ photographs, all titled Fools, uncomfortably tight cropping cutting off portions of extremities, and nightmarish crimson bags covering the figures’ heads quickly counter the somewhat clownish poses of the unitard-wearing ballerinas. The work echoes documentary photographs of prisoners of war, as well as Picasso’s eyeless woman husks.

Read on here.

Paxahau announces phase one of Movement lineup

Spring cannot be far behind once Paxahau begins teasing electronic dance music fans by announcing the first third of the program. The three-day event during Memorial Day weekend is May 25-27. 

Tickets are now on sale at the Movement.us website. Three-day weekend passes are $79. VIP passes are $199. Single-day tickets are available, although daily schedules for the Movement's five stages have not been released.

Last year, Movement notched its top attendance since becoming a paid festival in 2005, drawing 107,000 over three days.
Some of our top picks from the list of artists announced thus far:

Ben Klock b2b Marcel Dettmann, Brendon Moeller aka Ecologist, Carl Craig, Dave Clarke, Dennis Ferrer, Derrick May & Kevin Saunderson, Drumcell, George Fitzgerald, Mala, Richie Hawtin, Ryan Elliott, Silent Servant, Tensnake, Terrence Parker and the first ever Detroit appearance by The Bug.

Check out more here.



Hamtramck hosts calorie-burning 5K run ahead of Paczki Day feast

Fat Tuesday is big, we mean huge, in New Orleans, Rio de Janeiro and ... Hamtramck? That's right, except here it is properly known as Paczki Day, the day before Lent begins in the Polish Catholic religious calendar.

It's become so wildly popular (bands, DJs, food, drink) that organizers thought a run would be a nice addition to the schedule -- four days before Paczki Day. Get ready to burn some calories before Fat Tuesday by participating in the inaugural PaczKi Run in Hamtramck this Saturday, Feb. 9. The 5K run begins at 10 a.m. at the corner of Holbrook and Joseph Campau. Each person finishing the race fittingly receives a paczek and a beer. The PaczKi Run is presented by Tour-De-Troit in partnership with the Hamtramck Downtown Development Authority.            
 
Several Hamtramck businesses will be offering runners a “bib discount” after they cross the finish line on this Saturday, they include:
 
$1 domestic draft beers @ New Dodge Lounge, 8850 Joseph Campau
$1 beer specials @ Whiskey in the Jar, 2741 Yemens St.
35 percent off the regular retail price of clothing @ Chiipss, 10229 Joseph Campau
10 percent all items @ Detroit Threads, 10238 Joseph Campau

And: Free samples @ Srodek’s Campau Quality Sausage, 9601 Joseph Campau
Free Prince Polish candy bar @ Polish Art Center, 9539 Joseph Campau
$1 off records @ Record Graveyard, 2610 Carpenter St.
$5 off any purchase of $15 or more @ Amici’s, 9842 Joseph Campau     
 
Advance registration only costs $25 and is available through Tuesday, Feb. 5. That's today, runners. Sign-up early here

All proceeds will benefit City of Hamtramck’s non-motorized trail plan.

Impressive group of sponsors, too: Detroit Threads, Talmer Bank, McClure's Pickles, Jurkiewicz & Wilk Funeral Home, Whiskey in the Jar, The Belmont Bar, Polish-American Chamber of Commerce-Michigan, Simply Suzanne Granola, New Dodge Lounge, Record Graveyard, Polish Art Center, New Palace Bakery, New Martha Washington Bakery, Sam's Market, Alexis G. Krot, P.C., Plante Moran, Glory Supermarket, Miller Canfield and Giffels Webster Engineers.

Hostel Detroit edgy art tour gets noticed by Michigan Public Radio

We found this dandy report on the Michigan Radio site, and thought "it's about time that Hostel Detroit and its general manager, Michel Soucisse, some more love.

An excerpt:

One of (Soucisse's) guests is Chloe Dietz, a student who goes to school in Portland, Oregon who grew up in Brooklyn, Michigan. She’s on a cross country tour by train. Another guest is Jonathan Dowdall who is an artist from Canada.
Dowdall says Detroit’s art scene drew him to the city.

“Detroit has always had a mythical presence in my mind and I’ve always imagined it a certain way. I really wanted to come here and see on the ground what it was like, in particular street art,” Dowdall says.

Our first stop on the trip is an outdoor street art project on the East Side of Detroit called the Heidelberg project created by artist Tyree Guyton.

Read on here.

Real print, authentic graphics gone wild in Detroit

Those of us who grew up in print media are thrilled to see the return of the letterpress and real, non-virtual graphic design in a physical form. Like what's being produced in Eastern Maket at Signal-Return and Salt & Cedar, or 44FortyFour Studio in the Green Garage, or at Ponyride's Stukenborg Press.

An excerpt from the Detroit News: 

The first new letterpress to set up in Detroit was Signal-Return in Eastern Market, a combination print shop and retail store founded in November 2011 by a group associated with Team Detroit, the Dearborn-based ad agency. Team Detroit chief creative officer Toby Barlow says the memory of letterpress is still deeply embedded in advertising's DNA.

"I've been in advertising 20 years," Barlow says, "and have seen the transition from mechanical marketing to the digital age of marketing. To remind us of our roots, Signal-Return seemed like a good idea. The passion of the craftsman is something I think advertising really needs to hold onto."

Read more here.

Next City talks to Francis Grunow about Detroit DIY and more

Model D contributor Francis Grunow, a consultant with the New Solutions Group, recently took part in a Q&A with Next City, talking about the book Detroit City is the Place to Be

An excerpt: 

Francis Grunow: The place to start with discussing (the book) is the idea that people and policymakers in Detroit are looking for something prescriptive. Detroit’s problems are so big that it’s really hard to put your mind around them. I get why (author Binelli) sort of punts, but it also bothered me. I think the city and its people are used to being told what our problems are, and I think there is a tendency to feel like these problems have a single answer.

Right on, tiger. Go get 'em.

Read on here.

Batch nano-brewers looking for some startup cash

Late in 2012, we featured a news item on an intriguing business idea in Corktown -- the city's first nano-brewery. Like most cool indie commercial projects, it could use some seed money.

An excerpt: 

Turns out, opening a brewery is pretty effing expensive. And while banks are tripping over themselves to lend money to startups like this, we thought we'd take our efforts right to the people: our friends, family, and community.

We feel you. Read more here.

Pot & Box coming to former Michigan Avenue gas station

Social entrepreneurial whiz kid Andy Didorosi, founder of the Detroit Bus Company, has a dandy new renant for a foreclosed gas station he bought at auction. It's Lisa Waud, an Ann Arbor-based biz whiz in the process of relocation to Detroit. Sounds like a groovy collab in the works. 

Excerpt:

Lisa's goal is to get Pot & Box open near the end of the year, though patrons looking for a taste of what's to come are very much in luck. She's teaming up with Andy to host venders from all across Detroit for a Valentine's Day Market at the gas station. Pot & Box will be selling flowers (Lisa mentions an old ice cream truck she's repurposing for the task) while merchants like City Bird will set up under a giant tent out front.

Read more in Curbed Detroit here.

Gilbert thinking retail ahead of M-1 dig

Our favorite extravagant but hardly reckless spender Dan Gilbert is ahead of the pack again, hinting that once the M-1 is fully developed (by 2016) more Woodward corridor retail will be waiting for it.

Excerpt from the Detroit News:

And Gilbert, one of downtown's major employers and private land owners, said his group has "definitely gotten commitments" from retailers who will be ready for business when the M-1 debuts.

"That's the goal as we work behind the scene, versus just taking a rough shot of opening one (retail store) at a time here and there," Gilbert said. He would not specify which retailers have made commitments.

Since August 2010, Gilbert's portfolio of companies has moved 7,000 workers downtown.

Rock Ventures owns 15 properties and is working on buying its 16th at 1001 Woodward, across the street from Campus Martius and Quicken Loans' headquarters in the Compuware Building.

For more, go here.

Freep turns focus to indie shops Hugh, Nora, Detroit Mercantile

It's always nice to see smart, new businesses get a nod in the dailies. We were happy to see the Freep catch up to three of our faves last week. 

An excerpt:

Up this week? Three independent stores in Detroit.

Two are located in Midtown and the other is in Eastern Market.

Among them you can find Stormy Kromer wool hats, fabulous notecards and wrapping paper, cuff links made from Tiger baseballs, vintage Playboy magazines and barware, tablecloths and linens, and home accessories with a Scandinavian flair.

Read on here.

Brooklyn Museum acquires Hamtramck art dealer's Black Arts Movement collection

Chicago art dealer and collector David Lusenhop, who has been working and now living in a studio space belonging to former Hamtramck mayor Gary Zych, has been hunting down notable works of revolutionary African-American Americana for the past 12 years.

The coveted collection -- 44 works by 26 artists -- was just acquired by the Brooklyn Museum, reports the New York Times:

When the curator of American art at the Brooklyn Museum began work on an exhibition to coincide with next year’s anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, she happened on a trove of works from the Black Arts Movement, the cultural arm of the black power movement of the 1960s and 1970s. This was an area of the art market long neglected but recently attracting attention. Great stuff.

Read more here.

UK's Guardian checks out Detroit's tech boom

We've been all over the growing companies', startup and gazelle scene centered around downtown's M@dison building. It's a thrill all the same to see it reported from afar, this time in the UK's Guardian.

An excerpt: 

"It is pretty exciting," said Jim Xiao, a financial analyst for Detroit Venture Partners, the driving force behind the M@dison and an investor in new tech firms in the city.

Xiao, a 24-year-old who evaluates tech firms for DVP to finance, has trouble concealing his enthusiasm. He lives in one of the converted buildings nearby, socialises at the new downtown bars and has a keen sense of mission about tech's role in the city's future. "Where else in the country can you make an actual impact on a whole city when you are in your 20s?" he said.

Read more here.

Juxtapoz mag documents Power House project it helped finance

Three years ago, California art mag Juxtapoz hooked up with the Power House Productions team in NoHam to re-do some homes in need on Moran St. This month's edition of the magazine includes a sweet overview of the project.

An excerpt:

Juxtapoz invited Swoon, Retna, Ben Wolf, Richard Colman, Monica Canilao, and Saelee Oh to paint and reimagine the residences.
 
Three years later, the neighborhood is beginning to take shape, and this past summer, the Ride It Sculpture Skate Park was built on four vacant commercial lots along East Davison Freeway, another creative endeavor that fuses art and community.

Lots more to see and read here.

Creative Capital awards Design 99 "emerging fields" grant

Creative Capital recently announced its 2013 project grants in the categories of Emerging Fields, Literature and the Performing Arts, representing a total of 46 funded projects by 66 artists hailing from 17 states and Puerto Rico.

Among the grantees were Gina Reichert and Mitch Cope of Design 99. Creative Capital’s investment in each project includes up to $50,000 in direct financial support (disbursed at key points over the life of each project), plus more than $40,000 in advisory services, making the total 2013 investment more than $4,140,000. Wow.

To check out Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert's project, go here.

Sign up for Detroit Mobile City February conference

This one day event is at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel, Feb. 2. It includes four tracks of instruction and learning: Intro to iOS, iOS Design, Advanced Programming and User Engagement.

For more info -- including how to apply, and the complete schedule -- go here.

Modernism with a human face in Lafayette Park

Nice to see the world re-discovering -- or discovering for the first time -- the simple residential charms of the Mies van der Rohe towers and townhomes. Fast Company's Co.Design noticed.

An excerpt:

Nestled in a leafy neighborhood adjacent to downtown, Lafayette Park is a collection of high rises and townhouses designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1962. As Detroit suffered the roller coaster of the 1970s and '80s, the community has remained conspicuously healthy and diverse--a mix of old and young, black and white, professional and creative. In short, it’s a holy grail of 20th-century Modern architecture.

Good stuff. Read on here.

Auto and brew Detroit history bus tours on tap

Motor City Brew Tours and Show Me Detroit Tours will partner to present four Detroit Automotive & Brewery History Tours on Saturday, Jan. 19 and 26, during the 2013 North American International Auto Show. Tours start at 11 a.m. and at 3 p.m.

The 3.5 hour bus tours will look at Detroit then and now, including Downtown and Midtown today, early brewing history, the Eastern Market, the Packard Plant, the Ford Piquette Plant, architect Albert Kahn’s work, and the brewery and dairy operations at the Traffic Jam & Snug Restaurant in Midtown.

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 triumphs. It’s a tale of two cities as greater Downtown continues to attract new residents, workers, visitors and investors while many neighborhoods seek a viable 21st century reuse.

Steve Johnson, Motor City Brew Tours founder, noted that the tours will make a brief stop to view a video presentation at the Ford Piquette Plant -- the city’s most authentic automotive site and the birthplace of Henry Ford’s iconic Model T. Ticket sales will support restoration efforts at the Piquette Plant -- with $5 donated for every tour ticket purchased.

The $39.95 tour ticket price includes expert historical commentary, guided bus transportation, admission at the Ford Piquette Plant, and a brewery tour with sampling and light appetizers at the Traffic Jam & Snug. Tickets must be purchased in advance online. Tour guests must be 21 and over. Both tour companies offer gift certificates for gift-giving.

The tours will start and end in front of the Detroit Fire Department Headquarters Building directly across from Cobo Center at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Larned streets (250 W. Larned, Detroit).

Hart Plaza forest tops riverfront design ideas

A "tiny forest" on the largely cemented shores of downtown Detroit, Hart plaza to be exact? We like it. It's the winning proposal in a design competition for ideas on how to maximize the Detroit riverfront.

An exerpt from co.design:
 
The idea is to create a space, separated visually from the city, that can facilitate interactions of all sizes. Small attractions can be interspersed throughout the woods, while an open space called the knoll is intended as a central meeting place for larger activities. "In our proposal," Yoon and Yoo explain, "the important idea we focus on is not the types of activities but the scales of them. Many small components of the forest, such as sculptures, trails, or small bridges will be able to hold small scale activities. On the other hand, the knoll, a big open space, will hold large scale activities, such as concerts, screenings, or theatrical performances with magnificent background of forest."

Read more here.

Detroit SOUP gets play on NBC Nightly News

We love Detroit SOUP and all it does to stimulate change in the city's cultural and entrepreneurial scene. We're thrilled the org was recently profiled on NBC Nightly News.

An excerpt from HuffPost Detroit:

"It's a chance to draw people together, share ideas over a simple meal like soup, salad and bread and hear how people really want to help continue to revitalize the city," Kaherl explained. "I love just being a connecting point for people."

Over the months, Detroit SOUP has supported an array of ideas, from Veronika Scott's Empowerment Plan, which produce coats-turned-sleeping-bags and supports the homeless, to a high school group's screen printing project.

Read on here.

Hey artists: Deadline is this Friday, Feb. 1 for Kresge grants

Don't procrastinate, get your application filled out for a chance at $25,000 for emerging and established metro Detroit artists.

2013 Kresge Artist Fellowships are available in:

Literary Arts: Arts criticism in all categories (including literary, performing and visual), creative non-fiction, fiction, poetry, spoken word, and interdisciplinary work (including experimental work, graphic novels, zines and other hybrid forms).

Visual Arts: Art and technology, book arts, ceramics, collage, drawing, fiber, glass, installation, metalwork, painting, photography, performance art, printmaking, sculpture, video art, and interdisciplinary work (including experimental work and other hybrid forms).

Deadline is 11:59 p.m. Feb. 1. That's a hard deadline. Get your stuff in early.

More details here.

Michigan Future's Lou Glazer: More four-year degrees leads to state prosperity

This past weekend, a Q&A between the Freep's Brian Dickerson and Lou Glazer of the think tank Michigan Future caught our eye. We've been following Glazer's insightful group for years. Michigan Future is an authoritative voice on what keeps the state's economy humming in the right direction.

In the interview he talks about how one of the core characteristics of high per capita income states is that they're overconcentrated in knowledge sectors of the economy. Such as?

Glazer: Health care, education finances and insurance, professional and business services, which is corporate headquarters, law firms, architecture firms, marketing firms and accounting firms. Also, the category called information, which is old and new media, software and telecommunications.

Lots more from Dickerson and Glazer here.

New book 'Driving Detroit' out now by WSU urban planner

Driving Detroit: The Quest for Respect in the Motor City, called a must read by Harvard Professor William Julius Wilson, is available now from the University of Pennsylvania Press and at Amazon.com. 
 
Author George C. Galster sent us a note about his book, saying "it is the kind of book that will make readers laugh, cry, and shake their heads in amazement. Hopefully, they will also have many 'aha!' moments of revelation." All right, sounds good to us and just in time for holiday reading.

Why Stik moved back from Silicon Valley to Detroit

Launched two years ago from the Bay Area, Stik attempts to create a recommended list of service professionals online through a user’s social graph.

But as the founders discovered, Silicon Valley is not an easy place to grow a long-term business. After two years of trudging through the Valley, the four person company packed its bags this summer and headed back to the founders’ hometown of Detroit.

Read on here.
 

Freep: Detroit students grow produce year-round for meal program

This story in the Detroit Free Press, featuring a picture of students in a greenhouse, caught our eye.

Excerpt: The green projects district-wide are designed to reduce energy costs, improve health and student achievement and include a range of activities from energy conservation to waste management, transportation, nutrition and indoor and outdoor environmental improvements.

Read more here.

HuffPost Detroit: Detroit Jewish life centers around downtown synagogue

HuffPost Detroit's David Sands reports that activity at the Issac Agree Downtown Synagogue is increasing. A good sign for the Griswald St. religious center -- and downtown.

Excerpt: (The downtown location) has served as the focal point of a resurgent Jewish community. It's a rather remarkable development, because not long ago Detroit's last free-standing synagogue was on the verge of shutting down.

The recent transformation has been dramatic. The congregation now has 250 member units -- a figure that includes both individuals and families -- and its Friday evening and Saturday morning services regularly draw around 40 people. In addition, Isaac Agree now hosts regular Thursday morning services, Torah studies, Hebrew lessons and a wide array of other programming.

Read on here.

Winners announced in Detroit waterfront vision contest

The Freep's John Gallagher reports that designers from as far away as "South Korea and England were among the winners in this week’s Detroit by Design 2012 competition, held by the Urban Priorities Committee of AIA Detroit." There were some pretty good ideas, including our favorite -- extending the river onto Detroit land via canals, ponds and lakes.

Read more here.

Downtown Synagogue joins neighborhood groups for food justice

Detroit's Jewish community is active this week during Hanukkah, which runs through Sunday, Dec. 16.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the Eden Gardens Block Club -- partnering with the Downtown Synagogue in Detroit -- hopes to grow produce for its East Side neighborhood.

At the Detroit Youth Food Brigade, a member of the synagogue helps young students learn how to sell and distribute healthy food. And at Replanting Roots, another member of the Detroit synagogue is working to help ex-prisoners develop an urban farm.

The Downtown Synagogue is the last free-standing active synagogue in Detroit, where it hopes to become an anchor for a new generation of Jewish people looking to live in the city.

All sounds good. Read on here.

Pewabic Pottery hosts annual holiday shopping night this Wednesday

Pewabic Pottery invites metro Detroiters to shop local this holiday season at its annual Holiday Shopping Night on Wednesday, Dec. 12 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
 
Guests can join in celebration for a night of tasty holiday snacking, live entertainment courtesy of the Jazz Merchants and great discounts. To top it off, shoppers can find the perfect gift for loved ones from a selection of beautifully handcrafted ceramics by more than 100 artists. 
 
The night will be full of surprises with giveaways every 30 minutes, and "special purchases" available throughout the evening. Upon entry, visitors will receive a numbered ticket, entering them for a chance to win Pewabic items including ornaments, t-shirts, and even an iridescent vase valued at $100.
 
In addition to the great deals, Pewabic Society members will receive double their regular discount (up to 20 percent).
 
"The Holiday Shopping Night is a fun year-end celebration, filled with surprises, entertainment and holiday cheer" said Barbara Sido, executive director of Pewabic Pottery. "It’s a great opportunity for metro Detroiters to shop local and support community artists."
 
Visitors can also take this time to view Pewabic Pottery’s annual holiday exhibition, Earthy Treasures, on display through Dec. 30.

To learn more about Pewabic Pottery call 313-626-2000 or go here. Pewabic Pottery is at 10125 E. Jefferson Ave. in Detroit across from Waterworks Park.

MSHDA and placemaking add to 'prosperity agenda'

This month’s edition of the Prosperity Agenda radio show focuses on placemaking efforts in Michigan and the impact some of these projects have on working toward a more vibrant state. The show also includes a conversation with new MSHDA (Michigan State Housing Development Authority) Executive Director Scott Woosley. Woosley discusses Michigan’s efforts to promote affordable housing, revitalize some of the struggling communities and attract new investment to the state.

The November showed aired Nov. 26 and you can listen to it anytime here or by subscribing to the free iTunes podcast. Our own Claire Nelson, publisher of Model D, co-hosts this broadcast. In addition to Woosley, other guests are Luke Forrest, the Michigan Municipal League’s Project Coordinator for the Center for 21st Century Communities; and Ed Dalheim of the MarCom Awards. 

For more go here.

Watch fresh music video, as Eminem joins 50 Cent in Detroit

It might have been a bit noisy and bright at a video shoot last month at the Michigan Central Station (an elsewhere). But it was worth it, we reckon, when we saw the product featuring homeboy Eminem, and 50 Cent and Adam Levine of Maroon 5.

An excerpt from Curbed Detroit:

Remember how 50 Cent and Eminem woke everybody up with their helicopter last month? That was because they were shooting a music video for 50 Cent's "My Life," the third single off of his next album, Street King Immortal. Although the album won't drop until Feb. 26, "My Life" and its music video were just released this week. The footage features 50 Cent, Eminem, and Adam Levine (of Maroon 5) singing/running/sitting in various Detroit locales, most notably Michigan Central Station. Take a look at the video here.

And read the rest of the story here.

Former Freep publisher on boards at Digerati

Crain's Business reports that former Detroit Free Press Publisher David Hunke, who retired in September as chairman of USA Today, has joined Detroit-based software firm Digerati Inc. as its chief strategy officer.

An excerpt:

Hunke will offer the young company, founded in 2001, experience, CEO Brian Balasia said in a release.

"Strategically, I want to see if I can help them figure out how to line various business opportunities together," Hunke said. "I think Brian and I are going to do a lot of traveling and talking to partners on a national scale about what we can help with."

Hunke retired from USA Today in September after holding the position of chairman for six months. He had been president and publisher since April 2009.

Read the entire story here.

