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Traveling exhibitition featuring Star Wars costumes comes to DIA

Are you a Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) member and a fan of Star Wars? If so, there's great news: you get exclusive access to an exhibition featuring iconic costumes from that far away galaxy. 

"Star Wars and the Power of Costume," is a traveling exhibition that features more than 60 hand-crafted costumes from the Star Wars films, including Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Stormtroopers, Chewbacca, Han Solo, C-3PO, and more. In addition to showcasing the costumes, the exhibition explores both the challenges in dressing the actors, as well as the connection between character and costume. 

"This exhibition allows visitors to explore the creative processes behind the art of costume design, while discovering the unexpected ways in which these works relate to art from the DIA's collection," said Salvador-Salort-Pons, DIA director, in a press release. "It also connects directly with our Detroit Film Theatre program, which has shared the art of film with hundreds of thousands of visitors over its 42-year history."

The DIA is the last stop on the exhibition's tour, which runs from May 20 through Sept. 30. If you're a DIA member, you can attend a members-only preview on May 18 and 19. 

What's happening in Detroit on almost every day of Black History Month

Looking for a way to engage with Black History Month in Detroit? We've got you covered. Here's a guide to events happening on almost every day in February this year. 

Be sure to comment below or tweet us @modeld to let us know what events we missed. 

Lecture by Dr. Na'im Akbar

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Tuesday, Feb. 6, from 6 to 9 p.m.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Na'im Akbar will give a lecture about how black men and women have been affected socially, politically, psychologically, and spiritually within society. 
Admission to this event is free. 

The Colored Museum

Wayne State University's Hilberry Theatre
Wednesday, Feb. 7 through 18 (various times)
A performance that explores African American stereotypes and what it means to be black in America.
Tickets range from $10 to $25 and can be purchased here.

"The Black History of the White House" with Author Clarence Lusane

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Thursday, Feb. 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. 
Author Clarence Lusane will discuss his book, "The Black History of the White House," which covers the generations of enslaved people who helped to build it to the Obamas. 
Admission to this event is free.

The Music of J Dilla

The Detroit Institute of Arts, Rivera Court
Friday, Feb. 9 at 7 and 8:30 p.m. 
Music from legendary Detroit hip-hop artist J Dilla has been rearranged by composer Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, and will be performed by musicians from Rebirth. 
Admission to this event is free.

Reflections: Intimate Portraits of Iconic African Americans

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Saturday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m.
A showing of photographer and author Terrence A. Reese photography series of influential African Americans. The gallery "Reflections" is based off of Reese's book, "Reflections: Intimate Portraits of Iconic African Americans."
Admission to this event is free.

Black History Month Through Music

Metropolitan United Methodist Church, 8000 Woodward Ave.
Tuesday, Feb. 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. 
In a tribute to African American performers, local performers will be singing and tap dancing. 
Admission to this event is free.

Drink Detroit: Black History Month Edition - Black-Owned Bar Tour

Flood's Bar & Grille, Mix, Queen's Bar
Thursday, Feb. 15, from 6 to 9 p.m. 
The Detroit Experience Factory is hosting a tour of some of downtown Detroit's black-owned bars.
Participants must be 21 or older. $15 tickets can be purchased here.


Saturday, Feb. 17, from 7 p.m. to midnight
The Jam Handy
The Legacy Gala celebrates local black artists through of dance, music, and theater performances. Selections from Dreamgirls, The Wiz, The Color Purple, and Porgy & Bess will be featured in this fundraiser to support The Helping Hands Campaign for the Arts. 
$50 tickets, which include drinks and food, the reception, performances, and after party can be purchased here

Honoring African American Scientists

Sunday, Feb. 18, from 9 to 11 a.m.
The Masjid Wali Muhammad at 11529 Linwood St.
Mathematics and science accomplishments by African Americans will be honored during a community breakfast. 
$7 tickets can be purchased at the door.

A Conversation on History Education

Tuesday, Feb. 20, from 6 to 8 p.m.
The Detroit Historical Museum
Brenda Tindal, the museum's new director of education, and Alycia Meriweather, deputy superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District, will be discussing the history of education. A reception will follow.
Admission is free. To reserve a seat, pre-register here.

Jazz on the Streets of Old Detroit

Thursday, Feb. 22, from 6 to 9 p.m.
The Detroit Historical Museum
Legendary Detroit guitarist Dennis Coffey will perform "Jazz on the Streets of Old Detroit." The event is hosted by the Black Historic Sites Committee.
Tickets are $20 at the door, or $15 in advance here.

Perception vs Reality

Saturday, Feb. 24, from 1 to 4 p.m.
The International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit, 111 E. Kirby St.
The Caribbean Community Service Center will host a panel to discuss how the world portrays African Americans.
Admission to this event is free.

Oh, Ananse!

Sunday, Feb. 25 at 2 p.m.
Jazz Cafe in the Music Hall, 4841 Cass Ave.
PuppetART Detroit will perform the West African story of Kwaku Ananse. 
Tickets for children and adults can be purchased here.

A Flame Superior to Lightning, A Sound Superior to Thunder: Haiti's Revolutionary History

Tuesday, Feb. 27, from 2 to 4 p.m.
Wayne State University Law School, 471 W. Palmer St.
Haitian culture and history will be discussed by Millery Polyné, an associate dean for faculty and academic affairs and associate professor at New York University. This event is open to students, faculty, and the community.
Admission to this event is free.

New cookbook features some of Detroit's best chefs cooking seasonal meals

It seems like every week for the past few years a new, hip restaurant has opened in Detroit. One trend amongst this new crop of restaurants and their chefs is sourcing locally and updating their menus depending on what's in season. 

That's part of the inspiration behind the cookbook "4 Detroit: Four Chefs. Four Courses. Four Seasons." As the title suggests, the book features four founding chefs from four of Detroit's newer acclaimed restaurants (Gold Cash Gold, Takoi, Supino, and Selden Standard) providing recipes and for seasonal meals. 

According to the press release: "Josh Stockton cooks a winter meal in Corktown. Brad Greenhill makes a spring meal in Palmer Woods, Dave Mancini hosts a summer barbecue in Indian Village, and Andy Hollyday prepares an autumn supper in Boston Edison."

$5 from the sale of every book goes to Gleaners Community Food Bank

Detroit hosts inaugural vinyl manufacturing conference

Earlier this year, we reported about how Detroit was poised to become one of the premier cities for vinyl record manufacturing in America. This is taking place due to growing interest in records nationally, as well as the city being home to two of the roughly 20 vinyl pressing facilities left in the United States. 

And if a recent event is any indication, this distinction is being recognized. As the Metro Times reports, Detroit just hosted the first-ever vinyl industry conference. 

"Colonial Purchasing Co-Op put on its first ever vinyl conference, Making Vinyl, on Monday and Tuesday at the Westin Book Cadillac hotel in Detroit," writes Sara Barron. "Organizers said the goal was to bring together key players in the industry to discuss the resurgence of vinyl."
[Read Model D's article about vinyl manufacturing in Detroit]
Keynote speakers at the conference included Jack White, founder of Third Man Records and the White Stripes, and Michael Kurtz, co-founder of Record Store Day, which takes place every year on April 21. 

Making Vinyl was well represented by industry professionals, and gave out a number of awards for vinyl cover art and packaging. 

After years of false starts, RoboCop statue will finally get erected in 2018

Detroit is finally getting a RoboCop statue. According to a Detroit News article, the finishing touches are being put on the 11-foot, 3,500-pound bronze statue based on the iconic film, which will be erected in Spring 2018. 

In 2011, a couple of Detroiters, Jerry Paffendorf and Brandon Walley, raised $67,436 in a successful Kickstarter campaign to construct a RoboCop statue. But the project then ran into some roadblocks.

They had trouble finding a location for the statue. The sculptor, Giorgio Gikas, got colon cancer. And the construction of the statue itself took longer than expected. 

"At times, he had two employees working on RoboCop, 40 hours a week each," writes Stefanie Steinberg.

"'Put that through three-some years now, and you see how much this project really has cost me,' he said." Gikas humorously says that the project has been "a pain in my butt, besides the colon cancer."

The exact location of the statue has yet to be released to the public, but Gikas knows where it will be. (Spoiler: not Hart Plaza)

"So the speculation will continue—at least for a few more months," writes Steinberg. "Walley said he plans to throw a 'big Robo party' to which they'll invite Kickstarter supporters, "RoboCop" movie stars and even [former Detroit Mayor Dave] Bing."

"'We've heard from people around the world that they want to make the pilgrimage to Detroit to see it,' Walley said. 'So we really see it as a great tourist (attraction).'"

Engaging with '67: Local exhibitions, writings, and movies on the rebellion

This July 23 will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 riots (or rebellion) in Detroit. It's a complicated historical event that resulted in massive social and economic implications for our region. And it's prompted a great deal of commentary in media outlets, essays, exhibitions, and more. To help readers engage with the events of 1967, here's a mini-roundup of the ways it's being thought about across the city.

Model D published an excerpt from an essay by author Desiree Cooper, "It can happen here," about the complicated feelings surrounding Detroit's revival, and how to make sure it's rising for everyone. The essay appeared in a recent anthology, "Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies," published by Wayne State University Press, that covers a range of topics related to the riots from the history of colonial slavery in Detroit to reflections from schoolchildren at the time.

WSU Press also republished a book from 1969, "The Detroit Riot of 1967," written by Hubert G. Locke. It's a firsthand, sometimes minute-by-minute account of the riots as witnessed by the administrative aide to Detroit's police commissioner.

Crain's Detroit Business put out a special report on the riots that includes a timeline of the events that lead to the outbreak, an article detailing the history of the vibrant Black Bottom and Paradise Valley neighborhoods (as well as the "urban renewal" project that lead to their demise), the economic consequences of the riot, and more. 

Bill McGraw wrote an article in the Detroit Free Press asking what is the most appropriate way to describe the events of 1967: riot or rebellion (or uprising or civil disturbance). "Riot" has been the mainstream way to describe it for decades, but "rebellion" has been gaining traction. "The word of choice [for certain politically-active groups] has become 'rebellion,'" writes McGraw, "reflecting the long-held belief among a number of people that black Detroiters in 1967 were fighting back against systemic racism."

"Rebellion" is how the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History describes those events, which it will explore further in its exhibition, "Say It Loud: Art, History, Rebellion," opening July 23, the day the rebellion started.

The Detroit Historical Museum has been getting a great deal of positive press about its exhibition. "Detroit 67: Perspectives" collected hundreds of oral histories and scholarly input to create a narrative that spans the years before, the weeks during, and years since the riots. 

There's also movies, recently or soon to be released, covering the summer of '67. One, simply called "Detroit," directed by Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow, takes place during the rebellion. It comes out August 4, and you can watch it out at Cinema Detroit

A locally-produced documentary, "12th and Clairmount," premiered at the Freep Film Festival, and features archival footage, home videos, and interviews with eyewitnesses and historians. There is one more currently sold-out screening at Cinema Detroit on July 24, but the owners say there may be a few tickets available the night of the show. 

There's many more ways to read about or engage with the riots of 1967. Let us know about other local events by commenting below, tweeting us @modeld, or sending an email to feedback@modeldmedia.com.

Artist Charles McGee, 92, paints 11-story-tall mural and opens exhibition

One of Detroit's most accomplished contemporary artists, at 92 years old, is still searching. 

That's the theme for his latest exhibition, "Charles McGee: Still Searching," which is presented by the Library Street Collective and opens on June 1. According to a press release, the exhibition "traces McGee's 70-year-long career through an array of works that encapsulate two of the artist's most enduring themes: chronicles of the black experience and a love of nature. The retrospective also reflects McGee's evolution across mediums, with works ranging from charcoal drawings and photography to avant-garde three-dimensional and multimedia pieces."

One block from the gallery, coinciding with the exhibition, McGee's 11-story-tall mural "Unity" will also be unveiled at 28Grand, a new micro-loft apartment building constructed by Bedrock. 

McGee has accomplished much over his 70-year career in art. His work is on permanent display at the Detroit Institute of Art and Museum of African American History. He's also one of the founding members of the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit. 

"Charles McGee: Still Searching" opens June 1 at 1505 Woodward Avenue, a pop-up gallery, with an artist reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

Y Arts fundraiser doubles as a celebration of '60s psychedelic rock

There's lots of good reasons to attend a fundraiser for Y Arts, the arts and humanities branch of the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit. Of course, it's an opportunity to support an important arts organization. But if that's not enough of an incentive, this year's theme, "Y Arts' Rockin' Art Bash," promises to be a thrill for fans of '60s rock music.
The fundraiser, which takes place on Saturday, November 26, will have a screening of Kresge Kresge Fellow Tony D'Annunzio's Emmy Award Winning rock documentary "Louder Than Love: The Grande Ballroom Story," about the east-side Detroit venue.
The Y Arts press release gives a great description of the classic venue: "The Grande Ballroom stood as the epicenter of the Detroit rock music scene in the late 60s Serving as the starting point for bands such as MC5, Iggy & The Stooges, Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes, The Grande Ballroom not only influenced local Detroit musicians but inspired bands from all over the U.S. and Great Britain. Legendary acts like Led Zeppelin, Cream, B.B. King, Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd, and The Who graced The Grande Ballroom main stage on a regular basis. This is the story of the hallowed halls that started it all, told by the artists who helped create The Grandes legend."
The poster artwork of Gary Grimshaw will also be featured. And there will be a live musical performance followed by a Q&A with the director of "Louder Than Love."
All proceeds from the event will support Y Arts Detroit and the arts programming they provide to youth and families throughout Metropolitan Detroit. Tickets are available at http://rockinartbash.brownpapertickets.com/.

The Senate Theater launches crucial crowdfunding campaign

A classic Detroit theater needs your help.

The Senate Theater on Michigan Avenue, home to one of the largest Wurlitzer organs in the world, hopes to raise $150,000 in a GoFundMe campaign. The theater has opened and closed several times since it first opened in 1926, and is entirely volunteer-run today.

Most of the money will go towards repairing the rusted sign, both the steel and letterboard. It's difficult to tell that the Senate is even open for business without it.

Here's a brief history of the theater from Cinema Treasures: "The former theater was acquired by the Detroit Theater Organ Society (DTOS) in 1963 who renovated it and reduced seating from 1,200 to about 900. The Club moved the former Fisher Theater organ from the Iris Theater, where it was briefly kept in 1961-2, to the Senate Theater.

"Since then, the Senate Theater has been home to the DTOS, and features organ concerts. It no longer has its projection equipment, so unlike the Redford Theater, which features organ concerts and classic motion pictures, the Senate Theater became a concert hall only."

The crowdfunding campaign ends on November 5. To donate, visit the campaign page.

Living Arts commemorates Mexican tradition with month-long series of events

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a holiday of Mexican origins that takes place on November 1 and is dedicated to the memory of relatives and loved-ones who have died. Living Arts, an organization that supports youth arts programming and does a lot of work with Southwest Detroit's Mexican-American community, will be holding an event on October 29 to commemorate the holiday.

Beginning with a procession across the Bagley Street pedestrian bridge, "Teatro Chico—Dia de los Muertos: Nuestras Historias, Our Histories" will culminate with a community meal, music and dance performances, and an exhibition of ofrendas (altars) at the Ford Resource and Engagement Center.

The performances will be given by some esteemed dance and mariachi groups, including Living Arts' own youth dance ensemble.

"Living Arts is proud to be able to contribute to this important conversation about Dia de Los Muertos among all the other wonderful contributions taking place in the Southwest Detroit Community as well as in the greater Detroit area and in Southeast Michigan," stated Erika Villarreal Bunce, Living Arts' director of programs, in a press release. "Through this project we hope to help uplift the ancient roots of Dia de Los Muertos through examining its long history and acknowledging its future. We hope to reconnect with the significance of the tradition as well as help others to learn about and engage on a deeper level with Day of the Dead."

Throughout the month of October Living Arts will also offer art workshops on papermaking, pottery, along with other traditional crafts, using those art objects to create a Dia de Los Muertos Ofrenda. All activities will take place at the Ford Resource and Engagement Center.

The project is sponsored in part by Michigan Humanities Council, the Ford Motor Company Fund, and the Ideal Group.

Teatro Chico: Dia de los Muertos takes place on Saturday, October 29 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. beginning at the Bagley Street pedestrian bridge and moving to the Ford Resource and Engagement Center. The event is free of charge, but donations are encouraged. For more information about the event or workshops, visit the Living Arts event page.

Cleveland installation has Detroit inspiration

If you happen to find yourself in Cleveland between now and early January, be sure to head to the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA) for an art installation that features Detroit.

Titled, "Unit 1: 3583 Dubois," the work by Anders Ruhwald recreates the a Detroit building's identity through a series rooms and corridors. "Using charred wood, ash, molten glass, found objects, and black-glazed ceramics, Ruhwald meticulously composes an immersive, richly sensorial experience that is at once dramatic, nostalgic, and uncanny," says a description on MOCA's website.

Model D's sister publication in Cleveland, Fresh Water, also visited the exhibit and came away with this fascinating description: "Unit 1 does include two sensual components the other exhibits lack," writes Erin O'Brien. "Not only does it smell of charred wood evocative of campfires as well as arson, visitors are encouraged to do something that might otherwise get them asked to leave a museum: touch all the interior components of the mysterious space, some of which offer a primal element of life: warmth."

At the end of its run in Cleveland, Ruhwald will transport the installation back to Detroit for permanent relocation.

"Unit 1: 3583 Dubois" will be on display at the MOCA until January 8, 2017. 

Conference on preserving Detroit's musical legacy enters third year

Detroit has one of the greatest musical heritages of any city in the world. And a local conference is intent on preserving it.

Hosted by the Detroit Sound Conservancy (DSC) and presented by Lawrence Technological University, the 3rd Annual Music Conference will convene people integral to music preservation for the purpose of discussing how to harness the city's musical legacy.

The conference, which takes place on October 15, will have panels, a speech from Soul music legend Melvin Davis, as well as a remembrance of James T. Jenkins, founder of the Graystone International Jazz Museum and Hall of Fame, who would have turned 100 this year. 

The conference will be held at the Detroit Center for Design & Technology (DCDT).

"The DCDT prides itself on aligning with local initiatives, programs and organizations who look to foster and expand the role that art and design play among the local community, growing industry and educational pedagogy," says Karl Daubmann, DCDT interim executive director. "With the DSC's history of working towards increased awareness of Detroit’s musical heritage, along with their efforts in advocacy, preservation and education in the local community, the DCDT is proud to support our neighborhood partner in their endeavors to reinvigorate Detroit's ever present musical culture."

The DSC's 3rd Annual Music Conference takes place from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 15 at the Detroit Center for Design & Technology. For more information on the conference schedule or to RSVP, click here.

Help select which mural gets painted at the Adams Butzel Recreation Complex

Every year, the 8-week Summer in the City program culminates in a celebration and mural painting. This year, they've chosen to adorn the Adams Butzel Recreation Complex in northwest Detroit with a hockey-themed mural.

And you can help decide which mural is selected. The Detroit Red Wings Foundation, along with the youth-led summer program, and the City of Detroit Parks and Recreation Department have come up with seven mural designs, all hockey-themed, as the section of the rec center to be painted is the Jack Adams Memorial Hockey Arena.

The mural that gets the most votes will be painted on the Finale Friday celebration, which includes more than just painting, and takes place on August 12. All are encouraged to vote for their favorite design and volunteer for painting.

Summer in the City is an organization that offers programming and volunteer opportunities in Detroit for youth. One project they commonly undertake is mural-painting—the organization says they've painted over 100 in the city.

Model D covered last year's Finale Friday at Crowell Community Center, also in northwest Detroit. An estimated 1,200 volunteers showed up.

To vote for your favorite mural design, click here.

Hatch Art launches fundraiser to save Hamtramck Disneyland

The Hamtramck art collective Hatch Art, using the local crowdfunding platform Patronicity, has launched a fundraiser to help save Hamtramck Disneyland, the famous folk-art site started in the backyard of Ukrainian immigrant Dmytro Szylak.

Syzlak immigrated from Ukraine to Hamtramck with his wife in the 1950s. For the last 30 years of his life, he constructed and renovated the whimsical, vivid artwork that contains tributes to his new and past home countries.

Syzlak passed away last year, and his estate sold the artwork to Hatch Art in May 2016.

If they reach their goal of $50,000, Hatch Art will, according to the fundraiser, "repair and maintain the outdoor, site-specific folk art installation as well as establish an artist's residency program and gallery space."

The installation hasn't been properly cared for in some time and is indeed in need of numerous upgrades. "The garages that support the art suffer from rotten roofs and sagging structures," reads the fundraiser. "Much of the art is weathered, falling apart and in need of immediate attention to be saved."

The "Save Hamtramck Disneyland" fundraiser ends August 20. 

Developers take lead installing public art in downtown Detroit

Public art is becoming an increasingly common sight as developers both big and small (including Model D's startup editor Jon Zemke) integrate murals and sculptures into their redevelopment projects in the greater downtown Detroit area.

The Detroit News profiled Midtown-based artist Nicole Macdonald's work creating murals of the Motor City's great leaders, including her largest work to date, a billboard-sized tribute to Mary Ellen Riordan on the side of a duplex in North Corktown.

"A group of students were walking by and they stopped and asked, 'Who's that?' and I had the opportunity to tell them," Nicole MacDonald is quoted in the article. "That's what public art is all about. It's empowerment."

Model D broke the story about the mural of the legendary former president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers earlier this year.

Summer program at downtown YMCA teaches teens about media arts

Y Arts, which does arts programming for the downtown Boll YMCA, is offering a summer program for teens interested in the media arts. The Y Media Works Summer Institute gives campers the opportunity to learn from local media talent and "produce their own film ideas, photography projects, stop motion animation, and digital music compositions," according to promotional materials.

