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Feature film projects come to Detroit, Hamtramck

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

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

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

Follow news from the Michigan Film Office here.

Register here for Pure Michigan Entrepreneurship Challenge

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

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

All you need to get started is right here.

Opportunity Detroit behind downtown retail plan

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

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

An excerpt:

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

Very nice. Read more here.

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

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

An excerpt:

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

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

Willis choked up as he remembered his fellow players.

Read the rest of the story here.

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

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

An excerpt:

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

Go here to read on.

HatchArt group looks for show entries, increased membership

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more, including membership info, go here.

Toledo Blade: Entrepreneurship key to Detroit recovery

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

Check it out here.

A modest tax proposal from LOVELAND Technologies

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

Here's an exerpt of the plan: 

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

There is plenty more, including charts here.

Soul of the city: Detroit School of Music emerges

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

An excerpt:

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

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

Sounds good, yes? Read on here.

DC3's Matt Clayson reacts to Campbell Ewald move downtown

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

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

Read more here.

Video: CCS partners with Shinola on design project

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

An excerpt:

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

Read more about it here.

WSJ: Detroit App builder Glyph gets national attention

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

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

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

Read more here.

NYT weighs in on public-private Detroit divide

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

An exerpt:

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

More here

HuffPost Detroit: "The unknown going forward"

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

An excerpt: 

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

Well said, Nancy. Read the rest here.

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

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

An excerpt: 

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

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

Read on here.
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