New student fitness center up and running at UDM

We couldn't resist: This is a new place designed with the students in mind, the Fitness Center is a great addition to on-campus living. Whether participating in a game of basketball, pumping iron, doing yoga, running on the indoor track, or enjoying a fruit smoothie, this hotspot affords a place to socialize with friends and relieve the tensions of the day through exercise.

Read on here.

Coffee and conversation at Creative Mornings lecture this Friday

How to land the perfect creative gig? In this instant-gratification society, it takes patience for sure. But while you’re working toward your passion, it shouldn’t stop you from being creatively curious, earning some much-needed bucks and soon you will be interesting to the creative world.

Each of those jobs carved a path to being on a team that creates campaigns for the world’s largest brands. It’s a journey of decision points on the road map of life.

This Friday, Jen Todd Gray, VP Creative Services, and Darrin Brege and Chris Stevens creative directors at ePrize will take you on their wild rides at Creative Mornings at Great Lakes Coffee. 

December’s Creative Mornings takes place at the cafe at 3965 Woodward Ave. in Midtown. This week's caffeinated lecture is Friday, Dec. 7, 8:30-10 a.m.

Want more info? Get it here.

Supino tops 2013 Zagat rankings for area restaurants

Now the whole world knows what we've known since first trying a slice of Supino's delectibly, one-of-a-kind, thin-crust pizza way back in, um, early 2009.

That's because Zagat's elevatred the casual Eastern Market storefront pizzeria to number one in its Detroit-area restaurant rankings for 2013.

An excerpt: It was Supino Pizzeria at Eastern Market, where owner Dave Mancini makes fabulous thin-crust pizzas and serves them in a bare-bones dining area with about 20 seats and not a tablecloth in sight.

The lack of décor, though, clearly doesn't bother his customers, who rated his food an average of 29 points out of a possible 30.

Read the rest of the story here.

'Hands on' Model D partner Mode Shift gets Freep's attention

In a recent story on the impact of foundations on local economics and culture, a number of Model D's partners were mentioned, including Knight and the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan, both of whom lend support to the Mode Shift Move Together blog.

An excerpt from the Detroit Free Press:

The most recent example is Mode Shift, an effort funded by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and the Knight Foundation to promote healthy lifestyles by getting people more active -- bicycling, walking and more.

The Community Foundation this year launched a new website called Wearemodeshift.org, an interactive portal that gradually will offer trail maps for bikers, information about bike-friendly retailers, and a debate forum on all manner of topics related to outdoor activity.

Read more here.

Dandelion strategist says TechTown needs to stake emerging technologies

Last week in an op/ed piece in HuffPost Detroit, Philadelphia transplant Jason Lorimer delivered some insolicited counsel to TechTown in how to maximaize its impact on the local tech and research scenes.

An excerpt:  In my opinion, TechTown should stake their flag in emerging technology, like cleantech, alternative energy, medical devices and life sciences. This is the place you come if you have potentially transformative technology on the brain, small or large, ready for market or at the tinkering stage. There exists in Michigan tens of thousands of mostly disparate folks engaged, at varying levels, in new and interesting technologies. TechTown can give them a home.

Read on here.

Veronika Scott of UIX get capital love from Washington Post

One of the early heroines of our own Urban Innovation Exchange project, Veronika Scott, is getting some much-deserved national love her for her nonprofit the Empowerment Plan, which employs homeless women to make coats for the homeless.

An excerpt from the Washington Post:

Scott, now 23, was a student at College for Creative Studies in Detroit when she launched her project by working on a class assignment with this direction: "Design to fill a need."

Scott spent months at a Michigan shelter getting to know the homeless. While there, she began working on a design for a coat prototype for the homeless that weighed 20 pounds and took 80 hours to make, earning her the nickname of the "crazy coat lady."

But Scott streamlined her design. She now employs homeless women to work in a formerly abandoned warehouse where they use donated materials and equipment from General Motors and Carhartt to make warm convertible coats for the homeless. Scott expects that her nonprofit, The Empowerment Plan, will produce 800 coats by year's end.

"She's changing the world, one coat at a time," Kennedy said at the ceremony inside the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Read more here.

AIA design competition aims to redefine Detroit waterfront

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Detroit Urban Priorities Committee last week announced the DETROIT BY DESIGN 2012: Detroit Riverfront Competition and Symposium. The event will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. at the Detroit Institute of Arts Kresge Court, and includes the opportunity for the public to preview selected competition submissions and participate in a discussion about the future of Detroit’s riverfront.

The panel discussion will be moderated by John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press, and the competition and symposium panel includes world renowned architect Daniel Libeskind; Reed Kroloff, Director, Cranbrook Academy of Art; Faye Alexander Nelson, President of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy; landscape architect and educator Walter Hood; and Canadian architect Lola Sheppard. Admission to the event is free for the public.

Competition prizes are $5000, a trip to Detroit and an AIA sponsored lecture to present the winning scheme for first place; $2,500 for second place; and $1,000 for third place. Entries for the competition can be submitted online here. The competition jury will convene in Detroit on Dec. 4-5, and winners chosen by the end of the day on Dec. 5. The winning entries will be announced shortly thereafter.

The Detroit Institute of Arts is at 5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit. Admission is free for the public and $25 for AIA- member architects seeking continuing education credits. A cash bar will be available. For more information, go here.


Hamtown's Jos. Campau gets state historic designation

One of America's grandest main streets, Jos. Campau has history that stretches the whole of the 20th century. Recently. Hamtramck's famous commercial strip was designated historic by the State of Michigan.

Excerpt from the Hamtramck Review:  

Along with the block’s new status also comes new opportunities. Properties considered historic under the designation are now eligible for a 20 percent tax credit that can be used for building rehabilitation.
 
The project was initiated by Community & Economic Development Director Jason Friedmann and was pursued by the Downtown Development Authority. Rebecca Binno Savage served as the historic preservation lead, using the writing and research of city historian Greg Kowalski throughout much of the process.

Read on here.

American heritage brand being created in Detroit

Shinola is getting a lot of local attention for its manufacturing versatility, which includes watch and bicycle assembly. Now comes a well-deserved national nod in coDesign.

An excerpt:

As they’ve started putting their manufacturing operation in place, Shinola has proven not only to be a familiar name but also a reminder of how products can benefit from the stories behind them.

After looking at a number of cities, the team decided to establish the company in Detroit, the former manufacturing powerhouse and something of an American throwback itself. It’s a tidy fit that, like the Shinola name, Detroit too is in the early stages of a 21st-century reinvention.

Read more here.

WSU: High-strength material advancements may lead to life-saving steel

Wayne State University says a new steel being developed has high carbon and high silicon content, and after the austempering process - an isothermal heat treatment - produced a structure that is stronger and tougher than other types of steel. 

Hey, we think that sounds great. Read more here

LCD TV assembly lines coming to Detroit? Maybe

We caught this tasty little item last week at CNET and couldn't resist poking around the story a bit and pondering if it could indeed happen.

An excerpt:

Famous as the company that makes iphones for Apple, China's Foxconn is now evaluating a few U.S. cities, including Detroit and Los Angeles, to determine whether they would be good places to set up shop.

Read more here.

Lou Glazer: Keep growing knowledge-based industries

The strongest areas of growth for the U.S., says our friend Lou Glazer in Crain's Detroit Business, are in the knowledge-based sectors, such as engineering.

Employment nationally in those areas rose 34 percent compared with 14 percent in the rest of the economy. The key to Michigan's growth is to figure out how to keep in step with those statistics. Good stuff.

Read the rest of the story here.

Linkner in Forbes: In Detroit, business can stand on shoulders of giants

Writing in Forbes, former ePrize founder and CEO and local entrepreneurial guru Josh Linkner takes it to the Silicon Valley's over-inflated bubble and shouts out the virtues of growing a company in Detroit.
 
Excerpt:
 
While there have been no shortage of successful start-ups in Silicon Valley, I argue that many of those ventures succeeded in spite of their location. For me, this 'best place' logic makes no sense. In the Bay Area, there is more competition for everything -- talent, funding, office space, resources, etc. When you’re swimming in a vast ocean filled with other startups, you need herculean accomplishments to stand out any more than the next guy. Every single day. Good luck with that.

Read the entire story here.

Metro Times blog: Pre-order reissue of Adult. classic 'Resusitation'

We love Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller, better known to all you closet dance punks as Adult. That's Adult. with a period, wherever you insert the electronic duo's name in a sentence.

So we were mighty happy to read in the Metro Times that Kuperus and Miller have been working on some new stuff, and our old Ann Arbor friends at Ghostly International are reissuing the seminal Resucitation -- and on vinyl, no less, for the first time.

Read more here.

Skyscrapers lit up downtown for World Series

OK, we're all experiencing severe baseball hangover after seeing the Tigers fall to those intolerably spunky and quirky San Francisco Giants. But at least we got some residual benefit by getting downtown skyscrapers to light up the Detroit skies.

The Downtown Detroit Partnership asked more than 4,300 businesses to leave their lights on 6:30 p.m.-1 a.m. on game days and to put up messages, "Welcome to the World Series" and "Go, Tigers!"

Read more here. And go get 'em next year, Tigers.

Mode Shift says 'hooray' for walkable neighborhoods

From our friends at Mode Shift Move Together, a list of the four new and permanent retail spaces being developed in West Village this spring:

Craft Work, a restaurant and bar formed by a partnership between Michael Geiger and Hugh Yarro, the restaurateur involved in Ronan Sushi in Royal Oak and Commonwealth Café in Birmingham;
Detroit Vegan Soul, a healthy soul food restaurant, catering service, and meal-delivery operation -- and Hatch 2012 semi-finalist -- owned by Kirsten Ussery and Erica Boyd;
The Red Hook, a coffee and baked goods shop;
Tarot & Tea, a tea room, bulk tea purveyor, and retail goods shop that is the brain child of Nefertiti Harris, a successful Midtown business owner.

Sounds great. Read more here.

Open City: Sharing success from business to business

Last week's Open City gathering featured several Detroit prime small business movers, including Dave Mancini of Supino Pizzaria. MLive reported Mancini said spent years looking for the right location to open his restaurant. Once he did open he had to find people just as committed and he was to making it a success.

Read more of what was said at Open City here.

Kresge: Metro Detroit literary, visual artists can apply for fellowships beginning Nov. 1

In the 2013-14 cycle, 36 Kresge Arts fellowships will be evenly distributed among the categories of literary arts, visual arts, music/dance, and film/theater. In 2013, the fellowships will provide support for nine literary artists and nine visual artists living and working in metropolitan Detroit (Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties), whose commitment to artistic achievement in contemporary or traditional forms is evident in the quality of their work. In 2014, fellowships will be awarded to nine artists in music/dance and nine artists in film/theater.

Calling all artists. Step up, read more and apply here now. There will be a literary arts information session Dec. 1, 1 p.m., at the Walter B. Ford II Building, College for Creative Studies, 201 E. Kirby, in Detroit's Midtown. On Dec. 11, there is a visual arts info session at the same location at 6 p.m.

The application deadline is Feb. 1. 


HuffPost Detroit: Loveland's Paffendorf essays advice for county property auction

When Jerry Paffendorf is talking about Detroit properties and tax foreclosure auction in the same sentence, we're listening.

An excerpt:

Let's strap on our Detroit x-ray glasses at whydontweownthis.com, look at what's happening with the 20,000 properties at the Wayne County Tax Foreclosure Auction, and get real about improving land use strategies, informing the public, advertising the problems and dealing with all the properties left behind.

Well said. Here's the rest of the story.

Kickstart Noah Stephen's food photography project

We knew photographer-blogger Noah Stephens was interested in food and food systems in Detroit, but we didn't know how interested until we heard about this project to document every grocer in the city. He's trying to kickstart some funding to make it happen.

Check it out here.

Freep: Knight to put $20M into Detroit arts, culture

The Knight Foundation has proved to be a trusted and true friend of the emerging Detroit art scene. Word is that friendship will grow and prosper after the foundation invests $20 million in Detroit arts and culture. The Detroit Free Press has the scoop.

Read on here.

Food trucks prepare for final Tuesday at Eastern Market's Shed 2

One Tuesday remains for the food truck season at Eastern Market's Shed 2. Businesses like Good Girls Go to Paris, El Guapao, People's Pierogi Collective, Urban Grounds and others will be there today, Oct. 30, 4-8 p.m. You're invited! See the invite here.

And for more information, go here.

Dwell: International design movement includes Detroit

We found this gem of an overview on the world wide urban design movement largely because of this excerpt:

Matt Clayson, Director of the Detroit Design Festival calls this current rash of festivals the third wave. London's, founded in 2003, is the mothership. Philadelphia, founded in 2005, and San Francisco, in 2006, were the second wave. Detroit’s venture grew from the Detroit Creative Corridor Center’s design-thinky approach. Like that?

Here's more, from Dwell.

HuffPost Detroit: 'Shack' becomes Woodbridge cycling center

Last week's feature on Detroit's emerging bicycle economy was only the tip of the iceberg. There's a ton of non-motorized activity in town, and HuffPost Detroit is doing a fab job of reporting it. Like this one. An excerpt:

Jason Hall, Mike MacKool and Mike Sheppard are the three young men behind the building's reinvention. The trio runs an annual bike expo called Detroit Bike City, which drew 1,500 people to Cobo Hall this past March. They're also members of Bikes & Murder, a local bicycle club that sponsors a popular weekly bike ride, dubbed "Slow Rolls to Slow Jams," at the Woodbridge Pub, located across the street from the space.

Read on here.

Atlantic Cities on rust belt memes: Dig deeper, find nuances

This summary of why rust belt narratives are far too often oversimplified and under-scrutinized screams to be passed around. Check this out:

We need more gray-area approaches to the Rust Belt that are less pre-packaged, more uncertain, and not as "feel good" or "feel bad" as “the ruin” and "rebirth" memes. We need reporting that helps us understand the inherent messiness of current conditions, and by so doing allows us to have better discussions of what and where is good and bad in the Rust Belt. These, by consequence, will lead to better real-world effects.

That, from Atlantic Cities. Read the rest here.

MODCaR's Imaging project makes Mutable Matter

A unique event called Imaging Detroit, featuring DJs (no, not that kind; we're talking discourse jockeys. Clever, eh?) at the near East Side's Perrien Park was one of the highlights of last month's Detroit Design Festival.

It's heady stuff. The web-based Mutable Matter zine was equally impressed. Read what they have to say here.

Mies Detroit residential gems subject of new book

Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies, due out at the end of the month on Metropolis Books, gets a sneak preview in the New York Times. Yes, it's an architectural love story set in Lafayette Park; and, yes, as promised, we do have a dandy feature book review this week.

If you missed it, check this out. And another, a little bonus from the Design Observer Group.

Remake, remodel: East Riverfront's Globe to become DNR adventure and education center

Our hearts leap each time we hear about a new redevelopment project on or near Detroit's riverfront or the Dequindre Cut, like this one regarding the vintage late-19th century Globe Trading Co. building that was announced to much fanfare last week.

An excerpt: 

Under a deal for the building, the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., a quasi-public board that holds title to the Globe on behalf of the city, will sell it for $1 to a local entity created by the Roxbury Group, a Detroit-based developer. Roxbury will then develop it to the DNR's specifications with the help of a construction loan from Key Bank.

Read more in the Freep here.

Voter education forums to held Saturday at six neighborhood locations

Twelve Community Voter Education Forums will be held at six locations across Detroit this Saturday, Oct. 13 to inform voters about the details of the statewide proposals on the Nov. 6 ballot. The first forum at each location will be from 10 a.m. until noon. The second forum at each location will be from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.   

Everyone is welcome to attend any of the voter education forums, but organizers suggest attending the forum nearest your home or place of employment. The locations: 

Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School
3200 E. Lafayette

Renaissance High School
6565 W. Outer Drive

Wayne County Community College District East Campus
5901 Conner

East English Village Academy
17200 Southhampton
 
Wayne County Community College District Northwest Campus
8200 W. Outer Drive

Western High School
1500 Scotten Street

Forbes weighs in on 'Another Detroit is Happening'

Freelancer Tamara Warren attended a recent Corktown summit and penned this stylish report for Forbes.

An excerpt: Detroit is a fascinating backdrop as a metaphor for America -- its hidden cultural gems, its industrial revolution legacy, the fortitude of diligent business owners and its stark and vivid displays of neglect. But what made this visiting group different was the caliber of insight offered by the attendees whose list of accomplishments is nothing short of outstanding.

Well said. Read on here.

74Films finds action at Ride It Sculpture Park

We loved the idea even before we crashed into the reality: a sculpture skate park in the NoHam neighborhood near Davison. We found this on Vimeo, loved it, too.

An Excerpt: If you're a skateboarder and live here chances are you know a lot more about what makes this place unique and great. This past summer an unusual project took place just north of Hamtramck. It's a story that isn't unusual to skaters but might be to others. It's a true skateboarding DIY tale.

Watch it here.

Detroit Bus Co., other DIY startups get love from Popular Mechanics

Yup, we check through the virtual editions of Popular Mechanics now and then, looking for Detroit content. And here it is! A nice piece on DIY startups, our speciality.

An Excerpt: In 2012, that prevailing philosophy led Inc. magazine to dub Detroit Startup City. It earned the name because of the proliferation of small-business incubators. Among these was TechShop, a national network of member-based workshops. It was another iteration of a model created by TechTown at Detroit's Wayne State University in 2003. 

Read more here.

Planet Ant production explores Hamtown diversity

The linguistic, social and ethnic diversity of Hamtrmack never fails to charm us here at Model D HQ. It's great to hear that the realities of the community have inspired what looks like a nice piece of theatrical art at Planet Ant.

An excerpt: (Writer) Edwartowski’s blend of quirky characters and realistic dialogue might lead one to believe she penned much of her script by eavesdropping on Hamtramck citizens as they came and went from any of Hamtramck’s dining establishments -- it’s that natural.

Good stuff. Read more about the production here.

Open house set for the Auburn Friday and Saturday

On Wednesday, project partners, Invest Detroit, Midtown Detroit, Inc. and The Roxbury Group will give the first construction tour and preview of the Auburn, a $12 million, 56,000 square foot residential and retail project at Cass Avenue and Canfield Street in Midtown, Detroit. The five commercial tenants, which are scheduled to open by the end of the year, will also be announced.
 
The tour will give us a first look at the Auburn’s model units and common spaces, including two expansive porches and a year-round social room. The tour will also mark the official start of leasing for the 58 apartments. The preview is Oct. 3, 11 a.m. at the main entrance, 4240 Cass Avenue.
 
The Auburn will hold open houses for the community and potential residents on Friday, Oct. 5, noon-9 p.m.; and Saturday, Oct. 6, 4-9 p.m.
 
The Auburn has 54 one-bedroom and four studio apartments. The one bedroom units range from $920 to $995 and the studios from $780 to $830. For leasing information, contact Michael Martorelli, leasing manager for the Auburn, by sending an email here.
 

D:hive founder issues challenge to Detroit hater Colbert

Here's something we'd LOVE to see happen on the lower Woodward corridor: pompous and unfunny Comedy Central show host Stephen Colbert in Detroit, a city that he slaps around with oft-frequency. What we LOVE even more is this challenge from D:hive founder Josh McManus: "Satire is a good awareness vehicle for social change," McManus said in issuing his challenge. "Mr. Colbert, when are you going to put your ass where your mouth is?"

Well said, Josh. Read the rest of the Freep story here.

Hamtramck collage artist George Rahme gets big ups from Kresge Arts

There is a nice show on right now at Hamtramck's Public Pool, where neighborhood artist George Rahme is sitting daily tinkering with his huge, multi-colored collages and planning some good tunes (Rahme is an accomplished DJ as well). The Knight Arts blog takes favorable notice.

Read the whole story here.

WSU takes lead on bike sharing study

This is the kind of phrase, from the HuffPost Detroit, we consider music to our ears: A coalition of local business and nonprofit groups is now pursuing a study to see if this type of program, which already exists in places like Denver and Minneapolis, has a future in Motown. Wayne State University and other heavyweight institution and funders are involved in talks to get it done.

Read all about it here.

Monocle does Detroit again in beautiful moving pictures

Last week we found this series of "the Urbanist" podcasts about Detroit living on the UK-based Monocle site; this week, it's Detroit video content we find hosted by our British friends. 

Just click here and enjoy.

Dan Gilbert's entrepreneurial mission gets noticed

We've written plenty, and so have others in Detroit, about Dan Gilbert's voracious appetite for vertical downtown properties. It's nice when others notice, like MedCity News, based in Cleveland (he has several holdings there as well, including the Cavaliers NBA franchise).

Read the Q&A here.

Live Downtown, Live Midtown programs not slowing down

Nearly 700 young workers have already taken advantage of the Live Downtown and Live Midtown program. That's a good number for an initiative that was launched just last year. But more would jump at the incentive to move into greater downtown if there were more living units available, says Sue Mosey of Midtown Inc. in this story in MLive.

An excerpt:

The effort was launched in "partnership with Henry Ford Health System, Wayne State University and Detroit Medical Center as a way to get young workers to live in the Midtown area, by offering $2,500 in annual rent assistance or a $20,000 down payment on a home purchase. The effort's initial $5 million was matched by the Hudson River Foundation, the Michigan Housing Development Authority and the Kresge Foundation.

Large employers in the downtown area took note of the program, and soon Compuware, Quicken Loans, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Strategic Staffing and DTE Energy added another $5 million to the effort to draw their young workers downtown.
About $2 million has been spent so far, Mosey said, and the program plans to continue to spend $2 million each year for the next four years.

Sounds good, let's keep it going. Read more here.

Atlantic Cities: Detroit's "dark euphoria"

Any piece about Detroit that leads with a quote from Sci-fi scion Bruce Sterling passes our cultural literacy test. Not to mention some other juicy wordsmithing by philosopher-superstar-entrepreneur Josh Linkner, who tells Atlantic Cities: "I'll put a Detroit entrepreneur up against anyone from the coasts and I think we'd kick their ass." Yeah, man. We like that kind of real talk. He also takes on the city's notorious lack of density, saying:  "Things tend to be spread out," he said. "Something on one block and something else four blocks later. We don't have a place you can stroll around for eight square blocks."

Right again, Josh. Read the entire story, largely about the national buzz being generated by the M@dison Building, here.

HuffPost gives us first taste of DDF

Yes, we have a lot of coverage of the Detroit Design Festival this week. But too much is never enough when you have a series of happenings this good. Here's one to clip and save from Kate Abbey-Lambertz in HuffPost Detroit.

Start reading here.

The Urbanist podcasts Detroit

We love British media culture (Doctor Who? Downton Abbey? Big fans over here at Model D HQ). And for print, and, increasingly, on the web, it's Monocle that catches our myriad eyes. Especially when we start finding Detroit content. Like what we found in this series of the Urbanist.

