James Herriotte
For The South End

When people visit the Detroit Zoo, typically they go for the usual attractions, lions and tigers — not the eccentric fashion designer Betsey Johnson.

The designer is coming to Detroit, and she isn’t alone. Thursday, Oct. 1 and Friday, Oct. 2 the Detroit Zoo will be host to animals who are fierce in a different way. The event, “Fashion in Detroit,” is the first of its kind in the area. The zoo will showcase national names like Betsey Johnson and Kevan Hall as well as local clothing lines like “Diva Groove” and Kid Rock’s “Made in Detroit.”

While Detroit has its own beat of style, it is not a fashion capital like New York or London. Still, Karen Buscemi, editor of Style Line and the event’s host, thinks this could all change.

“The media coverage this event is getting is crazy, from Women’s Wear Daily to Spin and even CNN money,” Buscemi said.

“Fashion in Detroit” was created by former “Project Runway” contestant Joe Faris as a way for Detroit area designers and others in the fashion community to express their interest in the art of fashion.

“Detroit has always had the passion, the talent and the culture for fashion,” Hodah Salameh, volunteer coordinator and WSU student, said, “but the only missing ingredient has been the drive to display that potential. FID is the force that’s helping Detroit conquer the fashion industry.”

With FID, Detroiters no longer have to read and enviously watch all the lavish shows held during the Fashion Weeks of cities like Paris, New York, and Milan. Better still, most of the designers have some connection to Detroit. Designer Peter Soronen grew up in Farmington and Kevan Hall is a graduate of Detroit’s Cass Technical High School.

While many of the designers to be showcased are not strangers to the runway, be it here or abroad, there is one that sticks out like a sore thumb — Carhartt.

“I’m really interested in what Carhartt is bringing to the table — whether or not they’ll be showing the work wear they’re famous for or their little known street brand, which is famous in Europe,” Angela Wisniewski, owner of Web site “Angela’s Eye … On Metro Detroit’s Style,” said.

The company, known mostly for its work clothes and outerwear, has a slot among some of the more high-end designers like Betsey Johnson. But Carhartt isn’t the only designer bringing something different to the catwalk.

Dana Keaton, a local artist and professor at the College for Creative Studies and Art Institute of Michigan is devoted to bringing back personal customer service once only available to the clients of famous couturiers in Europe. Keaton’s line, “Diva Groove,” is dedicated to custom and specialty designs to satisfy client’s needs. “Diva Groove” is also one of the few Detroit lines to incorporate traditional weaving and fabric into its designs.

“I’m also an artist and I like to put my creativity into each of my designs,” Keaton said.
When asked why she chose to go the route of one of kind creations instead of mass production Keaton referenced one of every fashionista’s worst nightmares.

“No woman likes to wear the same thing as somebody else,” she said. “I’d hear stories all the time of ‘I walked in and she had on the same thing.’ ‘Diva Groove’ eliminates that.”

As an up-and-coming designer, Keaton looks forward to the future of Detroit’s fashion scene, thanks to “Fashion in Detroit.”

“For years we’ve been trying to build Detroit’s fashion industry,” she said. “I think ‘Fashion in Detroit’ finally got it right.”

The Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a "Brewed in Michigan" beer and food festival on Friday, Oct. 2 from 5 - 9 p.m. at Bakers of Milford.

A $25 ($30 at the door) ticket will provide attendees with fun, food from a variety of area restaurants, music, door prizes and twelve pours from local breweries including B. Nektar Meadery of Ferndale, Short’s, Founders, Bell’s, New Holland, Arcadia, Dark Horse and many more.

Additionally, bring in a coat for Community Sharing and receive an extra door prize raffle ticket.

Tickets are available for purchase at Bakers of Milford, Milford House, Pine Ridge Market or at the chamber office.

For more information, or to order advance tickets by phone, contact the Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce at (248) 685-7129. Baker’s of Milford is located at 2025 South Milford Rd.