The program, now in its 9th year, is run by Y Arts executive director Margaret Edwartowski, who's had a lengthy career in theater as a writer, director, actor, and improvisor. The team, which is rounded out by other artists with expertise in media, will provide daily instruction and take the campers on field trips to production houses, museums, and studios.

The camp runs from Monday, July 11 to Thursday, August 11, with camp days being Mondays through Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Every campers' final film will be shown on Saturday, August 20 at the YMCA's Marlene Boll Theatre. 

"We hope that our campers gain experience in photography, digital film production, and visual storytelling working alongside local artists," said Edwartowski by email. "But most of all we seek to provide a fun and creative experience where youth explore and celebrate downtown Detroit."

The camp costs $500, but full and partial scholarships are offered. 

The Y Media Works Summer Institute begins July 11. To apply or learn more, contact Margaret Edwartowski at medwartowski@ymca.org.

Knight Arts Challenge Detroit accepting submissions now through May 2

For the fourth straight year, the Knight Foundation will be awarding up to $3 million in grants to Detroit artists. The submission period begins today, April 4, and runs through May 2.

The Knight Arts Challenge has a broad concept, and is "open to anyone with an idea for engaging and enriching Detroit through the arts." The application is also simple. All you need to do is distill your project idea into 150 words and follow these three guidelines: 1) The idea must be about the arts. 2) The project must take place in or benefit Detroit. 3) The grant recipients must find funds to match Knight’s commitment.

Two of the 170 prior winners include Hardcore Detroit, which explored the ‘70s Detroit dance craze in a documentary, and Detroit Fiber Works, a gallery and learning space that claims to be the only fiber arts studio in Detroit. 

“Almost everywhere you go in Detroit, you see Knight Arts Challenge winners inspiring and engaging our city,” said Katy Locker, Detroit program director for Knight Foundation, in a press release. “What’s next? We can’t wait to see what Detroit comes up with.”

The Knight Foundation will host two free community events on April 11 at the MOCAD and April 15 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. The events are meant to support potential applicants, with past challenge winners and Knight Foundation arts program director Bahia Ramos in attendance. 

To submit your application to the challenge, click here

Third annual Freep Film Festival kicks off

On Thursday, March 31, the Freep Film Festival (FFF) begins its third year of showcasing documentary film relevant to Detroit and Michigan. 

The festival is building on its success and expanding its scope. This year there will be nearly double the number of screenings, including 18 premiers, shown at six venues in Detroit plus Emagine Theater in Royal Oak. 

“The Freep Film Festival’s emphasis on films that have a strong tie to Michigan and/or Detroit set the Festival apart from others in Michigan and throughout the country," said Steve Byrne, executive director of the FFF, in a press release. "The films will showcase the best and most intriguing elements of our residents, our city or our state."

Opening night of the FFF starts Thursday, March 31 at the Filmore in downtown Detroit with a live recording of Kevin Smith's podcast "Fatman on Batman," who's best known for directing such films as Chasing Amy and Clerks. This will be followed by a live screening of T-Rex, a documentary about a 17-year girl from Flint, Michigan pursuing a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics in London. 

Other highlights of the festival include films on the controversial Hantz Woodlands project in Detroit and a double feature about Belle Isle. The festival comes to a close April 3.

For more information on tickets and screenings, visit freepfilmfestival.com.

Detroit's SXSW? Corktown Strut festival has bold ambitions

Last week, Brian McCollum of the Detroit Free Press reported that a large-scale music festival is coming to Corktown in July. Organizers have dubbed it Corktown Strut, saying that it will feature an eclectic range of performers spanning a wide variety of genres.

Corktown Strut, which is scheduled for July 1-3, will join a number of other large-scale music festivals that take place during the summer in Detroit, including Movement, the Hoedown, and Jazz Fest. It will differ, however, in that its musical acts will represent a variety of genres and that it will place a greater emphasis local food and drink, specifically the restaurants and bars of Corktown.

Organizers hope that Corktown Strut will fill the void left by City Fest (formerly Taste Fest), an annual summer festival that featured a variety of musical acts and local food businesses before it was discontinued in 2009.

Forward Arts, an organization that creates programming to promote Detroit's arts community, is putting on the event in collaboration with a variety of local bookers and event producers, who are curating a musical lineup that will be announced in mid-March.

"We're taking the overall model of [City Fest] and some of the model of (Austin's) South By Southwest, and fitting it to the Corktown neighborhood and our arts community," Dominic Arellano told the Detroit Free Press.

For more information, visit http://www.corktownstrut.com/.

Source: Detroit Free Press

Get down with Banglatown at Oct. 3 block party

In recent years, Detroit's Banglatown neighborhood (located just north of Hamtramck) has become known as much for resident artists and community-based art projects as its sizeable Bangladeshi population. Community arts organization Power House Productions, performance art group The Hinterlands, the Bangla School of Music, and winners of Write a House (a permanent artist residency giving away homes to writers) all call Banglatown home, resulting in a neighborhood with many cultural assets.
That cultural richness will be on display on Saturday, Oct. 3, during the Banglatown Block Party. According to its Facebook event page, the party will feature arts and culture programming the showcases various project sites Power House Productions has been working on over the past 5 years. Events and activities are planned for houses on Moran, Lawley and Klinger streets, including a workshop with The Hinterlands, music by Bangla School of Music, screenprinting with One Custom City, badminton matches at Sqaush House, and exhibitions by poet Casey Rocheteau and photographer Corine Vermeulen. Later in the day, hip hop duo Passalacqua will emcee a neighborhood talent show and food will be available at Ride It Sculpture Park.
Learn more: Facebook

Free Press explores Detroit's top 35 street art pieces

Detroit is a Mecca for street artists. That's part of the reason why Eastern Market-based 1xRun decided to host the upcoming 9-day mural festival called Murals in the Market, which will bring street artists from around the world to Detroit from Sept. 17-25.
Before they get here, however, take some time to explore what's already in Detroit. Start with this amazing feature by Detroit Free Press writer Mark Stryker and photographer/videographer Romain Blanquart, which lays out Detroit's top 35 street art pieces, from the Alley Project in southwest Detroit, to Charles McGee's untitled 1974 modernist mural in downtown Detroit, to the many pieces of the Grand River Creative Corridor, and more.
Read more: Detroit Free Press

Write a House, Detroit's permanent writer's residency, announces 10 finalists

Last year, Write a House renovated a vacant house it had purchased at the Wayne County tax foreclosure auction, then gave it away to poet Casey Rocheteau -- for free. This year, Write a House will give a second formerly vacant house away to another worthy writer.
According to the organization's website, "Write a House is a twist on the 'Writer's Residency.' In this case, the writer is simply given the house, forever." The idea is to contribute to the neighborhood just north of Hamtramck (known to some as Banglatown) and strengthen the literary culture of Detroit.
This year, Write a House received 220 applications in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from all over the United States and abroad, as well as right here in Detroit.
The finalists for this year's Write a House residency are:
Liana Aghajanian
Tujunga, CA
Liana Aghajanian is an independent, Armenian-American journalist whose work explores the issues, people and places that remain hidden and on the fringes of society. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, Foreign Policy, BBC, Al Jazeera America, GOOD and The Atlantic among other publications. Reporting from Kenya, the UK, Germany, the South Caucasus and across the West Coast of the U.S., she covers issues at the intersection of culture, immigration, social justice, displacement and identity. She edits Ianyan Magazine, an independent-online journal on Armenia and its diaspora and authors a column for L.A. Times Community News on under-reported issues. Her work has received support from the Metlife Foundation Journalists in Aging Fellowship, the California Health Journalism Fellowship and the International Reporting Project at Johns Hopkins University.
Selected by dream hampton.
Glendaliz Camacho
New York, NY

Glendaliz Camacho is a 2013 Pushcart Prize nominee, 2014 Jentel Foundation Artist in Residence, and 2015 Caldera Arts, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and Hedgebrook Artist in Residence. Glendaliz is an alum of the Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation Fiction Workshops. Her work appears in All About Skin: Short Fiction by Women of Color (University of Wisconsin Press), The Female Complaint: Tales of Unruly Women (Shade Mountain Press, 2015), The Butter, and Kweli Journal, among others. Glendaliz is currently working on a short story collection, fantasy novel, and essay collection.
“This piece surprised me the most of any of the submissions—it quickly drew rounded portraits of its characters and pulled me into their sure-to-be-tense relationship. More than any of the other pieces, I would have happily kept reading more.” Sean MacDonald

Katie Chase
Portland, OR

Katie Chase's short fiction has appeared in The Missouri Review, Five Chapters, Narrative, Prairie Schooner, ZYZZYVA, Mississippi Review, and the Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Prize anthologies. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she was the recipient of a Teaching-Writing Fellowship, a Provost’s Postgraduate Writing Fellowship, and a Michener-Copernicus Award. She has also been a fellow of the MacDowell Colony and the Center for Steinbeck Studies at San José State University. Born and raised outside Detroit, she lives currently in Portland, Oregon. Her first book is forthcoming from A Strange Object in 2016.

“Devil’s Night is an oft-explored theme, and yet this felt fresh, compelling, and true. Wasn’t really sure what to make of the last paragraph, but it held me nonetheless.” Toby Barlow

Allison Hedge Coke
Arcadia, OK
Allison Adelle Hedge Coke's authored books include Dog Road Woman, Off-Season City Pipe, Blood Run, Streaming, and Rock Ghost, Willow, Deer (memoir), and anthologies she edited, including: Sing: Poetry of the Indigenous Americas, Effigies and Effigies II. She also performs with the band Rd Kla. Hedge Coke came of age working fields, factories, and waters, and serves as an alternative field mentor. Awards for her work include an American Book Award, a Paterson Prize, a Sioux Falls Mayor’s Award, and residencies with MacDowell, Black Earth Institute, Hawthornden Castle, Weymouth Center, Center for the Great Plains, and Lannan at Marfa. Hedge Coke directs the annual Literary Sandhill Crane Retreat and is currently at work on an environmental documentary film, “Red Dust: resiliency in the dirty thirties.”

“(In her work), there is seriousness and ambition and scope for growth. It is densely packed and is mostly story-telling, anchored in a myth of blue-collar world. This is worth exploring.”  Michael Stone-Richards
Nandi Comer
Detroit, MI

Nandi Comer is the lead writer for Techno Poetics, a collaboration between Detroit music makers and writers. She has received fellowships from Indiana University, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Cave Canem, Callaloo, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in To Light a Fire: 20 Years with the InsideOut Literary Arts Project (Wayne State University Press, 2014), A Detroit Anthology (Belt Publishing, 2014), Another and Another: An Anthology From the Grind Daily Writing Series (Bull City Press, 2012), Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Green Mountains Review, Southern Indiana Review, and Sycamore Review. She lives and works in Detroit.

“This poet plays with poetic form and verbal music in such a way that art amplifies social consciousness, violence, and cultural inheritance. This is the hallmark of literature that aims high, a kind of redemption song … I admire the maturity evident in this poets' work.”  Major Jackson
Jaquira Díaz
Miami, FL
Jaquira Díaz is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Florida Individual Artist Fellowship, the Carl Djerassi Fiction Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, a Bread Loaf waitership, and an NEA Fellowship to the Hambidge Center for the Arts. She's been awarded fellowships or scholarships from the Sewanee Writers' Conference, The MacDowell Colony, Summer Literary Seminars, and the Tin House Writers' Workshop. A finalist for the Richard J. Margolis Award in journalism, her work is noted in Best American Essays 2012 and 2014, Best American Nonrequired Reading 2014, anthologized in Pushcart Prize XXXVII: Best of the Small Presses, and appears in Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, The Sun, The Southern Review, Salon, Five Chapters, TriQuarterly, The Rumpus, and The Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications.   
“The author has a strong sense of voice and language that drives these three short pieces. Even in the single paragraph that is ‘December’, the language has a natural cadence and sense of urgency that propels the narrative in two lyrical sentences. ‘Seasons of Risks’ captures the adolescent appetite for danger.” Tamara Warren
Matthew Fogarty
Columbia, SC

Born and raised in the square-mile suburbs of Detroit, Matthew Fogarty has an MFA from the University of South Carolina, where he was editor of Yemassee. He also edits Cartagena, a literary journal. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in such journals as Passages North, Fourteen Hills, PANK, Smokelong Quarterly, and Midwestern Gothic. His short story collection, Maybe Mermaids and Robots are Lonely, will be published in Fall 2016 by Stillhouse Press, a publisher based at George Mason University.

“The first two shorts in this packet were the most interesting, in part because they're so different. The first tells of a man obsessed with telling and retelling the story of Pope John Paul II being elected, but the story varies wildly depending on the day, and ‘depending on what we'd eaten and how much he'd had to drink.’ The second is a more absurd story about two con artists staging fake accidents for cash, while traveling under the names of characters from The Legend of Zelda. There's a lot of varied imagination here, and I appreciated the range.” Matt Bell

J.M. Leija
Detroit, MI

J.M. Leija is a Detroiter at heart and proud to claim all the accompanying trials, travails, and joys that accompany such a statement. By day she is a teacher/disguised superhero who tries to convince her students that reading is cool. On nights and weekends, she turns into a writer who tortures herself over whether writing about things that have really happened and people who really exist can ever be truly ethical. She then proceeds to write about them anyway. Her work has previously been featured in A Detroit Anthology, Motif's Seeking It's Own Level anthology, and Pithead Chapel Magazine, and she has work forthcoming in the 3288 Review.

“This is a person who has something interesting to say, and in saying it, she exercises complete command of the language. The words do exactly what she wants them to at all times. This is no mean feat. There’s an ease and authority here that was unmatched in any of the other submissions I read. … this #1 lady is a writer. There is an instinctive understanding of how words fit and rhythm and le mot juste. This is the thing that can’t be taught.” Nancy Kaffer

M. Sophia Newman
Homewood, IL

M. Sophia Newman is a writer whose work has been published in the US, UK, Bangladesh, and Japan. She writes a column on global health, Health Horizons, for Next City. She's reported on infectious disease in West Africa via a crowd-funded project for Pacific Standard Magazine and on violence in South Africa and America with the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. She received a 2014 Shannon Fellowship from Bellarmine University’s International Thomas Merton Society to report on environmentalism, and continued this work with a 2015 retreat at Collegeville Institute for Cultural and Ecumenical Studies. Prior to journalism, she completed a Critical Language Scholarship in Bangla (2011), followed by a year of health research as a Fulbright fellow in Bangladesh (2012-2013). She holds a bachelor of science in cell and molecular biology (Tulane, 2009) and a master's degree in public health from University of Illinois (2012). Sophia is a Bangla speaker who hopes to attain fluency for journalism and to translate Bangla-language literature. She has also won admission to a short program on global mental health at Harvard, and intends to complete a nonfiction book expanding on the violence prevention she explored via the Pulitzer grant.

Selected by dream hampton.
Katie Nichol
Fayetteville, AR

Katie Nichol is a poet, educator, and activist based in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Recent work has appeared in Cream City Review, St. Petersburg Review, and Cannibal. She is the Creative Writing Director for Prison Story Project, and was a 2014 finalist for the Wisconsin Institute Creative Writing Fellowships. Prior to receiving her MFA from the University of Arkansas, Katie worked as an advocate with homeless youth in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
“Like many of the manuscripts, this one deals with strong subject matter—notes from a rough life—but here the matter is balanced with literary grace and a knowledgeable sense of form.  The manuscript includes a ghazal and a rather amazing poem that reads forwards and backwards.” Billy Collins

Can Greece learn from Detroit's example?

While some publications are comparing Detroit to Brooklyn (or at least pointing out how a handful of ex-Brooklynites are finding opportunity in the Motor City), CityLab sees a similarity between Detroit and Greece, the most financially distressed member or the Eurozone.
"For all sorts of reasons, a comparison between Greece and Detroit falls short of useful…" writes CityLab's Kriston Capps. "But the coming debate in Greece may nevertheless echo Detroit on the one point: How can Greece afford not to sell off cultural assets when people are suffering?
Capps points to the so-called "Grand Bargain" of Detroit's bankruptcy that saved the Detroit Institute of Arts' world class collection from being auctioned to satisfy the demands of creditors as an example Greece's leaders should study as they consider selling cultural artifacts for which the country is famous.
Read more: CityLab

70 Knight Arts Challenge finalists anounced

On June 15, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced the 70 finalists it is considering for 2015 Knight Arts Challenge grants in Detroit. Over 1,000 ideas were submitted to the challenge.

The Knight Arts Challenge first launched in Detroit in 2013. According to its website, the Detroit program "is a $9 million initiative [designed] to draw the best and most innovative ideas out of local organizations and individuals seeking to engage and enrich the community through the arts."

Winners of the 2015 Knight Arts Challenge Detroit will be announced on Oct. 27, "once the finalists’ detailed proposals are reviewed by a panel of local artists and arts advocates."

To learn more about this year's 70 Knight Arts Challenge finalists, click here.

Ponyride seeks artists for new residency programs

Corktown's Ponyride is many things – a co-working space, a business incubator, a production space for social enterprises, and a carpentry workshop, to name a few. This summer, you can add artist residency program to the list.
According to a press release, Ponyride's Applebaum residency, which is geared towards artists already living and working in Detroit, will include "a $2,500 award, free accommodations, and a materials budget," as well as "a professional practice stipend for travel to New York with the intent of making connections with galleries, art spaces, and collectors."
The residency is not a completely free ride, however. Each resident is expected to "host public programing based on their art practice."
Additionally, three artists will be selected to take part in the Knight Artist Residency Program at Ponyride. One established artist will receive a $4,000 award and two emerging artist will each receive awards of $1,000.
To apply for a Ponyride artist residency, click here.
All applications are due by noon on Monday, June 29. Awards will be announced the week of August 3, 2015.
Learn more at ponyride.org.

New Center Park's summer series returns with movies, music, 'Macbeth,' and more

Since it opened in 2010, New Center Park has hosted free events every summer, from free concerts to movie screenings. This year is no exception. The summer season kicks off on Wednesday, June 3, with a screening of local film "Detroit Unleaded" in conjunction with the Cinetopia International Film Festival.

This year's movie series, which traditionally took place on Wednesday evenings, has been expanded to two nights. Films for adults will play on Wednesdays and Films for families will play on Fridays.

A series of special events are also scheduled for New Center Park this summer, ranging from a performance of "Macbeth" by Shakespeare in Detroit to musical performances by local artists like Thornetta Davis to a celebration of Motor City Brew Works' 20th anniversary.

For a full schedule of New Center Park's summer series, click here.

Write a House begins second chapter of literary neighborhood development

Last year, Casey Rocheteau, a poet formerly based in Brooklyn, moved into a newly rehabbed house in a Detroit neighborhood just north of Hamtramck. This wasn't some ordinary lease, however. As the winner of the inaugural Write a House prize, Rocheteau was granted that home, which she now owns free and clear.
A nonprofit organization, Write a House's mission is to "leverage Detroit's available housing in creative ways to bolster an emerging literary community to benefit the city of Detroit and its neighborhoods." It does so by renovating vacant homes and granting them to worthy writers who submit a simple application and writing samples that are reviewed by a jury of writers. Think of it as a permanent sort of writers residency.
The group purchased three homes in the 2012 through Wayne County's annual auction of tax foreclosed properties. The first of those was rehabbed and given away to Rocheteau last year. This year, a second Write a House home will be awarded to another writer. The application process is currently open.
After a successful inaugural process, this year's application is much the same as last year's.
"Honestly, in terms of judging, we're using the same process as last year," says Sarah Cox, director of Write a House and vice president of its executive board. "Our app is so simple, we're sticking with it."
Applications and writing samples will be judged by a jury that includes local and national writers.
For tips on writing a successful application, check out this blogpost from inaugural Write a House resident Casey Rocheteau.
Cox expects a deep pool of applicants as Write a House begins its second chapter. "I feel like we have a much wider reach this go around," she says. "I'm excited to see who applies."
To find out more about the Write a House application process, click here.

Detroit Modernism Week kicks off April 16

Eames, Yamasaki, Wright, Saarinen, and van der Rohe.
These are the names of just a few of the many modernist masters who have made their lasting mark on southeast Michigan in the 20th century. Next week, you have a chance to learn about and celebrate the region's modernist heritage thanks to the people at the Detroit Area Art Deco Society.
Starting April 16, Detroit Modernism Week, the first 10-day period "structured around events celebrating the Detroit area's 20th century modernist architecture," will salute Michigan's contributions to the Modern Movement.
Events range from lectures to exhibits to tours, including an April 16 bicycle tour of Palmer Park ("Detroit's most modern neighborhood") and an April 18 tour of Mies van der Rohe's Lafayette Park. For a full schedule of happenings, click here.
Learn more about Detroit Modernism Week here.

NPR host Michel Martin to visit Detroit for national radio series

Longtime National Public Radio personality Michel Martin is coming to Detroit on May 21, when she will lead a panel discussion at the Carr Center about the role of creatives in redefining the city. The conversation, which organizers are calling "Motor City Drive," will be a part of NPR Presents, "NPR's multiplatform national live events initiative that furthers the mission of public radio."
According to WDET, Detroit's local NPR affiliate, Martin's conversation will feature panelists Jessica Care Moore, CEO of Moore Black Press; "Detroit Unleaded" filmmaker Rola Nashef; fashion designer Char Glover; theater director Samantha White; executive chef for Union Woodshop restaurant Aaron Cozadd; urban farmer, Kate Daughdrill; and marketing executive, Bridget Russo.
Martin joins PBS's Tavis Smiley as the second national public media figure to turn their attention to Detroit in the last month.
For more information about Martin's visit, visit WDET's event page.

Knight Arts Challenge launches for third year

What's your best idea for the arts in Detroit?
It's a simple question, and your simple answer could land you some money to help make your idea a reality.