Listen up here.

Curbed digs for news at Transformation Detroit event

We don't care what anyone says we love seeing Curbed Detroit breaking stories no one else does, like this piece that includes a few juicy teasers about what is happening and when in Corktown (or is that Corktown Shores?):

Take a look here.

Hatch semifinalist Vegan Soul talks food biz with HuffPost

May the best women and men win Hatch Detroit's $50,000 in seed money to support business startups in Detroit. And read all about how four finalists will be selected this Wednesday in Jon Zemke's news story here.

HuffPost Detroit has a tasty profile on one of the contenders, Vegan Soul. Read about them here.

Josh Linkner: Investing in Detroit good as gold

One of the things we love about Josh Linkner is he's never afraid to punctuate his thoughts in a way everyone can understand -- like comparing Detroit real estate to precious metals, gold in particular.

It's all here in a piece Linkner penned for Forbes, no less.

An excerpt:

Within a five-block radius from the downtown Detroit epicenter, you can buy a vacant building. Yes, building. My business partner Dan Gilbert has purchased approximately 3 million square feet of commercial property in the heart of downtown Detroit over the last few years through his firm, Bedrock Real Estate Services.

Read on here.

Curbed Detroit: Colorful art heats up streets

If you haven't had a chance to check out some of the colorful, edgy street art popping up around Detroit and Hamtramck, then get out there and see it now. It's splendid.

Curbed Detroit knows what it's all about. Go here and enjoy.

Rumors fly sky high about Yamasaki architectural gem

We have absolutely no problem admitting we love the work of former Detroiter, the notable Japanese-American architect Minoru Yamasaki, who among other gems, designed what is now known as One Woodward. Crain's Detroit Business is reporting this tantalizing rumor. What rumor?

Read more here,

Detroit music biz subject of Crain's series

We take the business of Detroit music seriously here and devoted much of our July speaker series to that topic. This series of stories in Crains Detroit simply nails many of our concerns. Our kudos. Highly recommended reading.

Start here.

Hatch Detroit picks 10 semi-finalists

Hatch Detroit has announced the top 10 semi-finalists for the 2012 Comerica Hatch Detroit contest.

This year’s competition brought in more than 250 business plan submissions, representing a 25 percent increase over last year’s contest.

Drum roll, please. Here they are:

Detroit River Sports – Kayak rentals to city-goers, offering tours through the canal districts of Belle Isle, Downtown and other parts of the city. 

Detroit Vegan Soul Café – Vegan food with a soul twist, currently operating as a catering and food delivery business, looking to open a store in Midtown.

La Feria – A wine bar featuring authentic Spanish tapas in a relaxed yet upbeat setting, looking to open in Midtown.

Motor City Design – A custom denim specialty retail store featuring Made in Michigan products where customers can watch garments be made right in the store, looking to open Downtown.

Pho da Nang – A Vietnamese restaurant based in Clawson looking to open another location in Midtown.

Rock City Pies – A handmade pie company specializing in unique combinations such as Salty Apple Carmel Pie and Blueberry-Custard Pie, looking to open in Midtown.

Tashmoo Biergarten – Based on the biergartens in Germany, operating as a pop-up in West Village, looking to open a permanent space in the neighborhood.

The Collective Tap – High-end beer retailer offering classes and food parings, looking to open Downtown. 

Vividbraille Studio Boutique – Fuses high-end fashion and design with USA manufacturing in a retail setting, offering customers some of the finest Made in the USA fashion goods, currently operating in Chicago and looking to expand to Detroit.  

Whip Hand Cosmetics – A cosmetic company, currently operating online, looking to open its manufacturing and retail facility Downtown.

HuffPost Detroit's Kate Abbey-Lambertz wraps some good narrative around this announcement here.

Calling all architects: Register now for riverfront design competition

We've always believed a little competition for architects in Detroit could be a beautiful thing -- and end with the creation of many beautiful things.

So, right on cue, comes a design competition focusing on the redeveloping the riverfront.

An excerpt:

The competition will focus on the area between Cobo Hall and the Renaissance Center and between Jefferson Avenue and the Detroit River. This section of Riverfront which includes Hart Plaza is at the heart of the city. The major streets from the radial street plan created by Augustus Woodward intersect just north of this site.

Read the rest of the story here.

Nonprofit Better Block project coming to Detroit

We spotted this item trolling, as we are prone to do, on GOOD. It's about a project that redesigns and remakes a city block.

An excerpt:

The organization's next stop: Detroit, where the city's first-ever Better Block project will take place from Sept. 22 to 23 as part of the Detroit Design Festival. Headed by volunteers from the US Green Building Council and Wayne State University, the project aims to reshape a location with plenty of vacant commercial space -- the North End.

Great stuff. Read more here.

Matt Dear: 'Detroit hypnotizing, fascinating, great place for artists'

Full disclosure: we've loved Matthew Dear since we first started hearing his music and going out to see him DJ in the early '00s. Our gophers even dug up this feature penned by managing editor Walter Wasacz in 2004: here

Now living in upstate New York, Dear still holds Detroit, well, dear. An excerpt from Cool Hunting:

That's Detroit--it always makes you feel like it's on the verge of tipping toward being successful and booming. And that's what keeps people there. And when you're in Detroit, you feel like you own it. It's your city, you're there, you're the one bringing in art and events and doing shows. You're meeting people who are also doing their version of what their creative interest is. So there's this little buzz that's always in Detroit and no matter how big that buzz gets on the world scale--like right now a lot of people are talking about it--you hope that it does finally explode.

Read more here.

Freep: News expected soon on Woodward rail

Take a look at our News item today on developments in the M1 story and also take a peek at this, another report from the Detroit Free Press. An excerpt:

Project supporters were given 60 days to address concerns about the cost of building and operating the $137-million M-1 Rail line from downtown to the New Center area of Detroit -- a 15-minute route with 11 stops. It is a scaled-down version of the original plan to run light rail north to the city limits at 8 Mile.

Read on here.

Successful entrepreneurs just want to have fun

Despite a snarky lead-in by writer Jude Stewart ("Detroit the Dinosaur hardly feels like the right place to investigate pockets of American innovation") - Hey Jude, don't make it (sound so) bad - this was still nice to see last week in Fast Company:

In a converted theater in downtown Detroit, Detroit Labs is a testament to the city’s resilient spirit of invention. The one-year-old startup designs and builds mobile applications, including Domino’s ordering app, which accounts for $150 million in annualized revenue, and the Chevy Game Time app, which dominated the Super Bowl last January, outranking Angry Birds for a time in the iTunes app store. Since turning a profit (in year one), Detroit Labs has activated phase two of its business plan: letting its developers work one day a week on totally independent projects. That’s right. Employees get paid to futz around.

Read on here.

Osborn neighborhood benefits from bikes for kids program

Hoo-ray, we say. A summer bikes for kids program organized locally by the Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative (DECC) made possible by a $12,500 Rails-to-Trails Conservancy grant sponsored by Coca-Cola is paying dividends in one East Side neighborhood.

HuffPost Detroit has the rest of the story here.

Tampa book arts blog send up some love to Eastern Market's Signal-Return

Nice to see some attention given to one of our favorite innovative small businesses, Signal-Return. This by way of a Tampa blog.

An excerpt:

Ryan Schirmang, director of the storefront operation in Detroit’s Eastern Market helped launch Signal-Return as a project manager for Team Detroit, the international advertising and marketing firm. Team Detroit established the print studio as a way to bring traditional and modern techniques of printing to the community, and to provide a workspace for artists and designers to produce unique prints for retail clients.

Read the rest of the piece here.

Belle Isle aquarium re-opens with limited hours

Here's some sweet music to our ears: the Aquarium will be open the first Sunday of each month and the second and third Saturdays of each month, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at no charge. It re-opened last Saturday to celebrate its 108th birthday.

For more information go here


Move to Detroit, build community, get some rent money

Here's a nice "catch" we made by trolling our social media ticker last week, this one courtesy of our friends at I Am Young Detroit.

An excerpt:

The Live Detroit Fund was established last August through the "Do It For Detroit" campaign organized by CommunityNEXT of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. The fund allows recipients to receive $250 per month toward their rent. What’s the catch? The catch is you’re required to host a monthly event to help build community in Detroit.

Read on here.

Hamtramck gets historic designation for Negro League stadium

We know ballplayers who once played at this hidden gem, an historic stadium once a playing field for the old Negro League. Now, thanks to community leaders, volunteers and preservationists, the stadium has made it on the National Register of Historic Places.

Well done everybody. The Hamtramck Review has the rest of the story here.

Greater downtown lifestyle buzz gets Freep's attention

This is music to our ears, as written by John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press: 

"There are traffic jams in the morning -- and after work on streets that were once abandoned after dark. New residents walk their dogs, buy coffee, get haircuts." He's talking about downtown and Midtown activity, of course.

Want to read more? Sure you do. Go here.

Nutrition company Savorfull moves into New Center

Here's one that has been on our radar for a while: nutrition company Savorfull, founded by nutritionist and CEO Stacy Goldberg, has moved its headquarters to the New Center One Building in Detroit.

Savorfull is a growing food membership service providing individuals with special dietary needs a sampler box of nutrient-dense, allergen-free food each month to their doorstep. The company’s new space at New Center One allows Savorfull to expedite service to its expanding customer base nationwide. 

To learn more about Savorfull, go here.

'Detroit Je t'aime' filmmaker tells all about love for the city

Stop the digital presses: we're pleased to report that the Kickstarter campaign to fund Detroit Je t'aime ended successfully on Monday. This story by one of the filmmakers gives a nice account of how passionate this French team feels about the city. And only one moronic comment (near the end) out of 30 or so responses in the Detroit News. Well done!

An excerpt:

Meeting with people such as the legendary Grace Lee Boggs (97-year-old activist and philosopher), Malik Yakini (from D-Town, the largest urban farm in Detroit) and Olayami Dabls (from MBAD's African Bead Museum), among many others, was definitely life-changing. Thanks to this Detroit crash course, I quickly stopped calling Detroit a "blank canvas."

Read the rest of the story here.

Slows' Yardbird to face off for best U.S. sandwich in August

Here what Adam Richman said on his Travel Channel food show last week about what is now one of America's most talked about sandwiches:

"(It's) a sandwich to be savored. It's unlike any sandwich found anywhere," Richman said during the episode, adding that the Yardbird will be moving on because of the "depth of flavor and special blend of seasoning."

The Travel Channel series, which airs at 9 p.m. Wednesdays, has scheduled the finals -- a national battle where the Yardbird will face nine other regional winners -- for Aug. 15.

We'll get some carryout from Slows and be tuning in. 

Check out the rest of the story here.

DC3 announces second design festival for September

The second annual Detroit Design Festival (DDF), presented by the Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3), is coming to Detroit’s Woodward Corridor Sept. 19-23. The festival, which had 85 Design Happenings featuring 300 designers in its first year, connects designers and creative practitioners, exposing them to new markets and consumers. 

We had a ton of fun last year. Read more here and stay tuned for more info closer to the dates. 

Core77 blogger hits Detroit, swoons over people and place

We were trolling for Detroit media love when we chanced upon this beauty of a blog. Not much more introduction needed.

An excerpt:

True to form, DC3 introduced me to Peggy Brennan, co-founder of the Green Garage. The converted Model T showroom serves as a demonstration of down-to-earth sustainability (no pun intended), as well as a business incubator (everyone incubates these days) and an advisor on integrating sustainable practices for any interested member of the community. Brennan and her husband, along with 200 volunteers, spent two years designing how to best renovate the showroom and looked to the Passivhaus for inspiration. With 19-inches of insulation and triple-glazed windows, the Green Garage only costs $300 to heat for a year.

Read the entire travelog here.

Next step forward for urban ag: soil remediation

What to do when you want to farm in the city but the ground needs a little help to get well? Soil remediation might be the answer, reports David Sands in HuffPost Detroit.

Ann excerpt:

"This is all very experimental," he said, "We figured it was a decent spot and it was a safe place to practice, he said. "We'll have things like bonesett, like yarrow and goldenrod and perennial sunflowers, which are all dynamic accumulators of different toxins."

Those plants remove hazardous materials such as heavy metals from the ground and hold them in their bodies, making it easy for people to dispose of dangerous substances through incineration or placement in a special landfill.

Read it all here.

Next American City looks at impact of Midtown Inc.

We were happy to find this little validation of the great work done by Midtown Inc.

A descriptive excerpt:

Founded in 1976 by community activists rooted in the affordable housing movement of the 1960s, Midtown Inc. evolved along with the city. In the last two decades, the scrappy non-profit’s tactical collaborations with major anchor institutions in Detroit -- including City Hall -- have elevated it from the anti-establishment fringe and into the establishment itself.

Read on here.

Hotter than July kicks off at multiple locations

Who's going? Events include an interfaith candlelight vigil, a three hour cruise on the Detroit River, the Gathering, a day of education and advocacy with an array of interactive and informative workshops covering issues of importance to women, men, transgender and youth, the Palmer Park picnic and much more. 

See the entire schedule here.

Vice: Phil Cooley one of "most interesting men" in U.S.

We love Vice, we love Phil Cooley. It makes sense the two would get along so famously.

An exceprt:

"We always felt that in order to have a healthy, long-term sustainable buisness we need a healthy community surrounding us," Cooley said. "So I was able to then use the monies we made from Slows, to hopefully help others in the community. We started working in public spaces, helping other small businesses get open, just because I could."

Read on and watch the video here.

Curbed Detroit says financing, construction coming soon for Whitney Building

We've been waiting to hear that the Whitney Building was ready to start redevelopment work ever since last October, when we held our Next Big Thing event there. We'll be waiting to get the official word and will bring that to you as soon as we have it.

In the meantime, check this out:

The Roxbury Group is the project developer; these are the same people behind The Auburn in Midtown. They have told Curbed that they are currently almost done gathering all the finances together and construction will begin immediately after.

Read more here.


RiverWalk's $44 million in upgrades to include improvements to Mt. Elliott, Gabriel Richard parks

Wonderful news from the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy: more funding is headed Detroit's way for upgrades to the RiverWalk. An announcement Monday morning by heavyweight government officials zeroed in on improvements to two significant parks east of downtown. More work is planned on that stretch of the walk, plus an extension that will take pedestrian and non-motorized traffic west to the Ambassodor Bridge.

An excerpt from the Detroit News: 

The state's Department of Natural Resources awarded the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy a $15 million check at the groundbreaking ceremony. The conversancy has also received a $29 million federal highway appropriation, which U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, helped secure and the state's Department of Transportation gave to the river project.

Officials from the conservancy, MDOT, DNR and others applauded the partnership that will transform the river. Read the rest of the story here.

ACLU sues on behalf of Highland Park students with low literacy rates

On Thursday the Michigan branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) -- with offices on Woodward Avenue in Brush Park -- filed a class-action lawsuit, the first of its kind, against the state of Michigan, state agencies overseeing public education and the Highland Park school system. They did so on behalf of eight students representing the roughly 1,000 children who attend the K-12 public school district.

Read the rest of the story here.

Workshops, other activities heating up at Signal-Return

Signal-Return, the self-described "hive for dynamic visual production" in Eastern Market that is "a multi-use center for fine art, design, craft and literary arts" is zooming forward with workshops and other special events this summer and fall.

Go here to get more info on what's happening at Signal-Return.

'Motion to Makeover' project transforms Southwest park

Any news about people volunteering to clean up and "makeover" a Detroit city park is good news. All the better is that the project is being headed by some law students. 

An excerpt:

The 313 Project, started in 2009 by then first-year law students Aisa Villarosa, Erika Riggs and Juliana Rivera as a community-service student group, offers free legal clinics to underserved groups. But they also spend time each month with their Motion to Makeover project, which took on a major project -- Southwest Detroit's 26-acre Romanowski Park.

What started as a casual idea to work on a park took root when the group decided on Romanowski and approached Home Depot about getting materials, not expecting it to turn into a $16,500 grant from the company's foundation.

Read the rest of the story in HuffPost Detroit here.

Canadian investor creates bicycle manufacturing center

There are a lot of bikes out there, but how many are "Made in Detroit?" Not many, probably. Not yet, anyway.

But here they come, thanks to Zak Pashak, who moved down here to cycling utopia from Western Canada to open a bicycle manufacturing center.

An excerpt from HuffPost Detroit:

His target customers are people who aren't hardcore cyclists but are still interested in bikes.The model he plans on producing in Detroit will be a lightweight steel three-speed with a tire that's thicker than those used for racing bikes. The bike will come in one color -- black-- and sell for a little under $500.

Black, yes. We'll take (at least) one. See the rest of the story here.

Hygienic Dress League gets plastered on walls of Berlin

This German blog says a pair of Detroit artists are at the intersection of street art and commercial branding. They got that absolutely right. That's exactly what we think about the public art created by Steve and Dorota Coy, known around the world as the Hygienic Dress League.

Read all about it here.

Highland Park Music Fest sets up on grounds of historic McGregor Library

The Highland Park Business Association (HPBA) this week announced that the third annual Highland Park Music Festival will be held July 20-22 on the grounds of the historic McGregor Library.
 
Many of Metro Detroit’s leading musicians will be among the 30 acts who will perform including the Theatrics, featuring Arthur "Haas" Phillips (formerly of the Dramatics), legendary Motown guitarist, Dennis Coffey, the Marion Hayden Quartet, The Real Deal, Deblon Jackson & the Jazz Kids, the P-Funk Mob, Marissa Rose (featured on Kem’s latest hit single "If It’s Love") and saxophonist Duane Parham. 

The Highland Park Music Festival is free to the public and will offer activities for the entire community to enjoy. Families can spend an entire day enjoying quality music in the park, great food, and activities for children.

Corktown gets front page love in the News

Nice to see a major feature on one of our neighborhood gems -- Corktown -- in one of the Detroit dailies. So what if we were there first -- about seven years and a month or two earlier. But who's bragging? Love the deep(ish) dive and the awesome quotes. Kudos.

An excerpt:

Among the new business owners are Jason Yates and Deveri Gifford, who opened a breakfast spot, the Brooklyn Street Local.
The Canadian couple chose Corktown after staying at Hostel Detroit and realizing the neighborhood was "the perfect spot" for their restaurant.

Fellow business owners have been overwhelmingly supportive.

"It's a collaborative effort, rather than competitive," Yates said. "It's fun because we're all doing this at the same time."

Read on here.

Transcontinental interplanetary neighborhood bicycle dude

When a guy named Mars hit town, suddenly things got down to earth in the Detroit neighborhood just east of Palmer Park. That's where he fixes up and gives away bikes to kids in the community. We read all about it in HuffPost Detroit. 

An excerpt:

"I owned my own business. I was making plenty of money. I had all my needs met," he told The Huffington Post.

However, that way of living didn't feel right to (Mars) Symons. He learned of an intentional community movement in Detroit called Fireweed Universe City, after meeting a psychedelic trance DJ who had become involved with the group. Symons decided to bike to the Motor City to check it out.

Read the rest of the story here.

Lou Glazer: Key to Michigan prosperity is high density of talent

When we met Lou Glazer several years ago we knew he had his head wrapped around what Detroit and the state needs to prosper. Not surprisingly the president of Michigan Future Inc. still has his finger on the pulse of what should be next.

An exerpt from LSJ.com:

The evidence is clear: The most prosperous places in America are those with the highest talent concentrations. In 2010 of the top 15 states in the proportion of adults with a four-year degree or more 12 are also in the top 15 in per capita income. All are in the top 20. Michigan’s fundamental challenge is that we are 36th in college attainment.

Read on to see what the state needs to do to change that here.

Recovery Park goal includes indoor urban ag, horse stables, neighborhood employment

Gary Wozniak sees himself as a food systems developer and a job creator. And no, he's not running for president but rather looking to redevelop a 3-square-mile area on Detroit's East Side into self-sustaining farms with their own production and distribution systems. Ambitious enough, we think.

An excerpt from The Hub:

Recovery Park started as leaders from SHAR (Self Help Addiction Rehabilitation) were looking to create jobs for people with barriers to employment. Looking at the talent pool and the physical resources Detroit abundantly has--land, road infrastructure, access to fresh water--the natural conclusion was urban farming and food system development.

The difference between Recovery Park and other urban farming/ urban redevelopment programs is in both size and scale. While most community farming produces few jobs that are often dependent on grant funding, Recovery Park’s model aims toward something more self-sustainable.

"We’re taking a look more at commercial indoor agriculture so that the jobs are year round," Wozniak says. "We can get three, maybe four, growing seasons working indoors."

Intriguing stuff, yes? Read more here.

Indie film titan Jim Jarmusch shooting vampire flick in Brush Park

Stop the virtual presses: the perpetual silver fox of independent film, Jim Jarmusch, has been spotted walking around downtown Detroit. A few years ago, during a weekend in New York, we spotted Jim walking in Union Square. He likes cities and he likes walking. He's never a stranger to paradise. Welcome to Detroit.

He's here to make a vampire flick, provisionally titles "Only Lovers Left Alive." We like it.

An exerct from Deadline Detroit: 

The movie, a centuries-long romantic drama about two vampires, has an impressive cast, including Mia Wasikowska (the star of "Alice in Wonderland"), Tom Hiddleston (Loki in "The Avengers"), Tilda Swinton ("Michael Clayton"), John Hurt ("Alien") and the just-announced Anton Yelchin ("Fright Night").

Read more here.

MSU invests $1.5 million in Detroit farming project

It's nice to see Detroit going green. Yes, we're talking about the accelerating urban agriculture scene, but we're also cool with the increased presence by Michigan State University in the city. Sparty and Detroit are collaborating on a massive $1.5 million farming project.

An exerpt from HuffPost Detroit:

As the earth's population continues to concentrate in cities and resources become more scarce, the university believes that the world will become increasingly dependent on urban farming to meet its food needs.

"By 2050, food production will need to double -- using less water and energy than today," MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said in a release. "We see great opportunity to do good locally and connect globally."

More here.

"Sharp" Eastern Market FC shirts available with a click

Fans of the Eastern Market Futbol Club will love this, limited edition T-Shirts with some cool design work. All others, this is what you need to know: the product is "actually made in Detroit" and have some serious edge. Fantastic. Get them while they're hot.

Find them here.

Concert of Colors celebrates 20 years this weekend in three locations

There's so much to see and hear at this year's Concert of Colors -- the annual summer event's 20th anniversary -- that we'll let you decide where you want to go and who you want to see this long weekend (Thursday July 12 through Sunday July 15) at three venues (the Detroit Institute of Arts, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Max M. Fisher Center) in the Cultural Center.

