Archive for November, 2006

Techno music hardly influenced by Detroit – say what??

I don’t want to start any scuffles here as both Berlin and Detroit (plus Chicago house, the UK and others) have influenced the techno music scene. But I was more than a bit surprised to read Metroblogging Berlin’s gift post today, which claims “…electronic music and especially Techno music are a very German thing and lots of it was developed in Berlin.”

Not that techno isn’t popular in Berlin, but come on; no mention of Detroit’s ‘Belleville Three’ – Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson? Nope. No mention of Detroit Techno? Nada. Nothing about Detroit’s electronic music festival? Nil. In fact, the only mention of Detroit in the entire post is this:

“During the 90’s Techno also grew in Detroit, but Berlin’s music scene and especially Tresor Club are said to be the most influencial for its development.”


Sorry, Berlin, but I’ve got to defend Detroit on this one. Visit, Wikipedia, the DHM exhibit entitled, “Techno: Detroit’s Gift to the World“, and many other spots, and I’m sure you’ll see: Detroit is the reason techno exists.

What do you think techno-fiends? Did Detroit have any influence on techno?

Detroit’s Fifth Gift to the World: Detroit’s Stock of Pre-Depression Architecture

Lower Woodward DensityAs with any large city, there is a large mix of architecture and density. Detroit is no different, but most are unaware that the city has been known to boast having the most surviving pre-depression skyscrapers in the nation.

How is this you ask? Fortunately the city never tore them down in a nasty thing called urban renewal. The large urban renewal that swept the nation around the 60s never occurred in Detroit because there wasn’t as much progress in the city, so the plots of land that contained skyscrapers didn’t need to be cleared for new developments.

Anywhere you look in the city, you will see a pre-depression building, whether it be the colorful Guardian Building (in my opinion the best art deco skyscraper in the wolrd), or the soon to be restored Detroit Life Building. The fine works of art contained within the city display the workmanship no longer seen today. Architects such as Albert Kahn, Gordon W. Lloyd, Louis Kamper, Daniel Burnham, Wirt Rowland, Charles Crane, and firms like Donaldson & Meier, Smith Hichman & Grylls mark a distinct mark on the city that lasts today.

While most of our pre-depression buildings are unaltered, a good amount have had their conice removed, not to modernize the building for the future, but because of strict regulations placed on any cornice in 1958. This is all because the lack of maintenance given to them because owners simply did not care for something that they considered gaudy and out of style. Soon enough the cornice from the Ferguson Building killed an older woman shopping in 1985, and the regulations went into place. Despite this, many of the buildings still take the eye of the viewer in different ways.New York Style

Along with pre-depression skyscrapers, downtown Detroit has the most theater seats in the Midwest, outside New York. This is due to the nearly half-dozen vintage theaters that exist downtown that host events. All of them are historical, and half of these are movie palaces, which were designed by C. Howard Crane.

So with this, I present to you our gift to you, our pre-depression stock of architecture. Just please don’t tear them down for any urban renewal or parking lots now, we already have enough parking!

You better hope you can get Preservation Wayne to hop onto this gift, as you can’t get a better tour or our architecture from anywhere else.


I just finished reading Middlesex by Detroit area author Jeffrey Eugenides. Absolutely brilliant. The history, the description, and the meticulously researched subject matter were interwoven marvelously. You will never look at Greektown or the Ambassador Bridge the same way again. I could not put down this 500 page mammoth. It is clear to see why it won the Pulitzer Prize.

Big Bright Light Show

I keep seeing commercials for Rochester’s Big Bright Light Show, a new event in downtown Rochester which runs from 6 pm – 10 every night through New Year’s Eve.

The “show” seems like more of a display; 500,000 lights have been placed on buildings along the city’s Main Street, Rochester Road. Some of the buildings are decked out in blue, some in purple, others in red and green.

Has anyone witnessed this in person? It’s difficult to tell from the TV commercials whether it’s a stunning display or more like the Griswold’s house in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”.

Shop Detroit 3

The madness of Christmas is upon us. This Saturday you can do your shopping in the D via Shop Detroit 3, which is being hosted by Detroit Synergy. Volunteers will be posted throughout downtown and the New Center area to guide you to fabulous stores and restaurants. You can Shop all day and hit up Noel Night in midtown at night.

Detroit’s Fourth Gift to the World: The Detroit Riverfront

Located along a fourteen mile stretch of the Detroit River, the Riverfront is the city’s greatest and best attraction. Visitors come from all over the world to enjoy it’s beautiful vistas and wonderful entertainment throughout the year.