On March 16, the application period for the third annual Knight Arts Challenge opened. In this round of the challenge, Detroiters have until April 13 to apply for a share of $3 million. To date, the Knight Arts Challenge has award 114 winners in Detroit about $5 million.
Knight Foundation will host a launch party and a series of community Q&A sessions throughout Detroit to answer applicants' questions. The launch party will be held at Bert’s Marketplace in Eastern Market on Tuesday, March 24 at 6 p.m. At the launch event, applicants can get to know Knight staff and past winners. The community Q&As will offer tips to applicants on creating standout applications and provide information on the challenge timeline and more.
The following are the dates and times of upcoming community Q&A sessions:
-March 23, 6 p.m. at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn
-March 24, noon at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (light lunch provided)
-March 25, 6 p.m. at the Mexicantown Mercado in Southwest Detroit
For more information about the Knight Arts Challenge in Detroit, click here.

Philip Levine, poet of working-class Detroit, dies at 87

Philip Levine, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and former U.S. Poet Laureate, passed away on Feb. 14 at the age of 87 at his home in Fresno, Calif.

Born in Detroit in 1928, Levine graduated from Central High School, then went on to attend Wayne State University (then simply known as Wayne University), where he earned a bachelor's degree in English. During and after college, Levine worked in several auto plants, experiences which would serve as inspiration for many of his best known poems.

According to the Free Press, "Levine won the Pulitzer Prize for "The Simple Truth" in 1995 and two National Book Awards for "What Work Is (1991) and "Ashes: Poems New and Old" (1980). He served as the country's poet laureate in 2011-12. He wrote 25 books of poetry, the last, "News of the World" was published in 2009."

Below is a video of Levine reading some of his most beloved poems, including the Detroit-centric "What Work Is."

Read more in the Detroit Free Press.

Celebrate Detroit's world-class Hackley Collection at 71st annual concert

One of the lesser-heralded treasures of the city of Detroit is the E. Azalia Hackley Collection at the Detroit Public Library. Established in 1943, the collection features items related to the history of African Americans in the performing arts, including "many rare books, manuscripts and archives of performing artists," as well as a wealth of photographic and print materials.
On Wednesday, Feb. 11 at 7:00 p.m., the Hackley Collection will host its 71st annual concert at the Main Branch of the Detroit Public Library, which is located at 5201 Woodward Ave. in Midtown across the street from the Detroit Institute of Arts.
The concert, "an evening inspired by the collection," will feature performances by Alvin Hill, a technology-based artist; Masters of Harmony featuring Mr. Kelly Thomas, Detroit's oldest performing musician who was born in Alabama in 1913; and Pamela Wise featuring Wendell Harrison.
The event is free and open to the public.
For more information, visit the event's Facebook page or call 313-481-1339. 

Porous Borders Festival seeks artists to engage with the Detroit/Hamtramck border

Over the weekend of May 16-17, a unique, inter-jurisdictional performing arts festival will take place along every segment of the border that separates the cities of Detroit and Hamtramck, as well as the sliver of border that separates Highland Park and Hamtramck. The event is called the Porous Borders Festival and is being curated by Detroit dance ensemble The Hinterlands, who are currently accepting proposals for art installations and happenings that will take place along the border during the festival.
According to a press release, The Hinterlands is seeking "creative pieces and projects that a) reflect and engage the diverse experiences of those living along the HAM/DET border, b) address the geographic reality of the HAM/DET border, and c) examine the nature of borders themselves…Each piece should be created for a specific part of the border."
The curators are open-minded when it comes to the type of proposals they will accept, saying, "It does not need to be an installation, but could be a walking tour, a performance, a party, a dinner, an automobile ballet, a story share – we’re excited to hear your ideas!"
Applicants must submit a one-page description of their project that includes:
 – What the project will be
 – Which segment of the border it is designed for
 – How the project relates to that segment
 – The duration of the project (i.e. one day, two hours, the whole festival, etc.)
 – A basic materials budget
 – Optional: short CV or bio
These materials can be sent digitally to pbf@thehinterlandsensemble.org or by mail to Porous Borders Festival, 3346 Lawley St, Detroit, MI 48212
Applications are due Jan. 31.
For more information, visit http://thehinterlandsensemble.org/project/porous-borders-festival/

Meet funk pioneer George Clinton at book signing on Dec. 20 at United Sound Systems in Midtown

That's right, George mutha funkin' Clinton will be in Detroit on Dec. 20 for a meet-and-greet/book signing at the legendary United Sound Systems Recording Studios (5840 Second Ave.).

Clinton is promoting his new book entitled "Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard on You?: A Memoir." Tickets to the event are $40 and can be purchased via Eventbrite.

Clinton has deep ties to Detroit, where he spent much of the 1960s as a songwriter and producer for various Detroit soul record labels, including Motown. He recorded several records with his band Funkadelic at Detroit's United Sound Systems, including notable albums like "Free Your Mind...and Your Ass Will Follow" (1970), "Maggot Brain" (1971), and "One Nation Under a Groove" (1978).

According to the United Sound's Eventbrite page, "United Sound Systems Recording Studios (USSRS) was established in 1933, making USSRS the first independent major recording studio in the nation.  The studio gave artists, musicians, writers, and producers a place where they could cut a record and get it played on the radio without being signed to a major label. Today, the Studio is under new ownership and is striving to preserve the history. United Sound houses three functional recording studios and offers guided tours of the facility to the public. In addition, the facility is utilized for Venue Rental to host special events, birthday parties, lectures, and seminars."

Can you get to that?

Brooklyn's Galapagos Art Space to make new home in Detroit, buys property in Cortown, Highland Park

Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn, apparently, is a really big deal. So big, in fact, that the New York Times referred to it in a Dec. 7 article as "a performance center and cultural staple in Brooklyn for nearly 20 years."
But Galapagos's tenure in NYC is drawing to a close, its last day of programming scheduled for Dec. 18. But that doesn't mark the end of Galapagos's existence. According to the art space's website, Galapagos is moving.
"After nearly 7,500 programs and just over 1,000,000 audience members through our doors, Galapagos Art Space is moving to Detroit," writes Galapagos's executive director Robert Elmes.
Elmes is giving up on New York because "Simply put, New York City has become too expensive to continue incubating young artists. The white-hot real estate market burning through affordable cultural habit is no longer a crisis, it's a conclusion.
In Detroit, Elmes hopes his art space can take advantage of the three ingredients he feels are necessary for a creative ecosystem to flourish: time, space, and people. Elmes believes that Detroit has both time and space in abundance and that the city "is gaining its critical third component - artists - at an astonishing rate."
Galapagos's new website, galapagosdetroit.com, claims that the arts space has already secured over 600,000 square feet of real estate in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood and the enclave city of Highland Park "for the price of a small apartment in New York City." According Galapagos's Detroit website, one of the properties is the old Highland Park High School and Junior College building located between Second and Third avenues on Glendale (For an incredibly detailed history of that building, check out this profile from Detroit Urbex.), and another is a vacant manufacturing facility located at 1800 18th Street.

In an interview with Crain's Detroit Business, Elmes says, “We are not coming with $60 million to $90 million. We are there to build a venue and build studios and some lofts. As that gains traction, we’ll add more parts to the whole and that’s the goal of the project.” 
The website also makes two bold promises: 1) one of Galapagos's properties will feature a 10,000-square-foot man-made lake, and 2) the art space will host a 2016 Detroit Biennial. (Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit is currently hosting its "People's Biennial" through 2015.)
Galapagos will join 333 Midland as the second prominent art space to locate in Highland Park in recent years.
The news of Galapagos's relocation occurs in the midst of Berlin electronic music label and club owner Dimitri Hegemann's repeated expressions of interest in creating a venue for electronic music performances and entrepreneurship in one of Detroit's vacant factory spaces.
Model D will continue to follow all of these stories as they develop.

Detroit gets several massive new murals

Last month, it appeared as if the city of Detroit was declaring war on mural art. On Oct. 15, the Motor City Muckraker reported that city officials had issued tickets to building owners along the Grand River Creative Corridor, declaring large-scale murals on their buildings' walls to be "graffiti," despite the fact that all works had been commissioned. Significant public outcry followed on social media, and Mayor Duggan's office responded quickly by rescinding the tickets.

Since then, public muralists have forged ahead with new large-scale works on prominent buildings around the city. Here's a quick roundup of three recent projects:

Albert Kahn mural, Russell Industrial Center, 1600 Clay St.

Detroit artist Kyle Danley recently completed a mural celebrating Albert Kahn, one of Detroit's most famous architects, on the side of the Russell Industrial Center, a Kahn-designed building. The Metro Times recently highlighted Danley and his mural in this feature. The Kahn mural, which is located on the northwest side of Building 2 of the Russell Industrial Center, joins the iconic "Chimera" mural by artist Kobie Solomon that is located on the building's west side and is visible from I-75. A mural reveal is planned for the Russell's Fall Open House happening Saturday, Nov. 15 at 1600 Clay St. Find event details here.

"Rise Up" mural in Milwaukee Junction

Curbed Detroit recently highlighted the emergence of a new mural on a vacant industrial building just blocks away from the Russell Industrial Center in the Milwaukee Junction neighborhood. Entitled " "Rising Up, Back on the Street," the massive 6,000-square-foot mural of a roaring tiger is the work of Los Angeles-based Australian artist David "Meggs" Hooke.

HopCat Detroit murals

The Grand River Creative Corridor and the "4731 Group" are curating five murals by Detroit artists Fel3000ftElmerMaltMelo and Kobie Solomon on the exterior walls of HopCat Detroit's new location on Woodward Avenue at Canfield in Midtown. The murals are currently in-progress, so go check out the artists at work. For more details on the HopCat project, check out this piece by Motor City Muckraker's Steve Neavling.

Flower mural in West Village

On Agnes Street between Parker and Van Dyke -- across the street from the new Red Hook Detroit coffee shop and new-ish restaurants Detroit Vegan Soul and Craft Work -- a large-scale mural is being painted. The mural appears to be the work of artist Ouizi, who has a similarly flower-themed painting on the back wall inside Corktown's Astro Coffee.  

Photo via Grand River Creative Corridor's Facebook page.

Is street art becoming a crime in Detroit?

Update: Mayor Duggan's office has lifted all violations issued against property owners along Detroit's Grand River Creative Corridor after considerable public outcry in response to reports from the Motor City Muckraker that the Buildings, Safety, Engineering and Environmental Department had issued tickets to the owners of buildings with murals that were declared to be graffiti. The mayor himself personally apologized to Derek Weaver, founder of the Grand River Creative Corridor. The mayor's office also issued an apology to the Motor City Muckraker for claiming that there were errors in the site's initial reports when they in fact were accurate.

Read the latest developments in this story on the Motor City Muckraker.


According to recent reports from the Motor City Muckraker, the city of Detroit has declared war on street art by ticketing building owners along the Grand River Creative Corridor, declaring murals that adorn the sides of their buildings to be graffiti. Before the launch of the Grand River Creative Corridor initiative in 2012, the buildings  were frequently the targeted by taggers.

According to Steve Neavling of Motor City Muckraker:
"Derek Weaver, who started the Grand River Creative Corridor in July 2012, received about $8,000 in fines and has been ordered to remove "graffiti" from his buildings. He and several others were detained for about an hour last week by four cops who temporarily seized cameras from a PBS film crew that was documenting an artist painting a mural.

“We were treated like criminals,” Weaver said. “They threatened to arrest us.”

More than 100 local, national and international artists are involved with the GRCC, and hundreds of volunteers have helped clean up trash and vandalism along Grand River, making it a popular destination. In 2012, Gov. Rick Snyder honored the GRCC with a “Keep Michigan Beautiful” award."

A source in Corktown told Model D that the Brooklyn Street Local restaurant has also received a graffiti ticket for the mural adorning the side of its building.

Let's make a clear distinction between street art and graffiti.

Street art is commissioned, sanctioned work intended to beautify a building or public-facing surface. In many instances, building owners and neighborhood groups commission street art murals in order to prevent unwanted graffiti (In Detroit, blank walls attract taggers like lightbulbs attract moths).

Graffiti, on the other hand, is the unsanctioned tagging of buildings or public-facing surfaces by individuals for little more reason that getting one's name up and marking territory, much like a dog that pees on a fire hydrant.

Neavling points out the absurdity of the city's quest to punish building owners who commission or allow street artists to use their property as canvases:
"Among the unanswered questions is why police are bothering with murals painted with permission when an increasing number of graffiti vandals are targeting occupied and historic buildings, freeway signs, schools, churches, cars, houses, light poles, mailboxes and playground equipment."

Model D will continue to follow this issue as more news develops.

Source: Motor City Muckraker

Berliners want to invest in Detroit, but you already knew that because you read Model D

Berliners want to invest money in Detroit. Big news, right? The Wall Street Journal thinks so. They recently ran a story about how Dimitri Hegemann, owner of Berlin electronic music label and club Tresor, is in love with the idea of opening a techno club in Detroit's long-abandoned Fisher Body 21 plant.

As quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Hegemann had this to say: “Fisher Body is my first real love.”

Of course, if you read Model D, this isn't really news to you at all. Walter Wasacz, Model D's former managing editor and a frequent contributor, worked with Hegemann to put on "The Detroit-Berlin Connection," a forum that happened in conjunction with the Movement Electronic Music Festival on Memorial Day weekend. (Check out Wasacz's recap of the forum.) Wasacz recently traveled to Berlin to partake in the Atonal Festival, of which Hegemann is the founder, and wrote this reflection on what Detroit can learn from Berlin.

Also, in case you missed it, be sure to check out our Q&A with Dimitri Hegemann from back in May.

Model D will continue to follow developments in this story.

The strange tale of the Garwood, an inventor's mansion that became an iconic rock-and-roll squat

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Detroit's rock-and-roll scene was at an apex. Legendary venues like the Grande Ballroom and the Easttown Theater were premier spots to see performances by local bands like the MC5, the Stooges, SRC, and the Bob Seger System, as well as internationally renown touring acts like The Who.

But one of Detroit's best venues to see live rock-and-roll wasn't really a venue at all -- it was a mansion on the east riverfront.

In 1927, legendary Detroit speed boat racer and inventor Gar Wood had a mansion built on Grayhaven Island on Detroit's east riverfront. After Wood retired and sold his home in the 1940s, the mansion that came to be known as "The Garwood" went vacant until it was leased by 19-year-old Mark Hoover in 1969.

According to the Detroit Free Press:

When Hoover started throwing rent parties with live music in the mansion's cavernous ballroom, his more conventional roommates fell away and were replaced by a different cast of characters. They coalesced around a rock band called Stonefront, and the house took on the air of a commune dedicated to countercultural enterprise.

The Garwood eventually became a destination for touring acts travelling through Detroit:
The uniqueness of the surroundings and the loosey-goosey atmosphere of Hoover's parties soon attracted rock royalty. Some bands would finish their shows at the Grande or the Eastown and then repair to the Garwood, where they'd perform another whole set. The acts that unexpectedly graced Gar Wood's beautiful ballroom included Van Morrison, Sly & the Family Stone, the Allman Brothers, Cactus, Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes, Tim Buckley and Mountain. Leon Russell recorded one of his performances there. Johnny Winter loved the place so much he inquired about renting a room.

"They were madness. They were barely controlled chaos," said Merryman of the rent parties. "But in all those nights, there was never a fight, not one. Well, except for the time Hoover had to throw Alice Cooper out because he was too drunk. Considering the thousands and thousands of people that came through the place, there was no violence. None."

Eventually, however, the authorities shut down the parties and the tenants were evicted. A short time later, the house was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.

Read more about this amazing chapter in Detroit rock-and-roll history in the Detroit Free Press.

Write A House selects first winner, poet Casey Rocheteau of Brooklyn

Last week, Write A House, a group awarding free houses in Detroit to writers, selected its first winner, poet Casey Rocheteau of Brooklyn.

Rocheteau was selected from a field of hundreds of applicants from around the country by a panel of judges that included former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins and local writers dream hampton and Toby Barlow.

According to Write A House's blog:

"Rocheteau is a writer, historian, and performing artist. She has attended the Callaloo Writer’s Workshop, Cave Canem, and Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, and she has released two albums on the Whitehaus Family Record. Her book, Knocked Up On Yes, was released on Sargent Press in 2012, and her second collection, The Dozen, will be published in March 2016 by Sibling Rivalry Press. Rocheteau can be found online at www.caseyrocheteau.org and @CaseyRocheteau."

Write A House purchased a house in Wayne County's annual auction of tax-foreclosed properties last year and partnered with Young Detroit Builders, a 10-month training program that helps 18-24 year old students working towards their GEDs develop skills in the building trades, to renovate it. Rocheteau will move into the house in November.

In the mean time, Write A House will install a house sitter at the home.

Write A House opens a new round of applications in early 2015 for its next set of houses, which are located in the same neighborhood where Rocheteau will reside. Until then, the organization will continue to raise funds to purchase and renovate Detroit homes for its residency program. Donations can be made through Fundly.

Source: Write A House

Knight Arts Challenge People's Choice vote ends August 29

While four small business vie for $50,000 in startup funding in the Hatch Detroit contest, five arts organizations are vyeing for a $20,000 People's Choice Award in the Detroit Knight Arts Challenge.

As a way to shine the spotlight on smaller groups, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is asking the public to vote by text for their favorite of the five nominees to determine the People’s Choice Award winner. To vote, the public can text the nominees individual code to 22333 in the U.S. or 747-444-3548 toll-free, through Friday, Aug. 29. The effort is part of the Knight Arts Challenge, now in its second year funding the best ideas for the arts in Detroit.

The Knight Arts Challenge People’s Choice nominees are:

A Host of People: a theater group celebrating the do-it-yourself movement in both food and the arts by creating a site-specific piece to be performed in community gardens around the city; (Text Detroit1 to 22333)

African Bead Museum: a center for African culture that wants to renovate its facilities and create more exhibition and programming space; (Text Detroit2 to 22333)

ARTLAB J: a troupe strengthening Detroit’s dance community by presenting Detroit Dance City Festival, a three-day celebration highlighting both local and national artists; (Text Detroit3 to 22333)

Ballet Folklorico Moyocoyani Izel: a dance group that wants to bring the traditional dances of Mexico’s La Huasteca region to Detroit by teaching the choreography locally; (Text Detroit4 to 22333) 

Detroit Drumline Academy: a group of former drummers from Detroit-area schools that wants to prepare the next generation of percussionists by teaching and mentoring middle and high school students. (Text Detroit5 to 22333)

For more on Knight Foundation’s arts initiative and to view a full list of Knight Arts Challenge winners, visit www.KnightArts.org. Connect on the Knight Arts Facebook page here and via @knightfdn and @knightarts on Twitter.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

'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/

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

'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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

'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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

'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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.  

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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

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: 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?


"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.

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.


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.

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.


"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.

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.


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.

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.


"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.

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.


"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.

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.


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.


"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.

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.


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.

Red Bull World Tour goes full volume at TV Bar

Techno enthusiasts might associate the Red Bull Music Academy with offbeat genre collaborations and up-and-coming producers, but the World Tour stop in Detroit last week was anything but. Motor City Frequencies was a tribute to Detroit's founding fathers of electronic music, the second wave of DJs who followed in their tracks, and a chance to spotlight the city's next class of musicians advancing the craft. The week-long event, hosted at Flat 151 and TV Bar, mixed heavies like Juan Atkins, Theo Parrish and Underground Resistance's Mike Banks with hip hop producer Nick Speed (50 Cent, Tupac Shakur).


Speed told the assembled crowd how much he loves the 'gumbo of music styles' Detroit offers and his send-off was a high-energy tribute to all the original music the city has spawned. With one of his own beats blasting through the speakers, Speed stood on the couch and began freestyling for the audience.

The beat goes on.

The Irish Times writes their can't-miss-Detroit travelogue

Most every city newspaper has taken a crack at the "Detroit travelogue" this year -- a Lonely Planet-esque tour though the city, combining the D's often mercurial history with present rebuilding efforts. In Detroit, writes the Irish Times, we're successfully re-inventing 200 years of history into a tour for every traveler -- be it the Motown music-seeker, the Underground Railroad tracer or the merry Prohibition buster. Rather than dwell on ancient memories, IT also lauds Detroit's thriving downtown as a cosmopolitan attraction all its own.


Take a trip up to the restaurant on the roof of the Detroit Marriott hotel, officially the tallest all-hotel skyscraper in the western hemisphere, and have a drink. It’s pretty jaw-dropping, on a par with my favourite, the rooftop restaurant in the San Francisco Hilton. Back on the streets – as they say in the cop shows – head to Midtown and the Detroit Institute of Arts, which, despite its prosaic name, houses one of the finest art collections in the US. Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry cycle of 27 fresco panels – gifted by another Ford, this time Edsel – is considered the best work of his career.

Keep traveling here.

Photography exhibit reveals city's contradictions

It's quite the contradiction that Detroit, a city of more than 700,000 residents, is often photographed as if it were totally empty. That's what inspired Nancy Barr to curate Detroit Revealed: Photographs, 2000-2010, which opens Oct. 16 at the DIA. Enough of the abandoned buildings -- Detroit Revealed draws on a mix of home-based and out-of-town photogs to document life in the city; workers in the Ford Rouge Plant, children and immigrant gardens.


Great photography is not only about good technique; it's also about access to people and places that are unique to a particular community. I would welcome more work that takes into consideration the diversity of our city, its people and the culture, by photographers from all types of backgrounds. Their perspectives would (and will) enrich Detroit's photographic legacy and identity.

Slide show and more available here.

Can the arts spur more development? Here's $1.3 million toward the cause

The arts can do more than just enrich our daily lives -- they can also serve as the catalyst for urban economic development. That's why a new national initiative called ArtPlace will invest $11.5 million in 25 cities across the country. And, make no mistake, Detroit is on this pilot program's radar -- the D received more funds than any other city (well, besides New York).

Notably, Midtown Detroit Inc. received a $900,000 grant to advance the development of the Sugar Hill Arts District, creating a bridge between the Detroit Medical Center and Midtown's Woodward Ave corridor. Midtown Detroit Inc. will use the funds to purchase an abandoned church in the district, which will be renovated into a performing arts space. MOCAD and Tech Town also received grants.