OK, maybe just a few recommendations: how about Don Was Detroit All Star Revue, Saturday at Orchestra Hall; or George Clinton and P-Funk on the same stage on Sunday night?

You can take the rest from here. There is plenty to dig into. It's all free, by the way. Have fun.

NYT gets a glimpse of Midtown's Green Garage

We know that the Green Garage is a different kind of incubator, as the New York Times headline writer says. But we like this bit even more.

An excerpt:

(Tom) Brennan says he believes that traditional incubator and accelerator programs extrude entrepreneurs through a mechanized, one-size-fits-all process, sometimes spurring founders to charge ahead without first finding clarity on what they want to do, or why. Instead of focusing on acceleration, he’s working to build a start-up culture that’s a rough analogue of the slow-food movement: intimate, deliberate, unhurried. It’s an organic approach he knows won’t be for everyone.

Read on here.

Kickstart the Hamtramck Festival, one of 313's premier street parties

Some of you might have first attended the Hamtramck Festival, three days of urban fun in the Labor Day weekend sun, since 1980. That's a good, long run we want to see continue for decades to come.

The festival is under threat because of cutbacks in the city's budget. A solution not available 32 years ago is the best option to raise funds: Kickstarter.

Go here and throw a few bucks in the pot to keep the street party alive and kicking.  



Mode Shift links renderings of expanded D-Cut and Midtown Loop

Some of the best news we heard all last week was about the extention of the Dequindre Cut, from Gratiot to Mack Avenue, and the creation of the Midtown Loop, which will take the trail through the heart of Wayne State University and Brush Park. Also in the plans: a connector that will link Eastern Market with Hamtramck.

Pictures tell even a better story. Take a look at these accessed from the Mode Shift Move Together site.

Edgy Detroit Beautification Project explodes with color and controversy

This story in the Detroit News confirms what we knew already -- that the street art that went up on Detroit and Hamtramck buildings this spring is radically beautiful and that the idea was hatched by a Hamtramck-based group called Contra Projects.

An excerpt: 

Hamtramck officials and property owners were so accommodating to the Beautification Project that most of the murals went up there first. It's part of the city's plan to spotlight its artistic side, head off illegal graffiti, and, perhaps grab a little of the global cool Detroit has been enjoying on the international art stage.

Jason E. Friedmann, Hamtramck's director of economic and community development, said the town has long been an art haven for creative types, but that side hasn't always been visible to outsiders.

"We're trying to get our underground creative thing out in the open to underline that this is part of what Hamtramck is all about," he said.

Well said Jason, well said.

Read on here.

Detroit "digital revolution" gets video attention from NBC cable

It's somehow gratifying to see and hear, on a national cable TV broadcast, that there are so many young, tech-savvy workers employed downtown that there is not enough places for them to live. Well, let's fix that. More residential construction and reconstruction, please.

Let's go to the video here.

Allied Media Conference gets tactical this weekend

We visited Allied Media Projects earlier this spring and came away mighty impressed. We also came away with this impressive story by Matt Piper. AMP's annual summer conference is this weekend. It's packed with serious fun. That's what we're talking about. 

Get all you need to know here and go.

New York Post does Detroit on bicycle

Add this writer to the zillions of visitors who've been charmed by a visit to old Detroit city.

An excerpt: 

Of course, Detroit’s past is fascinating, but its present can be just as compelling. To see the city at its best, right in the here and now, spend time in the historic Eastern Market district, a thriving (and growing) neighborhood that lures thousands each Saturday to a festive event showcasing the wares of hundreds of producers from around the region.

Read more here.

Ten Detroit companies to welcome Venture for America fellows

There are fellows already here -- made up of all varieties of professional and creative types -- and more on the way. We like it. We're starting to feel dense. An excerpt.

Venture for America believes that attracting talented college graduates to cities grappling with unemployment may help jumpstart those local economies, and now it’s moving forward with its mission to do just that. The New York-based nonprofit debuted its first class of 41 fellows and the companies they will work for across country. Ten Detroit companies--including Digerati, Quikkly, and Benzing--as well as venture firm Detroit Venture Partners will welcome the fellows.

Read more here.


Local transit visionary shares wish list

Late last year, Neil Greenberg wrote this nifty piece for us on how he envisions rapid transit in this city and region. Now another gem, this time in HuffPost Detroit.

An excerpt:

Great transit won't happen because a cadre of powerful people say so. While high-profile support is essential, making transit work is ultimately an act of the people. Commuters. Taxpayers. Hoi polloi who couldn't hope to access smoke-filled rooms where high-stakes conversations about transit are currently taking place.

Read more here.

Origins of Cass Corridor art scene's lasting legacy

Considering we're throwing a party this week that celebrates one important piece of the Cass Corridor legacy -- Zoot's -- this piece by Vince Carducci on the art and music scene got our attention.

An excerpt: 

My first encounter with the Cass Corridor came as a teenager in the suburbs reading Joy Hakanson Colby's multipage full-color spread on the scene in the now-defunct Detroit News Sunday Magazine.) The whole thing was capped off with a blockbuster exhibition mounted by the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1980 titled: "Kick Out the Jams: Detroit's Cass Corridor, 1963-1977." Legends grew up around the major players that echo to this day.

Read more here.

Community rebuilds Scripps Park at historic Woodbridge corner

We know this story but love it when people tell it again and again, as does Donna Terek in the Detroit News.

An excerpt: 

A group called Forward Arts Detroit -- headed by Dominic Arellano and Lou Castanelli's Access Arts -- teamed with the Woodbridge Neighborhood Development Corporation and Friends of Scripps Park last summer to clean up, and call attention to, this shaded and walled oasis of calm at one of Detroit's most bustling crossroads.

Read it all here.


The cure for planning fatigue? Action

The Project for Public Places and the Kellogg Foundation are a good match. Add Detroit to the mix and you have one quite possibly made in heaven. Read on in this excerpt from the PPS placemaking blog: 

One of Kellogg’s goals is for this new initiative to plan strategically for including markets into Detroit’s long-term planning efforts–meaning that markets could play an integral role in the city’s turnaround not only as places for commerce and healthy food for families and children, but as anchors and destinations for their surrounding neighborhoods.

See more here.

Cass Park, Masonic Temple renovation in the works, says Detroit News

When we need to catch our daily real estate buzz we turn to Curbed Detroit to turn us on. This time the thrills come in seeing the possibilities for development in the newly-Curbed-christened LoMidTo neighborhood. Check out an excerpt:

The Masonic Temple could be getting a pile of money for renovations, but like other LoMidTo property deals, the details are cloaked in secrecy! The Detroit News reports that in the lower Midtown area (Masonic's home) there have been 22 property deals under confidentiality agreements.

Stop us if you've heard any of this before. The rest of you join us here.

Hamtown Farms to bear rare fruit trees

We've been following the progress of this Hamtramck tree planting project for the past month or so, and we're happy to see that the ground-breaking of Hamtown Farms was a success. Check out this excerpt: 

Dozens of hands dug, pulled, rolled, shoveled and tamped the rock-hard earth in the hopes of eventually harvesting a pawpaw orchard, hazelnut bushes and vegetables near the flowers and open space of Michigan’s most densely packed city.

Wow, love that description, by Detroit Free Press staff writer Megha Satyanarayana. And the picture of cool Mayor Karen Majewski, ready to dig in. Read more here.

Iconic Detroit jazzman passes

We had the pleasure of seeing and hearing the great Detroit improviser Faruq Z. Bey perform on several occasions. Some of us appeared on panels with him, to talk about music and how it is a part of the DNA of this city. We were saddened to learn of his passing. Metro Times Editor W. Kim Heron penned this eulogy.

Dave Mancini talks Supino, and "infectious Detroit spirit," in GQ

Chef Dave Mancini takes us on a tour of his favorite food places, including the Sunday Dinner Company on the East Side and Pupuseria Y Restaurante Salvadoreno in Southwest Detroit. Totally awesome piece in GQ. Go here for more awesome.

Kick some cash over to Hamtramck creatives converting cop station to art center

Hatch: A Hamtramck Art Collective purchased an abandoned building from the city of Hamtramck for $1 with plans to convert it into an art center.  The building was initially a dormitory for nuns from the 1920s to the late 1960s, then became a police station (complete with jail cells and the rumor of ghosts).

The group is close to being able to occupy the building, which will feature low cost studios for artists, an art gallery, a workroom that will include Detroit’s only public darkroom, a classroom, and more.

They need some help to finish the rehab. You can be part of that help by supporting the project on Kickstarter. Give Hatch some ($$$) love here.

Deadline near to support 'Street Fighting Man' on Kickstarter

Among other things, we're impressed that the producers of the documentary, Street Fighting Man, which follows three Detroit men -- each a generation apart -- who seek to define their lives "ended our tenure in Detroit with a bang at Detroit SOUP, a monthly dinner/fundraising event that provides micro-grants for creative projects in the D. We were chosen to present Street Fighting Man and had the opportunity to connect with new fans, network with art lovers, and screen our 8 minute work-in-progress reel for those in attendance. The reaction was incredible."

Check out a clip here, and while you're on the site hit the Kickstarter link and help support the film, if you so choose.

Hotter than June: Curtis Lipscomb brings it as LGBT leader of color

Just in time for last weekend's PrideFest, HuffPost Detroit's Kate Abbey-Lambertz penned this profile of our friend Curtis Lipscomb, founder of Kick, the one-of-a-kind organization serving African Americans in Detroit's LGBTQ community. Read all about him here.

Henry Ford to develop 300 acres at cusp of Midtown and New Center

And that's not all. folks. HuffPost Detroit rounds up a few projects (including the $500 million development in the headline above) re-shaping Midtown.

Read about it here.

'Detroit Rising' video series continues on Atlantic Cities

Thanks, Richard Florida, for tightening the focus on how Detroit is moving forward from the ground up. Here is the third video in the five-part series "Detroit Rising." The links to the other two are here, too.

Check 'em out here.

TechTown's Leslie Smith tackles challenge of building ecosystems for high-growth entrepreneurship

Leslie Smith, president and CEO of TechTown, Wayne State University’s business incubator and technology and research park, will join former U.S. President Bill Clinton for the second annual Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting, June 7-8 in Chicago.

That's mighty impressive. Read the rest of the story here.

Salon: Balancing "rustbelt chic" with pragmatism

We saw this being circulated on the web, via various social media, and just had to dig into it. 

It puts into perspective starry-eyed optimism with practical realities

From Salon, an excerpt: What struggling cities need are jobs, and not just jobs at coffee roasteries in abandoned railroad terminals that make for great style-section articles. "The only way (a turnaround) will really happen is by reintroducing meaningful, equitably compensated work into these cities," says Catherine Tumber, author of "Small, Gritty and Green: The Promise of America’s Smaller Industrial Cities in a Low-Carbon World. "This longing can be expressed aesthetically, but it can only be satisfied by restoring the workforce."

Read the rest of it here.

Richard Florida kicks off 'How Detroit is rising' video series

Creative class scholar Richard Florida is dedicating a career to finding out what works to make cities vital and vibrant. This first piece in a series now running in Atlantic Cities jumps on the multiple ways Detroit is shaking off its rust and finding new ways to thrive.

An excerpt: Detroit’s new generation of place makers and city-builders draws deeply on the city and the region’s many assets. Yes, urban renewal devastated parts of the city, and yes, it’s true that there are too many empty lots and abandoned buildings. But a walk through and around the urban core evidences a fabulous urban fabric with fantastic historic buildings of the very sort that Jane Jacobs was talking about when she said that old buildings give rise to new ideas.

Much more here.

Detroit artist creates facade with covers of Rolling Stone mag

You know Rolling Stone, ?the bible of rock 'n' roll journalism for decades, was thrilled to see Detroit artist Jennifer Quigley covering the front of her building with covers of the mag.

An excerpt: Quigley recently covered the facade of a building on Michigan Avenue in Detroit with a collage comprised of Rolling Stone magazine covers. "I've had a Rolling Stone subscription most of my life," says Quigley. "I first began collaging with Rolling Stone thanks to my disdain for the horrible wood paneling that was in my rec room in high school. I covered every inch of that torrential wood paneling with three years' worth of my Rolling Stone subscription collection."

See what it looks like here.

Importance of neighborhood name game

Giving neighborhoods a distinct name by identifying historically important characteristics or assets is done in cities the world over. Sometimes the names stick simply because of how often they are used in repeated. This piece, from HuffPost Detroit, is all about it.

An excerpt: Detroit, for its part, never standardized its neighborhood names. Most simply they reflect common usage, even if some of them are more well-known than others. Some are inherited from defunct towns, which ceased to exist when their land was annexed by the growing city of Detroit -- Delray, Springwells Village, Five Points, Old Redford, Nortown. Others come from nearby landmarks, such as Osborn (a high school) and Palmer Park, while many, such as Lafayette Park, Grandmont-Rosedale and Boston-Edison, come from urban renewal plans, subdivision developers or the names of designated historic districts.

Good stuff. Read on here.

Under-30 political hopefuls start-up Detroit's future with vision

Word that a new generation of Detroit leadership might be bubbling underneath the status quo is sweet music to our ears. This column by the Freep's Rochelle Riley introduces us to a few of the best and the brightest.

An excerpt: Adam Hollier is a doer. He has ideas. And like other young candidates, he hasn't been around long enough to get mired in political machinery that isn't working anymore.

Detroit's next generation is stepping up.

We like what we read here.

Yo! Bum rush this show. Public Enemy headlines Movement

Yes, Movement is more than just a techno fest. The hip hop nation has been represented by Slum Village, Mos Def and others. Next week Public Enemy -- you heard that right -- takes the Main Stage. Kelly Frazier gives us a preview in HuffPost Detroit.

An excerpt: Back in the 1940s, Chuck D's grandfather drove trucks for Ford, and the fruits of his labor would afford him a Cadillac in the 1950s. As a result, police on 7 Mile Road in Detroit regularly stopped his grandfather. It was one of many bold lessons about Detroit and the world that Chuck D got to learn.

Read on here.

Freep: Options for Detroit Works includes "green residential"

Yes, we know Detroit Works planning and discussion has been underwhelming at times. But we still believe the only solution to addressing a shrinking population within a 140-square mile area is smart decision-making about how to use land rapidly "going back to nature." 

First read this excerpt from a piece by the very busy John Gallagher and then get on with the rest of the story.

What the Detroit Works planners call building blocks and other planners have called neighborhood types include districts devoted mostly to retail or industry, districts with a mix of homes and urban farms, and districts devoted to a blue-green landscape used for storm-water retention or natural wetlands.

We can't hide our love for the concept of "green residential," by the way. Read about that and more here.


Vote for project finalists in Let's Save Michigan placemaking contest

Click on the thumbnails to view the project details, read any comments, and cast your vote. Check out all the finalists and feel free to vote for multiple projects. You may only vote for the same project once a day, and all voting is subject to verification. For more on the contest details and rules -- and to vote -- go here.

Commissioned murals transform Hamtramck streets

Metro Times associate editor and ace blogger Michael Jackman nails this illustrative report on all the visually exciting stuff going on in Hamtown (the author himself lives a half block from the city limits) and how some locals are debating the very definition of art. An excerpt:

The murals in Hamtramck were done with the cooperation of individual building owners and the city’s department of community development, with Contra Project’s Thewes taking a lead role in that city within a city. Many of the works there are what Thewes calls effective "gateway pieces," especially a piece -- by the artists Reyes -- that sprawls all over the western wall of PAVA Post 113 at 2238 Holbrook, greeting motorists arriving from I-75.

We love that one, in particular, but they're all plenty awesome. Check out the story here.

Decades-long "expressionist continuum" exhibits at N'Nambdi Center for Contemporary Art

In the 1960s and early 1970s the neighborhood now called Midtown and then called the Cass Corridor, was more than just kicking out the jams musically.

The art scene was also humming, building a foundation for the Detroit visual scene today.

The Detroit News captures it all in this review of a new show at the N'Nambdi Center for Contemporary Art. Read it here.

That buzz you're hearing is coming from Corktown's Beehive

In 2011, Chris Handyside penned this great piece on Detroit's Beehive Recordings and its founder Steve Nawara.

Here's another, by Detroit News' columnist Donna Tarek. An excerpt:

(Nawara) wants to expand the hive's reach to record Detroit's Latin, Middle Eastern, Polish music to be an accurate representation of the sounds of the city. He already has recorded Finlay's sister Tamara singing the Russian folk songs she grew up with.

In Nawara's concept, the "record" or MP3 is not the product, it's an advertisement for the product, which is the musician, his/her concerts, merchandise, and publishing rights.

"Music wants to be free," Nawara says. "The natural state of music is free. You play it; it enters the atmosphere. That's it."

Love it. Read on here.

Tour the Villages, buy a stunning one-of-a-kind house

We'll keep it short and simple: all need you need to know is that the Villages, a fabulous, historically-significant neighborhood a quick jog or bike ride from downtown, is hosting a real estate tour of select properties this weekend. More info here.

It coincides with the re-emergence of the pop-up Tashmoo Biergarten, which will pour Michigan craft beers Saturday and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. More on the beer here.

Canadian investment firm scores Penobscot for $5 million

One of favorite skyscrapers in the entire world, the The 47-story Penobscot Building, has been sold to investors from Toronto. We think it's a steal for $5 mill. The Freep's John Gallagher is on it. Read about it here.

 

Jane Jacobs inspires neighborhood walk in Greenacres, Sherwood Forest

We wish we could be everywhere at once, like getting up to the north side of town for last weekend's Jane's Walk, begun in Toronto in 2007 and inspired by urbanist icon Jane Jacob.

We be the HuffPost Detroit was there. Read about it here.

DSO adds violinist of international renown as concertmaster

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra got just what it needed: a young, international musical star. The Freep's Mark Stryker knows that's a very good thing, indeed. Read about it here.

Curbed Detroit looking for city's best block. Let's weigh in

Our friends at Curbed Detroit are onto something by asking for readers to nominate the best city block in Detroit proper. We think along the same lines often. Check it out and vote here.

American Prospect goes long form in telling story of Detroit's fall and rise

We caught up to this story by chance and found this excerpt especially good:

One morning at Motor City Java House, I’m introduced to a 30-year-old visual artist named Amy Kaherl, who is part of that fast-growing demographic. Kaherl runs Detroit SOUP, an organization that gives "micro-grants" of up to $1,000 for projects benefiting the city. It hosts monthly dinners: Five dollars buys soup, salad, pie, and a vote. Entrepreneurs present their ideas, and the winner of a secret ballot takes home the evening’s proceeds. SOUP has funded everything from a community radio station to an enterprise involving winter coats that double as sleeping bags, produced by (and distributed free to) homeless Detroiters. She has come to the Java House today to discuss the possibility of a SOUP dinner in Brightmoor.

Read more here.

Register now for Detroit Urban Economic Forum

The White House Business Council, in conjunction with the U.S. Small Business Administration, invites you to participate in an urban economic forum designed specifically to address the needs of urban entrepreneurs in the Detroit area.

The Detroit Urban Economic Forum is May 17, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at Cobo Convention Center, 1 Washington Blvd., in downtown Detroit. It's free but space is limited. Register here.

Power House Productions on list of NEA grant winners

We were thrilled to see our friends Gina Reichert and Mitch Cope from Power House receive a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to help convert a vacant lot in the neighborhood north of Hamtramck into a skateboard park.

See all the statewide winners here.

Hamtramck writer's collab with Matthew Barney gets some love

Steve Hughes is plenty rad. His Stupor project, a series of barstool-inspired tales, was recently published to critical acclaim. The book came on the heels of a Kresge Arts Foundation Grant in 2010. The author is also one of the prime movers behind the Public Pool art space in Hamtramck. 

In the journal Deliberately Considered, critic Vince Carducci reviews Hughes' latest Stupor installment. Check it out here.

Let there be light: Dlectricity, new modern art fest announced for Midtown

We like this a lot, a brand new festival of contemporary art and light to be held in early October in Midtown.

The Woodward Corridor between Kirby on the north end and Mack on the southern border will be alight with art. Institutions like the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and the Max M. Fisher Center will have special programing.

And all you artists reading this can send your proposals for light-related works now through May 28. Get all the details on this brand-spanking new site.

Rodriguez doc builds buzz at NYC's Tribeca Film Fest

A window opened for Sixto Rodriguez in the late 1960s. By the early 1970s, it had closed. Or so everyone thought. But unbeknown to almost all other than music fans and critics in South Africa, the Detroit Southwestsider who kicked out his jams in the Cass Corridor was being called the Latin Bob Dylan.

The documentary, Searching for Sugar Man, is getting plenty of buzz in the wake of its screening at New York's Tribeca Film Festival and a release scheduled for this summer.

HuffPost Detroit is feeling it in this report.

Yamasaki's McGregor Memorial at WSU to get $1.8 million restoration

Last week we were pleased to report that the Society of Architectural Historians held their recent conference in Detroit, including sessions inside Wayne State's McGregor Memorial Center, designed by Minoru Yamasaki.

Right on cue, another local story appeared in HuffPost Detroit on the great architect who began his practice in Detroit in the 1950s. An excerpt::

The jewel-like McGregor Center has long been considered by many to be among the finest buildings designed by Yamasaki, the Detroit-based architect best known for designing the World Trade Center towers in New York City. Yamasaki died in 1986.

The McGregor Center was built in 1958. The pools remained filled with water until the early '80s, when leaks and other functional problems led Wayne State to drain them. The pools have remained empty and something of an eyesore ever since.

Read more here.

Detroit, bike city: HuffPost's cycling series shifts into extra gear

In case you're missing HuffPost Detroit's ongoing series on cycling culture in Detroit, no doubt because you're out riding in the city, don't give it a second thought. There is a lot to dig into and get inspired about.

Like his story about Sarah Sidelko, who founded a bicycle program called Fender Bender, for women and the LGBTQ community.

An excerpt: She's now in the first stages of creating a bicycle lending library for Detroit, fixing up donated, used bikes one at a time. She has 14 finished, with a plan to have 10 to 15 more restored by June for a first, trial fleet.
 
Check out all of the stories here.

Scripps Park expanding sensory garden experience

We have always been fond of this park, at the triangular corner of Trumbull, Grand River and Martin L. King Blvd, the gateway to Woodbridge.

This piece in HuffPost Detroit comes just in time for the planting season. An excerpt:

Last summer, a number of community groups working with the adjacent Detroit Public Library Douglass Branch planted a "sensory garden" in a small gravel bed they constructed at the park -- a project they plan to expand this spring.

When the additions are completed, the garden will feature a variety of sense-evocative plants, including black-eyed Susans for color, lavender for its smell, whirling butterflies for their movement, lamb's ears for their soft texture and nasturtiums for their taste.