Panera Bread is inviting its customers to join in the fight against breast cancer by eating a bagel for breakfast during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Panera’s signature Pink Ribbon Bagels will be sold in all of southeast Michigan’s 46 bakery-cafes during the month of October.

Panera Bread is proud to donate a portion of the proceeds from each Pink Ribbon Bagel sold to a variety of breast cancer causes throughout the country, including the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, locally presented by the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute.

The Panera Pink Ribbon Bagel is baked fresh daily at Panera Bread bakery-cafes and features cherry chips, dried cherries and cranberries, vanilla, honey and brown sugar. The product follows the tradition of ‘thinking pink’ during the month of October in the quest to eradicate breast cancer disease.  Sue Stees, one of Panera Bread’s first franchisees and a breast cancer survivor, developed the idea for the Pink Ribbon Bagel in 2001 as a way to help support the cause.

The Pink Ribbon Bagels are priced at $1.25. Customers have the option of purchasing a bagel pack (13 assorted bagels with 2 cream cheese tubs) for $12.99, or a baker’s dozen (13 assorted bagels) for $8.99 to treat family or coworkers to a Panera breakfast.

Panera Bread and its franchisees also support charitable causes through its Operation Dough-Nation® program. Since it was founded in 1992 to formalize Panera’s commitment to community involvement, Operation Dough-Nation has contributed both monetary and bread donations through its Community Breadbox™ and Day-End Dough-Nation™ programs to local food pantries, hunger relief agencies and other community organizations.

Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit’s Pay It 4ward campaign to train unemployed Metro Detroiters for local jobs will conclude Wednesday, Sept. 30 with special events at all 19 Metro Detroit Caribou Coffee locations.

Participants will receive free coffee samples and opportunities to win valuable prizes, including $100 Caribou Coffee gift cards and airfare and tickets for two to see a taping of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” live in Los Angeles.

Donations to the Pay It 4ward campaign support Goodwill Industries programs that help Wayne, Oakland and Macomb county individuals secure jobs through education, training and career support.

The Pay It 4ward campaign centers around official envelopes to be filled with dollar bills, passed from person to person, until they reach 25 people. Every $25 dollars collected in a Pay It 4ward envelope, or online at http://www.payit4warddetroit.org, will help provide an entire day of career training for an unemployed Metro Detroiter for a job of the future.

On Sept. 30, each Metro Detroit Caribou coffee location will offer free samples of 20 new items and giveaways for customers who participate in the campaign. Ten percent of gross sales at all 19 locations between 3 p.m. and close that day will go to Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit.

Pay It 4Ward participants can drop off a completed envelope at any Metro Detroit Caribou location through Sept. 30 to receive a free beverage (any size). In addition to Caribou Coffee locations, completed envelopes also may be dropped off through Sept. 30 at any of the 72 local Flagstar banking centers or at Drakeshire Lanes in Farmington Hills, Mich., where participants will receive two free games of bowling.

For every 1,000 local people Goodwill Industries puts to work, the organization estimates up to $25 million in wages are earned and spent locally to boost the Metro Detroit economy each year they are on the job.

“Caribou customers thank us all the time for supporting the unemployed in this area through the Goodwill Pay It 4ward campaign,” said Adam Stansberry, greater Detroit area district manager for Caribou Coffee. “It’s a simple and affordable way for anyone in Metro Detroit to make an incredible impact on the life of a friend or neighbor who’s lost a job.”

Study Looks At Why People Love Where They Live

Amy Hoak
The Wall Street Journal

People like where they live for any number of reasons, but there are several stand-out qualities that ignite residents' passion for their communities - and how the area is dealing with the recession isn't one of them, according to a report released Tuesday by Gallup and the Knight Foundation.

Residents are most attached to their communities when they have fun places to gather, there's a welcoming atmosphere and there are beautiful and green spaces to enjoy, according to the "Soul of the Community" survey. The study looked at 26 communities and surveyed a random sample of more than 10,000 people earlier this year.

"While the pain from the recession is deep, other factors far outweigh economics when it comes to determining how emotionally attached people are to their communities," said Warren Wright, managing partner for Gallup, in a news release.