If ArtPlace seeks to jump-start struggling neighborhoods, Sugar Hill looks like the ideal poster child, since its two blocks were largely abandoned, apart from the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and the N'Namdi Center for Contemporary Art. In the past year, Midtown Detroit has renovated a derelict apartment building at the district's heart, and is about to launch new construction.

Find out more here.

Court: 555 Gallery can display boosted Banksy mural

After spending much of the past year in storage, a mural completed by famous graffiti artist Banksy will be on display at the 555 Gallery as early as November.

The painting, which depicts a boy holding a can of red paint, alongside the words, "I remember when all this was trees," was removed by gallery artists from the Packard Plant in May 2010. 555 Gallery, in contest with the owners of the Packard Plant, won clear title to the piece for a mere $2,500 -- a fraction of its estimated $100,000 worth. It's the culmination of a saga which pitted graffiti purists, arguing that place is intrinsic to the meaning of the mural, against preservationists, who contended the removal saved Banksy's work from certain destruction.


The controversy itself has now become part of the accrued meaning of the mural -- what Becky Hart, associate curator of contemporary art at the Detroit Institute of Arts, calls "a patina of narrative."

"The piece is different now that it's not in its original location," said Hart. "But part of the meaning is its accrued locations. 555 entered into that dialogue about abandonment and re-use when they relocated the piece."

Read more here.

Motor City pathos alive on Danny Brown mixtape release

If you don't yet know Danny Brown, now you know ...

While this local hip-hop artist doesn't yet have the name recognition of a Big Sean or Eminem, Brown's latest mixtape, XXX, available for free on Fool's Gold Records, is winning Brown some serious hype. No less that SPIN Magazine lauds his "manic performance" chops and "sheer presence" in a recent essay, calling Brown one of the most interesting rappers laying down tracks in the industry today.


Though XXX ends with the slightly triumphant "30," which celebrates Brown's come-up, it also imagines the rapper soon dead of an overdose; and it comes right after "Scrap Or Die," which should rank up there with the Throne's "New Day" as a recent rap song to be handed over to any old fart who's still skeptical of hip-hop's ability to be poignant and poetic. The song's about a family so down on their luck, due to an awful mix of poverty, addiction, and our shitty economy, that they start breaking into the many abandoned homes described in "Fields," stealing metal, copper wire, anything to sell to local junkyards.

Get more Danny here.

Ruin porn, dreamers and you -- a meditation on Detroit's future

Adhering to the axiom that art is meant to be controversial (nay, even prescriptive), a recent essay from NYC-based website The Awl attempts to justify "ruin porn" -- a new term for the practice of capturing cities in destruction that's become shorthand for a culture of photography in the D. This bitter, often sarcastic piece won't be for everyone, but it's the latest attempt to justify the competing narratives for the city's present state and the shaping of its future.


With so much of Detroit about to disappear, does this not provide us with an excellent opportunity to document that which we will not be able to document in the near future? Instead of decrying voyeurism, why not consider these photographs and stories a reminder that in America we actually do abandon our neighbors and let our cities die, time and time again.

You can find the essay here.

Detroit restaurant muralist lived fascinating history

Winged horses, Athenian temples, and color, color everywhere -- those were the trademarks of muralist Nick Kastrantas, whose paintings graced dozens of Detroit's Coney Islands and Greek restaurants. He died Aug. 31 at age 91, a World War II paratrooper who landed at D-Day, a multi-linguist equally adept creating fine art or commercial logos. To the metro area's Greek-American community, he was a celebrated figure, says Leo Stassinopoulos, founder of the Leo's Coney Island chain.


"He was my hero. He told me all these stories in World War II, with the Germans and all. ... I asked him what he was doing now, and he said 'I'm painting,' and that's when I started doing the murals." The first one was in 1983 or '84; it was followed by about 22 others for Leo's alone.

Learn more about Kastrantas here.

Remembering Esther Gordy Edwards, the mother of Motown

Sister to Berry Gordy, founder of the Motown Museum, and described as the record label's "founding mother," Esther Gordy Edwards passed away last week at age 91. Edwards, who kept the books and lights on while Gordy chased talent and limelight, stayed in Detroit to build the Motown Museum after Gordy moved to L.A. And, as Motown chronicler Mark Ribowsky notes, it was Edwards who brought polish and sophistication to the burgeoning business.


Ribowsky says Esther Gordy wanted to make sure the Motown artists had what few black performers had before: dignity. "She wanted to turn these ghetto teenagers into polished young men and women, you know, walk around with a book on their head so to speak," he says. "To teach them poise and sophistication, and hired choreographers to teach them how to dance on stage. And she'd go out on tour and lay the law down about being proper men and women, and not sullying the name of Motown, even though at the time Motown really had no name."

Read more (and remember) here.

Art, bikes and a beautiful day at Anna Scripps Park

To celebrate its first year of work, the dynamo arts organization Forward Arts added a new event to its repertoire -- the donation-based Art Ride, which took 100 patrons to lesser-ventured city creations like Hamtramck Disneyland, Heidelberg satellite project Street Folk 2 and Power House Productions.

The bike ride culminated at Woodbridge's Anna Scripps Park, where Access Arts hosted seven installations and a number of workshops and showcases from its students. As the Knight Arts blog reports, over 15 organizations and stakeholders came together to put on the show.


This is a clear example of why art improves the quality of our lives. On a sunny day, kids built forts with their family and neighbors, and a diverse crowd admired the art pieces, while mingling in the park and snaking on delicious treats from the Pink FlaminGO! food truck. It created a positive energy that people were attracted to, and everyone walked away with a little bit of culture, whether (sic) they expected to or not.

Photographs and more available here.

TEDxDetroit announces 2011 conference

Local catalysts, entrepreneurs and thinkers -- TEDxDetroit is looking for you.

The date's been confirmed for this annual conference on positive ideas and creativity, in which speakers are allotted just a few minutes to share their story. It's all going down Wednesday, Sept. 28, in Orchestra Hall at the Max M. Fisher Music Center.

Applications are required to attend, and a $26 donation provides admission and lunch.

Find out more here -- and click here to watch our favorite moment from TEDxDetroit 2010, a performance by the late-departed David Blair.

Fast Company takes a bite of Detroit SOUP

What can a shared meal of soup teach us about brand loyalty and market growth? Plenty. At Detroit SOUP, a monthly shared dinner where participants pay $5 to hear new ideas from the community before voting funds to the crowd favorite, democracy and community concern are the buzzwords. A new article from Fast Company calls SOUP an example for companies, not just concerned citizens; noting the co-creativity spawned by having the right guests to dinner, so to speak, is the future of crowdsourcing.


Back in Michigan, Detroit SOUP co-founder Kate Daughdrill is putting these principles into practice: "We're figuring out how to engage civically, how to be engaged citizens," she explains. "We've been excited to create this practical experience in democracy. Brands that embrace this mindset will experience deeper engagement, richer collaboration on innovation opportunities and the gratification of shared value creation.

Sample the article here.

Resident Advisor profiles the new innovators of Detroit techno

"The music permeates everything."

That's a line from a new video collaboration between Resident Advisor and club culture company Bench. It's a tribute to Detroit's storied musical history and a meditation on the next generation of Detroit techno. We loved the peek inside New Center's Youthville, where city kids are learning the basics of electronic music making from some of the D's most talented DJs and producers.

Entertainment, someone says, can help turn things around. We say it already is.


Quite simply, Detroit is a city of extremes, and its music reflects that. Detroit's importance in the global electronic music scenes is often referred to in the past tense. With the recent emergence of Kyle Hall and other young Detroit producers, however, it's clear that a spark remains. When we visited, we found a number of artists with their eyes (and ears) firmly set towards the future.

Watch the vid here.

New doc: Detroit in Overdrive

The Discovery Channel's new miniseries, Detroit in Overdrive, appearing on Planet Green, digs in deep. While familiar faces like Motor City Denim's Joe Faris and Kid Rock get their due, this vid searches out the "tangible faces behind those big buildings" for the three-part special, which originally aired Aug. 4. That means Maria's Comida, the Sphinx Organization and CCS student and designer Veronika Scott are among the long list of the city's community members and do-gooders sharing the spotlight with Detroit's superstars. We like it.


The Russell Industrial center functions as a community space for artists, craftspeople, and small businesses. Edith Floyd stands up for what she believes in by building an urban garden where abandoned houses once stood. Last, Kristyn Koth and Malik Muqaribu feed Detroiters in their 1956 Airstream, the Pink Flamingo, bringing fresh organic food to Detroiters in a unique mobile food truck, spearheading a local food movement.

Find out more about Detroit in Overdrive here.

Kresge honoree Scott Hocking: "Detroit is on a threshold"

Long before "ruin porn" became a fashionable hobby, artists like our own Scott Hocking risked life and limb (not to mention, arrest) to explore broken-down and abandoned buildings, which became the subjects for his documentary photography and site-specific installations.

Hocking, a 2011 Kresge Award Winner, reveals much in this interview with Sarah Margolis-Pineo, herself a curator at the Cranbrook Art Museum. It's a look within the eye of the artist -- touching on everything from Hocking's passion for abandoned buildings, to his place in Detroit's rich history of D.I.Y creators.


Everybody, myself included, who has been making artwork in the city hasn't had resources to do anything but making with what you have. Sometimes you're living in squalor and trying to scrape by… The Cass Corridor people got a lot of notoriety, but shit, there were artists in the 1980s living inside the Broderick Tower and Fort Wayne, and had studios in random skyscrapers that were virtually vacant because no one could afford to do anything in there. These artists may have not gotten the same attention, but that lineage is all the same--trying to use the spaces that have been neglected because creative people see potential there.

Read the interview here.

Moonwalker: As poet David Blair takes orbit, Detroit's arts community remembers

During a rollicking New Orleans-style funeral procession down Cass Avenue, hundreds of Detroiters paid their respects on Sunday to poet and musician David Blair, who passed away unexpectedly and much, much too soon July 23.

Blair, who published his first collection, Moonwalking, last year, was a National Poetry Slam champion, a Detroit Public School teacher, a wordsmith who traveled around the world to perform. And when he returned home to Detroit, this former blue-collar factory man was beloved by local artists, musicians and intellectuals.


The creative community Blair built around himself will be his lasting Detroit legacy, Kubat said."All of these great people were able to meet and become close," she said. "He brought us all together, and he left us all together, so we could all be what we were supposed to be."

Read the Freep's tribute to Blair here. Find out more about David Blair, or chip in to help pay for his funeral service, at dblair.org. And click here to check out photographs of David Blair from Metromode managing photographer Dave Lewinski.

Young Broke & Beautiful: The new IFC series gets wild in the D

"Young, Broke & Beautiful" -- there's no way a TV show aiming for that demographic could pass up a night in our fair city. This intrepid series from the Independent Film Channel spotlights indie culture and creators across the nation. Their hour-long travelogue on the D makes friends with plenty of our favorite people and places, from the Imagination Station and DJ Kyle Hall to late-night parties and Coneys (natch).


Stuart will pull the Scion into the most beautiful, broken down parking lot in the world. There's no doubt that all these YBB's will know where the dopest, most off the chain, unsanctioned warehouse party is happening, and Stuart will find himself closing down the night, partying with his people.

IFC will rerun the Detroit episode all week, beginning Tuesday at 6 p.m. Find out more about the channel's tour Detroit here.

The spirit moves on Heidelberg Street

A new essay written about the East Side's Heidelberg Project calls the decades-old installation a meditation on God and a symbol of spiritual fortitude. We've all seen the brightly painted circles and sneakers hanging from trees, but Suzette Martinez Standring's interview with Tyree Guyton goes beyond the art to find the metaphysical metaphors in his work. An interesting piece, for believers and art-appreciators alike.


One fanciful creation was made up of sneakers, sandals, wingtips and platform shoes that hung like ornaments from a fat tree. But an amusing first impression belies the pain behind "Soles of the Most High." Guyton, an African-American artist, said his grandfather used to tell him stories about "Negro lynchings," (where) "you couldn't see the people, but you could see the soles of their shoes."

Yet the artwork goes beyond hatred. "It is a haunting reminder of lynchings in the South, but today the positive message is that we are lifting up the souls of the community," said executive director Jenenne Whitfield.

Read more here.

With a shout-out from CBS Evening News, 71 Pop gears for opening

Margarita Barry's 71 Pop retail shop hasn't even opened yet, but this young entrepreneur was one of the local faces credited with igniting the city's entrepreneurial turnaround in a recent national story from CBS Evening News. These DIY business launchers are positive signs of a renaissance brewing (hey, we've been saying that all along).

Out of all the creative businesses opening their doors in the 313, 71 Pop's idea is one of our favorites. Located in the 71 Garfield building in the up-and-coming Sugar Hill Arts District, 71 Pop will feature a rotating cast of emerging homegrown designers. 71 Pop takes charge of the nuts-and-bolts of running the retail operation, giving artists a chance to do what they do best -- design. The grand opening is set for Saturday, July 30 at 2 p.m.

Get hip to the 71 Pop concept here, or find out more about the event on Facebook. Click here to watch the video.

Knight Foundation, NEA to fund Detroit's new concepts for arts journalism

While cultural institutions work to attract new audiences, two of the nation's most illustrious foundations are looking for the newest models for arts journalism in the 21st century.

The Knight/NEA Community Arts Journalism Challenge will seek new models and ideas for sustaining arts journalism in the 21st century in eight cities across America, including Detroit. Up to $100,000 is available for each project; first round winners will receive $20,000 to develop an action plan for new models that can be replicated in another cities.


"No idea is too unusual," Scholl said. "Embedding a nonprofit reporter in a for-profit news organization? Creating a new collective to share professional work? Asking the community to decide which arts stories are best and put up the money to cover those? Have better ideas that never would have occurred to us on our own?  Fill out the application form, and send them in. The best ideas may well be the ones that stretch our thinking."

Find out more here.

WashPo's Impulsive Traveler goes wild for the D's urban grit

There's room to ride in Detroit city. That was just one of many surprises an intrepid traveler/journalist from The Washington Post found on his trip to Detroit. While the ruins of the Michigan Central Station were a necessary and foreboding stop, the D's welcoming spirit was alive and well at Motor City Brewing Works, City Bird, PJ's Lager House and Nancy Whiskey (all chronicled in the piece). And above all, the lesson learned was this -- if you visit Detroit, get on a bike -- and fast.


I rode Grand Boulevard into the city's eastern neighborhoods, turned north into Hamtramck (a two-square-mile municipality that's technically separate from Detroit but sits smack in the middle of it), then traveled back west through the tree-lined streets of the historic districts of Arden Park and Boston-Edison. The city is a visual feast: urban farms, derelict houses, art deco skyscrapers, 19th-century churches, industrial ruins and vibrant murals declaring, "Detroit Lives!" Above all, there's a lot of space.

Read more here.

Detroit's female MC's hold hip-hop's torch aloft

For two years, The Foundation, produced by photographer and hip-hop lover Piper Carter, has showcased the best up-and-coming female hip-hop talent to be found in this city at Corktown's 5E gallery. But did you know it's the nation's only regularly-scheduled event for lady MCs? Either did we. While rappers like Eminem, Elzhi and Big Sean have made headlines of late, the Guardian calls Detroit the nation's training ground for developing female hip-hop performers. We're glad to see Invincible, Miz Korona, Boog Brown and the rest of the gang get some much-deserved props.


Boog Brown (Elsie Swann) now lives in Atlanta, but is enthusiastic about the amount of female talent bursting out of Detroit.

"I think everybody there felt like it was time for us to actually take control of what we wanted to be represented as in that scene," she says. "It's a call to action. It's time for it now. I felt like it's that, or there wouldn't be so many women stepping up. And Detroit is a hard place to live, no matter how long you've lived there or not lived there. It's hard, but it's beautiful: there's always something new, growing, transpiring."

The beat drops here.

Allied Media Conference gives press power to the people

The Allied Media Conference is a four-day long grassroots media training seminar, in which professionals and enthusiasts school each other on everything from graphic design and blogging to performance arts and social justice issues. This year's national conference picked Detroit as Ground Zero for the group's guerrilla education training. It all kicks off June 23 at the McGregor Memorial Hall at Wayne State.

Registration is still open and is on a sliding income scale ($100 is the suggested amount for the four-day conference).


At the AMC, media creation is not only about personal expression, but about transformation – of ourselves and the structures of power around us. We create media that exposes, investigates, resists, heals, builds confidence and radical hope, incites dialogue and debate. We demystify technology, not only learning how to use it, but how to take it apart, fix it and build our own.  We do it ourselves and as communities, connecting across geographic and generational boundaries.

Find out more or reserve your spot here.

Bikes, books and a little music: we like this blog for two-wheeled aficionados

Detroit's cycle craze shifts into another gear thanks to this blog dedicated to motor-less transport in Motown -- with some cultural pit stops along the way.

Author Charlie Z., camera in hand (careful there) is passionate about capturing the feel and spirit of Detroit from two wheels. He also loves books and jazz from the 1950s and 1960s. Clearly, we think he's onto something here.


I've experienced the sweet smell of bakeries and barbecues, breathed in the smokey fumes from beat-up cars, and diesel exhaust from buses or trucks has left my throat scratchy and dry.  I've heard the sound of gospel music filling the streets on a Sunday morning. I've heard the people mover rumbling overhead. I've heard dogs barking, horns blowing, sirens blaring and street corner vendors hawking their goods. Most of all, I've seen considerable contrast between wealth and  poverty.  As I cycle through this city, I hope to present some of  the unusual sights and rich sounds found within its borders.

Want a little more of Charlie Z? Click here.

Don't shut 'em down: Flogging Molly's new album defends Detroit

While most know Flogging Molly's Celtic rock roots, lead singer Dave King splits his time between Wexford, Ireland, and Detroit. That's where he wrote the songs for the band's latest album, Speed of Darkness, with the milieu of the city serving as his muse. While they were forced to record in Asheville, NC (Eminem booked the only studio large enough to hold the seven-piece), there's plenty of Detroit's sights and soul on the band's new album, which is on sale now.


Last year while driving downtown to a restaurant, the couple spotted some graffiti scrawled on a defunct factory: "Shut 'em down." Mr. King, initially confused by the message -- was it fatalistic or rebellious? -- rewrote it in song. The galloping "Don't Shut 'Em Down" sticks up for the city (or any "modern town") that has its "windows smashed open and the doors kicked out."

Read more here.

Forward Arts furthers progress in Belle Isle Park

It could have just been another sad Detroit story. A partnership between Access Arts and Forward Arts brought new life in the form of public art exhibits to Woodbridge's Anna Scripps Park at the corner of MLK and Grand River Avenue. But 10 days after a successful opening and raucous party (which raised money for a second exhibit and sensory garden), Scripps Park's public art became a little too public. Most of the exhibits were stolen or destroyed.

But that's not stopping Louis Casinelli and Dominic Arellano, who partnered together for the Scripps Park project and are also spearheading  this year's Belle Isle Arts Exhibit. Nineteen exhibitions will be open to the public, plus bike, shuttle and tours from Chido Johnson's Wire Cars. The Fifth Belle Isle Arts Exhibit opens Saturday, June 18, with a party from 2 to 7 p.m., and runs until Friday, June 24. And Arellano says there will be art again in Scripps Park, thieves be damned.


"Collaboration. That's how Belle Isle operates," Arellano says. "There are all these different groups that make the park function. None stand alone. They promote each other, help each other. That's our spirit too."

Get the spirit here.

Sculpture skate park is latest Power House production

Just a few clicks of the mouse can make a difference. The Pepsi Refresh Project gives millions of dollars away to crowd-picked ideas and charities across the planet -- and one new dream has an address right here in Detroit city.

Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert, the force behind Power House Productions (responsible for bringing last year's Juxtapoz art installation to the East Side neighborhood north of Hamtramck), have a new project on the Pepsi Refresh Project website -- and they need your votes. The dream? Building a combination found sculpture park and skateboarding space for kids in the same neighborhood where they live and build.

It doesn't cost a thing but a few seconds of time. Cast your vote here.

WARM Training Center's BikeWay project seeks artists for cycle-inspired public sculptures

In Brightmoor, where bus traffic is limited and less than 50 percent of residents have access to an automobile, a growing effort to promote bicycling is taking an artistic turn.

The Detroit Youth Energy Squad (D-YES) is coordinating the Brightmoor BikeWay, an interactive art and civic engagement project to celebrate two-wheeled transit -- and they're looking for welders, sculptors and metal-workers to design their own work for the pocket park, which is located along the Lyndon Greenway. Accepted artists will work directly with local youth to design, build and install the bike-themed sculptures out of recycled materials.

Interested? Contact Eric Tuomey or Patrick Gubry for an application, submission guidelines and more info. Find out more about the WARM Training Center's D-YES program here.

Juxtapoz artists make permanent home in Detroit

Detroit News columnist Donna Terek says she wasn't thrilled with last year's Juxtapoz art project, in which the California-based mag turned six national artists loose in an East Side Detroit neighborhood to work their magic on a street of abandoned homes. But two of those "fly-by-night" creatives are making a permanent nest in Detroit, and brought five more with them.

Artist Ryan Doyle, along with his family, will continue working on the three-story art installation he calls the "Treasure's Nest" while running an informal artists' hostel and planting an urban garden. And Doyle already sounds like a resident: "I don't know why everyone doesn't want to move to Detroit," he says.


In a way, what they're doing seems a hipster cliche by now: move to Detroit, buy a cheap house, plant an urban garden. But so what? Cliches develop because they are methods that work. Detroit could use more like these.

In fact, it can use a lot more. In a city bleeding population, can we afford to look askance at a transfusion of creative plasma like these enthusiastic Detroit-ophiles? We need as many of them as are willing to come. And, while I was skeptical about the magazine's helicopter artist drop, this is exactly the kind of thing that creates buzz about Detroit on the coasts where the majority of cultural opinion makers resides and publishes.