Read on here.

HuffPost: Hatch Detroit gets Comerica sponsorship

The winning applicant, Joe Posch, plans to set up his classic bachelor-pad-themed store Hugh in Midtown Detroit. Posch, who owned high-end furniture and home wares store Mezzanine several years ago and then launched Hugh twice as a pop-up operation, said he had planned to open the new store regardless of the competition's results. Next fall, Hugh will open in the Auburn, a mixed-use building now under construction at the intersection of Cass Avenue and Canfield Street.

here
.

Plant your vote for Hamtown Farms in Communities Take Root project

We chanced upon this little gem when cruising the interwebs the other night. It's all about green space, public space and density--all near and dear to our hearts.

Best of all it's about a project called Hamtown Farms, which is competing with other worthy projects as part of the nonprofit Communities Take Root program, which aims to plant fruit-bearing trees in parks and low-income neighborhoods.

If you like what looks like a cool reuse of long vacant land on the south end of Hamtramck, vote for Hamtown Farms here.

Sean Mann and Sarah Szurpicki convert passion into getting things done

We've said it before, we'll say it again: do yourselves a favor and make regular visits to the Economics of Place site. We never fail to find good stuff, like this well-deserved nod of approval to two prime Detroit movers, Sean Mann and Sarah Szurpicki.

They get our nod, too. Read on here.

Hackley spring-summer lecture series begins with 'Southern Soul'

An ideal companion piece to the feature by Carleton Gholz on the newly-formed Detroit Sound Conservancy is this invite to attend the lecture series sponsored by the E. Azalia Hackley Collection at the Detroit Public Library (located on the third floor of the
Main Library).

The 2012 Hackley Lecture Series is free and open to the public and begins this Wednesday with Southern Soul: The History of Stax Records. We spotted another can't miss event, In the Director’s Chair: The Movies of Spike. That one is July 25.

Get more info and the entire schedule here.

March of Dimes partners with DMC and WSU for midtown fundraiser

We were alerted to this beauty of an event by our friends at Lovio George Communications and Design. 

This year March of Dimes has partnered with two world-class institutions, the Detroit Medical Center and Wayne State University, as well as many other key organizations in the area. The March for Babies Honorary Co-Chairs are Michael Duggan, President and CEO of the Detroit Medical Center and Allan Gilmour, President of Wayne State University. March for Babies Chair for the new Midtown site is Dr. Joel Kahn of the Detroit Medical Center. Together the team will focus on recruiting new companies to participate and lead the community in making a difference for the health of moms and babies. Last year, March for Babies in metropolitan Detroit raised more than $1.4 million.

On April 29 in Midtown Detroit, thousands of families and business leaders will join together in the March of Dimes annual March for Babies--the nation’s oldest walk fundraiser honoring babies born healthy and those who need help to survive and thrive. This is the first time March for Babies will be held in Midtown and with one in eight babies born premature in Detroit, organizers hope to raise significant funds to support lifesaving research and educational programs aimed at helping moms have healthy babies.

March for Babies is on Sunday, April 29 at 8 a.m. on Wayne State University’s Campus in Midtown Detroit. Individuals and companies who want to make a difference can register today here.
 
 

Game on: Investors say they will fund M-1 for 10 years

We had a feeling that the scaled-down light rail project -- to stretch 3.4 miles from riverfront to New Center -- had too much momentum to be de-railed for long. It's certainly no done deal yet, but the fact that the private-sector group behind the Woodward Corridor line says it will pay for a decade's worth of operating costs portends well.

The story is breaking all over town at press time. We like this one by Kate Abbey-Lambertz of HuffPost Detroit.

'Louder than Love' doc on Grande Ballroom hits festival circuit

Flashback to the second half of the 1960s -- 1966 to 1970, to be precise -- when the Detroit rock scene was on par with, well, the best of the rest of the world. Zero in on the Grande Ballroom, where the scene was flying the highest.

That time, place and inner space is the focus of Louder Than Love, a high energy music documentary that recently played to sold out crowds in Detroit and Ann Arbor (if it hadn't, that would have been news) and is now set to make its sonic assault on the film festival circuit.

Download the trailer here.

ValleytoDetroit.com luring Yahoo techies to downtown

Hello, laid-off Yahoo engineers and other tech pros looking for the next big thing, which, as we know, is a million little things. It seems many of those "little things" are adding up and multiplying quickly in the lower Woodward Corridor. And at the M@dison Building in Grand Circus Park in particular.

TechCrunch reports on attempts to woo the best and the brightest to the D. We stand behind that call to digital arms. Read on
here.

Detroit '68: New book draws parallels between politics and Tigers championship season

A lot happened in 1968 all over the world. There were the Paris barricades and a police riot in Chicago. Politically motivated unspeakable acts of violence like the assassinations of Martin L. King Jr. and Robert Kennedy.

In Detroit, the city was recovering from its own violent summer of 1967 by rallying around the beloved Detroit Tigers, a team that had not won a World Series since 1945. Author Tim Wendel's "Summer of '68" takes in a lot of what happened that season on and off the diamond, in and out of Detroit. 

This Detroit Free Press story with author Q&A got our attention. Read more here.

MSU proposing massive urban agriculture research project

This project fills the brim with possibilities. The opportunity for Detroit to become the "capital of the experimental" has long been in the forefront of our vision statement. We would heartily welcome Michigan State University, in this case, to put its resources into 100 acres of Detroit land for urban ag research that could match any on a global scale. And of course, we insist it be done inclusively with participation of local groups already working on the fertile ground.

A few tantalizing highlights in this excerpt from the Detroit Free Press: 

• Research efforts would include "vertical agriculture," in which food is grown inside multi-story buildings, and innovative ways to produce energy and conserve water in food production.

• If implemented, Detroit would become the key research city in a network that includes Shanghai, Sao Paulo, Johannesburg, Nairobi and others. 

• Detroit "could be the research and innovation engine" for urban agriculture around the world. The other cities "look at Detroit as the place where many of the answers will come from."

Read more in the Freep here. With additional "big-ass farm" perspective from Curbed Detroit.

Data supports what we already know: people want walkability

Density is important, the Atlantic Cities argues in this piece published last week, but walkability is even more important in determining the quality of urban life. We'll take a little of each, please.

Sort out the distinction between the two assets here.


Bike to Comerica on Earth Day, get reduced-price ticket to see Tigers

It warms our hearts to see the Detroit Tigers getting in the spirit of Earth Day and sustainability by offering a special ticket package for bike riding fans interested in coming to the game on Sunday, April 22. 

The Tigers are playing the Texas Rangers. Good opponent. Get all details here.




'Urban Futures' provokes discussion in Lafayette Park

If an evening of exploring the role of large scale urban visions in post-industrial cities sounds like your cuppa tea -- as it is for us --- this is your weekend huckleberry.

The panel discussion "Urban Futures" in Lafayette Park will ask some pertinent questions about Detroit Modernism. Some of those questions include: Detroit’s Lafayette Park development has achieved many of the goals of Modernist planning and urban renewal, creating arguably one of the most vibrant and diverse neighborhoods in the city: does this speak to the unique conditions of Detroit? Does Detroit offer similar opportunities for avant-garde planning and large scale urban interventions today? What successes and sacrifices accompany the Modernist social agenda, and are there lessons to be learned as we seek to engage in equitable and sustainable redevelopment here and in other post-industrial cities? 

“Urban Futures" is April 21. Panel Discussion: 6 - 8 p.m. Reception: 8 - 9 p.m. At Lafayette Park Retail, 1565 East Lafayette, Detroit.

Detroit Mercy star guard named Horizon League Player of the Year

Admit it, you helped cheer the University of Detroit Mercy Titans into the NCAA tournament. We sure did, and marveled at the talents of sophomore point guard Ray McCallum Jr. at the same time.

So we were doubly pleased when it was announced last week that McCallum Jr. -- whose dad is the UDM head coach -- was named Horizon League Player of the Year.

Read all about it here.

HuffPost Detroit: Bus and rail system both needed for Detroit. We agree

We're completely in step with HuffPost Detroit bloggers' Megan Owens and Adrianna Jordan's assessment that Detroit needs light rail and rapid bus transit.

Here's an excerpt:

The fundamental reason why both light rail and buses are necessary is that they often serve different purposes and are suited for different locations. When the transit modes work together, light rail provides an urban transit backbone that is fed by buses delivering passengers throughout less dense areas.

There's more to like about this piece. Read on here.

Bicycle culture blooms and booms in post-motorized city

Any and all stories about walking and biking get out attention -- especially if they are in the same headline, like this piece by David Sands in HuffPost Detroit.

Not to mention a key sentence like this: A 2012 report by the Alliance for Biking & Walking found the number of bicycle commuters in Detroit rose 258 percent over the last two decades. Yeah, man. Those are the kind of numbers we like to see.

Read more here.

Gilbert scores again, this time with $500K residential building on Washington Blvd

We never get tired of Dan Gilbert (or anyone else -- c'mon anyone else, step up and put down some cash on Detroit real estate) buying downtown properties. This time it's a residential building on Washington Blvd. that you've seen a million times but never guessed at its endless possibilities. Get the lowdown in Crain's here.

Richard Florida weighs in on what downtown Twitter presence means for Detroit

Take a look inside Startup News to get our own Jon Zemke's take on Twitter coming to Detroit here.

But before you go, take a look at what Richard Florida has to say in this op/ed from Atlantic Cities. 

An excerpt:

Now with his development company, Rock Ventures, (Dan Gilbert) owns nine buildings downtown and has attracted 40 companies to those buildings all in a very short time. Twitter is, by far, his most high profile catch.

Read more here.
 

Freep's Henderson: City Council "realists" made right call in consent vote

Of the many analytical comments written on the long, difficult process to get the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan on the same page regarding a consent agreement to move the city off the financial schneid we like this one, by the Freep's Stephen Henderson, the best.

Here's a tease:

They chose a better way forward. But this is just the beginning of the work.

Council members, including those who voted against the agreement, will need to focus now on making the new structure work in a way that truly improves the lives of Detroiters. There is no time for second-guessing and squabbling, only responsible leadership.

Hear! Hear! Read on.

D3 now driving data from Tech Town

When Grand Valley State bought the old Barden Communications building in February, we wondered what would become of our friends at Data Driven Detroit. Well, now we know. D3 is in transition to new offices in Tech Town.

The best way to contact the group is here or through Ask Kurt. That's D3's director Kurt Metzger, as you know.

For more info go here.

Dime building welcomes Chrysler suits to downtown digs

Though Chrysler nor Quicken Loans people are commenting, sources tell Detroit Free Press columnist Tom Walsh that the Auburn Hills-based automaker is moving up to 70 people to offices in the Dime Building downtown.

That's great news for the Woodward Corridor. Keep 'em coming and read more about it here.

Freep's John Gallagher takes a deeper dive into downtown and Midtown

When John Gallagher of the Free Press talks, we listen. When he writes it, we read it. Like this timely push back at those who suggest that all the metrics don't add up to success for downtown and Midtown.

An excerpt:  

Yet at a casual glance, the downtown and Midtown markets appear to be booming. Rental apartment buildings are filled to capacity and running waiting lists. Downtown's newest hotels, including the Westin Book Cadillac and Doubletree Fort Shelby, enjoy healthy occupancy rates well above the local average.

There's more. Read on here.

'Awesome' launches, starts spending money to reward talent

The Detroit Journal was awarded $1,000 last week by the Awesome News Task Force Detroit at a party at the Virgil H. Carr Cultural Arts Center in downtown Detroit. Awesome also celebrated its launch at the same time.

Where did we find this awesome news? In Kate Abbey-Lambertz piece in HuffPost Detroit, that's where.

Nain Rouge makes Atlantic's list of imaginary city monsters

It was hard to resist the rest of the story when it began like this: "If you want to catch a cryptid doing its thing in America, common sense would deem you drive far out into the woods where humankind rarely ventures. After all, it's typically hunters and hikers who wind up having awkward run-ins with Bigfoot or the Flatwoods monster."

Even better is that Atlantic Cities, where we found the piece, went on to include our very own red dwarf of evil renown, the Nain Rouge. Keep reading here.

Jazz fest announces big-name talent for Labor Day weekend

Though Labor Day seems so very, very far away, we yearn for it for many ways. One of those reasons is the Detroit Jazz Festival, which announced some its headliners earlier this week.

Some of the names include guitarist Pat Metheny, tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, pianist Chick Corea, tenor and soprano saxophonist Wayne Shorter and trumpeter Randy Brecker.

Susan Whitall of the Detroit News has more here.

Cass Tech home to new Detroit City Futbol side

The semi-pro Detroit City FC soccer team will open its regular season May 12 against visiting AFC Cleveland at, drum roll please, the field at downtown's storied Cass Technical High School. 

Here's an excerpt from HuffPost Detroit:

The new soccer team, nicknamed "Le Rouge," will belong to the National Premier Soccer League's Midwest division and will play against teams in Cleveland and Buffalo. Organizers say home games will feature a variety of local entertainment, food and merchandise to help create a family-friendly environment that spotlights Detroit.

Read the rest of the story here.

Midtown garage opens its fabulous house of green

For all of you who have marveled at the transformation of a historic Midtown automotive facility to a cutting edge model for sustainability and all things green, here's your chance to see up close and personal.

The Green Garage has an open house this Thursday, March 29, 3-8 p.m. And you're invited! Go here for details.

Let's argue for more walkable streets, shall we?

Walkability is always part of the Detroit conversation. But it jumped to the front of our thoughts last week when we were at the intersection of W. Vernor and 14th attempting to cross the street from the Mercury Burger Bar to Slows, Astro and Sugar House on the north side of Michigan Avenue.

This is arguably the coolest block in the city, one of the coolest in the state, celebrated from coast to coast as a model of urban redevelopment.  

But the length of the traffic light signal, which has to go through at least a couple of cycles to accommodate auto traffic from multiple directions, made it a long, long, long wait. As we waited, cars race passed at highway speeds.

We were all able-bodied walkers and able to get across before the signal changed. But we're not sure the lady in this story, using a walker, would be able to manage it. And that's a problem, Detroit road engineers.

Check the piece out from Atlantic Cities here and keep the argument for walkability going full force. We plan to.

New York Mag tells readers where to go, what to do in Detroit

New Yorkers considering a weekend jaunt to Detroit were just given a head start by New York Magazine, which directs people to a tasty list of places to eat, play and stay while they're here. 

It's a nice list, including outsider art installations like Heidelberg and Hamtramck Disneyland, quirky food and drink stops like Lafayette Coney Island and Cafe D'Mongo's, and lodging options at the Book Cadillac, Hope and Folly and the Inn on Ferry St.

Read all about yourselves here, Detroit.

Nain Rouge, Midtown and placemaking

We found this last night while scouring the interwebs looking for quirky Detroit stuff to share. It comes from Dan Gilmartin and his ever-inspiring Economics of Place blog:

The Marche du Nain Rouge is the brainchild of Francis Grunow, a midtown resident and a big player in the turnaround of the historic Cass Corridor neighborhood. When I was in high school the area (which is part of greater Midtown) was #1 on the list of neighborhoods that you didn’t want to venture into at night. Today, however, it boasts some amazing new residential loft developments, authentic retail shops, great restaurants, and an energy approaching what you might find in some of the more well known "comeback" neighborhoods in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.

Well said, and thanks for giving some deserved love to Model D stalwart contributor Grunow. 

Read the rest here.

Keep on reimagining Detroit

We're fans of the Freep's John Gallagher and his Reimagining Detroit book, published last year by Wayne State University Press. So when we heard that a film based on the book was in progress and a 30-minute segment was being screened downtown at the M@dison Building this week, we jumped all over it.

You're invited as well. Go here to register.

Robert Richie -- uh, that's Kid Rock -- buys riverfront estate

Michigan rap-country-rock star Kid Rock has purchased a house on the East Riverfront, our friends at Curbed Detroit report.

It's a 6,000-square-foot colonial-style house on the same block as the Manoogian Mansion, the dwelling used by Detroit's mayors.

Hey Kid, give us a ring when you want to party like it's 1989. Read all about it here.

Photographer Noah Stephens focuses on Detroit people and place

Nothing beats an interesting face. Unless it's a killer public place. There are plenty of both in Detroit, where photographer Noah Stephens roams the cityscape with a camera.

We've taken notice of his talent. So has HuffPost Detroit. Take a look at the work here.

The Alley Project creates public art space on far Southwest side

Looking at problems to provide hints for solutions is a smart way to look at community. This is even smarter: Looking at the assets a community might provide and leveraging that social capital. The Alley Project (TAP) didn't mushroom up magically, although there was a strong community base for it to begin with. It evolved in a partnership of participatory design.

We couldn't agree more with those words by Lee Schneider in HuffPost Detroit. Read on here.

Atlantic Cities takes notice of Detroit Bus Co.

If it's about transportation and it's in Detroit, we're all over it lately. Not to mention, we're always on the hunt for stories on transit region-wide, statewide and, well, all over the planet. So long as it presents solutions to a plethora of issues back home.

Like this story we found in Atlantic Cities. Read about the Detroit Bus Company here.

Winter Music Conference party raises funds for Youthville

At Need I Say More, an afternoon after-party at the upcoming Winter Music Conference in Miami, DJ and all-round good guy Danny Tenaglia is heading a lineup that is donating the proceeds of the event to Detroit's Youthville. Imagine that. How cool. No doubt the artists' relationship with longtime Youthville mentor and international DJ star Mike Huckaby played a part.

Resident Advisor has the scoop.

Place is what you make it

Find an underutilized space in your community. An alley, a pocket park, a vacant lot. With a group of neighbors, friends, business owners, or other community members, create a plan and design for turning that underutilized space into a community place.

The best part: there is potential funding at the end of your project.
 
Let’s Save Michigan will award up to three prizes, ranging from $500 to $1000, to partially or fully fund your project. Your community will be more attractive, more welcoming, safer, and more economically successful.

Get more details here. Look for a feature next week that aims to entice you even further.

Inc. mag calls out Detroit as innovation hot spot

You know the social innovation scene is pretty sweet when Inc. Magazine says the downtown tech enclave dubbed Webward Avenue is poised to become "Detroit's own Silicon Valley." We felt that exact vibe at our last speaker series event held at the M@dison so we're not caught off guard by that statement.

Read the rest of the story here.

GOOD knows what's good: Detroit on list of cities where art is booming

Sure, there is nothing especially novel about Detroit being on a list of cities experiencing an artistic boom. But let's not get too cozy or cocky and stay gritty and productive. It's nice to be on GOOD's radar, that's for sure.

Read the rest of the story here.

OCD hackerspace gets some love from Detroit Yes!, Metro Times

We've been fans of OmniCorpDetroit before the Eastern Market hackerspace even had a name or a permanent space. We've seen some of the crazy-good work produced there for the annual Maker Faire. And have even been impressed with stuff that never made it out the door. That's how good these creative people are.

Check out this nice spread in Detroit Yes! here. And in the Metro Times here.

Spring forward march at St. Paddy Day parade in Corktown

About 3,000 people were expected to participate in the annual parade that spanned several blocks along Michigan Avenue, said Mike Kelley, president of the United Irish Societies and co-chairman of the parade. That number jumped to over 65,000 because of unseasonably warm spring-like temps in Detroit's Corktown.

“The crowd is huge,” Kelly said. 

That's an excerpt from the Detroit Free Press. Read the rest of the story, which includes a slideshow with plenty of shamrock green, here.


Hey, developers: why not ask us what we want in our neighborhood?

Here is an idea that could not have come at a better time. It's being called real estate crowdsourcing, at least it is by the forward-thinking folks at Atlantic Cities.  

Here's an excerpt: If the concept proves workable, Miller and his colleagues envision expanding it -- to other neighborhoods and other real-estate developers, other cities and even other parts of the planning process. Matching a business to a vacant space is just the first step. What if that business also wanted to gab with the local community on everything from what to put on the menu to how to design its patio to where to find the financing?

Good stuff. Read all about it here.

Great Dane Jan Gehl weighs in on placemaking

While hanging out on the Economics of Place website, we spotted this gem:

Danish Architect Jan Gehl is one of the giants in the field of building communities around the human scale.  His work is renowned around the world and his thoughts and ideas are sure to inspire even the most jaded of urbanists. It is about a half hour video, but well worth the time.

Yes, it certainly is. Read the rest of the story and watch the video here.


Corktown innovators get 'buzzed' on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe'

The top of our Monday morning is given a rousing head start whenever Detroit doers get their due in the national media. This time during a caffeinated discussion on how innovation is changing the social landscape and putting juice into the economy in Michigan and Ohio. With a special focus on what's happening in Corktown, around the intersection of Michigan and 14th St. and beyond.

We've got video. Watch it here.

Empowering Detroit's powerless with design

We're always happy to dig up press on Veronika Scott, who was featured in our recent IdeaLab speaker series in Ann Arbor. This time the words attached to her good deeds come courtesy of the New York Times. Here's an excerpt: 

Having graduated this past December, Ms. Scott has now founded the Empowerment Plan, a nonprofit company, where she is training and paying recently homeless women to produce the coats for those living on the streets. Already they have made 275 coats -- 100 of which have been given to homeless people in Detroit and two of which Ms. Scott gave to Occupy Wall Street supporters she met while visiting New York this winter.

Read the rest of it here.

Citizen Effect making connections via social networks

Earlier this year, Dan Morrison of Citizen Effect introduced himself in Model D. Now read up on his group's progress in HuffPost Detroit. An excerpt:

So what did all this work on Twitter get us? A good but not ridiculous list of 831 Twitter followers? Actually, a hell of a lot more than that. First, a launch week that made it feel like we were a much larger operation than we are (which has its ups and downs). We had two articles in the Detroit Free Press, air time on WDET, a feature on Model D, two invitations to blog on Huffington Post Detroit, blog posts on Positive Detroit, Xconomy, Detroit Half Full, The Detroit Hub, and others. Most important, social media allowed us to get physical. Over 200 people came out for our happy hour and nearly 200 people inquired about how to be a Citizen Philanthropist for Detroit4Detroit. Not bad for a few social media hacks.

Read the rest of the story here.

Tigers fans brave rain, snow and heavy wind for tickets

Hey, this is the sort of late-winter news we love hearing: Nearly 1,000 people waited outside Comerica Park to buy individual game tickets for the 2012 season. The tickets, which were also available online and by phone, went on sale at 10 a.m.

Play ball here.