Positive feelings about a community, however, do have a connection to local GDP growth over a longer-term period, according to the report.

The study, in its second year, explores the connection between economic growth and residents' emotional attachment to their communities. Gallup has shown that increasing an employee's emotional connection to his or her company leads to better financial performance of the organization; this study works to see if the emotional connection to a community similarly drives economic growth.

Why People Love Where They Live

The report also is meant to help local leaders and residents identify what people want out of their communities, and how to create desirable environments.

"Have you ever gone somewhere and said 'I could live there?'" said Katherine Loflin, lead consultant on the project, in a phone interview. "It has to do with the welcome-ness, and if it's nice to look at," not "because they're building new business complexes or there are tons of want ads in the paper."

What keeps residents passionate about their communities are some of the things they'd show off to visitors: elements that make for a fun social life, beautiful features, or the historic town square - things that root people in a community, she said.

The research also found:

* A perception that a place is open and welcoming to college graduates is important in order to prevent "brain drain" that can occur when students graduate and leave a place to seek employment.

* New residents are the least attached to their communities of any demographic group, even less attached this year than when the survey was conducted in 2008.

* Residents more satisfied with their jobs are more likely to have an emotional connection to their community.

   Engaged Residents

Bradenton, Fla., Grand Forks, N.D., State College, Pa., Long Beach, Calif., and Aberdeen, S.D., had some of the highest percentages of engaged residents, or those who felt highly passionate about where they live. Areas with some of the lowest percentages of engaged residents were found in Gary, Ind., Detroit, Mich., Macon, Ga., Akron, Ohio and Wichita, Kan.

While Detroit was in the bottom five, the city does have some momentum building to change that, especially with growing enthusiasm of residents between the ages of 18 to 34, Loflin said.

"People think a certain thing about Detroit and the area," she said. Residents are trying to turn that around. "They're saying we're not done with this community."

In Tallahassee, Fla., social offerings - having fun places to gather - were the No. 1 driver of community attachment. There, the Knight Foundation funded the first Tallahassee Film Festival and the Get Gaines Going project, to revitalize a main thoroughfare. Residents of the area are working to create a sense of place, in an effort to get local college graduates to stay and build a career, according to the release.

"A creative and diverse workforce is the key to Tallahassee's future. With guidance from the Soul of the Community study, we can continue to find ways to get there by attracting new talent and keeping our local college graduates in town," said Mike Pate, Knight Foundation's Tallahassee program director, in a news release.

Other communities studied were: Biloxi, Miss.; Boulder, Colo.; Charlotte, N.C.; Columbia, S.C.; Columbus, Ga.; Duluth, Minn.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Lexington, Ky.; Miami, Fla.; Milledgeville, Ga.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Palm Beach, Fla.; Philadelphia, Pa.; San Jose, Calif.; and St. Paul, Minn.

Jason Beck

 They came back for memories, for fans, for each other. They certainly came for Sparky Anderson.
"There's a lot of us who came because of him," said Jack Morris, staff ace of the Tigers' last World Series championship team in 1984.

While the 2009 Tigers waited to begin a series showdown with the Twins that will likely define their season, Monday was still the night for Detroit to honor the 25th anniversary of its 1984 World Series champions at Comerica Park. From the looks of pride on players' faces to lines of fans who wrapped around the concourses for autographs and honors, it was a day of honor that became a night to honor Anderson.

World Series MVP Alan Trammell flew in from the West Coast on an off-day for the Cubs, with whom he works as bench coach. So, too, did D-backs coach Kirk Gibson, whose home run in Game 5 of the Fall Classic helped the Tigers put it away.

Then there was Morris, whose no-hitter April 7 of that year stands as perhaps the defining highlight of Detroit's famous and unmatched 35-5 start. He currently works as a broadcaster covering the rival Twins near his Minnesota farm, but he donned a Tigers hat again for a day as he took the field.

"If the truth be known, we'd all like to be able to be in uniform tonight and go play a baseball game," Morris said.