Check out the rest of the story here.

Forty years later, "What's Going On" still spins true

40 years ago, Motown Records, the sonic factory of lighthearted love songs and spirited soul, released Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," a departure for both the label and the singer. The album, a song cycle that tells the story of a Vietnam vet returning home to a nation in chaos, brought social consciousness to soul -- and the airwaves.

Motown Museum CEO Audley Smith, interviewed for the piece, said Marvin's musical transformation was an inspiration to him and a generation of young Detroiters.

He says the song "What's Going On" served as an anthem of social awareness. "It was important to be a part of what was happening in terms of social activism in the city of Detroit," Smith says. "And to have Marvin Gaye come out with a song that reinforced that necessity to be conscious, to be active, was a wonderful thing."

Mercy, mercy me. Listen to the story here.

Detroit now worthy of nationwide hipster consideration

Sociologists know that hipsters, that particular breed of 20-something cultural "vanguards," cannot survive in merely any city. Any healthy and happy hipster needs dive bars that serve PBR, vintage shops, grimy music venues, post-industrial art spaces and other habitat features in order to thrive.

We found this funny picture on Flickr. Detroit is now worthy of a slot on the "Post-Grad Hipster's Guide to Inhabitable U.S. Cities." Rejoice! We're labeled on the map, along with this caption: Detroit "Street Cred; Something vague about hopeful post-apocalyptic gardening," Michigan.

See which other hipster hangouts made the list.

Tall ships, tugboats, a 5k and more at this year's River Days

Detroit River Days will celebrate its fifth anniversary on June 23-26 with new programming along Detroit's East Riverfront and lots more room for fun.

The physical presence of the festival will now run from William J. Milliken State Park to the newly completed Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority Terminal & Dock, just past the Renaissance Center.

There will also be plenty to do beyond music, food and dancing. The River Days festival, which is put on by the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, will offer tugboat races, a 5k competition, eco-friendly kids activities, and a new partnership with Windsor's Summerfest and participation as one of 57 cities across the world in Global Water Dances.


"This new footprint reflects the continued progress happening on the Riverfront," said Matt Cullen, chairman, Detroit RiverFront Conservancy. "When we launched the festival in 2007 it was with the goal of introducing the transformation of our Riverfront to not only our own community here in Detroit, but to the world. The festival continues to showcase new developments each year, including last year's addition of Michigan's first urban state park and, this year's new Port Authority Terminal and Dock, which will now allow Detroit to accommodate cruise ships, ferries, tall ships and naval vessels."

The River Days musical lineup will be announced in early June. For now, check out all the cool stuff to do at detroitriverdays.com.

What's going on -- Motown Museum's new Marvin Gaye exhibit

We heard it through the grapevine. A new exhibit at the Motown Museum will take visitors through artifacts like sheet music, album covers and costumes spanning the 20-year Motown Records career of Marvin Gaye. In an interview with Marvin's ex-wife Janis Gaye, she says she's in talks to loan some of his personal effects to the museum, which will host the exhibit through at least September.


She said she hopes museum visitors see the depth of his creativity and recognize his enduring legacy, which includes a performance next May of the "What's Going On" album by John Legend and The Roots with the National Symphony Orchestra. It marks the 40th anniversary of Gaye performing the album at the same venue.

"I would just like for people to see his whole body of work," Janis Gaye said. "Socially conscious, sexually conscious, whatever it happens to be. It's all Marvin. It all came from that one mind."

Let's get it on. Read more here.

Soul search: exploring Aretha's roots at New Bethel Baptist church

Imagine the sound of Sunday service in a church on Detroit's west side, 1956. Singing in the community choir was a 14-year-old girl, the preacher's daughter. The old New Bethel Baptist church was razed to make way for I-94, but the congregation -- where Aretha Franklin learned to sing -- still exists. The Chicago Sun-Times takes a trip to 8430 C.L. Franklin Blvd. to explore New Bethel Baptist's history, where soul music and religion stood hand in hand.


New Bethel Baptist is arguably America's most important musical church. It demands the same pop culture respect given to the Rev. Al Green's Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Memphis. When Rev. Franklin's Chess sermons were played late at night on WLAC out of Nashville, Tenn., it's not unlikely to think Al Green, James Brown and other emerging soul stars heard the message on clear channel radio. He was known as "The Man With the Million Dollar Voice."

Read more about the Queen of Soul's early kingdom here.

BBC Travel energized by city's rebirth

Why Detroit? From an artistic standpoint, our creators and visionaries have nothing to lose -- and nobody standing in their way. This new story from BBC Travel paints a portrait of Detroit as a city increasingly shaped by the cultural vanguard. Corktown, which is seeing plenty of commercial development, also gets some love (read more about what's going on in Corktown here.)


As Detroit continues the fight of its life, artists and visionaries are slowly returning to the city to take advantage of the cheap rent and open spaces. While some have compared Detroit to a war zone, its burgeoning artistic community looks at it like a playground.

"I see the magic here. This city has been known to come back," artist Tyree Guyton said. "There's this new energy that's creating art all over the city. [A colleague] said in the past that the new industry in the city of Detroit is art and culture. I believe it. I see it."

Read the rest of the story here.

NYT: 36 hours in the D gets it right

How to spend 36 hours in Detroit? The New York Times jam-packed almost a dozen of this city's landmarks into one action-filled weekend guide to decoding the D. We'll give our out-of-town colleagues props for digging into little-known historical facts (we always forget downtown boasts the nation's second-largest theatre district) and directing travelers to local treasures like Pewabic Pottery, the Piquette Plant and Atlas Global Bistro.


No video can portray the passion one finds on the streets of Detroit these days, where everyone from the doorman to the D.J. will tell you they believe in this city's future. While certain areas are indeed eerily empty, other neighborhoods -- including midtown, downtown and Corktown -- are bustling with new businesses that range from creperies and barbecue joints catering to the young artists and entrepreneurs migrating to Motown, to a just-opened hostel that invites tourists to explore Detroit with the aid of local volunteer guides.

No urban enthusiast, the NYT concludes, should witness the renaissance Detroit is attempting. Well said.

The NYT now has a paywall, which allows readers 20 free views a month. If you haven't exceeded your monthly tab, click here.

Metro Times chronicles Detroit debutantes' rite of passage

A white dress. Waltzing. Flowers everywhere. It may be spring, but this isn't a wedding. Detroitbloggerjohn recently stepped behind the curtain to capture the crowning moment for Detroit's youngest debutantes, whom are keeping an age-old tradition -- the society debut -- alive in the Cass Corridor's Masonic Temple. The Southern tradition was an expected tradition for good kids from good families in the Motor City a half-century ago, and the careful ritual has been properly preserved.


For the high school juniors and seniors selected as debutantes, the road here is long and hard. "It's almost like a mini charm school," Clark says. There are the twice-weekly waltz practices that become weekly as the ball draws near. Months of etiquette lessons. Cultural outings like Brunch with Bach at the Detroit Institute of Arts and tickets to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the Detroit Opera House. Volunteer tutoring at the Sickle Cell Center in Detroit. Afternoon tea at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham. Facets of culture that most girls nowadays don't get to experience.

Find out more here.

Video: Slum Village lyricist Elzhi drops "Detroit State of Mind"

Detroit MC Elzhi is the latest rapper to take his crack at what British rag The Guardian calls a "totem" of hip-hop -- Nas's Illmatic. The legendary 1994 album, released when young Nasir Jones was just 20 years of age, is consistently named one of the top rap albums of all time. Elzhi's mixtape interpretation drops May 10, and Elmatic is already receiving tons of buzz, from hip-hop heads in the 313 and around the globe.


Layering trademark witty wordplay and fast-moving flow over classic tracks, the former Slum Village lyricist resurrects the spirit of his source material and rises above mere hip-hop karaoke. To quote Nasir Jones himself, though, It Ain't Hard To Tell why today's rappers are paying tribute to his debut album.

Click here to read the rest of the article, or check out the first single, "Detroit State of Mind," here.

City is muse for Esquire's superstar songwriting contest

Ah, Detroit -- for every sound you've created, from furious punk to swooning Motown gems or fierce hip-hop anthems, you tell a different story. That's why Esquire magazine located its 2011 Songwriting Challenge in the Motor City -- a city, they noted, that embodied all the qualities they wanted their A-list team of musicians to mine for inspiration. Love. Loss. Redemption. Hope. Cars.

So they came to Detroit. Dierks Bentley, Raphael Saadiq, Brendan Benson, Ben Blackwell and Dhani Harrison. They each wrote a song. And all the proceeds from mp3 sales will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Detroit. Sound check, please.


In shitty dive bars and majestic concert halls, the music of Detroit pulses with the sound and fury of a city in the fight for its life. We came to Detroit to witness this fight and to honor it, and to announce that -- by selling these five original songs and donating the proceeds to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Detroit -- we intend to join it.

Watch the video, read more about the artists, and download the songs here.

Editorial: What North Carolina can learn from Midtown

North Carolina's Research Triangle is often described in national media as a triumph of large entities coming together to create a haven for educators and innovators. But the area's News & Observer writers note, as Durham announced a new initiative through the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network that will provide $3.6 million in targeted technical support to the region's growing entrepreneurial community, the Triangle would be wise to look to Midtown Detroit for guidance.

Midtown's "bold, comprehensive" plan, anchored by public and private entities, is now becoming a model for regions around the nation hoping to kick-start their market for high-tech jobs.


The investments in turn are part of the Kresge Foundation's nine-part strategy to revitalize the city, ranging from fixing the city's education system and reforming health care to driving sustainability and creativity as signatures of the new economy. This comprehensive approach is also present in the mayor's Detroit Works Project and its ambitious agenda to responsibly restore, build out, and connect its most vibrant neighborhoods while connecting it with the broader region. Detroit's future is far from certain. But its all-hands on deck, well-capitalized, comprehensive approach to entrepreneurial growth is instructive.

Find out more about what North Carolina thinks we're doing right here.

How many creatives does it take to save a city?

How many artists, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders does it take to change a light -- wait, remake an entire city?

Peter Kageyama is the author of "For the Love of Cities." Appearing at the Rust Belt to Artist Belt conference, he says one-tenth of one percent of a population can reshape an urban area's destiny. In other words, Detroit needs roughly 719 doers and dreamers to thrive.


If you could add 719 of the right people, think of the extraordinary things that could happen. If you added a few more Tyree Guytons, or Phil Cooleys, or Claire Nelsons -- those people who are making exraordinary things happen in their own neighborhoods. That's what I'm talking about. That secret sauce.

Find out what else Kageyama has to say about Detroit here.

Detroit tops Travel & Leisure's list of "World's Most Underrated Cities"

Detroit recently topped the list of Travel & Leisure's underdog urban hotspots for travelers weary of cookie-cutter cosmopolitan vacations. The magazine lauded the new breed of "urban homesteader" helping to reshape the city, and referenced a few of our great restaurants (Foran's Grand Trunk Pub, Supino pizza, and Slows) as evidence of the D's growing gastronomic reputation.


And then of course there's Detroit. What most people would consider as evidence of Motor City's sad decline -- empty lots, abandoned houses, and disused factories -- others view as unparalleled opportunities for artists, designers, and other creative types. In fact, Patti Smith and David Byrne, two of music's eternal cool kids, recently exhorted budding artists to move to Detroit, and young people are heeding their advice, moving into neighborhoods like Midtown and Woodbridge.

Check out which other underdog cities made the list here.

Video: Why CNN loves the D

The Greening of Detroit's efforts to turn the D into a model for urban farming collectives, not to mention Wayne State math professors reaching kids through a new camp, has melted the media hearts of CNN this spring. If multiplication tables or vegetable gardens don't quicken your pulse, the cable giant also cites local expert and documented Detroit lover Johnny Knoxville.

Click here to check out these videos.

Rustwire photo essay hits the streets to find beauty beyond the blight

Rustwire.net's Richey Piiparinen was in town for last week's Rust Belt to Artist Belt conference, but he admits his attention was waning. So he snuck out for a photo adventure -- to find the art in our city. It was easier than he imagined. A perfectly placed Church's Chicken, a Communist-eque building facade, Tyree Guyton's new exhibit, fake flowers in The Whitney gardens. Sometimes it's worth seeing your everyday surroundings through the lens of an outsider.


And while the goal of my journey was to find the art of Detroit as opposed to hear how art's going to "remake it" what I found was a city percolating with life just fine: with people, and buses, and stretches of vacant-less blocks. And yes, I found signs of a death. But in this death I found something else. Something that a one-time giant has that current day giants are incapable of having given the fact these latter giants haven't yet needed to be reborn.

View the photos here.

Supergay Detroit: Support Motor City Pride's new 313 digs

Motor City Pride, the area's pre-eminent summer festival to showcase our LBGTQ community, will move from its long-entrenched digs in Ferndale to Hart Plaza downtown. The shift symbolizes a new commitment to Detroit proper and may broaden the scope and outreach generated by the celebration, but it's also generated lots of anger and disappointment from members of Southeast Michigan's gay community. Supergay Detroit took to his blog to champion the Pride relocation, calling it "a huge upgrade and it means a big increase in visibility for the GLBT community."


Pride moving downtown kind of shows that the general gay community views Detroit as a place with promise too.  And a successful Pride could go a long way toward changing perceptions of the city for the gays and lesbians who spend most of their lives outside of it.

Read the rest of the post here.

Urbanophile takes a Heidelberg detour

One of our favorite collections of urban tales and travels, the Urbanophile blog recently began posting a series of stories published by contributor Brendan Crain from 2007 to 2010. Crain writes like a poet, as exampled by his Heidelberg Project essay, which remains one of the most thoughtful narratives to invoke artist Tyree Guyton's vision that we've seen. Read, and enjoy.


The Heidelberg Project is a very concrete visual manifestation of this ballet. It teaches the disenfranchised and the isolated how to shape the world around them into something beautiful. In a way, it is the most public kind of public place: the kind where the planned social infrastructure failed, and the people moved in, did what they do, and created something really useful.

Read the post here.

Meet the stars of Kresge's Art X Detroit

Starting Wednesday, many of the city's most talented visual, literary and performance artists will present their newly commissioned works at Art X Detroit, a five-day showcase of 2008-2010 Kresge Award Fellows and Eminent Artists at more than a dozen Midtown venues. The new multi-disciplinary festival brings dance, art, literary readings, musical concerts, workshops and discussions to the public free of charge. It's all brought to you by the good folks from Kresge Arts in Detroit, College for Creative Studies, UCCA, ArtServe Michigan and MOCAD.

The just-updated website is chock-full of artist bios, photo galleries and video -- boy, are we excited.

Check out the Kresge Eminent Artists and Fellows -- plus get your schedule ready -- here.

Eat Supino Pizza, support Belle Isle art projects

It is not often that the act of eating one of Detroit's most delicious pizza pies can satisfy both your appetite and social conscience. But these are the days of miracles and wonder. Eastern Market's Supino Pizzeria has teamed up with Access Arts, a program of the city's Forward Arts, to help fund Access Art's fifth annual exhibition on Belle Isle, scheduled for June 18-24.

From March 29 to April 2, Supino will donate 25 percent of its sales to Access Arts and word has it owner Dave Mancini will cook up a special Belle Isle pie as part of the Slice of the Day promotion.

"I think almost every member of my staff has taken part in the Belle Isle Exhibit." says Mancini. "I really like what Access does and can see the difference they make in the community."

Find out more about Access Arts, or click here to get a slice of Supino.

HuffPo: Tech firms can learn from Motor City rock & roll

What do family-owned radio stations, the MC5 or concert crowds have to do with opening a technology biz? In an industry where creativity is king, professor Jason Schmitt writes that the next Silicon Valley start-ups or multinational software corporations could take a lesson from Detroit rock, which has maintained sell-out crowds and a gritty edge from one century to the next. Schmitt studied the Detroit music ecosystem for the better part of a decade and says our city, more than any other region, has maintained steady creative output and rightly earned the nation's fascination. Hey, Google -- if you want a lesson in maintaining relevance and credibility, listen up.


Most new tech firms are hardly a blip on the longitudinal timeline of creative success. Inversely, Detroit rock music has employed and cultivated a solid stream of creative talent and cultural relevancy for six decades and running. In other words, the talent and creativity of this region continually replicates and maintains its inertia. Sure, other music regions have had 'flash in the pan' success and lots of correlating hits: a la Seattle. But the Detroit case is different. More complex. Continually creating without drying up -- and allowing creativity to flourish in opposition to the regional economic imperatives.

Rock on. Read the whole thing here.

Budget cuts can't stifle the choir at Southeastern High

This was a story we at Buzz felt needed re-telling this week. It's a story about the choir at Southeastern High -- well, what used to be a choir. See, in his role as Emergency Financial Manager for Detroit Public Schools, Robert Bobb made cuts to the music program at Southeastern. Then, school administrators, hampered by increased constraints, were forced to cancel all the music courses at the high school -- laying off the accompanist and transferring the choral director to the Catherine Ferguson School. Cuts were also made to Southeastern's drama department and highly-touted robotics program.

With the Michigan State Vocal Music Association Choral Festival fast approaching, 20 of Southeastern High's finest voices found themselves caught out. No teacher. No pianist. No money.

So the singers decided to mobilize; staging three walk-outs and a sit-in (amidst rumors the kids were maced). And in a final show of protest, the Voices of Southeastern choral group gained entry to the MSVMA awards, demanding they be allowed to compete against functioning high school music programs around the state.


McAllister said that violating MSVMA rules opens the door for ratings to be declared unofficial. But, without any music program to look forward to next year, Southeastern students weren't as concerned about ratings. "All of us are very passionate about what we do. For us being here now and doing what we love, it speaks for itself," said junior choir member Nicole Smith.

"Our choir is in dismay because our teacher is gone," Lewis said at the choral festival. "She's telling us not to do it because she doesn't want to be embarrassed. But that's not the point, the point is to show that Southeastern can and will sing because we've prepared for it all year."

Hear the whole story here.

LA Times critic examines ramifications of Banksy boosts

When the 555 gallery boosted Banksy from his Packard Plant hideaway last February, outrage ensued -- and the frenzy went national. In fact, LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne is still thinking about Banksy. He relates the tale to the looting of objects from the Le Corbusier-designed model city of Chandigahr in India, which have been sold off in auction houses around the world, to question whether art loses its context when wrenched from where it was intended. Does the Banksy painting, in which a little boy is pictured next to the words, "I remember when all this was trees," carry the same meaning inside gallery walls, rather than an abandoned plant fit for razing?


A broader and frankly more compelling issue is how these two stories turn inside out the relationship between patrimony and exploitation, and between local heritage and colonial privilege. It is one thing when occupying British forces forcibly remove an artwork from its setting, as they did two centuries ago with the pieces of Greek temple architecture and sculpture known collectively as the Elgin Marbles, and ship it out of the country. It is something else entirely when the pieces at risk were created by outsiders, and locals are the ones rushing to loot as well as protect them.

Read more here.

Rust Belt to Artist Belt conference connects the post-industrial dots

The next challenge to fostering creative entrepreneurs involves creating a supply chain that connects artists and business owners to prototype engineers, manufacturers, textile producers and the like. Bringing all these agents together to build a sustainable creative economy in the Midwest is the subject at the Rust Belt to Artist Belt Conference III, a two-day meeting of regional minds that kicks off April 6 at the College for Creative Studies. Originally conceived by the Community Partnership of Arts and Culture in Cleveland, the diverse list of speakers includes local names like Jerry Paffendorf, Joel Peterson, Gina Reichert and Randal Charlton.


Mid-west rust belt cities like Detroit are the perfect proving ground for this type of exploration, due to our creative culture, entrepreneurial commercial approach, and adaptable manufacturing base. To highlight this fact, the conference is looking for involvement from municipal leaders, neighborhood enthusiasts, community and economic development authorities and you! Please join us as we develop deeper strategies and discussions that will continue to cultivate and strengthen our creative ecosystem.

Early bird registration is available through March 21. Sign up or find out more here.

No doubt about it: Detroit is soul city number one

The music blog soultracks.com recently polled its readers to crown one metropolis "The World's Greatest Soul Music City." At the top of the list, with 30 percent of the total vote, was Detroit (which, we might add, absolutely trounced the competition). And the blog makes it clear it isn't just the city's history as the birthplace of Motown Records that deserves recognition.


Yep, Detroit won hands down. It's long history of great soul stars, including the Motown legends, along with its new generation of soul stars like Dwele, Monica Blaire and Amp Fiddler, gave it the edge over the runner up city, Philadelphia, and lots of other great soul towns.

Get the full list here.

Oh, and about your ruin porn ...

Considering pornography, it's fair to suggest that what gets people riled up isn't the obscenity on display, but the degradation of the subject. It's no less true with buildings than budding starlets. "Ruin porn" -- the act of finding and photographing abandoned and desecrated structures -- makes sport of our failures as urban citizens, while exploiting the broken, beat-up buildings among us as fodder, cheap thrills for the less adventurous.

A new essay from a blogger named Rayne takes issue with the porn you've been sending around -- specifically, the ruin porn we're all sick of finding in our emails. Send this rant to your favorite train station urbanophile today!


Yes, it seems like dry and ancient history to you, but Detroiters are living it and they are surviving it, and they have a thing or two to teach the rest of this country about recovery and greatness. Go on, revel in the "ruin porn" you so enjoy -- but when your city's turn comes, well, let's hope you can handle it with as much grace. And come it does, like the failed levees came for New Orleans and the economic downturn came for Las Vegas and all of California.

Read the essay here.

Hollywood's new Mob movie makes its bones in Detroit

Danny Greene, the man the Mob couldn't kill. It's the plot of the new major motion picture Kill The Irishman, set in 1970's Cleveland but shot in, you guessed it, Detroit. If you drove past sets with exploding cars last summer, well, that explains a lot, doesn't it?