Student-journalist imagines new life in historic Detroit buildings

We get excited when student-journalists bust out into the local spotlight. We found this one by a Detroit architecture loving student Chris Zadorozny in HuffPost Detroit. An excerpt: 

With the recent push of hotels in the city now, including the Westin Book-Cadillac, the DoubleTree Fort Shelby, and the soon-to-be-renovated David Whitney Building into an Aloft Boutique hotel, this could work again. Yes, the Marriott at the Renaissance Center is right down the street, and most of the high-end visitors stay at the Book-Cadillac, the views could entice many to stay.

Read on here.

Is Packard plant going down? Maybe, maybe not

Finances appear to be an issue for Cristini, who did not return several calls from the Free Press on Friday. He told the Environmental Protection Agency last year that he didn't have the resources to pay $35,000 for cleanup costs at the plant. His company, Bioresource, owes $760,000 in back city and county property taxes. The city has a separate lien against the owner for $400,000 in unpaid taxes, a spokeswoman said.

here.

Twitter event on placemaking draws crowd on the web

Buzzing around the web with frequent stops at the Economics of Place has its rewards. Look what we found this time: a pretty high-level panel on placemaking that took place on Twitter. An excerpt:

Panelists Nate Berg from The Atlantic Cities, Diana Lind from Next American City, Ethan Kent (who was sitting in for Kathy Madden) from the Project for Public Spaces, and Dan Gilmartin from the Michigan Municipal League offered some tangible best practices and placemaking examples, as well as some insight into how placemaking can become an entirely new mindset and approach for economic development.

That's just a bit of it. Read more here.

Pewabic Pottery ages well, hits 109 mark this Saturday

Looked what dropped in our laps just as we were going to digital press on Monday: an invite to an anniversary celebration at historic Pewabic Pottery, which turns 109 years young this Saturday, March 10.

There will a special birthday party event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The public is invited to attend the free celebration, which will feature complimentary guided tours, demonstrations, birthday cake, refreshments and hourly door prize giveaways.
 
Guided tours will begin at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. and will feature a first look at the nonprofit’s new history tour plaques, which were purchased through funding from the Michigan Humanities Council and a National Endowment for the Humanities grant. In addition, guests will have a chance to see the pottery’s recently restored 105-year-old historic chimney.

For more info go here.

Explore historical Underground Railroad route on bicycle

HuffPost Detroit reports that the Adventure Cycling Association decided to create more maps, and added a new 518-mile Detroit Alternate trail to the Underground Railroad routes that have end points in Marine City and, across Lake Huron in Owen Sound, Ontario.

Cool history lessons that most of us know little about. Read the rest of the story here.

Brooklyn is so last year; now Detroit might be the new Austin

Guess what? There is a new round of urban hipster-centric comparisons that includes Detroit in the conversation. This time the standard of cool is Austin, not Brooklyn, and cities like Asheville, Chattanooga, Burlington and, of course, Detroit are in on the chase. Or so says Culturemap.

It's not horrible. Read it here.

Like the Broderick Tower? So do we

We were trolling around Facebook the other day and found this page dedicated to the Broderick Tower, one of downtown's skyscraping gems. No, scratch that. It is one of the great buildings to ever rise over the North American continent -- and you can quote us on that.

Find the page, and "like" the great tower,  here.

Bike paths promote more riders, don't they?

A recent study of Seattle residents found that those living near bike paths had an increased likelihood of riding, which makes sense, but saw no effect for bike lanes. Hmm. Then, a study in Minneapolis reached the opposite conclusion. Another study found no connection between bike lanes and ridership levels at all. In short, the research picture is far from settled.

The good news is that bikes, and where people ride them, are the subject of so much attention. Dig into it here.

Bizarre Foods' five top moments in Detroit

Andrew Zimmern came to Detroit for a recent episode of Bizarre Foods, which airs on the Travel Channel. He visited some of our best soul kitchens, hung out with the Mower Gang, had ghost pepper pizza on Bangladesh Avenue and went to Dearborn to celebrate the end of Ramadan.

That guy puts some crazy stuff in his mouth. Check out the results here.

Freep editorial: New RTA would be hub for critical transit projects

A new regional transit authority would coordinate all transit service in southeast Michigan, including a number of transit initiatives and agencies, the Detroit Free Press says in an opinion piece this week.

That includes high speed bus transit, light rail on Woodward from downtown to New Center and commuter train service from Detroit to Ann Arbor.

Let's get it done. That's our opinion. Get all the details here.

Artist Charles McGee still holds sway over Detroit art scene at 87

We were delighted to see a piece on longtime Detroit artist of influence Charles McGee this week in HuffPost Detroit. We have admired McGee for years, love his sculptural piece on John R at Farnsworth (go see it!) and last ran into him at Avalon late last year.

Here's an excerpt:

McGee paved the way for black artists in Detroit. His figurative paintings and abstract sculptures pop up all over the city, where he has lived since 1934. His active life in the region's art scene has included teaching, board involvement and winning the Kresge Eminent Artist award in 2008.

Read the rest of Kate Abbey-Lambertz piece here.

Hey, let's get married in Detroit

On Valentine's Day in HuffPost Detroit, we found this timely story with slideshow on some excellent locations in Detroit to get hitched. Also timely is an exhibition at the Detroit Historical Museum called "Saying I Do: Metro Detroit Weddings." Go see it: it's up through May 24. 

Find those cool Detroit wedding locations here.

Public Enemy lined up as Movement headliner

For its seventh year producing the Movement Festival, Paxahau has plucked a diverse cast of headliners: including Chicago house icon Lil Louis on Saturday, May 26, rap legends Public Enemy on Sunday, May 27 (in their debut appearance at the festival) and Detroit native Jeff Mills, performing under an old moniker, The Wizard, on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28.

Check out the first round of announcements, listed on Resident Advisor, here. There will be more to come.

Curbed checks out Detroit Soup's two-year anniversary bash

Nice to see Curbed Detroit's Sarah Cox (who authors Model D's 'Imported to Detroit' series) getting out on the town and reporting from some of the city's most unique party spaces. Like this one in the former Jam Handy building on East Grand Blvd, which hosted the recent two-year anniversary of Detroit Soup. Take it away, Sarah:  

"Detroit's totally cornered the market on that unfinished, do-we-even-have-a-permit-to-be-here look for big events. And we love it! Why wait til renovations are done to show off a structure? Hell, most places look best stripped down (we love these brick walls!), so bring on the space heaters." She even waxes for half a sentence on our own Next Big Thing event last October at the David Whitney Building.

Read the whole piece here.

What, it's Paczki Day already?

Yup, as you read this, if you are reading on the day we publish, it is indeed Paczki Day, Detroit's version of Mardri Gras. This pre-Lenten celebration is also known as Fat Tuesday, the last day for Catholics to go nuts before trimming their diets for about six weeks (ending on Easter Sunday).

Hamtramck, whose population was once overwhelmingly Polish Catholic, is party central for Paczki Day. We recommend you just hit the town running, get a few dozen berry-filled paczki at local bakeries like New Palace and New Martha Washington or at markets like Srodek's, Bozek's, Stan's or Polish Market. Then find a party at just about any bar in town; or hip retailers like Detroit Threads and Lo & Behold, which will be rolling out DJs and bands. 

Behold this, from the Hamtramck Review. 

Americans want walkable neighborhoods, not big houses

Thank you, people of the USA. We put our faith in you once again. We are ecstatic to hear that a healthy percentage of our fellow Americans want walkable over wonky. Wonky as in the McMansion movement that characterized the last two decades.

We hold our tongues and say no more. As usual GOOD has the goods. Read on here.

Model D publisher Claire Nelson takes on prosperity agenda on WJR

The Michigan Prosperity Agenda is a monthly radio show that challenges listeners to help make Michigan a better place to live, work and play by creating vibrant local communities.

This month's show aired on News/Talk 760 WJR and was co-hosted by executive director and CEO of the Michigan Municipal League Dan Gilmartin and our own Claire Nelson, publisher of Model D. Part of the discussion was on Nelson's recent More Sexiness in the City piece.

Find the show archived here.

Roger Ebert says 'thumb's up!' to 'Lemonade: Detroit'

We've never hidden our excitement over the robust number of film and video being shot and produced in Detroit, about Detroit. Publisher Claire Nelson shared her list of favorites a few weeks ago. In case you missed it, here it is again.

Lemonade: Detroit is on that list. And now we find it on film critic Roger Ebert's Twitter feed. Find it here.

Detroit rises and shines for National Geographic Traveler

Writer Andrew Nelson saw plenty that impressed him on a return visit to Detroit at the behest of National Geographer Traveler. One thing that caught his eye were the art deco towers, which he says "make those in Miami’s South Beach look like anthills. 

Then he met up with architectural historian Dan Austin. "Detroit has one of the largest collections of Roaring ’20s architecture anywhere in the country," Austin told him. "And it’s not just art deco buildings, either--a town house development, Lafayette Park, is the largest collection of mid-century modernist Mies van der Rohe residences in the world." Well said, Dan. 

Keep reading here.

Video stars: DetroitUnspun tunes into Data Driven Detroit

The pictures say it all. Well, no: Data Driven Detroit's Kurt Metzger and his charts say it all during episode 11 of DetroitUnspunTV. Plan to spend a good half hour getting an education on proper council re-districting that manages to keep the integrity of neighborhoods intact. Metzger knows his stuff.

Watch the video, commercial free, here.

Urban Times calls for city solutions to help citizens across the globe

Self-described Optimistic Forward Thinking Online Magazine Urban Times got it so right when it generated this original response to smart cities. There's a lot of good info to be gleaned from this piece by Sascha Haselmayer for anyone interested in solutions to urban issues impacting every global citizen. Hear that Detroiters?

Check it out here.

Detroit has an app for that

Retaining talent is one of the reasons Nathan Hughes started Detroit Labs, which employs more than 15 people at its M@dison Building HQ downtown. 

This hub of online creativity is part of the growing App Economy, including some nice growth spurts coming out of Detroit, and is featured in this story in HuffPost Detroit. Read it here.

Gary Panter, Joshua White, Adult., Monster Island light up MOCAD opening

We saw you there, near the crush of bodies at the front of the stage, when Adult. -- Detroit's Nicola Kuperas and Adam Lee Miller -- fired up their live sound at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. And in the big room around the back, where Cary Loren and his extraordinary post-acid poetry and noise-rock project Monster Island performed. Wow, what a night. 

It was one of MOCAD's grandest art openings, a perfect kick-off event for a showing of works by Gary Panter (of Pee Wee's Playhouse fame) and Joshua White (he lit up New York's Fillmore Theatre in the 1960s).

Get a taste of it in HuffPost Detroit here. Then go to MOCAD and see the show. It's up through April 29.

DSO sets record with 'Live from Orchestra Hall' webcast

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra said about 15,000 viewers saw the ensemble’s recent performance of Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff’s "Symphonic Dances." Previous live webcasts by others have garnered about 10,000 viewers, it was reported.

Nice work, DSO. Read the whole story here.

Detroit City Futbol organizers buy semi-pro club

Two years ago, Sean Mann started a city soccer league -- the Detroit City Futbol League -- which drew 1,000 spectators to some games on Belle in the summer of 2011. That success has led 31-year-old Mann and partners Dave Dwaihy, Todd Kropp, Ben Steffans and Alex Wright to buy the rights to form a semi-professional soccer team representing Detroit.

Read all about it here.

Mike Kelley legacy work remains in flux at MOCAD

Artist Mike Kelley, who was part of the art-noise collective Destroy All Monsters while a student at the University of Michigan in the 1970s died on last week at age 57. He'd been in Los Angeles for over 30 years, carving out an art career that enabled him to exhibit in galleries, museums and biennials around the world.

Kelley's "Mobile Homestead," an unfinished replica of his childhood home, is the subject of three documentaries to be featured in this year’s Whitney Biennial in New York. Back in Detroit at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), however, the future of the work -- Kelley’s only piece of public art and his only permanent installation in his hometown -- is now uncertain.

Read about it here. Need to catch up on your Destroy All Monsters history? Do it now.

Freep editorial editor suggests neighborhood links remain for political districts

Editor Stephen Henderson is a smart guy. In a recent editorial on considering the options for slicing up the city into new council districts, these words got our attention:

"Like any city, Detroit is defined by its neighborhoods. They provide the sense of place. 

But you wouldn't know that from looking at the four maps for City Council districts drawn up by the planning commission. In each case, the proposed districts are compact and contiguous, drawn to account for legal restrictions and voting precincts, not currently cohesive communities."

He's right. Read on.

Eastern Market reinventing itself with more than food

The Detroit News reports: "A $3.9 million upgrade has begun of Eastern Market's Shed 5, which is the heart of the market's plant and flower business. The upgrades will include a commercial-grade kitchen aimed at upstart local food producers.

"Among the entrants in the farmer's market area are a self-described hacker space, a letterpress storefront and an art gallery. Plans are under way to build a community kitchen aimed at small-scale food entrepreneurs, and construction of a 40,000-square-foot fish farm inside a former city sewage facility may begin soon."

More, we say, more, more, more. Read the rest of the article here.

D3's proposal for council districts, weighs in on bus rapid transit

Yes, that's right, we have a full court press on to try to drive the correct decision in creating reasonable and equitable Detroit City Council districts. Read Free Press editor Stephen Henderson's take here.

In its current newsletter, Data Driven Detroit asks these three vital questions about the Detroit City Council district options created by the City Planning Commission:

1. Are any neighborhoods or historic areas split between two or more districts? If so, residents and community organizations must rely on multiple Council members to represent their neighborhood. That makes it more difficult to hold any single member responsible for that neighborhood issues.

2. Are any neighborhoods grouped into districts with distant or dissimilar neighborhoods? If so, the focus of that district’s Council member will be divided between neighborhoods with significantly different interests and concerns.

3. Are any place-based long-term public or private investment areas split between two or more districts?If so, businesses, investors, and government programs must rely on multiple Council members to support their interests. Splitting investment areas makes impact more complex, difficult, and harder to demonstrate.

Read the entire report here. After you dig into that, check out D3's report on another pressing issue, bus rapid transit.

Black Male Engagement (BME) winners announced

Ten black men in Detroit -- and 10 more in Philadelphia -- are receiving grants valued at $5,000 to $40,000 for community projects as part of the Black Male Engagement (BME) program launched last August by the Knight and Open Society foundations.

Detroit's leadership award winners include a mentor, a lawyer, former prisoners who now teach literacy and media skills, an LGBT rights activist, entrepreneurs, and one comeback kid. That's a strong list. 

Read the whole story here.

Knight Arts picks up Carrie Dickason's 'beautiful trash' at Public Pool

Since opening in late winter 2010, Hamtramck's Public Pool has hosted one edgy and different show after another, usually alternating group with solo exhibitions. The most recent solo show is by Cranbrook-trained Carrie Dickason, an Indiana native now living in the same neighborhood as the gallery.

We like the show, up through Feb. 25 (the artist is adding more elements to the works every Saturday, 1-6 p.m.) at the space at 3309 Caniff Ave. So does Knight Arts. Read all about it here.

'Godmother of African-American poetry' receives $50,000 prize from Kresge Foundation

Award-winning poet, editor, and educator Naomi Long Madgett -- who nurtured aspiring Detroit poets through her teaching, annual poetry award, and publishing company last week was named the 2012 Kresge Eminent Artist.

The award and $50,000 prize recognize Madgett’s decades of commitment to poetry by African-Americans, and promoting the study and appreciation of African-American literature in schools and universities.

That's only a fraction of the story. The rest is even better. Read it here.

'9 Businesses' highlights indie Detroit entrepreneurship

Screened last week at Eastern Market's Signal Return, the short film 9 Businesses aims to give a taste of how small business energy can help catalyze, revitalize and inspire neighborhood life.

Need some inspiration? Watch this.

Alliance for Biking & Walking releases 2012 benchmarks

This report shows that increasing bicycling and walking are goals that are clearly in the public interest. Listen up, Detroit:

Where bicycling and walking levels are higher, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes levels are lower. Higher levels of bicycling and walking also coincide with increased bicycle and pedestrian safety and higher levels of physical activity. Increasing bicycling and walking can help solve many serious problems facing our nation.

Many of us know this already. But not all. Read the entire report here.

Business models with impact

We've made it a habit to check out what's cooking at GOOD magazine on a daily basis. Every Friday, GOOD gives some space over to a budding entrepreneurial leader with vision to present a 1-minute video.

Ahmad Ahskar is founder and chief operating officer of the Hult Global Case Challenge, an international competition that pits teams of business school students against one in another to develop social enterprise solutions to the world's most pressing problems.

Check out the video here.

Deadline approaches for 2012 Kresge Art Fellowships

Kresge Foundation's call for applications from Metro Detroit's creative leaders in the literary and performing arts ends next week.

Kresge Arts in Detroit will provide 24 winners from Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties "whose commitment to innovation and artistic achievement are evident in the quality of their work" with a $25,000 stipend.

Applications must be filled out online and are due Feb. 1. The fellowships are funded by the Kresge Foundation and administered by the College for Creative Studies.

For more information, visit Kresgeartsindetroit.org.

Doc on corridor music legend Rodriguez rocks Sundance

Rodriguez has always been a mysterious figure, even in underground Detroit art and music circles. He was a fixture in the old Cass Corridor in the late-1960s/early-1970s, playing guitar and writing tunes about halfway between East Coast and West Coast (Bob Dylan and Arthur Lee of Love). He recorded his music, it made its way to South Africa, which embraced the son of Mexican immigrants as a poet-genius of gritty urban Americana.

Then, he was said to disappear. Only to be rediscovered by new generations of rockers. But let's not spoil the story any further.

Read more about the film here. Then get out and see it when it hits a Detroit screen near you.

'After the Factory' film contrasts Detroit with Polish city

Documentary filmmaker Philip Lauri and cinematographer Steven Oliver got a chance to mix with creative filmmakers from a world-renowned film school -- which produced Andrej Wajda, Roman Polanski and many others -- and with the aid of producers and translators, the filmmakers launched a month-long cinematic investigation of Lodz, Poland.

The result is After the Factory, a tale of two cities an ocean apart but sharing a number of characteristics.

The film screens at the Detroit Film Theatre Feb. 2. Read all about the project here.

Web-based fellowship project ready to take on Detroit

Early next month, Detroit welcomes three visitors who will spend an entire year developing web-based solutions to confront city issues head on.

Matt Hampel, Alicia Rouault and Prashant Singh were selected to be 2012 Detroit fellows for the national organization Code For America, a nonprofit that matches cities with civic-minded designers, coders, developers, engineers and a variety of cross-discipline problem solvers.

After finishing their initial training in San Francisco, the three fellows will come to Detroit on Feb. 3. They will spend a month talking to city officials and community residents about key issues and attending public events. Then they'll return to San Francisco, where they will spend the bulk of the year coming up with ideas and developing them, before returning to Detroit to test them with users. At the end of their fellowship, they will have built projects that are useful for the city and found residents to take responsibility for the projects' future sustainability.

That's just part of the story. Read it in its entirety here.

What is the Detroit brand? Experiencing people and place

Independent filmmaker Erik Proulx spent nearly two years traveling to Detroit to film Lemonade: Detroit, trying to find stories of reinvention that accurately reflect its brand. A brand, he says he could have never fully grasped without the first hand experience of being there.

Experience was the teacher for Proulx, as it is for us all.  

He writes all about it for Forbes, no less. Great stuff. Read about it here.

AIA: Detroit part of "New Big Three" for practicing architects

In the voluminous, intriguing scholarly piece, writer Wellington Reiter describes Detroit, New Orleans and Phoenix as U.S. cities "that have visited the frontlines of the future and are reporting back to the rest of the us, a bit wobbly and worse for wear, but still standing and in some respects, regaining their footing."

The rest of his paper is even better. Read it here.

Dirtbombs 'Party Store' makes Flavorwire list of best album covers of all time

We admit it: anytime a story about the Dirtbombs -- or you name it, a plethora of Detroit musicians that have made an impact around the world -- comes across the wire, we're all over it. This one is especially cool, an argument that the Dirtbombs' Party Store possesses one of the top album covers of all time.

Read all about it -- then rock out to "Sharivari" with the help of this sweet video.

Bethany Shorb's 'ties that don't suck' make Etsy's list of 1,000 handmade sellers

Etsy, as many of you know, is an international marketplace made up of a community of artists, thinkers, doers, makers, sellers, buyers and collectors.

So it's none too shabby when you're biz places 20th out of 1,000, as did Bethany Shorb and her Cyberoptix line of ties. Look for her moniker, Toybreaker, hit it and check out Shorb's fab collection of hand-printed wearables, all produced in a studio on Techno Boulevard (that's Gratiot, on the southern edge of Eastern Market).

Michigan Municipal League touts economic importance of immigrants

A new report by the Immigration Policy Center shows Michigan's immigrant population growing, excelling educationally and contributing to the state's economy.

Using the latest census data, the report shows that in 2010, immigrants made up 6 percent of the state's population or 587,747 persons. This compares to 1990 when the figure was 3.8 percent.

Follow Model D's coverage of this topic in the pages of Model D in the coming months and read more about the Immigration  Policy Center report here.

Atlantic Cities profiles downtown catalyst Dan Gilbert

Dan Gilbert has been making plenty of news locally with his purchases of properties in the lower Woodward corridor. He's been getting some love from the national press, as well, like this Q&A in Atlantic Cities.

Read more about Gilbert's lifelong downtown love affair here.

Photography beyond the 'poetic inconsequence' of ruin porn

Dave Jordano was a student of photography at the College for Creative Studies in the early 1970s. Following the example of his photography heroes -- Walker Evans, Robert Frank and others -- he set out back then to photograph his city.

He came recently back to "re-photograph" the city. The result is an overall picture of Detroit that connects decades 40 years apart.

Take a look at the entire piece here.

BBC reports: Space for growth in Detroit

Sure, you may have heard much of this before -- that the city is underserved by national food chains, the manufacturing base has collapsed and population has been on a decades-long decline -- but it does feel kinda good to get the BBC to weigh in on urban farming, Eastern Market, the importance of Whole Foods entering the marketplace and, of course, the creative possibilities of having incredible amounts of space as an asset.

Read it all here.

'Work, Reimagined': Detroit producer pens a piece for Yes! Magazine

Independent radio producer Zac Rosen takes a dive into Detroit's creative communities and comes up with some blueprints for the changing nature of work. COLORS--Detroit, On the Rise bakery and the Boggs Educational Center are part of "a revolution of values," he writes. Nicely put.

Read the whole story here.

Giddy up: Pony Ride nurtures creative life in Corktown

You heard? A group of outside the box investors, including Phil Cooley of Slows, purchased an 80-year-old factory on the corner of Vermont and Porter streets last spring and created a community empowerment project that enables artist and social innovators to get massive amounts of space at an affordable price. You probably did, since we ran this story about the Corktown incubator in November.