Nobody played Monday; the rain that fell on those who didn't bring an umbrella, such as Morris and Gibson, washed out the scheduled game without so much as a ceremonial first pitch. It soaked the field, but not the enthusiasm.

Trammell, Gibson, Morris and All-Star catcher Lance Parrish all received a rousing ovation when introduced during ceremonies behind home plate. The cheers for Anderson, however, began as soon as he walked out of the tunnel and onto the field, and roared when he was finally introduced.

Anderson, still exuberant, still unflinchingly positive at age 75, soaked in every second of it along with the raindrops in his first appearance at the ballpark since Game 2 of the 2006 World Series. He raised his hands to try to encourage the fans to raise the volume.

"It's a great day for all of them," Anderson said earlier in the day. "It's a great honor."

Trammell spoke to the crowd and personally thanked Anderson, who he said taught them "how to play the game the right way," the credit he has so often given during his coaching career.

Then Anderson took the microphone and thanked the fans from the heart.

"This team will be back, I guarantee you," he said, looking over his right shoulder at the Tigers' dugout. "And this little guy over here will bring it back."

He pointed to current Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who managed in Detroit's farm system during Anderson's first few years as a Tiger before leaving the organization for a coaching job with Tony La Russa's White Sox.

Leyland met with Anderson in the hallway earlier in the day.

"He looks good," Leyland said.

Anderson referred to Leyland and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire as two of the best managers in the game. Earlier, he spoke in wonderment about Gardenhire's ability to manage.

Leyland, standing in the rain on the top step of the home dugout, tipped his cap.

All in all, it was a collective tip of the cap for one of the most dominant teams in recent history, yet a team that has been largely overlooked in Hall of Fame voting.

The Tigers had long since clinched their spot in the playoffs by this point in 1984, on their way to winning the division by 15 games. Not only did they lead the American League East from start to finish, they finished strong, winning 11 of their final 15 when they already had the division all but wrapped up.

By the time they reached October, they admitted there were nerves about losing in the playoffs and ruining such a great season. But there was confidence, too.

"This is just my opinion, which I'm entitled to: We would've beat the 1927 Yankees that year," Trammell said. "It was our year. We weren't going to be denied that year."

What sticks out to the players years later, though, is obviously the start. The term used almost to a man was that it was a team on a mission.

"The whole year was unbelievable," Parrish said. "I just remember about going 35-5. I remember we won our 35th game in Anaheim, and I remember going back to my hotel room that night after the game and sitting there and just kind of running through my head. And I was like, 'You know, this just doesn't happen, winning 35 of your first 40 games of the season.' It was mind-boggling.

"Obviously, that particular memory was great. But the accomplishments throughout the year, just the way that we played together, [stood out]. We never felt like we were out of it. We always seemed to come through."

That attitude, their style of play, came from Anderson, who arrived in Detroit in the summer of 1979 to take over a team of young but talented kids such as Morris, Trammell, Gibson, Parrish, Lou Whitaker, Dan Petry and Dave Rozema.

There was toughness, but there was also loyalty. More important, there was an attention to detail.

"It just didn't happen overnight," Trammell said. "The things that Sparky was trying to get across to us, the little things in baseball that you need to be able to do, to be able to execute at certain times, we finally got it. And it helped. In fact, I can tell you that first hand, it helped. It was one of the reasons why we were able to be successful."

Said Morris: "It was a journey of a life experience for a lot of us. We came up as young kids out of high school and college who had a dream but didn't know how to put that dream together. Sparky was kind of the bond that knew how to put it together. He taught us how to play the game, how to win. We ultimately did that, and now we get to share the memories."

That, Trammell believes, is why this team has remained so close. Many of them, too, have remained close to their old manager through all the years, even though it doesn't seem like long to Anderson.

"It should," Anderson said, "but it really doesn't. You tell children you'll wake up tomorrow and be out of college, and they're only in the third grade. It just happens. I don't know why or how or what makes it work like that. But it does."

Seeing them again, Anderson said, was why he came back.