Kill The Irishman
, starring Christopher Walken, Val Kilmer and Ray Stevenson (whom former Model D lensman Dave Krieger says he enjoyed working with: check out his editorial on keeping Michigan's film industry alive here) will premiere at the brand-new Uptown Film Festival in Birmingham this Friday at 7:30 p.m.

We took a peek at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and, believe us, the locals aren't happy about this film being made in Detroit.


"I really need everybody in the Cleveland area to know we simply could not have made the movie at all if we had made it in Ohio," said Hensleigh. "If they are upset about that, they should talk to their state legislators. All of us wanted to shoot on location in Cleveland, a lot of the neighborhoods are as they were. But it wasn't feasible. We needed a huge tax credit, and Michigan offered a 40-percent rebate. This was not an argument inside our filmmakers group. Had we not had that rebate, game over. We had to go to Detroit."

What are ya, a wise guy? Read more, or click here to purchase tickets to the Uptown Film Festival.

Local artist's new exhibit gets some love from WashPo

Detroit, argues the Washington Post, doesn't need another Robocop -- or even another hero. What it needs, writes Kristin Capps, are artists like our own Lauren Rice, a DC transplant whose new solo show, Heirlooms, "creates work that references urban decay and land reclamation without documenting Detroit in a didactic fashion." Or, to heap the praise on even more, Rice is the kind of artist our city deserves.


Once a mixed-media artist whose interests mirrored those of found-object artist Jessica Stockholder, Rice has distinguished herself through her use of color, in particular through violently bright neons she subdues using the despairing grays of urban blight. Her work weighs decay through a feminine vocabulary of beads, flowers and graffiti, creating a non-moralistic document of urban degradation.

Heirlooms is currently on display at Transformer in Logan Circle. Read the review here.

The rebirth of Death, who brought punk to the world

Writing in the New York Times, former Detroiter now East Coast music journo Mike Rubin famously said, "Death was punk before punk was punk." Yet this Detroit rock power trio was almost forgotten, though the band provided a musical link between the raw power of The Stooges and the MC5 and the advent of punk founders like Bad Brains -- another African-American band, often credited with helping to pioneer the sound of punk, who released their first record five years after Death.

The saga of Death -- buried recordings, label snubs, and yes, the passing of founder David Hackney in 2000 -- makes for great historical reading. But we're happy to report that Death lives again. Members and brothers Bobby and Dannis Hackney sat down with KTVU.com to reminisce on Detroit's music scene in the 1970s before a live show in L.A.


How many rock songs and soul songs have there been about the assembly lines in Detroit? That's the one thing that I think everybody connected. The fact that this was the big, industrial Motor City and it was churning 24/7. I think that everybody in Detroit was rhythmic because of that. Our moms and dads would come home in the afternoon and their bodies were kind of still wiggling from that churning and constant rhythm in the industrial factories.

Read more about Death here.

From steel, artist Casey Westbook will forge Robocop

Picture this, if you can: a ten-foot high steel apparatus, loaded with industrial coke, shooting fire and embers like a volcano while rivers of molten steel, hot enough to melt an automobile, flow out and harden. Imagine shaping those two tons of scrap iron into a work of art.

That's the skill sculptor and furnace-builder Casey Westbrook's honed; the one he'll use to turn the statue of Robocop from an internet meme to a real, tactile work for the public to see, with only a Kevlar suit for safety. And while it isn't his largest display yet (that would be the 25-ton spectacular he produced for artist and exhibition-creator Matthew Barney's Cremaster cycle), this behind-the-scenes peek at the artistry behind Robocop might convince some Detroiters that there's more to this statue than Hollywood dazzle and science fiction imagination.


Once two tons of molten scrap iron has collected in massive cylinders at the bottom of the furnace, the artist will unplug them like a vintner hammering the bung out of a cask, and the metal will gush directly into the mold. It's likely Robocop will be cast upside-down, his outstretched arms reaching for the ground as if to brace his mass against a fall. A day or two later, once he's cooled, they'll knock off the mold with hammers and chisels and the world's greatest cop will thunder to earth like Han after he was frozen in Carbonite.

Find out more here.

Motor City memories from a New Yorker who won't forget

With almost nine million views on YouTube, it's safe to call the Eminem spot for the Chrysler 200 more than a car commercial -- and judging by the reaction of Detroiters living across the globe, the notion of "our story" seems to resonate, no many how many miles stretch between them and Woodward Avenue.

This latest recollection comes from April Rudin, a CEO based in New York City, who remembered leaving her Detroit "burned out and bruised" 20 years ago when she bought a one-way ticket to LaGuardia airport. And though some of her recollection seem a tad under-researched (no traffic reports in the city of Detroit?), there's plenty of good memories here: Aretha Franklin and Hudson's building and almond boneless chicken memories of the old Detroit, along with acceptance and hope for what lies ahead.


I have never much thought of myself as an "ex-pat" or what it meant to leave Detroit -- until now. There was something about seeing that commercial that triggered a flood of great memories and nostalgia for my Detroit. I realize that my Detroit lives on in my memory and that the future city will be a newfangled version of what I remember, perhaps even unrecognizable to a former hometown girl. Although they can change the physical borders and the types of industries that support the state, I think that the soul of Detroit will remain.

Read April's essay here.

City kids celebrate Motown's legacy at the White House

President Obama, born two years after Motown Records first opened its doors on West Grand Blvd., is an avowed fan of the R&B that rocked the nation (hey, aren't we all?). And while acts like the Four Tops, Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder have serenaded the Commander in Chief, a tribute to our iconic record label Feb. 24 at The White House will bring Detroit's music history to center stage.

President Obama will welcome 120 Detroit students (including members of the Mosaic Youth Theatre and the Sphinx Organization) for a star-studded concert featuring John Legend, Sheryl Crow and Jamie Foxx. They'll also participate in a Q and A session with Berry Gordy, Jr. and Smokey Robinson that will be moderated by the First Lady.


"I don't think the company and genre have been recognized in this way by any administration," said Audley Smith, chief executive officer of the Motown Historical Museum, which will transport several items from its collection for display at a pre-concert reception.

"I think it kind of says it all, that this administration has seen fit to honor this music that is unique to Detroit," said Smith.

The concert will air on PBS stations, including Detroit Public Television, on March 1. Find out more about this presidential salute to the Motown sound here.

Detroit decked out: robot clothes and Motor City Denim

We always learn things listening to All Things Considered -- all the more fascinating when a story comes from our own backyard. Did you know robots wear clothing to keep out grime and dust in auto factories? Neither did we. But that's Mark D'Andreta's trade: he owns TD Industrial Clothing, which did 95 percent of its business outfitting the robots used to put cars together. Until the auto business crashed.

As sales plummeted, D'Andreta took stock of his assets: a skilled labor force that could make patterns and prototypes quickly, and a love for fashion inspired by his father, a tailor. And thanks to a new partnership with designer and Project Runway alum Joe Faris, the factory will soon be producing a premium line of denim that's Detroit-dreamt, designed and distributed.


"The jean captures what Detroit is," Faris says. "We can dress up the jean all we want, but there is a production element of it. And that's where I felt like we could do this here."

At the factory where TD Industrial Coverings makes robot clothes, workers are making stiff, dark blue dress jeans inspired by the Motor City. The jeans will go on sale in March for $150 a pair at retail stores.

Read or listen to this story here.

Robocop lives -- and what that means for the rest of us

Six days. That's how long it took the good folks at the Imagination Station to raise the 50k needed to build a gleaming statue of Robocop in the city. While last week's Buzz dealt with the philosophical implications of building a half-man, half-cyborg on our native soil, we're all about practicalities today. Like it or lump it, Robocop is here to stay.

We heard from two local bloggers who offered new perspectives on what Robocop means for the city. Phil Lauri, author of Detroit Lives!, writes that Robocop could serve as a new tourist draw for out-of-state guests. But more importantly, he argues, it draws a line in the sand for Detroit's nonprofits -- clearly, there are no excuses for not raising money.


It's no secret that the city is a little less resource-stocked than other places, so anything creative with fundraising is something that could take us all a long way. There are something like 18,000 non-profits in Wayne County alone (that has to be more per capita than most counties) that are fighting for money with the same tired models. Perhaps Robo can present some interesting solutions for how meaningful endeavors can be funded in the city, which eventually leads to a more productive city.

And over at Detroit Moxie, BecksDavis offered this handy list of Kickstarters that have sprung up locally since Robocop. Robocharity is now funding at least three separate projects on Kickstarter: funding such worthy charities as Forgotten Harvest, the Greening of Detroit and a new public playground and sculpture community space called Le Tigre Park. Guess that robot's leaving more than dead bodies in its wake -- we like the trail of new ideas (as well as the creative fundraising efforts) spawned by this cyborg just fine.

Read more about Robocop at Detroit Lives! and Detroit Moxie.

Whither Robocop?

In a sentence we're sure to use again this decade ... it all started with a Tweet.

"There are not any plans to erect a statue of RoboCop. Thank you for your suggestion," wrote Mayor Dave Bing.

But if suggestions are like seeds, Twitter must then be the fertilizer. For the Tweet spread like dandelion weeds throughout Detroit's social media community; a good joke. The Facebook page asking Dave Bing to change his mind attracted 6,000 followers -- grassroots success.  And then the Kickstarter page went up: "Part Man, Part Machine, All Crowd-Funded" (backed by the good folks at the Imagination Station, it's since raised over $16,000 of its 50k goal). From Popular Science to MTV, this tribute to bad 1987 sci-fi was the story on Detroit this week.

So: does Detroit need a tribute to its dystopian and crime ridden alterna-future, to the fantasy cyborg-cop patrolling streets so mean, no human could dare police them?  Resistance sprouted, quickly; Supergay Detroit's widely-read post argues the movement should remain a farce, no more:


A Robocop statue, with money that will no doubt be raised primarily from outside the city limits, can be seen as the constant reminder (potentially right in the middle of one of our more vibrant neighborhoods) that Detroit will never move past its reputation as hopelessly corrupt and crime-ridden. And will be celebrated by many more non-residents than residents, for sure. Way to put a city in its place.

(We at Buzz support the public debate about public art -- noting the process can occasionally get messy. We support creativity and bold action, and encourage more of each. Much more.)

Imported from Detroit: Loyola student sums up hometown pride for D-town exports

It's not always easy being an export from Detroit. Ferndale native and Loyola University student Sallyann Price doesn't like "8 Mile" and hates it when people ask whether she's been shot. But Eminem's new spot for the Chrysler 200 touched this Motown girl in the heart -- and in this graceful editorial for the college paper, Price offers up her own ode to the D.


The spot simultaneously acknowledges the troubled reality of recent years and pairs it with the steely -- if cautious -- optimism of its citizens. We're still here, Chrysler seems to say, and we still have something valuable to offer America: A rich history of innovation, a deep appreciation for the finer things and an unwavering belief that the tide is turning in our favor.

It looks like hometown pride is back in a major way. Read the rest of the editorial here.

American Made: Following Sweden's first b-baller in Detroit

You might not know the Pistons' Jonas Jerebko yet -- he sat out most of last season with injury. But in Sweden, the young man's already a household name: he's the first, and only, Swedish ballplayer in the NBA.

A new web video series from Nike Sportswear Sweden called American Made follows Jerebko during the beginning of his second season in Detroit -- a big change from his small Swedish town with two restaurants. Local faves like Juan Atkins, Ben Wallace, Hank Zetterberg and Nick Lidstrom also appear in the series, hosted by Swedish-born hip-hop artist Adam Tensta.


"I wanna be known as a good player. I just don't wanna be known as the guy who made the NBA but didn't do anything about it. I wanna get better and I wanna do something with my career. I wanna win a championship. I wanna do stuff."

Check out the trailer or watch the first two webisodes of American Made here.

Kresge Foundation's Art X Detroit fest to celebrate five days of arts, music and dance

From April 6 through 10, Art X Detroit will showcase newly commissioned works by Kresge Artist Fellowship winners from 2008 to 2010. It's presented by several local institutions -- the University Cultural Center Association, College for Creative Studies, ArtServe Michigan and MOCAD. It's sponsored by the Kresge Foundation and, best of all, everything's free to the public.

One of the highlights is sure to be an installation by Charles McGee, whose sculptures and paintings appear all over Detroit, from Detroit Receiving Hospital to the Detroit Institute of the Arts and the Broadway People Mover station. And at 86, he's still making new art. Talk about a hometown treasure.

Check back to artxdetroit.com for updates as the dates draw closer. Stay tuned to Model D in the coming weeks for more details.

Allied Media Project offers new free workshops in the D

The Allied Media Project, one of our favorite digital collectives, are continuing their mission to bring digital media tools to the people with a new series of 22-week workshops.

The Future City Media Workshops will offer free training in web design, graphic, audio and video creation this spring from their offices on Third Street in Detroit. The workshops will also coach students in grassroots organizing and digital entrepreneurship. The big idea? Learn from pros, and then get out in the community to share those skills. Participants will graduate with the unique skill sets necessary to train other Detroiters in digital media, create their own jobs, foster cooperative forms of community wealth creation, and support media-based community organizing for a better Detroit.

If you're interested, be sure to check out the Facebook page and attend the information session Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. The address is 4126 Third Street, inside the Furniture Factory Building. Apply or find out more here.

Raise your voice with Community Chorus of Detroit

The sounds of Handel, Brahms, Copland ... call them old songs with a new set of voices.

A new group of singers are tackling the old guard of choral repertoire. They call themselves the Community Chorus of Detroit, and they're accepting any aspiring vocalists with basic music reading ability, from 13 to 130, to join the non-auditioned chorus as they work toward two spring concerts at the Detroit Waldorf School in Indian Village. With guest conductors and artists from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance, the aim and precision are high. Rehearsals are mostly on Sundays, with performances at Saturday, May 21 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, May 22 at 4 pm.

Early registration to guarantee your sheet music is Feb.16 and the final registration deadline is Feb. 25.

For more information, visit the Community Chorus of Detroit website.

Carl Craig opens up to UK blog

In the second wave of Detroit techno that followed superstars like Kevin Saunderson and Juan Atkins, Carl Craig has almost no parallel. What's more, the legendary producer and artist has never left Detroit, his Planet E label still supports Detroit music -- heck, he even re-recorded a live cover of his 'Bug in the Bassbin' with the Dirtbombs this year. How much more Detroit can you get?

It's a revealing interview, one where Craig gets personal about his childhood in Detroit's rough neighborhoods, touring the world as a young man, the music he listened to in high school, and the local underground 80's music show, "The Scene."


It was also a funny time because it's a time when Prince was big in Detroit so everyone was dressing like Prince. They'd get Press'N'Curl on their hair, wear some new wave piece with an asymmetrical shirt, baggy pants, long shoes, frills, maybe a little bit of eyeliner here and there. It was really funny but that look was huge in Detroit.

Read the interview here.

D-native Draetown pens Motown ode, "City of Gold"

Ashes are usually the metaphor of choice to describe our city. But rapper Draetown sees it differently. His new single, "City of Gold," is a positive tribute to a place he says is chock-full of treasure; some visible, some often unseen.

"City of Gold" isn't your stereotypical hip-hop parade of drugs, violence or sex; similarly, there's more that meets the eye to this D.C.-based rapper, who also moonlights as a doctoral candidate and Arena Football League member.


The son of a career line worker at Ford, Andrae graduated from Cass Tech with a football scholarship to Howard University in Washington DC. He went on to earn his masters degree in Education. He's now enrolled in Howard's doctoral program with his sights set on becoming a school superintendent someday. Maybe even back in his hometown of Detroit ...

"I don't have the thug attitude," Andrae points out. "Because I would be lying if I said I was any kind of thug. If I walk anywhere with my pants pulled down or a big gold chain on I would be imitating because that's not me. That's not what Draetown is all about."

Peep WXYZ's feature on Draetown here, and watch the "City of Gold" video on YouTube.

Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert got the Power in February's Juxtapoz

If you haven't picked up the February issue of Juxtapoz, hurry to your local independent book retailer or check out the stunning visual evidence online. For the uninitiated, the San Fransisco-based art and design mag teamed up with local artist collective Power House, led by Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert, to turn part of an abandoned block into livable, re-imagined abodes of art. Juxtapoz sent major artists and cash to the D; plus their own staff, to document the creative process. And while the pictures truly are incredible, this detailed Q&A with Mitch and Gina also begs your attention.


A lot of what we do is a conversation piece with the artists here. Before that, a lot of times, we would meet our neighbors through crime, and we would form a coalition of neighbors through that, which is good in that you get to know your neighbors, but it's bad in that you get to know your neighbors through crime. So we're trying to have another element to meet our neighbors, a positive element which is the art, and that's what's happening now more so than ever on Moran Street, because it is such a concentrated effort with four houses being worked on by six different artists.

Read the story here.

In the city, across the ocean, we remember Dilla

"The Mozart of hip-hop."

That's how the Brits over at Guardian UK choose to anoint late local legend J. Dilla; and the classical music world agrees. This article interviews the composer of Suite for Ma Dukes, classical music virtuoso Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, who reworked Dilla's beats for a performance with a 60-piece orchestra in London last year. To mark what would have been Dilla's 37th birthday this week, London will hold three separate celebrations. But if you're on this side of the pond, praise will be paid at the 5e Gallery in Corktown on Feb. 12. Our own local "Detroit Loves Dilla" event will feature a screening of the Suite for Ma Dukes DVD, a performance by the Urban Strings Youth Orchestra and DJs, with all proceeds to benefit the J. Dilla Foundation.


Dilla was, perhaps, the only hip-hop producer to have studied the cello ("Not the instrument of choice in the ghetto," as his mother puts it in the sleevenotes) as a child, and his work is full of the sort of subtle but powerful differences that a composition-based education might provide, as Atwood-Ferguson noticed when he broke down the pieces ahead of arranging them for the orchestra.

"Dilla loves five-bar loops," he says. "He loves sevens and elevens as well, but within the phrases of five, he will have different parts of the beat looped in threes, fives and sevens a lot as well. Two of my other favorite musicians, Billie Holliday and Elvin Jones, very naturally phrase in three, five, and seven as well, without even seemingly being consciously of it."

Read the article here, or visit Facebook for news on "Detroit Loves Dilla."

In Guernica, WSU professor dissects 'Detroitism'

Wayne State professor John Patrick Leary takes on the oft-controversial topic of ruin porn; specifically, the works of Andrew Moore's Detroit Disassembled, Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre's The Ruins of Detroit and Dan Austin and Sean Doerr's Lost Detroit.

His diagnoses (namely the section on the three kinds of Detroiters) are both cynical and cutting, rooted in postmodern theory and a sense that our city exists only as a precursor for a larger discussion about the American Dream. The discussion is rich. Join in.


Photographs like Moore, Marchand, and Meffre's succeed, at least, in compelling us to ask the questions necessary to put this story together--Detroit's story, but also the increasingly-familiar story of urban America in an era of prolonged economic crisis. That they themselves fail to do so testifies not only to the limitations of any still image, but our collective failure to imagine what Detroit's future--our collective urban future--holds for us all.

Leary's article, along with photos by Marchand and Meffre, can be seen here (scroll down to find his suggested reading list).

Dirtbombs' humanoid techno sounds profiled in Guardian UK

Mick Collins' latest adventure led seminal Detroit rockers the Dirtbombs to record Party Store, a cover album of classic techno tracks from the city's heyday as global innovator of electronic sounds. While the experimental nature of Party Store won't appeal to every music listener (i.e. the 21-minute cover of "Bug in the Bassbin"), the Guardian's music blog identifies the Dirtbombs' newest record as part of a greater transition in techno. Witness the revolution against technology; a shift toward human-made sounds, analog and real instruments on records.


In its kinks and distorted edges, Party Store adds a textural richness to those locked, repetitive grooves that the Dirtbombs aren't quite replicating. It is a reminder, weirdly, that dance music is often best when the frail hand of man, and the imperfections of analogue equipment, are clearly audible.

Someone at the Guardian sure loves them Dirtbombs. So do we. Read more here.

Not yet a believer: six ideas to improve Detroit's new ad campaign

We found this fun article offering a few tips and suggestions for the new "I'm A Believer" campaign encouraging Detroiters to stand up and cheer for their city. Is it Detroit? Yup, but with aging pitchmen like Paul W. Smith and Mitch Albom, it might not speak to the Detroit of this generation.

MLive's Jeff Wattrick offers some helpful ideas on how "I'm A Believer" could leverage its digital footprint, not to mention Motown's impressive nonprofit roster, to reflect the hustle and energy of 21st century Detroit.


I Believe in Fundraising: An early version of the I'm A Believer website included a donation request complete with a Farmington Hills P.O. Box. It didn't tell the user what that donation would pay for or if it was tax-deductible.

Well, that's gone now but this effort should include a kind of community chest fundraising effort for participating local non-profits. Local charities don't do enough to attract the small donor and, as a consequence, the major philanthropists are just tapped out. This could be a chance to change that and raise a ton of cash -- a few bucks at a time -- for local worthy causes.

Read the other five suggestions here.

Jack White, Lily Tomlin remember old Cass Tech on NPR's Morning Edition

Over 4,000 students graduated from the old Cass Tech high school before its closing in 2005, including a roster of Detroit's most famous former students, like Diana Ross, John Delorean and Ellen Burstyn. NPR interviewed several of Cass Tech alums, including Jack White and Lily Tomlin, about their memories of the almost century-old industrial Gothic building, which is now slated for destruction.


Ray Litt, who graduated from Cass in 1948, walks over broken glass inside the building. He has been its unofficial caretaker since it was abandoned.

"This whole business of clearing up this eyesore and being concerned about the safety of our students because of the shape of the building is being used as an excuse," he says.

Demolition crews are using generators to help rip out the metals and equipment still left inside. Litt has been trying to rally the 60,000 alumni for money and ideas.

Listen to the story here.