The Detroit River is actually not a river at all. It is a strait, connecting Lake St. Clair to Lake Erie. When it was being developed early in Detroit’s history, international experts claimed it as the 3rd best riverfront in North America in terms of it’s beauty, location and economic potential. The River is an international border between Canada and the United States. It is the most traveled border in the world producing $99 billion in revenue from truck frieght alone and it links the two great cities of Detroit and Windsor economically and in quality of life.

Like Mallory Square in Florida, Detroit’s Riverfront and Riverwalk boasts two million visitors a year. Some of it’s more visible attractions include the Renaissance Center’s Riverfront Promenade in front of the Renaissance Center’s 73 story, 1,298 room hotel and the home of General Motors World Headquarters. On dreamy Friday nights in the summer you can enjoy free concerts and watch the boats drift by on a river lit up by the reflection of thousands of city lights from both shores.

Near by is Hart Plaza with it’s world reknown fountain. Ethnic and musical festivals fill the plaza from May to September including the biggest free International Jazz Festival in the world on Labor Day weekend. On warm summer days you can watch children delight as they run around the fountain cooling off by the spray.

Father down the river you will find the Douglas MacArthur Bridge connecting you to the largest city owned park in the U.S., Belle Ile. This 982 acre park has 5 miles of scenic riverfront including a 1\2 mile beach. Some of it’s attractions are the Natural Zoo and the Dossin Great Lakes Museum. Always full of picnicers and bathers alike during the summer months, it also will be home to the International Grand Prix in the summer of 2007.

Located in between the Renaissance and Belle Ile is the Tri-Centennial State Park. It is the only urban state park in Michigan and it’s 31 acres has green lawns, a 52 slip marina and a 62 ft. high lighthouse. People come from far and away to enjoy fishing and family outings while watching frieghters lazily cruise up and down the river.

If all this is too much to believe, you can see why my gift of the Detroit Riverfront is not offered easily. It is my wish to insure that the world and its citizens get a chance to experience and enjoy what I am priviledged to do so on a daily basis.

Kid and Pam Split

Well that was a quick.


After a two-week engagement and a little under 4 months of marriage, Kid Rock and Pamela Anderson both filed for divorce yesterday. Both cited irreconcilable differences. The gossip sites – heck, even the news sites – are all over this, so I won’t go into overkill. The Features section of today’s Detroit News has a whole bunch of related stories and I had a few chuckles reading them, especially the one about the duo’s fashion woes.

Image from Fametastic

Charity Auction

How would you like to be on the field at Comerica Park before the game and then watch it in some cushy, first rate seats? Or how about some tickets to the upcoming Wrestle Mania at Ford Field?

This and much more can be yours by going online and bidding for them in the second annual Bid for Kids online event.

The Tiger package starts at $350 but there are ski trips and tickets to events at the DIA, the DSO and the Opera Theater. Enjoy checking out all the items up for bid and then pick the one you like best. Like I always say. . .have fun!

Detroit’s Third Gift to the World: The Boys in the Silver Pants

Like that fruitcake that your Aunt Bea gave you or the sweater with the blinking reindeer nose from your Grandma, sometimes people give you crappy presents. Sometimes it’s intentional, like the blender you gave your cousin Larry for his birthday that he gifted back to you and sometimes it’s not embarrassingly accidental. Well, this one is intentional.

Some people say that I am too negative about the city. Some people say that I’m overly sarcastic. However, there is one thing that unites Detroiters in negativity. That thing is the Detroit Lions. Year after year, fans show up in droves to watch another Lions season with dreams of the Superbowl or at least an above 500 season. The Lions tell us that they’re starting fresh – they have some great talent and are going to win this year. However, reality is often different. Usually by the time our annual Thanksgiving game rolls around the Lions are statistically eliminated from the playoffs. In the off-season a coach is sometimes fired (remember the glory days of Wayne Fontes?) , a couple players are traded, and maybe we’ll get some new draft picks to be excited about. The press will get all excited about training camp in Allen Park, people will sell out Ford Field (or the Silverdome back in the day), and the Lions will have yet another losing season.

Therefore, as our third gift, I think we should gift the Lions to a city that hasn’t had a football team yet. Maybe it will cheer them up. There are other metblog cities out there that don’t have NFL teams yet, Portland, Oregon, Orlando, Florida or Austin, Texas. I’m sure they’ll fake enthusiasm when they open the present to find the Lions, like when you got that tie that plays music. They’ll say, “Oh Detroit! You shouldn’t have! I’ve always wanted a football team!” then we’ll get the Lions re-gifted back to us next year.

Noontime Concert Series

Another reason to be jealous of working downtown: the Noontime Concert Series at the Skillman Branch of the Detroit Public Library. The monthly series is free and open to the public. The next performance is by harpist Lydia Cleaver & Friends.

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