But that's OK, because it looks even better in this video clip. Roll the tape and check it out here.

Kickstart Kresge grant winner Steve Hughes' 'Stupor' project with Matthew Barney

When writer-builder Steve Hughes met art world maverick Matthew Barney a few years back on a Detroit film set, who knew the two would hit it off and one day collaborate on a book project as part of Hughes' elegantly wasted 'Stupor' series? It's a match made in, well, some stinking, cinematic barroom in a town that is equal parts Hamtramck (where Hughes lives and gets plenty of inspiration) and Boise, Idaho, where Barney spent his formative years.

We don't really know, it's just a guess on our part. But we're eager to see the finished product, to be called Washed in Dirt. Help support it here. Then listen to WDET-FM's Rob St. Mary talk to Hughes here.

DC3 helps grow collective voice for Detroit creatives

The Speakers Bureau is an initiative by the Detroit Creative Corridor Center to help establish a voice for Detroit’s creative community. This collective voice is that of many people and businesses who demonstrate forward progress in the city.

All of these individual entities have worked with or work alongside the DC3 in Detroit. Maybe they’ve participated in the Creative Ventures Program or consulted with the DC3 staff on a location for their business. Whatever the case, this is the story of Detroit’s forward movements through our lens. Read all about it here.

HuffPo Detroit rounds up Dan Gilbert's greatest hits of 2011

Most of us have followed the multiple stories of Quicken Loans founder/chairman Dan Gilbert buying up Detroit skyscrapers in the lower Woodward corridor. His newish company, Bedrock Real Estate Services LLC, manages the properties.

And there are hints of more to come. While we wait, HuffPost Detroit editor Simone Landon maps out Gilbert's real estate scores -- purchased for a cool, cumulative $50 million -- here.

Knight Foundation's BME reinforces good works of Detroit's African American men

Knight's Black Male Engagement program is rolling forward in Detroit and Philadelphia. Since BME launched, over 1,000 African American men have shared their stories. It offers a chance for community leaders to talk about their projects and connect with others doing similar work in Detroit.

One of the participants is Curtis Lipscomb of KICK, and organization that supports LGBT African Americans. In his BME video, Lipscomb says he's worked with over 3,000 people in nearly 20 years of service. 

See the KICK video and read the entire story here.

Visual regards: Freep editor and other Detroiters illustrate city life

A few months ago, the Free Press began asking its readers to share pictures that reflected their experiences in metro Detroit. The project took its cue from "Detroit Revealed: Photographs 2000-2010," an exhibit up through April 29 at the Detroit Institute of Arts that features local and international artists' photos of Detroit and Detroiters.

Editorial Page Editor Stephen Henderson contributed his own family snaps to the slideshow. Check it out here.

HuffPost Detroit's top 11 tech startups for 2011

Our friends at HuffPost Detroit are ending the year with some best of lists and roundups just like we are. This week, a list of the 11 top tech startups is making the rounds around the webs.

Check it out here.

Detroit Revitalization fellows announced

The Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program is a partnership between Wayne State University, the Kresge Foundation, Hudson-Webber Foundation and the Skillman Foundation that brings together talented professionals in Detroit. They will participate in a program combining two years of full-time employment with executive development-style education, networking opportunities and professional coaching and mentoring.

See the list of fellows here. We'll follow this story as it develops.

Sign up for future media economy workshops

These workshops are 20-week training sessions for Detroiters interested in building Detroit’s media economy by creating grassroots media, and community cultural production. The workshops offer intensive trainings on video, graphics, and web design with a focus on education, entrepreneurship and media-based community organizing.

Hey, sign us up. You do the same here.

Bizdom chief calls Detroit "entrepreneurial field of dreams"

Dan Izzo zeroes in on a topic near and dear to our hearts: young and hungry thinkers, doers, builders and makers finding opportunities to do business in Detroit 2.0. Some of them have no ties to the city but come ready to plant their vision in this fertile place, says the Training and Launch Chief for downtown's Bizdom U.

The piece first appeared in HuffPost Detroit. Read it here, get inspired.

Wheelhouse pops up at Compuware HQ downtown

Co-owners Karen Gage and Kelli Kavanaugh say they have always wanted to operate their Wheelhouse Detroit bike shop year round. The next best thing is a pop up shop in a great location. And it doesn't come much better than the Compuware Building, across from downtown's Campus Martius.

It's now open through Christmas Eve. Get all the info you need to go shopping here.

Getting physical: 'Thrive' putting print journalism in hands of homeless

We're big fans of Delphia Simmons and her stewardship of street newspaper Thrive. And not only because Model D is happy to be supplying some of the content for the paper distributed by homeless Detroiters.

This story caught our eye in HuffPost Detroit.

Excerpt:

Simmons' hard work to get the project up and running attracted the notice of Kiva, a nonprofit organization that uses the Internet and its worldwide microfinance network to issue loans that help alleviate poverty. Kiva learned about Simmons' project from Margarita Barry, a Detroit entrepreneur who helped set up the organization's local branch.

Read the rest of the story here.

Arts institutions combine efforts for creative development summit

Developed by ArtServe Michigan and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit in partnership with the College for Creative Studies and Cranbrook Academy of Art, this summit is designed to empower artists of all disciplines to take the next step in building sustainable professional creative practices.

It takes place Friday and Saturday (Dec. 16-17) at MOCAD, 4454 Woodward Ave., in Midtown. Get more info and register here.

New books out by Detroit bloggers, including one of our own

Among other things the talented Amy Elliot Bragg is a contributor to our sister and brother custom publications within the pulsating, ever-expanding Issue Media Group network. She is also the author of the recently-published book, Hidden History of Detroit. This Sweet Juniper piece steers you closer to it, and also brings to light another new Detroit tome, 313: Life in the Motor City by John Carlisle.

Read more and find out where you can purchase them here.

Declare Detroit says 'No' to brownfield tax credits for waste incinerator

The folks at Declare Detroit know how and when to make a point. The group praises city and state leadership for doing the right thing (incentives for redevelopment projects and investments that make sense: like the Westin Book Cadillac, the Taubman Center of Design Education at College for Creative Studies in the old Argonaut Building) and takes out the stick when they blunder in their support of incentives for foul concerns like the odious waste incinerator.

Read the strongly-worded editorial here.

Detroit artists "Un-Dress, Re-Dress" clothing and fashion at Public Pool

Public Pool is in its second year of showcasing innovative visual and sound art on an international scale. Yes, that ambitious, that good. Not to mention becoming a transformative presence in its central Hamtramck neighborhood. It's nice to see people are noticing, including the discerning eyes and ears at Knight Arts. 

The current show, "Un-Dress Re-Dress," includes artists are Lisa Anne Auerbach, Olayami Dabls, Jessica Frelinghuysen, Anne Harrington Hughes, Sarah Lapinski, Mark Newport, Lauren Rassel, Cristin Richard and Sarah Wagner.

Richard, who created a dress made from hog intestines (you heard that right; it's an amazing piece that hangs from the ceiling to the middle of the floor) called "The American Dream," is hosting the remaining gallery hours Dec. 10 and Dec. 17, 1-6 p.m. 

Read all about it here.

Progressive landscape for social entrepreneurship: it's here

Have a killer project that, no matter how great, fails to get the city's attention?

You're not alone, says writer-activist Achille Bianchi in HuffPost Detroit. "This is why so many grass-roots and socially progressive movements and organizations thrive and continue to thrive in Detroit," he writes. "Their invention, innovation and efficiency spawns from a certain type of need that only specialized tools can fix." We like how that sounds.

Read the rest of Bianchi's piece here.

Tony Goldman, master investor in urban spaces, zeroes in on Detroit

We're fascinated by developer/urbanist Tony Goldman's entrepreneurial magic touch. His investment strategies stretch from New York City's Upper West Side, downtown to Manhattan's Soho and way, way down to South Beach in Miami. He told Walter Wasacz he wanted to "flood the city with 100,000 artists from all over the world" and make Detroit "the capital of the experimental" in this interview we published in May

Goldman says he's ready to make some moves within the next three months. Right on, Tony. Read on here.

'Who is a Detroiter' brouhaha gets radio play on WDET

We know this heated debate is so last week, but we thought whoever didn't weigh in via social media or was hiking in the Porcupine Mountains or on a fishing boat in the North Atlantic would appreciate hearing this 30-minute segment featuring Toby Barlow, Rabbi Jason Miller and Model D's Walter Wasacz from WDET's Craig Fahle Show.

To catch up to the debate and refresh our take on it, go here. To listen to the podcast, go here.

Bright lights, our city: New docs focus on future of Detroit

Local production company One of Us Films is working on a documentary film that tightens the focus on the potential of smart urbanism around the world. Using the thesis laid out in Detroit Free Press writer John Gallagher’s "Reimagining Detroit," the documentary looks to Detroit’s future, and to the future of cities everywhere.

Check out a clip from director Carrie LeZotte's work in progress here. And while you're in a video-watching mood, check out a preview of another intriguing work in production, Keys to Detroit. We like it, and plan to keep our eyes on both.


Curbed Detroit new architecture critic issues challenge to status quo

Cheers, Curbed Detroit, for jumping into our moribund media marketplace and fearlessly mixing it up with business owners, designers, realtors, rabbis, Patti Smith fans and now the preservationist community. We didn't know we needed you until we needed you.

Welcome new architecture critic Kelly Ellsworth, who challenges all who love Detroit buildings to not only be passionate -- but proactive and effective.  

Let the arguments begin here.

Signal-Return letterprint store unwraps for Eastern Market holiday shopping

Detroit's new letterprint shop, Signal-Return, opens its doors to the public Dec. 2. The Eastern Market storefront will sell hand-printed stationary, books, posters and more; sourced from independent producers across the world and right here in the D. Local artists include Bryan Baker, Susan Goethel Campbell, I.T.U., Leon Johnson, Don Kilpatrick III, Emily Linn, and Megan O'Connell.

Kicking off the new store, Leon Johnson will head a workshop introducing bookbinding and letterprinting for 10 artists from Friday, Dec. 2 thru Sunday, Dec. 4. And on Jan. 4, the writer and artist Alison Knowles will exhibit her array of books, poems and scores; as well as her recent experiments and manipulations with cyanotypes and prints.

Signal-Return will be open for good, from Wed.- Sat, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 1345 Division St. in Eastern Market. Join their group on Facebook to keep abreast of all the updates -- and happy shopping this holiday season.

Video: Phil Cooley's Pony Ride incubator hits the ground running

A dance group, a furniture-maker and an old-school typesetter from New York City -- they're all the newest tenants of Phil Cooley's Pony Ride, the Vermont St. space he bought for $100,000 with the idea of hatching an incubator for creators and innovators in Corktown.

Check out this video to hear Cooley talk about the 30,000 sq. ft. building -- and the community they're building inside.

Excerpt:

But perhaps the most interesting aspect is watching this patchwork group of entrepreneurs pitch in to restore the building, a microcosm of what could potentially save the city.

Click here to watch.

Upstart Boat Magazine creates Detroit issue

It was a lazy month for London ad agency owners Davey and Erin Spens. The pair, fascinated by magazines and travel, took an unusual vacation -- renting an office in Sarajevo, bringing their two coworkers along to pen a magazine offering readers a true glimpse of the formerly war-torn city.

After some help from writer Dave Eggers, who introduced the first issue of Boat Magazine with one of his short stories, the pair are at it again. They came to Detroit to produce their second issue -- a $12 "antidote to lazy journalism," printed on beautiful matte paper, with an article from Jeffrey Eugenides and interviews with Ben Wallace, Alex Winston and Jessica Hernandez.

We found one excerpt, a photo essay on Detroit food, in The Guardian:

We headed down there on a Saturday morning to find a bustling area filled with vegetable stalls, and thousands of people from all over Detroit and the surrounding states shopping for produce for home or business. The must-haves are the ribs from Berts, but we were as taken by the market across the freeway, with its walls painted in murals of meat, fish and cheese, which are sold inside.

Buy it here
.

Xconomy makes the Detroit-Silicon Valley comparison

Locally-based social entrepreneurs are repositioning the nation's geographic emphasis on Silicon Valley, attracting a business incubator at Wayne State, a venture capital fund based out of U of M, and the attention of tech wizards and venture capitalists on the West Coast.

At the Blackstone LaunchPad incubator at Wayne State, a diverse group of student entrepreneurs are being trained in running a business -- but locating those future companies in Metro Detroit is part of the program. And they're inspired by young social entrepreneurs like EnGarde Detroit's Bobby Smith and Veronika Scott of the Empowerment Plan to do more than just pay the bills.

Smith says his long-term goal is to help transform Detroit into the "Silicon Valley of social entrepreneurship. Detroit is the perfect place for it -- Detroit created the middle class. People here are not afraid of hard work," he says.

Read more here.

DC3 accelorator gallery places call for submissions

"Starting Over," a new exhibition from the Detroit Creative Corridor Center, requests submissions for a gallery show to open in January.

Artists over the age of 18 from Metro Detroit are encouraged to submit no more than two two-dimensional pieces to the DC3 Accelerator Gallery by Nov. 25. The gallery is housed at the Taubman Center for Design Education building at CCS's New Center campus, located at 460 W. Baltimore. There is a $10 fee for entry.

"The concept for our first open-call exhibition is about the idea that, sometimes, you have to start anew," said Katherine Maurer, curator, DC3 Accelerator Gallery. "We want to receive submissions related to starting over, work that does reinvent the wheel. A product redesign, fine art, and anything in between will be considered as long as it relates to the concept of starting over."

Find out more here.

Detroit, an artistic paradise

This LA Times' trip to Detroit found an "artistic haven" of old structures, committed art dealers and vibrant examples of how community and culture intersect.

From the DIA, which the writer calls "America's most overlooked major museum," to the sculpture park outside the College for Creative Studies, and even a stop at Heidelberg, this travelogue details a city teeming with creativity. Russell St. Deli, Cafe D'Mongo's, Cass Cafe, and yes, Slows, were a few of the destinations the LA Times raved about.

Excerpt:

When I asked his inspiration, Guyton responded with questions of his own: "What is art today?" "Does it have to be in a museum?" "How do you revitalize a neighborhood?" "How do you get people to come to Detroit despite what they've heard?"

One of Guyton's motifs is New York taxis, painted on plywood boards. "A lot of people think you have to go to New York to make it," he said. "I'm saying I can make it right here, and I will. Watch me. I'm just getting started."

Find out more here.

Record amount of diners swarm fall Detroit Restaurant Week

There's just no stopping Detroit Restaurant Week.

Event producers Paxahau reported that the 10-evening dining promotion lured 36,046 gourmands to 21 restaurants across the city of Detroit, an 18.4 percent increase over 2010. It's the second-largest tally ever for the $28 prix fixe dining bonanza, which has counted 150,000 customers since launching five years ago.


"We are pleased the enthusiasm Metro Detroiters have for Detroit Restaurant Week has continued to grow over the years," said Jason Huvaere, Director of Detroit Restaurant Week. "It has been a terrific way for our community to experience the tremendous fine dining restaurants Detroit has to offer. With each campaign we hope we’re developing a new crop of customers who will frequent the restaurants all year long."

Stay tuned for the announcement for a Spring 2012 Detroit Restaurant Week date and more here.

Peering into Detroit's future through its alleys

Across Midtown, a new appreciation for the humble alleyway is resulting in creative re-adaptations as entryways, pedestrian corridors and outdoor spaces all their own.

The Detroit Idea Factory examines three varied uses for the alley around Midtown. Outside Motor City Brewing Works, the Canfield Green Alley beautifully connects Second Ave. and Canfield without sacrificing the tenets of sustainability. Over in the Sugar Hill Arts District, new restaurant Seva will open an outdoor patio in the alley, dismissing the typical exterior seating outside of the storefront. And Hatch finalists Alley Wine say they hope to open their future vino bar in a Cass Corridor alley.

Excerpt:

The master plan for Sugar Hill links up walkable alleys with the Midtown Loop, a pedestrian greenway. The culture of a walking city is part of our history, and our urban bones still support it. The intricate network of alleyways and narrow sidestreets are waiting to happen.

Are alleys the next big thing? Click here for more.

Cruise ships make new port a travel destination

Some skeptics questioned the logic of Detroit's new Public Dock and Terminal, which opened at a $21.5 million cost this summer on the banks of the Detroit River. According to this new story in the Freep, the new dock is already paying off in an influx of well-heeled tourists. The number of cruise ships planning stops at the Dock in 2012 is 13 -- a massive increase from the two ships who anchored in Detroit in 2011. At least 2,500 luxury tourists bound for the Great Lakes will set foot in the city next year.

Excerpt:

"What's terrific about the new dock and Detroit is the proximity to the upper part of the Great Lakes," said Chris Conlin, president of Great Lakes Cruise Company in Ann Arbor, which markets the cruises. "I believe the new port in Detroit is the reason the Yorktown is sailing out of Detroit and not Windsor or Toronto."

Anchors away here!

Real estate professionals learn best practices for selling Detroit

Selling real estate in Detroit has been a uniquely difficult challenge since the 2008 recession; the city is now prime territory for reinvestment and development.

On Nov. 8 and 9, real estate professionals, developers and students of land-use topics will convene at Cobo for "Detroit: Forged By Innovation," a two-day conference sponsored by the University of Michigan and the Urban Land Institute. Manhattan-based creative developer Tony Goldman and Peter D. Cummings will headline the speakers' list -- workshops, walking tours and bus trips around the city are on the list for the conference, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Click here for registration information and more.

Detroit: a test case in the role of art in a city's revival

In Kansas, a battle between Governor Sam Brownback and the National Endowment for the Arts has resulted in the NEA pulling all arts funding for the state, according to Grist. In Detroit, partnerships between major institutions and artistic-minded entrepreneurs have launched partnerships like the FAB lab, which offers metalworkers, mixed-media artists, woodworkers and digital fabricators the (often expensive) tools and space needed to practice their craft. Which seems like a growth strategy?

Excerpt:

"Detroit has always been a place where things have been made," says Alex Feldman, one of the project's creators, who works on economic development strategies with the company U3 Ventures. "That tradition is still alive here. But it's starting to shift in a small way to a more (artistic) culture of manufacturing and creation."

Tap into the scene here.

Signal-Return and AIGA host first letterprint workshop

Signal-Return, Detroit's first retail store dedicated to fhe fine art of letterprint press, will host its premier workshop, with a holiday theme, on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 10-11. Hosted with AIGA Detroit, the Holiday Style workshop will offer only 12 registrants the opportunity to produce holiday-themed cards on vintage equipment with custom envelopes and paper. The workshop will focus on hand-compositing movable wood and metal type, locking-up, and printing.

The cost is $180 for AIGA members and $220 for the rest of us.

Find out more here.

Two men, two lofts, two vibes -- one building

What can one do with a loft at Willy's Overland? The Detroit News peeks inside the living spaces of two new residents of Midtown. Jeff Antaya's two-story loft features 20-foot ceilings, while the second bedroom offers views all the way to the Ford River Rouge plant. A few floors down, DIA textile conservator Howard Sutliffe integrates mahogany-stained concrete floors and Amish quilts into a warm take on the gritty urban feel of the loft. It's a rare peek at two design-influenced personalities, and a study on how creative thinking can subvert the stereotypical influences of an "urban loft."

Excerpt:

Best of all, with its tall white walls and open space, the loft is a perfect showcase for Antaya's extensive art collection, which, for the most part, is either Detroit-based or by Detroit artists. "Art helps my creativity, and it has helped my creative thinking skills, too," says Antaya, who is a board member at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Step inside here.

Downtown GAR building gets a makeover

Downtown Detroit's castle, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Hall at Cass and Grand River Avenue, will be renovated into creative offices for Mindfield, according to the Freep.

After purchasing the GAR building from the City of Detroit for $220,000, developers Tom and David Carleton and Sean Emery said they hope to open in 2013 after a $2 to $3 million renovation. In addition to offices for Mindfield, a boutique media production firm with offices on Library St., the building will include retail and restaurant space, as well as a Civil War memorial to honor the building's history.

Excerpt:

Designed by architect Julius Hess in the castle-like Romanesque style popular in the day, the GAR Building was built in 1899 as a meeting hall for Union Army veterans. As those veterans died off, the building took on other uses, but closed more than 30 years ago.

Find out more here.

Saluting Luis Croquer of MOCAD

It's been a wonderful three years for Detroit's art scene, thanks to the work of Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit -- and its curator, Luis Croquer, was the visionary at the helm.

Under Croquer's direction, MOCAD became more than a new museum helping define the city's emerging reputation for art around the world. It became a can't miss tourist destination, a center for the city's own creatives, and the home of can't-miss parties for kids of all ages. We'll miss him.

Excerpt:

Well, I'm here for a while, but yes. I will be curious to see how things evolve. You know, when I came here, New Yorkers said, "What are you doing?" And now it's like, "Oh, you're in the coolest town in America." I've gone from being an idiot to being a visionary.

Read the farewell here.

Spot yourself: WDIV frames "The Next Big Thing"

There was so much to see at our Oct. 21 event, The Next Big Thing, that we didn't even see the photographers grabbing shots. Between the Detroit-themed expo, tasty food, music, Hatch-off and video, it was pretty hard to focus.

So we're loving this slideshow of the event, posted by WDIV. The David Whitney building is the star of the show, and these images really convey the excitement and Detroit love we felt that evening.

Click here to see if you made the cut.

W Magazine: Art thrives in Detroit, "the city of tomorrow"

Art-world darlings like Chido Johnson and Matthew Barney are just two of the creators giving rise to the continued comparisons between Berlin and Detroit. W Magazine's five-page spread goes beyond the big names to capture the industry of art -- from the hunt for buildings to the scene's connectivity -- now rivaling the automobile as this city's signature export.

Excerpt:

"It’s all about reinvention now," said Oren Goldenberg, the film’s director. Like many artists here, he returned to the city from the suburbs in 2007. With him was Sterling Toles, the composer building the film’s sound track from a mixture of angry rap and more delicate sounds. "I think of Detroit as illumination training school," he said, pointing to a bumper sticker in the room that read f**k cool cities. "It was so dark. Here, you become the light."

Read it here.

Pop-up stores offer new solutions to recession

Pop-up retail is spreading throughout Metro Detroit (other than the annual Halloween shops, we're going to give the credit to Joe Posch's Hugh for this one). The Somerset Collection's CityLoft luxury shopping experience downtown will extend weekend shopping hours through December for the holiday shopping season. The article also caught up with 71 Pop's Margarita Barry, who offered a convincing argument for many entrepreneurs to scout the market by opening temporary retail.