Rocker-historian Julian Cope turns his obsessive nature to Motor City rock & roll

British rocker Julian Cope is known equally well for his politically charged lyricism and his more recent second career as a self-taught historian. The musician turns his focus to the sweet sounds of Detroit rock in the '60s and '70s. He's created a playlist of some of the era's greatest songs, from artists as big as Bob Seger and Stooges to the vinyl enthusiast gems by almost-forgotten groups like Tidal Waves and Mynah Birds.

Have fun with this enthusiastic screed, heavy music fans everywhere.


While Detroit's Black Panthers were getting set up by the CIA and the MC5 had tanks at their doors, Third Power's singer/bassist Jem Targal screamed 'persecution' just because his friends didn't like the way he played guitar. Hail kiddies, they even called him names! Okay okay, forget the nancy subject matter and just dig the fucking Heavy will ya? I mean musically this is an 'I Can See For Miles'-style display up there with the baddest. And, mercifully, there's little in this song of the turgid Mountain and Cream influence known to permeate much of Third Power's other material, instead this epic Power statement handles like a purple 1970 Dodge Challenger -- at its happiest around 90 mph -- indeed, it probably appealed to the very same Viet Vets that Chrysler were courting.

Listen to the two-part Detroit rock sampler here.

Toronto art critic goes nuts for our 'nascent' art scene

We know you think you've heard this one before, but this time the perspective is from our neighbors to the north -- not NYC.

Art critic Murray White of Toronto's The Star journeyed down to Detroit for a tour of some of the city's cool projects -- Power House, Windsor's Broken City Lab and the Soup microfunding dinners at Mexicantown Bakery. And while we might disagree with White over how long Detroit's art scene has been around (trust us, it ain't nascent), we very much enjoyed this glimpse of our city through another's eyes.


The potential is both creative and practical. For Hocking, buildings like Fisher, or the vast old Packard plant, become vast artistic tableaux: Inside the tumbledown sites, he builds installations with whatever leftovers he finds there (in Fisher, he built a pyramid ragged tires bathed in an spectral green glow of the sun strained through its windows; in his most recent work, Garden of the Gods, Hocking placed shattered TV sets atop the still-standing concrete columns of the Packard Plant's top level; the floor they once supported crumbled to their feet, the columns now reach into the cold, grey sky).

Read the article here.

Music Hall roars back with $75,000 grant

The Music Hall of Detroit is blasting trumpets in celebration because of a big grant from the Community Foundation to fund the nonprofit's educational and outreach programs. The funding gift, to the tune of $75,000, will support The Anita Baker Jazz Vocal Program, World Dance Outreach, Words & Rhythms of the D Poetry Program and more. After three difficult years, we're happy to hear that this important piece of Detroit's arts scene is back in the black financially.


As we look towards our new future, Music Hall's commitment to educational outreach will continue to be a top priority. This generous grant from the Community Foundation will help strengthen and expand our programs with a primary mission to reach out to the children of our community and instill in them a lifelong appreciation for the performing arts.

Find out more about the Music Hall and the Community Foundation.

Freep reports on investments, creative projects on rise in Detroit

Media everywhere has seemingly caught wind of the cyclone of attention, investor dollars and cool new projects popping up in neighborhoods like New Center and Woodbridge, including this dandy report in the Detroit Free Press over the weekend. Winning news: not only did foundations spend up to $250 million on development within city limits in 2010, but there's lots more to come in 2011. Much is discussed of Midtown's future, which currently holds a 92% rental occupancy rate.


With the demand for housing on the rise, developers are in various stages of at least seven ambitious condo and apartment projects, most in ornate, historic buildings that had stood vacant for years. Since 2009, more than $425 million has been invested in building new housing, according to the UCCA.

Thousands of students who used to commute to WSU and CCS are moving within walking distance of classes because of the theaters, bars, restaurants and art galleries, officials from both schools said.

"Detroit is getting a reputation as a very lively, hot place to live," said Richard Rogers, CCS president. "People are gravitating here because they are finding a high quality of life."

We're lovin' it! Read the whole article here.

Time's running out for BCBS's juiced-up Lemonade Detroit donations

Donating to Lemonade Detroit does a body good. This film on hope in Detroit, well-documented on this site, seeks producers in order to edit and finish production. You can buy in to the tune of $1 a frame or $24 a second, which gets you your own producer cred on the universal database imdb.com. Why we're making such a big deal? Buy your frames through the end of the year, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Detroit will match your donation in full. You only have through Dec. 31 for your shot of Lemonade Detroit to pack twice as much punch.

Click here to donate to Lemonade Detroit.

La Prensa Toledo calls Jessica Hernandez the D's next superstar

Between hosting Detroit Soup micro-benefits, organizing shows at Mexicantown's Bakery Loft and playing high-profile tour gigs at South by Southwest Bonnaroo 2010, Jessica Hernandez isn't exactly a secret these days in the D. But the tattooed, 23-year-old bluesy belter's star is on the rise with music fans across the country.

Toledo's Latino mag La Prensa ran a long profile on Hernandez, where she discusses her Mexicantown roots and the new forthcoming album from Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas.

"I didn't want to force myself to be ready in Spanish, because English is my first language. But on the full-length record I do sing in Spanish," says Hernández. "However, I'm not a fan of doing the same record in both English and Spanish. Not only are the languages different, but so are the emotions."

Read the rest of Jessica's interview here.

New York Times wax poetic on Detroit's cold front

We were pretty surprised to open the New York Times and find this little (ahem) gem of a tale.

'Twas a cold winter day in Detroit, and much like Jane Goodall studied the apes, so too did Monica Davies decide she would examine the Midwesterners going on about their business during the recent cold front.


Sure, there are hot dogs: two women could be seen here in just sweaters; someone held a cellphone to his ear with mittenless hands (metal, brrr). Most were preoccupied not by the temperature, but by the hints its stiff wind seemed to whisper about the long haul that stretches, inevitably, ahead. "This is kind of like a prelude," Mr. Stevens said quietly.

And then, of course, it snowed. Thanks, guys. The rest of the sketch can be read here.

Blank Blank Toy Toys opens pop-up toy shop in Hamtramck

Three College for Creative Studies students are trying to take the consumerism out of the Christmas gift-giving tradition -- and an abandoned house near the Zen Center in Hamtramck may see some new life.

The students recently explored the abandoned house before it was razed to document its history. Inside, they found hundreds of childrens' toys, which they decided to clean and sell online. Not only is Blank Blank Toys Toys an inexpensive pop-up toy shop advocating that we re-use what we've made, the students also decided to dedicate the proceeds to further another possible project on the land.


We partnered with a woman who wanted to take the lot after the house is demolished and turn it into a community park or pool. The money we generate will be donated to our partner to help create this positive change for the community. We believe there are ways of creating positive change in and around our communities that will renew usable resources as well as create new possibilities.

There's a G.I. Joe figurine for $1.99, and plenty of other cool toys for you to check out here.

Be a reading tutor at Detroit Public Library

We get as tired as anyone else of the "Save Detroit" mantra, but there's no question that reducing the city's illiteracy rate could only help. If you have the luxury of time this holiday season, the Detroit Public Library is looking for reading tutors. Their Literary Services provide city dwellers with GED training, learning kits, computer skills courses and one-on-one tutoring sessons. What a great way to give someone, as the cliche goes, a gift that truly lasts a lifetime.


If it was not for this program, I would be still where I was. Now I'm getting better and I am happy for this program. It is doing me some good.

--Laksha, Learner

Click here to be a part of the DPL tutoring program.

Remembering inspirational Detroit music man Jim Shaw

Any Detroit musician who had Jim Shaw in his corner knew two things: if Shaw liked the tunes, they were doing it right; and his support for the local melody-makers truly exemplified what it means to be a "fan." Model D managing editor Walter Wasacz's moving tribute to the man he called a "humble giant" on Detroit's music scene is a must-read.


He had a knack for spotting talent. When no one thought anything was going on in the 1980s and early 1990s, Jim and his brother Steve Shaw begged to differ. That period of basement and garage incubation begat the Gories, Detroit Cobras, White Stripes, countless others — and brought worldwide attention to the "Detroit sound." But these guys were living and breathing it long before, and after, British journalists declared we were the "next Seattle."

Jim Shaw died Dec. 3 after a two-year battle with cancer. He's survived by his wife, Sandra Kramer. We extend our deepest sympathy -- and our gratitude for counting Shaw as one of our own. Read the tribute here.

Chain Chain Chained's Regina Pruss gets linked in N.E.E.T, HuffPo

Chain Chain Chained, Regina Pruss's Motown-referencing line of antique and found jewelry, got some R-E-S-P-E-C-T this week from design influencers N.E.E.T magazine and the December issue of Chicago magazine, which was picked up by the Huffington Post.


Detroit-based jewelry company chainedchainedchained makes simple, beautiful pieces that even the skeptical femme would appreciate. We love their pyrite feather earrings ($20) and simple, elegant fern ring ($16).

We're hoping for the "xoxo" dagger necklace ourselves this holiday season (hint, hint). Congrats, Gigi!

Check out chain chain chained on page 19 of N.E.E.T magazine or at the Huffington Post.

Brits decode the secrets of Hitsville U.S.A.

What exactly gives a record that sweet Motown sound? The Guardian UK recruited music industry vet Harry Weinger, who controls the vast Tamia Motown catologue, to desconstruct the mastery behind the magic of a Motown record. Weinger discusses the production-line perfection of the Funk Brothers and the technical prowess of the Temptations, but it's clear he thinks the Motown studios in Detroit played an irreplaceable part in generating those dozens of pop hits before the label moved to L.A. in 1972.


The first thing, he says, is something that can't be replicated: the Hitsville USA studio at 2648 West Grand Boulevard in Detroit. "It was really someone's house, so right away, there was a familial atmosphere and folks relaxed," Weinger says. "But there was also the sense of friendly competition. You were not only ready to go, but you also wanted to beat the other guys and be better."

Read more about the legacy of Hitsville U.S.A. here.

Blue Cross Blue Shield drinks that Lemonade Detroit

Upcoming doc "Lemonade Detroit" lets every believer get in on owning a piece of Mitten state movie madness. Buy in at the rate of $24 per frame (that's about a second), and Lemonade will list you as a producer on IMDB. To sweeten the deal, we got the skinny that Blue Cross Blue Shield is throwing their weight behind this independently produced film. The insurance giant will match any frame purchased for Lemonade Detroit through Dec. 31. Wanna be a producer? Now's the time.

Click here to read more or buy your share of "Lemonade Detroit."

Ghostly co-founder Matthew Dear gives color to "Black City"

Multi-instrumentalist, label owner and producer Matthew Dear's latest release Black City garnered critical acclaim and new audiences for the Texas-born, Michigan-bred musician. Dear, who moved to New York City last year to record the album, told the Freep he misses the Motor City, though he's glad he took the opportunity to live in the Big Apple. Matthew, the feeling's mutual.


With Detroit, I love the isolation, the seclusion you can have shacking up in your studio for days on end, not having anything pulling you outside. Where in New York it's quite the opposite -- that constant flow that you have to detach yourself from if you want to be productive.

Read more about the making of "Black City" here.

Video: 'No Vacancy' for street art collective Hygienic Dress League

Donna Terek goes behind the pigeons and gas masks to show the faces of Steve and Dorota Coy, the married duo and street art stars of Hygienic Dress League. Working with permission from building owners (not exactly a guerilla operation), their ethos of artwork posing as advertising creates curiosity where consumerism is expected. "No Vacancy," an ambitious neon sign they plan to unveil Saturday on Corktown's Roosevelt Hotel (with the help of $5,000 in Kickstarter contributions), argues against the building's state of disuse with designs of glowing pigeons --  the Roosevelt's current tenants, so to speak.


Much of the Coys' work is built around two figures who are executives in the Hygienic Dress League, a fictitious company that — underscoring the Coys' ambivalent relationship with reality — is nonetheless registered as a corporation in Michigan. The two purposefully build mystery and tension into their projects, hoping Detroiters will be on the lookout for their next message.

Watch this video on the gas-masked duo behind Hygienic Dress League here.

Brooklyn's Kickstarter website funds dreams in the D

NYC-based website Kickstarter.com exists as equal parts dream catcher and micro-financier, allowing people from all over the globe to kick in a few bucks to help an art, film or creative project come to life. And in Detroit, where at any given time three to 12 projects turn to Kickstarter for grant money, the website's founders say these projects are creating worldwide buzz.


"There's a groundswell of people all over, saying, 'Let's save Detroit,'" said Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler. "It's seen as a kind of wild west for art."

Remember last winter's Ice House on the east side? It was one of the first Detroit projects Kickstarter helped fund, raising $11,000 for two artists to encase an abandoned home in ice, turning what some said was an eyesore into eye candy.

Read more here, or help fund some Detroit-based Kickstarter projects.

NPR's Michel Martin spotlights Detroit Fashion Week

Michel Martin, host of NPR's popular afternoon talk show Tell Me More, put the Detroit fashion scene on national airwaves last week, interviewing local designer Stefanie Dickey of Stef-N-Ty and Detroit Fashion Week founder Brian Heath.

Dickey previously owned and designed her thriving fashion business from New York, Chicago and Baltimore, so she and Martin (who owns several of her pieces) discussed how this city is attracting creatives from other major cities. But DFW's Heath summed up why Detroit's so fashion forward at this moment.


Chicago has been a fashion hub for quite some time. I don't want to knock Chicago, but at the same time I think Michigan has so much more to offer now. Everyone looks at the economic situation across the country. And when you look at the designers who are actually presenting their lines, a lot of those designers are either presenting locally or they're looking for new locations to move to, and Michigan happens to be that single place. The designers here in Michigan have a great opportunity to make themselves the new faces -- the new businesses that the industry wants to look for and to pull them from here and push them back into New York.

Read the transcript or listen to the interview here.

Sugar Hill district takes shape

With the opening of the giant-sized N'Namdi Center for Contemporary Arts on E. Forest, George N'Namdi is helping redevelop a once-barren block-and-a-half south of the Cultural Center into the city's newest arts neighborhood. And proving growth brings more growth, the Sugar Hill Arts District's immediate plans include the almost-renovated artists' lofts at 71 Garfield, a parking deck, a new five-story building and dual east-west pedestrian walkways.


Come early next year, it will also include a wine bar and vegetarian bistro run by Ann Arbor's highly successful Seva restaurant, which N'Namdi says should open around the first of the year. (They're just nailing down the liquor license.) Curious how cool-looking N'Namdi's complex is? Here's a clue: the Microsoft Corp. rented it several weeks ago to stage a fancy corporate event.

Read more about Sugar HIll here.

Dirtbombs' Zach Weedon celebrates local music scene in UK's Guardian

The Dirtbombs and Lee Marvin Computer Arm member Zachary Weedon waxes poetic on our local music scene this week on the Guardian UK's music blog, calling Detroit a city of "unlimited possibilities".

Weedon's toured the world playing music, but he still says Detroit's the best city in the world to be in a band. Maybe it's the history, all those old venues and stories of once-great bands, but Weedon also pinpoints the D's low cost of living for its ability to produce so many creatives.


Most of the people I know who live in Detroit have low-key jobs, so they can spend most of their days practising, playing shows, making flyers, recording, listening to records, making T-shirts. Playing in the Dirtbombs, I can come home from a long tour and not be completely broke from paying rent, or have my house smell like cat piss from someone's pet sub-leasing my place. This is the freedom you have living here.

Read the rest here.

This week's NYT story: Detroit vs. Theatre Bizarre

We feel so spoiled by attention from the nation's "newspaper of record" these days, we thought we might skip the New York Times' weekly cultural assessment of our city. But hey, it's Theatre Bizarre, and Zombo kept posting this link on Facebook, so it seems right to honor one of our favorite Halloween pastimes with this chronicle of Theatres past.

City vs. creatives? Detroit vs. Theatre Bizarre? That's the tune many of those interviewed are taking, including Bizarre co-founders John Dunivant and Ken Poirer. The city is threatening to raze the carnival grounds if numerous permit and zoning violations aren't handled quickly.


At the site of the Theatre Bizarre this week, Mr. Poirier and a handful of others were surveying the work ahead. A Ferris wheel stretched above a six-foot wooden fence. "You know, I've watched all the houses in my neighborhood burn down. I saw a school stripped right next door," he said wistfully. "In the meantime, we were just trying to do something here a little fun and exciting."

We hope this isn't the end of the story. Read more here.

Word out on InsideOut Literary Gala at Gem Theatre

Detroit's InsideOut (IO) Literary Arts Project brings accomplished writers and poets into Detroit schools for year-long residencies for creative students.

This Thursday, Oct. 28, IO will host a gala at the Gem Theatre, honoring Detroit Poet Laureate Naomi Long Madgett. Three-time National Book Award finalist Marilyn Nelson will also read from her book "Sweethearts of Rhythm" with jazz accompaniment.

Read more about IO and the annual gala, then grab a ticket here.

Metro Detroit weddings through the ages

A new exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum chronicles Metro Detroit's matrimonial past, with clothes, stories and artifacts from 1640 to the present. "Saying I Do: Metro Detroit Weddings Traditions" highlights bridal rituals from our region's rich fabric of diversity, writes Freep reporter Cassandra Spratling.


Visitors to the exhibit will see that some customs are common across religious and ethnic lines. For example, Germans used to break ceramic plates, similar to the way Jews break glasses. Henna applications on the bride are common among some Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Hindu people. Nigerian and Polish people pin money on brides while they dance.

Read about it here, or go to the Detroit Historical Museum for more info and complete calendar.

The Heidelberg Project on CoolHunting.com

We know. The Heidelberg Project is known 'round the world. It's not new news. But it's always nice to get shout-outs from places and put some positive eyes on Detroit.

Excerpt from CoolHunting.com:

In a Detroit neighborhood punctuated by little more than defunct traffic lights and abandoned train tracks, Heidelberg Street stands out for its row of colorful houses decorated with repurposed bits of urban detritus and bright paint. I recently spent a little time shooting and surveying the street, the result of artist Tyree Guyton's 24-year-strong mission (dubbed the Heidelberg Project) to inspire a fading community. Like NYC's Highline or the New Orleans biennial, the row of houses make another great example of creative urban renewal, transforming the street into an outdoor exhibition.

Read the entire article here.

Art busting out of the rubble here in Detroit (with slideshow)

Our fair city is no stranger to the New York Times. From auto bailouts to a $100 house, Detroit hangs out in the headlines over there on a regular basis. This time they were in town checking out our art scene. The creative, the interesting, and the actual. It's all happening here.


Detroit is plagued by all the urban problems that make it fodder for big-picture editorializing and cop shows. Its long-dwindling population and landscape of abandoned buildings have made it a singular — or perhaps prophetic — case study in Rust Belt decline. But its particular brand of civic and economic decay has also drawn something unexpected: a small but well-publicized movement of artists and other creative types trying to wring something out of the rubble.

Maker Faire, the California festival for tinkerers and conceptualists, made its Detroit debut — albeit in nearby Dearborn — last weekend; TEDx, a brainstorming conference will arrive in September; and Matthew Barney will perform after that. Banksy has already been. Two weeks ago Detroit hired a film, culture and special-events liaison to occupy a new position in the office of Mayor Dave Bing. The city that birthed the assembly-line age is now cultivating a slew of handmade salvagers, and it has not gone unnoticed.

"There's an excitement here," said Dale Dougherty, editor and publisher of Make magazine, which spawned Maker Faire. "There's a sense that it's a frontier again, that it's open, that you can do things without a lot of people telling you, 'No, you can't do that.' " Maker Faire follows that ethos; it drew over 22,000 people for demonstrations of wind-powered cars and fire-spewing bicycles to the parking lot of the Henry Ford Museum.

Read the entire article here.

Check out the slideshow here.

From Maker Faire: Detroit has the freedom to make things

Maker Faire came to town and brought a bunch of geniuses. Or, well, not sure how you measure that but at the very least a bunch of creative inventor types.


I moved to Detroit eleven years ago, in what I thought was a short stay exclusively to attend graduate school. After witnessing the potential to work, educate, and maintain a studio practice here, I never used my ticket home to the East Coast.

In just a few years after founding my neckwear design company, The Cyberoptix Tie Lab, I was able to quit the proverbial "day job" and work full-time in my studio without having to worry about the outrageous overhead costs that plague start-ups in many other major cities.

This freedom allowed me to quickly grow my business to a level where my work is now
represented by over 200 boutique and museum shops across the country and on five continents. I don't know if I could have done this anywhere else.

Read the entire article here.

Could Detroit art fix Detroit's blight?

Looks like all the business over the Banksy might actually yield tangible results, maybe. The company that owns the Packard Plant, where a Banksy painting was removed, is suing the gallery that snatched it. This, in turn, could help the city force the demolition of the blighted, empty, potentially dangerous, and often on fire Packard.

Excerpt from the Detroit Free Press:

Lawyers for Biosource, which claims to be the 3.5-million-square-foot plant's owner and lists land speculator Romel Casab as its president, contend that the Banksy work was removed without its permission and could be worth $100,000 or more. But Detroit officials say it could help them force Biosource to tear down the structure, which has been a magnet for illegal dumping as well as drug users and students of industrial blight. Demolition costs could exceed $20 million.

Detroit Buildings and Safety Engineering director Karla Henderson says the city has been embroiled in marathon litigation with Biosource over the ownership and condition of the Packard site.

"Now that it is clear and publicly acknowledged who the responsible party is," Henderson told the Associated Press, the city will "hold the property owner responsible for this unsightly and dangerous situation."

Hats off, Banksy! Yours could prove to be a transformational work of art.

Read the entire article here.

From the New York Times: Art as a security system

Nevermind Brinks, try art. Razzle Dazzle security sculptures are popping up in the Davison-Conant neighborhood thanks to Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert. As Cope says in the article, thieves tend to stay away from anything too "arty."