"That's what he says," Gibson said, "but I think he was one of the first guys to RSVP. But why wouldn't you come? I mean, how many more opportunities are we going to have to come together?"

Assignment Detroit: The Drinking Game


In the landmark 1941 essay The American Century, Time Magazine publisher and future LSD fan Henry Luce envisioned a world molded by American missionaries preaching the dual good news of liberal democracy and free enterprise. American Exceptionalism would lead the world to peace and prosperity, Luce believed. Sometimes a great notion, indeed.

Famous Stalinist and Theosophist weirdo Henry Wallace thought Luce was full of shit and offered instead the Century of the Common Man, which had something to do with corn. Nearly 70 years later, Luce’s work provides the philosophical underpinnings of neo-conservativism, and by extension the Iraq War, while Wallace’s dreamy idealism wrought high fructose corn syrup.

We tell you all this because, while Detroit’s common slobs can find a virtual smorgasbord of corn-based crap food in any ghetto liquor store, American Exceptionism (nearly a decade after the American Century ended) has only now arrived in Detroit. Time and CNN kicked off their historic Assignment Detroit project this week. We must greet them as liberators, with flowers and song.

Time has already profiled development superstar Brian Holdwick. One only needs to look around Detroit to see what an amazing job Holdwick has done at the DEGC. Sigh. They’ll learn.

We’re stuck with the Time/CNN folks and, for better or worse, they’re stuck with us. It’s like a family gathering. The only way to survive is to drink. A lot. That’s why we’re offering Assignment Detroit: The Drinking Game. Here are the rules:

1. Every Detroit as New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina reference, drink.

2. For every mention of landmarks demolished or soon to be demolished, drink. If the landmark in the Michigan Central Station, drink a boxcar.

3. If the demolished (or soon to be demolished) landmark is used as an allegory for the city itself, drink again. The MCS boxcar rule still applies.

4. Anytime Super Bowl XL is mentioned, drink some domestic macrobrewed beer.

5. Every time they use a picture of the Renaissance Center, drink

6. If they report that professional sporting events lift our weary spirits, drink.

7. If you spot a Time/CNN reporter at Honest?John’s, drink a shot of Kessler.

8. For every reference to urban farming, urban prairie, urban pioneers or anything else that sounds like a bizarre miscegenation of Welcome Back, Kotter and Little House on the Prairie, drink.

9. If they drop tired booster memes such as creative class, cool cities, $100 houses, drink a Pabst.

10. If they drop tired jargon such as gritty, blue-collar, hard-working, or brawn, drink a Strohs.

11. For every photo of a redevelopment cropped to hide a gapping eyesore, drink OR every photo of a gapping eyesore cropped to hide a redevelopment, drink. If Slows is cropped out of a picture of the MCS, eat a plate of brisket while drinking.

12. If they solicit the opinions of Kid Rock, Eminem, Jack White, or Brian “This Time” Vander Ark, drink. Twice if it’s Vander Ark.

13. When a Time/CNN reporter is a victim of a crime, finish your drink and start a new one.

14. Every time the dullards at DetroitYES complain that Time/CNN is being mean to Detroit, drink.

15. Every time Time “discovers” a little-known neighborhood haunt, struggling to get by in this tough, cruel world - some obscure, out-of-the-way place like the Cass Cafe or the Magic Stick, drink.

16. If they write about the ‘84 World Series riots, drink to the memory of the late Bubba Helms.

17. Anytime they write about the 1967 riots, drink a Mickey’s 40 oz, refill it with gasoline, stuff a rag in it, light it, and toss it at a police car (don’t actually do that).

18. Every time they use the phrase “murder capital of the world”, drink.

19. If they mention your favorite bar, run quickly to drink there for the last time before it is chock full of suburbanites and German tourists.

20. Every time they mention the Pure Michigan ad campaign as a reference to the state’s beauty, drink from the Rouge River along the banks of Zug Island.

21. If they mention Motown…drink the same wood alcohol that fucked up Martha Reeves.

22. If they mention Dave Bing’s basketball history and whether he can “translate” those skills to help the city, drink.

23. If they write about Brooks Patterson without mentioning the Pontiac bussing battles of the 1970’s, drink an Irish car bomb.