Excerpt:

"It's a good chance for me to learn whether I really want to run a brick-and-mortar business," Barry said. "What are the price points that work? What does the community want? The pop up idea is offering me a great chance to learn."

Find out more here.

Imagination Station outpost skirts demolition -- for now

Tensions between city officials and artists over building demolitions are at heart in this article chronicling the Imagination Station's continued work to save a blighted Corktown property near the Michigan Central Depot from demolition.

The home in question featured an installation by artist Catie Newell, which was deconstructed for Grand Rapids' annual Art Prize competition (it won a juried award). The city's given Imagination Station more time to create a plan to fix the property before it's scheduled for demolition.

Excerpt:

DeBruyn was among the group of community activists who bought the Imagination Station homes on 14th Street, next to Roosevelt Park, at the request of the Wayne County Nuisance Abatement Program. They paid $500 apiece, plus back taxes. "So much of the art inspired in this town is inspired by the blight," DeBruyn said. "We are part of the movement that's trying to do something positive about it."

Get more here.

Visit Detroit -- we lead the nation in travel industry growth

Hotels that banked on Detroit's future as a travel destination are reaping their just rewards.

Based on increases in occupancy rates over the next 12 months, the website travelclick.com predicts the city and surrounding areas will experience a 2 percent increase in travel to the city in 2012.

Excerpt:

Finally, Conran says, the Detroit area is seeing "significant" year-over-year gains in business travel thanks to the recovering auto industry."We can't underestimate the fact that the health of the auto industry has improved dramatically," Conran says.

Let's not forget that worldwide media acclaim of Detroit as a paradise for an off-the-beaten-path vacation.

More here.

One house at a time

Juxtaposing the imagination of Power House Productions and architect Catie Newell's adaptive reuse of abandoned homes in Detroit with the bureaucratic mechanism of the Detroit Works Project, it's clear that the city could take a page from our local artists' imagination. Metropolis wonders why the Detroit Works Project is focusing on shrinking, not saving blighted structures across the city. This writer's idea? Rename the whole thing the Detroit Dreams Project. That's quite an idea.

Catie Newell teaches at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, but her built work -- if that’s what you can call it -- is mainly in Detroit. "Anything that's new construction, particularly in this urban landscape, looks entirely out of place here," she said to me. "Maybe that's where the offensive part comes in." She was saying that new construction -- in Detroit, where so many old buildings stand empty -- was not only a bad idea but an offensive one. This, from an architect?

Dig in here.

The business of art, and Heidelberg Street

While art and commerce can be uneasy bedfellows (how to put a price on creativity; and whether it should be judged in those terms), a new study from the Center for Creative Community Development at Williams College proves one Detroit attraction satisfies both spheres.

Tyree Guyton's Heidelberg Project is more than an indoor-outdoor art exhibition -- it's a serious revenue-builder for the city. The study found that the project attracts $3.4 million in economic activity to Wayne County every year. That's partly because 70 percent of the more than 50,000 visitors who make their way to Heidelberg Street every year are from outside the county. Guyton's vision has also created 40 jobs in the region.

Excerpt:

"The Detroit and wider Detroit region faces a wide array of challenges," Sheppard said. "I don't think it's correct to say that art and cultural organizations and projects alone can completely turn around the economy of Detroit ... but I think arts and culture projects like the HP are (part of that)."

Connect the dots here.

New Children's Chamber of Commerce to focus on Detroit kids

Thanks to a $50,000 grant from PNC Financial Services' PNC Foundation, First Children's Finance will launch the Michigan Children's Chamber of Commerce, designed to strengthen early-child care centers across the state --with a focus on Detroit, Inkster and Pontiac.

It's been a rough couple years for the early-care industry. Since 2009, Wayne County lost at least 60 licensed centers for child care, contributing to a loss of over 1,400 slots for young kids in Southeastern Michigan. As a result, over 70 percent of state subsidy dollars in Michigan are paid to unlicensed guardians caring for kids.

"Low-quality care in the first few years of life can have a long-lasting impact on a child's learning and behavior," said Skillman Foundation President & CEO Carol Goss. "Quality care helps a child to develop a strong mind, body and spirit through a variety of experiences."

Business members of the Michigan Children's Chamber can receive small business mentoring and financial support. The Chamber will conduct 200 clinics in 2012 to help existing businesses overcome specific business issues to stay on their feet and keep their doors open.

Find out more here.

iCritic Detroit uses video medium to create arts engagement

Two longtime writers from the New York Times are headed to Detroit with a vanguard video concept for promoting the arts.

iCritic Detroit brings a mobile video booth to arts and entertainment events; seeking critical analysis and feedback from citizens, not paid journalists. Audience reviews are shared on websites and across social media channels. The iCritic is the brainchild of Jennifer Conlin, a longtime Style and Travel section contributor to the New York Times; along with Dan Shaw, a former NYT editor and reporter. iCritic was a winner of this year's Knight Foundation/NEA Community Arts Journalism Challenge.

A smartphone app will allow users to track the iCritic's wherabouts on any given night; high school iCritic competitions and a Moth-style slam are also in the works.

Excerpt:

"Video is the new lingua franca and citizen journalism is an increasingly important element in covering news all over the world. This project will make it possible for conversations about the arts to go viral in a way that has never happened before."

Find out more here.

Re:New Detroit to sponsor weekly Hamtramck ping-pong tourney

A pop-up ping-pong parlour invites paddle-wielding assassins to bring their best games to Hamtramck every Tuesday evening.

Each Tuesday at 8 p.m., SMASH! will invade Skipper's bar in Hamtramck (get there early to put your name up on the board for a match). Paddles, balls, sweatbands (natch), and plenty of food for veggies and carnivores alike are on the menu -- just bring your game face and a few dollars for the drink specials.

SMASH! is sponsored by Re:New Detroit, a sports therapy studio located at 155 W. Congress in the Murphy Telegraph building, suite #400. If you pick up a mean case of tennis elbow at SMASH, you'll be all covered.

Get the spin here.

Dine, Dash and Drive with MOVE Detroit and GM

While the dine-and-dash is the ultimate gastronomic faux pas, a new event from our friends at MOVE Detroit will bring some class to the act. MOVE Detroit, a group of city-dwellers working to bring more young professionals to the D this year through fun networking events designed to show suburbanites what fun we have living down here.

They have quite an evening planned, teaming with GM for the Dine & Dash Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 4:30 p.m. Head to the Jefferson entrance of the RenCen for the chance to test-drive GM's newest vehicles (like the Volt, Cadillac CTS V Coupe and Camaro) on a short jaunt through the city. Attendees will then discover the newly-opened Joe Muer's Seafood Restaurant inside the RenCen for a networking tasting, featuring a Detroit trivia game with prizes provided by Somerset Collection's Detroit Shoppe.

Are you moving to Detroit? Of course, you are. Plan your move and more at movedetroit.org.

Everybody loves Detroit now

How does it feel, friends, to be a redemption tale, a sports film montage and the trendiest city in America, all in one week?

While the last few days weren't kind to either the Tigers (bless you, boys) or the Lions, newspapers across America were high on the Detroit redemption theme, with sports serving as the engine for our latest renaissance.

We here at Model D know that progress in the city is, to pborrow from our upcoming Next Big Thing event, really the mean result of a million little things -- the hard work, goodwill and dedication of thousands of Detroiters that often go unnoticed. It's the community development organizers, the small business owners, the neighborhood watchdogs, and countless more of you every day that make this city special -- not a scoreboard result or an advertisement for a car commercial. 

Still, the recognition is nice. We're glad everyone's coming to understand what we love about this place.

Excerpt:

"We're a tough town," said Emmett Moten, a partner in the redeveloped Doubletree Fort Shelby hotel and former development czar for then-Mayor Coleman Young. "If you look back where we were in the '60s and where we are today, there were a lot of, not bumps in the road, but major, major catastrophes. But because the town was strong, they've been able to overcome that. ... "It's picking up," he said. "We have our problems, but we're willing to fight."

Click here to read the article.

A Detroit Lions story; a commentary on urban land-use

In a widely-circulated article from Yahoo! Sports on the Detroit Lions' improbable start, Kid Rock and Ford Field's new reputation as a stadium to fear around the NFL, we found a few thoughts on urban land use and downtown space that fit pretty well in Model D.

Author Dan Wetzel contends that there's more for opposing teams to fear when visiting Detroit than the defensive line. Ford Field bucks the nationwide trend of cocooning stadiums -- that is, placing them far from city life and downtown chaos. The stadium's defiant location creates a crowd boiling over with enthusiasm before streaming through its doors -- and the crowd factor, no doubt, that contributed to the Bears' nine false starts against the Lions during Monday night's game. Wetzel's logic? Smart planning and cooperation between the Lions and city officials have re-defined the notion of the home field advantage in sports. And visiting teams should beware.

Excerpt:

It brought a hot team and the first Monday night game in a decade. So the people were everywhere, drinking in parking garages and cooking on dirty sidewalks and even tapping kegs right by the police headquarters. They wouldn’t have it any other way. It produced a throng of fans who would later bring the soul of the city inside and rain it right down on the Bears.

Read more here.

LiveWorkDetroit hooks up college grads with big-city opportunities

LiveWorkDetroit! showcases Detroit as the place for Michigan's college graduates and young professionals to live and work. The group says Detroit is one of the hottest and hippest places in the country (thank you, we appreciate that) and LiveWorkDetroit! gives participants the opportunity to see it in person and to hear it directly from employers eager to hire the best and brightest.

LiveWorkDetroit will take place Oct. 21, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Ave., in Midtown Detroit.

There is a $15 registration at www.michiganadvantage.org/LWD. Click here to check out the event flyer.

Honor + Folly bed and breakfast -- coming soon

Detroit's newest bed-and-breakfast will offer guests a dose of original style along with their pillow and key.

Meghan McEwen, founder of the amazingly cool DesignTripper blog, posted a few thoughts on her latest venture, Honor + Folly, which will bring the inn concept to Corktown's Michigan Ave.

Writes McEwen, "I’ve been so inspired by all the people and places I’ve been writing about for the past year, I’ve decided to join ‘em. I don’t have photos yet ... and you’ll have to bear with me while I paint, stock, source, sand furniture, adorn walls, make beds, knit pillows and hang a shingle."

While details are limited, McEwen tells us Honor + Folly will feature cooking classes and lotsa cool furnishings from local designers. It will open to guests in mid-November.

Click here to read McEwen's post, and keep tuning into Model D for more Honor + Folly.


Detroit leads Philly in BME Challenge

When it comes to sharing the positive tales of black men in and around Detroit, our residents haven't been shy.

Detroit currently leads Philly 1064 to 1017 in the Black Men Engagement Challenge (called BME or "be me" for short), which has called for recognizing local leaders, inspiring doers and change agents in the African-American community.

There's just four days left to vote for your inspiration, Detroit -- don't miss the chance to recognize the people you know who are making their communities a better place to live. Go to bmechallenge.org for more information.

Tyree Guyton: new children's book and a farewell show

Readers as young as six can now enjoy the brilliant spectacle of Tyree Guyton's work -- without leaving the house.

A new picture-book biography, "Magic Trash: A Story of Tyree Guyton and His Art," was released by author J.H Shapiro and illustrator Vanessa Brantley-Newton. The story details Guyton's transformative powers on his East Side neighborhood.

Bid farewell to Guyton, who is heading to Basel, Switzerland, for a one-year arts residency, on Friday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. Kresge Eminent Artist honoree Marcus Belgrave will perform his unique new composition, All That Jazz: The Heidelberg Suite, with Anthony Wilson and the Detroit All-Star Jazz Orchestra. The concert was made possible through a $50,000 gift from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation. The fete takes place at the First Congregational Church at 33 E. Forest. Tickets are $25. The concert is in partnership with the Arts League of Michigan.

Excerpt:

Guyton is headed to Basel, Switzerland in late October for a prestigious, one-year residency at the Laurenz House where he will reflect on 25 years of the Heidelberg Project through a series of manifestos. This work is a component of his 2009 honorary PhD from the College for Creative Studies. Guyton has also been invited to participate in the international 2012 Art Basel, called “the largest art show in the world.”

Purchase your tickets and find out more here.

Detroit hip-hop poised for another day in the sun

Local music writer William E. Ketchum III says hip-hop's elusive pendulum of influence is swinging back to Motown, offering five reasons rap enthusiasts across the nation need to tune in to Detroit's musical offerings (and no, Eminem isn't one of them).

Noteworthy artist Royce da 5'9" has a new album, Big Sean is cracking Billboard lists with his Finally Famous LP, which came out on Kanye West's G.O.O.D label; while indie rock and rap fans alike found much to like about Black Milk's collaborations with Jack White. Up-and-comers FowL and Danny Brown also made the list.

Excerpt:

"It started out as an individual thing. Now, I think all of us realize it can't be an individual thing," says Royce Da 5'9". "We've all been self-contained over the years, but now we realize there's strength in numbers. It's good to be unified, as opposed to everyone on their own agenda."

Read more here.

Brightmoor student woodworkers carve out a future

Want a sign Brightmoor is turning around? An after-school program sponsored by Detroit Community High School is now a neighborhood business, employing five local students in the age-old art of hand-crafted woodworking.

The Brightmoor Woodworkers have installed five signs around the neighborhood, created in the Community High School's woodshop. They don't use power tools -- just chisels, stencils, mallets and clamps. Each sign typically takes a week to build and costs $10 a letter. The signs are appearing in front of local businesses and decorate a few of the 30 community gardens that have sprouted in Brightmoor.

Detroit Community High School founder Bart Eddy says the Woodworkers' teaches what he calls "curbside entrepreneurship," and hopes to expand the program.

Excerpt:

"This has provided an important service for the community," he told the Michigan Citizen. "We can now teach any kid in the neighborhood, using the proper tools, and they can start their own sign-making business."

The sign points here.

Bing means business on banking in Detroit

Mayor Dave Bing is rewarding banks who invest locally with his business -- and closing accounts at banks that he feels aren't making enough home and small business loans in the city.

Crain's reports that the city of Detroit, which pays $1 million in banking fees annually on $1 billion in investments, has streamlined its accounts since 2009, winnowing almost 300 accounts at 13 banks to 156 at 11 institutions in the city. He says his team is also compiling a database to track small-business and mortgage lending within the city limits.

Excerpt:

"I can't tell you I'm satisfied with any of them just yet until I collect all of this data, until I analyze that," he said. "That's going to be somewhere in the next 30 to 60 days, and we're going to be meeting with all of those banks."

Read more here.

Tour De Troit helps make Detroit more bike-friendly

Close to 4,500 bikers made the Motor City a two-wheeled adventure course for a day on Sept. 24; choosing a police-escorted 30-mile jaunt through Detroit's streets or a whopping 62-mile slog from the tour's home base at Roosevelt Park (check out Tour De Troit wrap-ups from the News, Freep and MLive).

Tour De Troit's explosive growth (it drew less than 50 cyclists for its first outing in 2002) mirrors the bicycle's increasing popularity as an accepted form of transportation in the D. A growing network of greenways and bike lanes, wide avenues and more tours have helped grow cycling by 192 percent in the past ten years.

Excerpt:

"(Riding a bike) shows the city on a human scale, and you see a lot of detail that you wouldn't see when you were in an automobile," said Bill Lusa, 37, director for the tour. Lusa, who lives in Woodbridge, uses his bike to commute to places around the city. "It's not always about smashing the system and ending the automotive hegemony," he said. "It's about having fun and being in slightly better shape."

More available here.

10 start-up semi-finalists "Hatched," voting now open

A Midtown wine bar, a Woodbridge "gypsy den" serving fine teas and a bakeshop with a big heart -- these are just three of the 10 semi-finalist businesses announced in the Hatch Detroit entrepreneurial contest, which will award $50,000 and mentoring to Detroit's favorite idea for new retail.

Voting's now open to the public -- two rounds will narrow down the pool of semi-finalists to the "Hatch Off" finale, where the budding entrepreneurs will be given five minutes to make their best pitches to a team of judges.

Head to the Hatch Detroit page to cast your votes for the top four -- and come back the next day (you can vote once every 24 hours). Best of luck to all! Detroit could use all 10 of these these fresh ideas for local biz -- and 10 more after that.

Know This! takes a tour of Detroit's creativity

Know This! took a tour through Detroit, catching up with 71 Pop's Margarita Barry, Detroitbigfdeal's Tunde Wey and Bureau of Urban Living owner Claire Nelson along the way. The host says they're hearing a lot of new concepts in the city, "because people are really innovating, people are really connecting and they're bringing a lot of creative ideas to revitalize the city." Hear, hear.

Check the video out here.

Detroit's "Close and Play" DJ reflects on Post-Motown music scene

Carleton S. Gholz, a native Detroiter who earned a Ph.D in communications at the University of Pittsburgh and now teaches at Northeastern University in Boston, is writing a book on "Post-Motown" Detroit. Some of you might remember Dr. Gholz from our August speaker series on Detroit music.

While we wait for the book, here's a tease -- an illuminating interview in the Daily Swarm with Morris Mitchell, a Detroit DJ (way back in 1971) before mixing records was the norm. "Close and Play" meant just that -- playing a record all the way through, take the record off, and slip the next song on the turntable -- all the while, maintaining a flow to keep the audience on their feet. Mitchell belongs to the small group of historically gay DJs who brought the music from places like New York and Chicago and laid a foundation for dance culture in the D.

Excerpt:

I’ve never been scared of anybody that was better than me; I think that made me popular. When I did cabarets, if I had somebody spin with me that they weren’t familiar with, and then they were really good, the crowd would really appreciate it. You follow what I’m saying? Because it was somebody new they had never seen get behind those turntables, they wore it out. They wore the crowd out.

Feel the beat here.


Hygienic Dress League antiheroes' chilling city portraits

Pairing anonymity-creating gas masks with the expensive suits, fur coats and boardroom tables of corporate America, the Hygienic Dress League is many things at once -- a licensed corporation that produces nothing but its own logo, an art project with murals and signs across the city, and a continuous discussion on the roles of marketing and branding in American culture.

They're also the stars of a new Public Pool exhibit, running through Oct. 22, entitled "Portraits of the Hygienic Dress League," which was shot by founders Steve and Dorota Coy, Scott Hocking, Gregory Holm, Dave Krieger, Nicola Kuperus and Tom Stoye. You'll find these art antiheroes posing in streets, by the river, in factory yards and old houses -- truly a one-of-a-kind slide show. We know one thing -- this city's never looked quite so sinister.

Click here for the gallery.

TEDx Detroit delivers passion, comedy, drama

TEDxDetroit bills itself as an idea-generating conference from innovators, doers and thinkers in the Metro Detroit region. Last week's annual conference, held at the Max M. Fisher Center, had it all -- comedy, musings on physics, tap-dancing, human drama and great ideas. Detroiter Matt Dibble told us that the Detroit of tomorrow is almost here today; En Garde Detroit's Bobby Smith uses fencing to help save city kids; Veronika Scott's art project became an in-demand coat that saves lives; Randal Charlton spoke of the failures and tragedies that dogged him before he was appointed head of Tech Town. All these stories and more available online -- click here to find out what you missed.

Next Urban Chef contest chops off at Eastern Market

This year's MI Apple Gala, a benefit for Eastern Market, will offer patrons a new twist -- the chance to witness the city's first Next Urban Chef competition. It's all taking place Oct. 14 at Shed 3 in the market (click here for tickets).

Recycle Here!'s Matthew Naimi says the live cook-off will raise awareness of Detroit's "food shed," the local fresh food system extending through Ontario, southeast Michigan and northern Ohio (of which Eastern Market is the hub). Supino Pizzeria owner Dave Mancini will face-off against Phil Jones, the former executive chef at Lola's and incoming chef at Colors Detroit. The two chefs will be supported by a team of non-professional Detroiters both young and old, including several DPS students mentored as cooking assistants.

"This is as much about the chefs as it is about the youth that are involved," Naimi says. "We really are trying to show youth in the city of Detroit, especially, that there are careers in the food system -- from cooking and fine dining to producing food, processing food or growing food. It's all part of our food shed."

Here's how it works. Each team will receive an ingredient box of produce, meats, grains and spices (all from food shed producers). They'll have an hour to produce a unique meal, judged on the merits of innovation, creativity, taste and presentation.

The Next Urban Chef contest is just the beginning of a series, Naimi says. He says Mancini and Jones' community work made them natural choices for the first head-to-head challenge. "Dave has helped a lot of the small food groups get started with his kitchen, and by being a very giving person," he says. "And Phil Jones did a lot of work with the Food Policy Council. And his work with the Colors kitchen lends itself to working with youth and others."

Bite into more here.

Neighborhood Mother to raise $3000 for NoCo renovation

Local social entrepreneur Tunde Wey's website, DetroitBigFDeal.com, operates like a Motor City blend of Kickstarter and Groupon. Similar to Kickstarter, DetroitBigFDeal highlights local projects in need of support, using social media to fund the drive for contributions. Like Groupon, anyone who buys gets discounts and gift certificates to neighboring businesses (among them Thistle Coffee Shop, Union Street and Cliff Bell's). While giving is its own reward, it need not be the only one.

The website's newest project, Neighborhood Mother, will try to raise $3000 to renovate a recently-abandoned home near Spaulding Court in North Corktown. Longtime resident Angie Johnson, now 70 years old, single-handedly took care of her block while working two jobs and raising kids alone. Laid off, she can no longer afford to keep up her home. The project, led by Steve Schmidt, Jon Koller and Jeff DeBruyn, will use the money to get Johnson's residence market-ready and rented.

Excerpt:

"This provides Angie much needed (rental) income, allowing her to live with some measure of financial security and the dignity befitting her contribution to the community. A new tenant also increases neighborhood density, growing a community where even one more person means an added layer of support and safety. This is a community-initiated response to the severe challenges of blight, population decline and social care for the elderly ..."

Check out the video and give what you got here.

Urbanized: new doc on cities' future contemplates the D

A new film on the role of cities in modern living will make a stop in Detroit on its global tour of premieres.

Gary Hustwit's new documentary, Urbanized, received rave reviews (and several spontaneous bursts of applause) during its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. The flick features a shot of Detroit, as seen from the People Mover, in the trailer -- and it's coming to Detroit Oct. 11 for a showing at the Detroit Film Theatre at the DIA (buy your tickets here).

Excerpt:

Who is allowed to shape our cities, and how do they do it? Unlike many other fields of design, cities aren’t created by any one specialist or expert. There are many contributors to urban change, including ordinary citizens who can have a great impact improving the cities in which they live. By exploring a diverse range of urban design projects around the world, Urbanized frames a glob