Excerpt from the New York Times:

The most famous Detroit precedent for this strategy — and the one Cope points to as another inspiration — is the artist Tyree Guyton's Heidelberg Project. Dating to 1986, this involved practically encrusting vacant houses with found objects from abandoned lots, creating a surreally vibrant sense of life. I first encountered the Razzle Dazzle security sculptures, interestingly enough, on a blog called Aesthetics of Joy, which described the "joyfully uninviting" tension of a thing that looks lashed together from junk but is deliberately decorative: "It offers the promise that a space will be inhabited by people who will care for it and restore it."

Another previous contribution to the semiotics of abandonment, with different aims, was the project Detroit, Demolition, Disneyland.Sick of waiting for follow-through on demolitions delayed for years, an anonymous group painted properties a single, brilliant color from widely available paint lines. "Every board, every door, every window, is caked in Tiggeriffic Orange," its manifesto declared, inviting others to join in. (A number, though not all, of the orange houses were promptly demolished.)

Design 99's work echoes the exuberance of the Heidelberg Project, but the Razzle Dazzle devices could easily be replicated elsewhere. Cope muses about making plans available online (they're a bit more complicated than they look), but the real power of the objects isn't so much in duplication as in inspiration: here is something new, practical and aesthetically pleasing that could start a conversation about the visual language of unused property — not just in one city but all over the place.

Read the entire article here.

Russell Industrial Center is a factory of dreams, says Fortune Magazine

OK, not literally a factory of dreams, but it's filled with artists and creatives and those people are producing dreams (or at the very least art). The Russell Industrial Center is one of those places that make Detroit feel like Detroit.

Excerpt from Fortune:

This is a story of two Detroit factories, one a symbol of despair and the other of promise. On the one hand is the old Packard car plant on East Grand -- 3.5 million square feet on 38 desolate acres. Broken windows, crumbling bricks, creeping vines, and a FOR SALE sign that's been hanging there for years. "Most of the interest," realtor David Wax told us, "is to tear it down for the steel in the building."

On the other hand, just down the road, stands an icon of hope, a gargantuan factory complex, the Russell Industrial Center. It has the same lofty pedigree as the Packard plant (both were designed by Albert Kahn) and a similar vintage (it was built in the 1920s). As the former headquarters of Murray Corp., which made bodies for Ford in the glory days, this plant, too, is inhabited by ghosts. Here, however, the ghosts share quarters with some spirited company: a menagerie of glass blowers, cabinetmakers, architects, seamstresses, a sneaker designer, and three women who teach pole dancing, among others -- 160 small-business tenants in all, most of them operating on the frontlines of Detroit's burgeoning creative economy.

Read the entire article here.

Highland Park center gets new life through mural

The Detroit Summer youth group gave new life to the Ruth Ellis Center in Highland Park through a painted mural.

Excerpt from the Detroit Free Press:

Dasean Walters watched in approval as the multiracial youth group Detroit Summer began installing a mural on the outside brick wall of the Ruth Ellis Center in Highland Park.

"It's good to have youth from different cultures helping us out and doing something new and different here," said Walters, 22, who has lived at the center since 2005. "I applaud them."

The center is one of three agencies in the U.S. dedicated to homeless youths who are lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender or questioning their sexual orientation. It also provides short-term and long-term residential space and support services.

Detroit Summer, made up of Detroiters ages 14 to 21, began collaborating with the center and other organizations in 2006 for a documentary called "Rising from the Ashes: Chronicles of a Dropout." The mural was created as an extension of the work Detroit Summer has done with the center.

Read the entire article here.

More Banksy found at the Packard Plant: Will someone jack this one, too?

There's been another Banksy sighting. The super secret graffiti artist who blew up in the Detroit media a few weeks ago after one of his pieces was removed from the Packard Plant by the 555 Gallery has been discovered again in the same derelict building.

Excerpt from the Detroit Free Press:

Bearing trademarks of the internationally known British graffiti artist called Banksy, a 6-foot mural of a yellow bird inside a cage has been found amid the destruction of a courtyard in the derelict Packard Plant in Detroit. A photograph of the piece, evocative of a canary in a coal mine, has been posted on the artist's Web site, http://banksy.co.uk, typically the way Banksy authenticates his work.

The canary brings the total presumed Banksys in metro Detroit to five, including the piece controversially removed from the Packard Plant by artists from the 555 Nonprofit Gallery in May. With three works destroyed and the 555 piece now on display inside the gallery, the bird is the only known local Banksy in its original location.

"Our worst fear is that someone might take it," said Mike Holtzman, 21, who discovered the piece Thursday with business partner Sabrina Fitzwilliams, 24. The pair recently launched a Web site, http://barebonesdetroit.com, which documents historic Detroit buildings and landmarks.

Read the entire article here.

'The Beehive Project' -- a human-scale hive and art installation -- is taking shape in Detroit

Yet another interesting art installation is coming together in our fine city. Forget the Icehouse, that was so Winter of 2010. The sun is out, the trees are green, and summer is here. So, it makes sense to these kids are putting together a giant beehive in the Russell Industrial Center. Why? Well, why not? 'The Beehive Project' was displayed during Movement as a place to gather and talk, representing the communal aspects of bees.

Here's more information from their website:

The beehive sculpture, which is constructed primarily from salvaged wood and donated fabrics, is 12-feet in diameter and is filled with comfortable seating structures, a conference table, and a small library of books about Detroit. The sculpture will also serve as a distribution site for a publication featuring a contemporary re-imagining of Vergil's Georgics IV, a classical poem on beekeeping. The collaborative team hopes that the intimate yet thought-provoking qualities of the sculptural environment create a space for relationship and informal conversation about the history, present experience, and trajectory of Detroit. They are interested in inviting festival-goers and performers into critical conversations about the cultural, social, and economic conditions of the city that allow them to experience and re-envision the urgent social engagement and vital creative production occurring within the city.

For more information on this giant beehive go here.

Thousand butterflies to help lift Detroit, muralist Chazz Miller says

Artist Chazz Miller is hoping his butterflies will lift the city up. By the end of summer, he hopes to have painted 1,000 butterflies throughout the city for a project he calls the Papillion Effect.

Excerpt from the Detroit News:

It's a butterfly release of grand proportions. Literally, 1,000 of them by summer's end. Sounds pretty daunting, especially once you realize we're not talking about delicate flying monarchs, but 4- to 5-foot-wide plywood cutouts painted kaleidoscopically by Detroit artist Chazz Miller and a host of young volunteers.

Miller has dubbed his project the Papillon Effect -- papillon is French for butterfly.

"I thought Detroit needed a psychological readjustment," Miller said. "I mean, when you look at a caterpillar you would never imagine a caterpillar is going to turn into a butterfly. And when you look at Detroit, you never imagine Detroit is going to come up off its knees.
"It's a great metaphor for me to see Detroit as a butterfly -- a papillon -- to re-emerge."

The process works like this: Volunteers cut donated plywood into butterfly shapes, seal and prime them. Then Miller and volunteer artists draw designs on them with crayon so anyone with a brush -- regardless of talent -- can fill them in with psychedelic color. Miller can't seem to resist going over each one, adding details and shading.

Read the entire article here.

Graffiti artist Banksy hits Detroit; art world abuzz after gallery moves his Packard Plant piece

Internationally renowned graffiti artist Banksy has hit Detroit, which is cool and going to get people talking. Banksy works undercover, but several pieces have been found, as Metro Times showed us last week.

Here's a link to a Flickr discussion of his work.

His piece in the Packard Plant, however, has sparked controversy. The Detroit nonprofit 555 Gallery and Studios removed it to preserve it. Should it have been left in its original location or preserved at all cost? The art world is abuzz.

Excerpt from the Detroit Free Press:

The British-born art world celebrity and provocateur, who hides behind a cloak of anonymity and whose graffiti paintings have made headlines from Los Angeles to London, has tagged Detroit -- most prominently a crumbling wall at the derelict Packard plant.

Discovered last weekend, the stenciled work shows a forlorn boy holding a can of red paint next to the words "I remember when all this was trees." But by Tuesday, artists from the 555 Nonprofit Gallery and Studios, a feisty grassroots group, had excavated the 7-by-8-foot, 1,500-pound cinder block wall with a masonry saw and forklift and moved the piece to their grounds near the foot of the Ambassador Bridge in southwest Detroit.

The move -- a guerilla act on top of Banksy's initial guerilla act -- has sparked an intense debate about the nature of graffiti art, including complicated questions of meaning, legality, value and ownership. Some say the work should be protected and preserved at all costs. Others say that no one had a right to move it — and that the power and meaning of graffiti art is so intrinsic to its location that to relocate it is to kill it.

Read the entire article here.

To check out more of Banksy's work go here.

18-year-old Detroit musician about to hit the UK

Detroit gets some good love from 18-year-old musician Kyle Hall, who hails from Detroit and is making it big in Europe.


The reason Detroit has bred such creative magic is because it's not such a friendly, happy-go-lucky and helpful city. It allows people to naturally create new ways of doing things. Doing things your own way is what I feel is the mantra of many artists here. When it comes down to it, the city isn't very crew-oriented like, say, places like New York or London. It is a place where every man is for themselves at the end of the day. There are some people that are happy to help you along to an extent, but in Detroit it's really, 'do it on your own or else you're not going to get anywhere.'

Read the entire article here.

These cultural groups are keeping Detroit's future bright

This Freep editorial is a nice pat on the back for Detroit's art scene from Dennis Scholl, vice president/arts at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, who toured the city with new National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman. We're glad they liked what they saw here, and let's hope they keep supporting art and creativity in Detroit.

"I visited with arts groups, then spent a day on a bus tour of the city's arts venues with National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman. I found an arts community that is a model for our new economic times. Detroit has clearly learned how to make arts work in a difficult economic environment."

Read the entire story here.

Music legend Patti Smith tells today's cool kids NYC will do nothing for you, try Detroit

Detroit legend Patti Smith is telling young artists not to flock to New York anymore. Places like Detroit are the places to make your mark. Thank you, Patti.


Smith told the crowd, "New York has closed itself off to the young and the struggling. But there are other cities. Detroit. Poughkeepsie. New York City has been taken away from you. So my advice is: Find a new city."

Read the full story here.

Editor-in-Chief of ReadyMade Magazine Andrew Wagner puts the city of Detroit in his top 5

Design-Milk.com asks Andrew Wagner, editor-in-chief of ReadyMade Magazine, to list his top five for Friday. It's the top five things on his mind at the moment. And number three was Detroit. He says he's always been interested in the city but a recent visit put him over the top. It wasn't the abandonment and blight, but the enthusiastic, passionate, and creative people in the city.

Excerpt from Design-Milk.com:

I first became interested in Detroit in the mid '90s after seeing the photographer and sociologist Camilo Jose Vergara's remarkable books, "The New American Ghetto" and "American Ruins." Vergara's striking images of urban decay throughout the United States—painstakingly and meticulously documented for 30 years—revealed not only a creaking infrastructure but also the human ability to adapt to the most adverse conditions. Since then I've been lucky enough to spend a fair amount of time in Detroit, most recently this past winter. During this visit I wasn't so much struck by the destruction but rather the intense amount of creativity within the city and the enthusiasm of its residents for Detroit. The city presents an immense and almost limitless amount of possibilities for anyone with the drive to make something happen.

Read the entire post here.

NY Times examines the DIA's newest exhibit, says you'd better go

The Detroit Institute of Art's newest exhibit "Through African Eyes: The European in African Art" was reviewed by the New York Times and, well, it's pretty safe to say they like it. The exhibit spans from 1500 to the present, and exhibits pieces from across Africa.

Excerpt from the New York Times:

These images are all part of a tradition of African art that has for centuries looked at, evaluated and selectively embraced the West. That tradition is represented by a show organized by an African and installed in a great museum designed on European models and built by white Americans. And that museum is in a great city that is now predominantly African-American.

Who would have imagined, even just a few years ago, that such histories and energies could have been found in art that most of us never knew existed? Enough to say that if you get a thrill from seeing things you've never seen and thinking thoughts you've never thought, Detroit is a good place to be these days.

Read the entire article here.

The Detroit experience from iconic photographer Robert Frank

The Detroit Institute of Arts has brought another great exhibit to the Motor City, and this time with some Detroit flair. Swiss photographer Robert Frank went on the road. He visited 12 cities in 1955, one of which was Detroit. Those Detroit photos make up the DIA's latest attraction.

Excerpt from Cool Huntings:

Almost a decade after emigrating to the United States in the '40s, Swiss photographer Robert Frank decided to document the reality of his adopted country's then-current condition—a nation as he saw it obsessed with money and struggling with the divisions among race and class. Of the 12 cities he visited in 1955, the particularly moving images of Detroit make up the current exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Frank spent several days exploring the Motor City, visiting the Ford Motor Company River Rouge plant in the suburb of Dearborn, as well as the Gratiot Drive-In, and Belle Isle park. Capturing images of classic mid-century American life with his Leica camera, Frank compiled the pictures along with others from his journey in a groundbreaking photography book titled "The Americans" in 1958.

Read the entire article here.

Community-focused online Boston mag stops by Detroit's Arts & Scraps

A Boston-based online magazine that focuses on social issues drops in on Detroit's Arts & Scraps. Arts & Scraps, on Detroit's East Side, is 21 years old. The nonprofit recycles materials and with them helps create an environment of arts education with the local kids.

Excerpt from the New Prosperity Initiative:

NPi: What are one or two things about your organization you may want to share that aren't necessarily obvious by visiting your website?

Peg: When we say recycled industrial scraps, gasket scraps, or samples, it doesn't mean anything. It's very hard for people to visualize that. The hardest part is helping people understand how unique and weird and fun all these materials are. It's all safe. You can build things using adhesive pieces, but no glue or paint. Everything can go together without presenting mechanical challenges for children so they can really focus on what they're thinking about and building.

The other thing we have a hard time showing is just how many people really contribute to this place. We get 10,000 volunteer hours per year. Each year, two hundred people with disabilities work or volunteer with us through vocational training programs. 180 factories have people set aside things from the line here and there and make piles. They're excited when we come to pick everything up. It's a connecting of many sectors.

In a city built the way Detroit was built and divided the way Detroit is divided, there aren't many neutral places where everybody comes together and it's easy to talk. You hop on a bus and nobody talks to anybody… Here, we get people from all over metro Detroit who care about kids to share ideas and talk. We're a neutral place.

Read the entire article here.

Detroit Ice House shows up in Art in America

It's almost spring and the Detroit Ice House is behind us. The next step to the project is deconstruction. However, the pure art of the project still lingers not only in our minds here in Detroit but also through the media. Art in America is an international art mag, concentrating on the contemporary. And the Detroit Ice House is in it.

Excerpt from Art in America:

Neighborhood residents flocked to have their photos taken in front of the house. The architectural installation morphed into a destination, an informal gathering spot for a cup of hot chocolate and conversations. It is easy for exhibitions in blighted areas to feel condescending, and this one took great risks by looking like the outsider art intallations-cum-tourist attractions that dot the Midwest. But Holm and Radune ingratiated themselves early by opened lines of dialogue and funding a food and clothing drive for those in need. Consummate hosts, neighbors responded by serving as community liaisons, quick with an account of the districts heydays and a verbal tour of the surroundings.

Using Kickstarter, an online fundraising incubator for creative initiatives, Radune and Holm raised $11,000, primarily from private donations. That sum went toward acquiring the proper permits from a local organization devoted to redevelopment [Ed. note: See correction below], and paying a hefty water bill (an estimated 20,000 gallons). 

Read the entire article here.

Grab a Faygo and an Old English D ring at the Grand Trunk Pub

Oh, Detroit, you're so crafty. And here's another reason why: Craft blog writer finds herself at Foran's, er, the Grand Trunk Pub (they've changed their name and expanded next door), ordering a Faygo Diet Red Pop from the silversmith bartender. He makes Old English D rings, among other things. If you want one, go in and ask for Pauly.

Excerpt from Craftzine's blog:

Pauly is a silversmith and has been for about 15 years. From designing a piece to the wax work and adding precious stones, Pauly does it all. He learned his craft from his father, also an expert. His father owned a shop and it didn't take long for Pauly to develop a love of the craft.

The Old English D rings are also a tradition from his father. His dad had seen a similar ring and created a modified mold to make his own version. Pauly took on making them as well. Whenever he would wear one out, someone would ask him where he got it, just like I did. A great story of crafty word of mouth.

Just like me, Pauly believes that Detroit is packed with crafters and DIY folks. Many of his friends are also artists and inspiration flows throughout their groups.

Read the entire article here.

The Detroit girl's guide to graffiti

Detroit Girls About Town, a web site that's aimed at keeping Detroit girls in the know, had a great idea: a guide to graffiti. So, the enlisted artist Shades to list some of the best spots in the city to peep some damn good graffiti. The list, taking you from the Dequindre Cut to MCS, could make a nice little afternoon tour on a lazy sunday.

Excerpt from Detroit Girls About Town:

1) Dequindre Cut.
The best place in the city to see graffiti and get into the feeling of what we [graffiti artists] experience would be the Dequindre Cut. It's an old, shut down train line that ran south to the warehouses on the river and north towards the major lines that would lead the trains out for industry. The two-mile area is now, for your pleasure, a bike/jogging trail from the river to eastern market.

Read the entire article here.

Check out Detroit's Lost Landscapes if you missed it at the MOCAD

If you weren't one of the hundreds of people able to see Rick Prelinger's Lost Landscapes at MOCAD, don't worry. You can now download it.


Film archivist Rick Prelinger sez, "Thanks to word of mouth and Boing Boing, Lost Landscapes of Detroit [ed: a show of public domain footage showing the grand landscapes of Detroit in its heyday] screened two weeks ago to a standing-room-only and vocal audience of Detroiters. It's now online for free downloading (and, I hope, massive and widespread re-editing). If you want to see Detroit as it was, and hopefully as it will be again, check it out.

Read the entire article here.

ReadyMade mag puts its hands up for Detroit

ReadyMade, a mag devoted to arts and crafts, finds itself in Detroit and running down all the things that make it worth while - Heidelberg Project, the Powerhouse, Eastern Market, Hamtramck, etc., etc., etc.


The slogan is prominent on the city's flag—a reminder that if ever there was a time for a slogan to ring true, now would be it. Everyone has heard the stories of the epic destruction that has taken place in Detroit over the past 30 years but it's still shocking to see in person. But what has always resonated more with me is the amount of energy, creativity, and enthusiasm that exists in the midst of so much devastation.

Read the entire article here.

Dutch artists debuts Detroit's 'Icons of Hope' project

In September we did a piece on a Dutch artist who came here to salvage wood through the Detroit Unreal Estate Project. Diederick Kraaijeveld was looking for material to do three "Icons of Hope" made almost entirely from wood taken from Detroit. The are making their debut now in Amsterdam in the show "Salvaging Detroit City."

For more information go here.

MoMA photography exhibit features Detroit piece

Photographer Sara VanDerBeek came to Detroit for a new photography exhibit at the MoMA. The video is mostly art-talk but there is mention of Detroit. She said though depressed, there are signs of hope and potential.

Watch the video and read the article here.

Detroit writer/poet wins national literary award

Writer, poet, professor, and Detroiter M.L. Liebler grabs a national literary award.


Detroit-born poet/professor M.L. Liebler, who for decades has helped support and promote other Detroit writers and poets, has been honored for his selfless spirit with a prestigious national award, the 2010 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award.

The award is bestowed by the literary magazine Poets and Writers to honor "authors who have given generously to other writers or to the broader literary community."

Liebler has been an English professor at Wayne State University since 1980, and travels around the world, as far as Russia, performing music and poetry for the State Department.

Read the entire article here.

Juxtapoz Magazine files MOCAD into its top 100 galleries/museums

Juxtapoz Magazine gets it. Detroit has more to offer than dealerships and Motown memories. One thing is the MOCAD, which they've ranked in their list of the top 100 museums/galleries.


Detroit has more to offer than old car dealerships and Motown memories. This museum is an innovative addition to Detroit's Cultural Center, and functions as a hub for the exploration of emerging ideas in the contemporary arts. The 22,000 square foot building, a former auto dealership, has been simply renovated to maintain its historic character.

Read the entire article here.

Destination Detroit in Delta's Sky Magazine

Delta's in flight mag, Sky Magazine, did a rundown on what to do in Detroit, from shopping to arts and culture. It's not very exhaustive, but for the chap flying from there to here, it's a decent reference.

Read the article here.

Ice House Detroit project completed: Work of art, sign of hope?

The artists behind Ice House Detroit have finished an unveiled the location. The idea of encasing the house in ice came from them wanting to shed some light on Detroit's foreclosure woes. It's completed and people are taking note ... but will the city?


The Brooklyn-based men behind the project — Radune is an architect; Holm, a photographer — began dousing the home in water a few weeks ago. After many failed attempts to properly disperse enough water to freeze around the vacant home, they finally succeeded with the help of city fire hydrants and hoses.

They paid for the estimated 20,000 gallons of water, Holm said, and worked with the police and fire departments to get the appropriate permits and oversight to create what Holm described as an art project-turned-gift to the rundown neighborhood in which it stands.

Holm, a former Michigander whose mother still lives in Macomb County, said he and Radune got the house from the Michigan Land Bank, a state program that aims to revamp blighted properties, after using donor dollars to pay back taxes on another Detroit home that single mom and community activist Laveda Hoskins was able to move into.

"You feel a responsibility when coming into Detroit," Holm said Sunday as about a dozen onlookers circled the home to snap pictures. "We wouldn't want to leave without giving something back."

Read the entire article here.

Artist-activists freeze a house in Detroit

A group of artist-activists is freezing a house in Detroit to bring attention not to the cold winter we're having but to the ails of Detroit's housing industry. Our photographer, Marvin Shaouni, took photos for this week's Model D masthead image. You can read the Ice House Detroit team's blog and follow their progress here.

Here's a video on the deep freeze project:
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