Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

10 Critics Detroit + Electronic Music Museum

My husband is the only reason I know anything relatively substantial about electronic music. As one being courted, of course I decided to feign interest in techno, where otherwise I would never give it a chance. I am so glad I stuck it out – with him and with the techno :0)

I have done the Electronic Music festival two years in a row now, and we will likely hit it up every year forever. What I did find out about my husband was that he was a raver kid and I was a wannabe skater kid, so during our early 20s, both of us donned phat pants, ties, and sweater vests which now come out once a year for tech fest.

Ever since I visited the Motown Museum, I have often thought that a Techno Museum would be the perfect fit for the city. Looks like I don’t have to look too far. It looks like the owners of 10 Critics will be fundraising at some point for a new museum.

10 Critics is a new club in Corktown with an eerie 1400 glowing in red off Porter. We showed up for the event on the 26th. Unfortunately the headliner was caught up in a snowstorm in New York. The space is so very appealing to me – black, drenched and accented in red paint and lighting. It is simple with the dance floor framed from the rest of the bar. You would have to see it. I tried to find 10 of something. I could only come up with the red lights above the bar. If the square/wavy bar had the flap at the entrance, it would have been 10.

Pantano’s People.


 It was the first time standing in the middle of an art exhibit that all the eyes were on me.  And I was forced to look back into them.   Four walls of unfamiliar faces staring at you.    At Patrick Pantano’s latest art exhibition, you are forced to look into the eyes of all sorts of unfamiliar characters.  In his artistic statement he notes:


To relax the subjects and try to bring them to a place where their expression did little to inform the tone of the image; to shoot them all with the same minimal lighting and the same film, camera, and processing to hopefully create some sense of similarity. That said they are all so different!” 


           It’s true. No matter how we try to compartimentalize people and things, what is it that makes every stare so unique?  At first, the room is quite abrasive.  How often are we so at ease to stare, this closely,  into someone’s eyes?  For most this experience is to be avoided.  Presentations, family parties, bitter exes and prick bosses.   But here, your purpose is to stare. By the end, you are among friends.  After all that ogling, the stares seem so familiar, they haunt you and you swear, I’ve seen that person somewhere before.  A party or something.joe













Pantano’s Exhibition, “Heads Shot”, is running from May 8-July 3, 2009 @ the CAID.






The war on the market

I’ve been watching a war this summer. No, not that never ending Orwellian one; nor the nauseating rises and fall of the economy either. It’s a struggle of man dominating nature, nature struggling back, and some street artists stopping in to admire the view. It took place in what the artists refer to it as “the market”, others know it as the Dequindre Cut.

A rail line skirts the east edge of downtown Detroit. This rail line, long abandoned by humans to the vagaries of urban tolerant wildlife, cuts a deep swath. Nestled in its embrace is an urban canvas. Hobos, debris and the occasional dog walker all gathered on this pathway that ran from the Eastern Market to the Detroit river. That was until the MDOT, encouraged by the noble rails-to-trails, came up with something a wee bit more family friendly.

With a surprising quickness the construction crews toppled the foliage and replaced it with sterile woodchips and manicured rows of flowers. The artists stubbornly persevered. Each night every newly erected surface received a complementary coating of paint. Every day towering construction vehicles craft new surfaces and the spiraling dance goes on today. For a glimpse into the past of the cut, stand at the mouth of the Gratiot bridge and stare north.

Call for Entries – Pecha Kucha Night Detroit, Volume 2

Do you have a passion for your work or hobby?  Well, Pecha Kucha Night just may be the perfect forum for you to share it with the others.  The format is pretty simple – you will have 20 seconds for each of 20 slides to give your presentation.  That is 6 minutes and 40 seconds of fame for you!  The first Pecha Kucha Night Detroit was held in August at Atwater Block Brewery and it was a packed house.  This is a call for designers, artists, and other creative types to entertain, inform, and delight the Detroit community.  You’d better hurry though, the deadline to submit your entry is October 24, 2008.

"Flash of Genius" Hits Theaters Next Week; Ford Grabs onto "Oh Shit! Handle"

When I was a kid, my mom drove a Bronco II Ford SUV. This SUV, like most cars nowadays, had interior handles for each passenger, just above the door windows, to hang onto if the driver were to take a hard turn, or drive into a scary situation. My dad used to lovingly call these “Oh Shit! Handles.”

My dad worked for Ford for 34 years, and like many of our parents (and many of us!) we rely on the auto industry for our well-being and livelihood, whether working directly for one of The Big Three, an engineering firm that supports The Big Three (or Toyota or Honda), or one of the many area advertising agencies that promotes the auto industry.

The Big Three have certainly made lots of mistakes and miscalculations, and their past leadership is very much to blame for the sorry state the industry finds itself in today. And certainly, the industry deserved the harsh criticism of the independent filmmakers who produced Who Killed the Electric Car? and Roger and Me, films that justifiably showed how greedy power players and corporate executives have continued to influence the auto industry away from innovation and working 21st-century business models and into the same old ways of doing things.

But while Who Killed the Electric Car? and Roger and Me were important protests against bad auto-industry practices and the executive greed that spawned these practices, there’s a new Hollywood movie coming to theaters that threatens to tarnish the name of our American auto makers without any seeming purpose but to sell tickets at the box office.

In “Flash of Genius,” Greg Kinnear stars as Wayne State professor Robert Kearns, who, in the 1970s, invents the intermittent windshield wiper, a much sought-after technological advance for the auto industry at the time. Instead of giving the man credit, the auto industry (Ford, in particular, is named as the main culprit) steals the invention and denies the good professor–who’s been working hard just to keep his family fed–any monetary reward or credit for the invention. Kearns enters into an intense and long legal battle against Ford, which he wins after years of fighting in the courts. “Flash of Genius” is one of those feel-good movies about how the little guy, with lots of grit, determination, and an unquenchable thirst for justice, is able to win out against the powers that be.

Inspiring stuff. Unless, of course, you live in Michigan, and you can feel in your gut how much this movie will villanize our auto industry in the mind of the American consumer.

Ford is an easy target here–a sitting, and very wounded corporate duck–and I can’t think that this movie will do anything but make people less likely to buy American cars. The movie won’t make Ford any better. It won’t force protests that will make Ford correct bad practices or create greener vehicles–the market is already making that happen. No, the movie will just turn people even more against Ford, solidifying the automaker as a corporate Mr. Potter in consumers’ minds, working only toward keeping all of the George Baileys of this world down and out.

Granted, “Flash of Genius” is based on a true story, and a story that deserves telling. And I’m not trying to stick up for Ford’s past actions. I just question the timing and the intent of this film. Things are already bad enough around here due to the mismanagement of the auto industry over the years. But when the industry (and Michigan) is at its lowest, does it really make sense to kick us when we’re already down? Even though the story is about the industry exploiting one of our own, it’s the kind of PR nightmare that the transitioning American auto companies don’t need.

And let’s not kid ourselves that any other industry could possibly replace the automobile industry if it were to go down. Governor Granholm’s plans to make Michigan a manufacturing hub for green technologies are certainly on the right track for our future economic prosperity, but they could never fill in the hole that a completely broken auto industry would leave.

So grab onto the “Oh Shit! Handles” everybody, because “Flash of Genius” is going to make this recovery an even bumpier ride for the auto industry, and the city and state that rely on it.

More background from The Free Press, and here’s the trailer:


Eating at the Woodbridge Pub

After reading Scotter’s post on opening of the Woodbridge Pub I decided to mosey on down and see what kind of sustenance I could devour. Actually, I had been planning to go there anyway to see a fall photography show put on by some fellow Exposure Detroit members. The pictures and ambiance were spectacular. It has a really homey feel, with rich wood tones and tin ceilings.

The food was decently priced, as were the drinks. I got the Detroit Hipster burger, which comes on a ciabbatta bun, with a whole portabella mushroom cap, and a pesto infused mayonnaise sauce (I copied that part from the menu, I don’t even know what it means). It was delicious, if a bit messy. I can’t wait to get back and sample some more of the wonderful food!






They’ve amended the outgoing message at the Mocad.

Buildings of Detroit Documents the Demolition of Tiger Stadium

If you’re like me, then you’ve been shocked each time you’ve driven down Trumbull lately at how quickly the demolition of Tiger Stadium has taken place. Every time I drive past, slack-jawed and disbelieving, I keep telling myself I should get down there to take some pictures of what’s left before it’s all gone. And while I still need to do this, at least I’ve been able to fall back on the website Buildings of Detroit to do the noble work of capturing critical moments in the demolition.

Check out Buildings of Detroit’s Youtube page to see video of the demolition and find images here, and then browse the site itself to check out their great information on the many architectural jewels of Detroit. The site offers great photos and histories of our shared architectural wonders and ruins.

Movement 2008

This is a belated post on Movement 2008 which was held Memorial Day weekend.  This was my first year attending – well last year I was on the inexpensive side of the fence – and I cannot imagine missing the festival in any years to come.  My phat pants were pulled out from my youth for the occasion.  Techno reverberating off the freighters was a novel backdrop to Hart Plaza’s delightful, but ludicrously expensive, playground.  Despite the oppressive heat of the days and the plunge into frigid nights the weekend was wonderful.  Diesel Boy was my favourite performer but watching Moby close out one night was even more awe striking.  The scandalous attire of the Paxahau girls was not even the best people watching; day glow slinkys adorning pigtails and Milla Jovovich’s outfit from the 5th Element were but a few of the novelties sported by festival goers.  A week after the festival I was flying out of Detroit International and proudly spotted a tourist sporting a Detroit Techno Militia shirt.  I have done a modest amount of traveling around the states and the Detroit Techno Militia symbol is one that I have happily seen far and wide.  Techno, be it your thing or not, is something that puts Detroit on the map.  Thank you world for coming out and supporting our city during the Detroit Electronic Music Festival.  We look forward to hosting you in years to come.    

Been awhile…

The internet bugs attacked me, and I haven’t been able to even sign on to Metro Blogging in, well, forever I think.

Lots has happened in the D since this world wide web failed me, but at least this weekend will give me a good opportunity to jump right back in. The Detroit International Festival is happening, on way more streets and way bigger area than I though. Just drive to Midtown and pull over when you see people milling around and white tents set up.

As usual, I’m pretty geeked for the food and drink, but there’s something that will keep everyone busy.

Even hair sculptures. Only in the D, folks…

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