24. Any reference to either Coleman Young or Kwame Kilpatrick as “hizzoner,” drink Courvoisier.

25. Every time they note that Detroit’s dailies are (1) shrinking, (2) struggling, (3) home-delivered only three days a week, (4) incubators of talent that leaves…drink at the Anchor Bar.

26. Every time the trials and tribulations of a “noble savage”-type character, preferably an older woman who’s the bulwark of a declining neighborhood somewhere on the far east or far west side, is used as a stand-in for Detroit! itself!, go to church. Then drink. If the old woman has a catchy nickname, have two drinks. If the old woman has a large family and a knack for cooking soul food, drink thrice. If the old woman has no family, and fends for herself in an increasingly dangerous neighborhood, pass her the bottle first. Then drink.

27. When they sing the DEGC/DDA/P&D’s praises, purchase a bottle from a Frank Taylor restaurant bankruptcy auction and then drink.

To submit your Drinking Game Nomination, click HERE and post in the "Comments" section.
Brad Galli

Today wasn’t just Sunday for Lions fans.

Today meant a little bit more. Today marked the first win Detroit had seen since December 23, 2007. Today got people thinking, “Hey, this whole ‘good feeling’ thing could work. I could do this more often.”

Today was so much more.

Today made a city enjoy Sunday for every bit of what it has to offer. At approximately 4:20 Eastern Time, the Detroit Lions reminded us why we do what we’ve done for so many years: wake up with a complete disregard for reality, and instead gravitate towards outlandish optimism. “This is our year.” “Today’s our day.” The list of cliché catchphrases was endless….until 2008. After sixteen Sundays of dropping our chins to our chest, tucking our tails between our legs, and burying hope for, well, hope, enough was enough. With an economy taking a toll on each metro-Detroit citizen, the Lions soon became less attractive than a month-old carton of milk.

But today? Today changed everything.

Even it if was for just three hours and twenty minutes. Even if it was against the Washington Redskins, who’s coach has all but been booed out of town. Even if the rest of the nation thinks today was just Sunday…Today wasn’t just Sunday.

Today was so much more.

I looked at the dozen or so Honolulu-blue and silver-clad fans around me at the sports bar as the game ended. We were all immersed with shock, jubilation, and awe. We ignored the hundred fans around us and jumped into the lyrics we all crave to hear on game day: “Forward down the field…” We sang. We cheered. And then we looked around at each other in disbelief mouthing, “Is this really happening?” Sure, it’s Week 3. Yeah, the Lions are still 1-2, sub-.500 and facing a stingy Bears defense next week. And times are absolutely still brutally tough for Detroiters.

But when I looked down at my phone after the resounding “Goooo Lions!” swiftly ended, I saw five missed calls and seven text messages to confirm, “Yes, this is really happening.” My fellow Detroiters at the sports bar welcomed the same connections with friends and family across the USA. The ensuing conversation with my father, who casually quipped, “14-2,” lit up a smile on my face. The note from my friend stated, “This must be what winning the Super Bowl feels like!” and made me throw emphatic high fives to anyone in sight. All of that euphoria cannot possibly be consumed by one word.

That’s why today isn’t just today.

Today made a city forget its economic troubles, even for just those three hours and twenty minutes. If you weren’t watching on TV, you got a call from a wound up relative to turn on Dan Miller’s radio call. Even Miller couldn’t resist getting excited. “Calvin is sick!” he shouted at one point.

Today was joining together for our pastime. For stories after the game about Lions victories of yesteryear. For discussions about Matthew Stafford someday (very soon, of course) leading these jumpstart Lions to the promised lands. It brought us together for what we do best: unite. Give Detroiters a cause and we’ll latch on to it with full support and care. We know winning isn’t everything. And today wasn’t about winning.

Today wasn’t just Sunday. Today was so much more.

Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and their friends from Disney’s Mulan, The Lion King and Pinocchio, and Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles and Finding Nemo, will be taking to the ice while Stitch from Lilo & Stitch drops in to wreak his usual havoc during Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic. The show is coming to The Palace of Auburn Hills Sept. 30 – Oct. 4.

Produced by Feld Entertainment, this fanfare production features more than 60 unforgettable Disney stars that span the decades, a sing-along score of award-winning Disney music and elaborate choreography, sets and costumes.

To celebrate the show, Disney on Ice has partnered with Children’s Hospital for a special promotion. For the Friday, Oct. 2 show at 7:30 p.m., the hospital will receive $1 per ticket from each of the first 2,500 tickets sold and $2 per ticket for any sold beyond 2,500.

Tickets for Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic are available at the Palace of Auburn Hills Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, The Palace Locker Room Stores and www.ticketmaster.com. To order tickets by phone, call (248) 645-6666.

Show dates and times: Wednesday, Sept. 30 and Thursday, Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 2 at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 3 at 11:30 a.m.; 3:30 p.m.; and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 4 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Josh Smith
Kalamazoo Gazette

The full list of winners from today's beer competition at this year's Great American Beer Festival has just been released (of course, we've been following the live Twitter feed all afternoon).

We are very excited to report that Michigan breweries earned nine medals or 4% of the total awards.

The winners from the "Great Beer State" were:

Arcadia Brewing Co.
Cereal Killer Barleywine
Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer
Bastone Brewery
Saison Du Bastone
French- and Belgian Style Saison
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Bell's Lager Beer
Bohemian Style Pilsener
Big Rock Chop House & Brewery
Red Rock
Belgian-Style Lambic or Sour Ale
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Bam Biere
Session Beer
Kuhnhenn Brewing Co.
4th Dementia Old Ale
Old Ale or Strong Ale
Redwood Brewing Co.
Cream Stout
Sweet Stout
Shorts Brewing Co.
Bloody Beer
Experimental Beer
Sullivan's Black Forest Brew Haus & Grill
Pirate's Porter
Robust Porter

Here are a few other highlights:

2009 Brewery and Brewer of the Year Awards

Large Brewing Company and Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year:
Coors Brewing Company, Golden, CO; Dr. David Ryder

Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year:
Flying Dog Brewery, Frederick, MD; Robert Malone

Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year:
Dry Dock Brewing Company, Aurora, CO; Dry Dock Brewing Team

Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year:
Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA; Pizza Port Brew Guys

Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year:
Chuckanut Brewery, Bellingham, WA; Will Kemper

2009 Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am Competition

Gold: Herbal Joe’s Columbarillo IPA, Chama River Brewing Co., Albuquerque, NM
Brewmaster: Jeff Erway, AHA Member: Ben Miller

Silver: Alright Already Amber, O’Fallon Brewery, O’Fallon, MO
Brewmaster: Brian Owens, AHA Member: Jim Yeager

Bronze: Time of the Season, Upslope Brewing Co., Boulder, CO
Brewmaster: Daniel Pages, AHA Member: Brian Patterson

The most competitive category was American Style India Pale Ale with 134 entries. The gold medal went to Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA for Union Jack for the second straight year.

The second most hotly contested category was Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer with 110 entries (up from 79 in 2008). The gold medal went to Arcadia Brewing Co., Battle Creek, MI for Cereal Killer Barleywine.

The SI-ification of Detroit


The city of Detroit and the Tigers in particular are about to receive some big time attention from Sports Illustrated as the featured story in the September 28th edition of the magazine. Get your jinx reversing gear prepared.

The Tiger related coverage includes:

Assignment Detroit – Tigertown by Lee Jenkins

Tigers/Twins is best in a weak year for playoff races by Joe Posnanski

Twenty year old Rick Porcello plays key role for Tigers by Lee Jenkins

How Verlander got his groove back by Joe Lemire

For owner Mike Ilitch, it has been a pretty good week PR wise. In addition to the Jenkins article where Ilitch is praised for his approach to Tigers ownership:

He is a businessman by trade, but he is consumed with two causes that don’t always lend themselves to profit. “Turning around our city,” he says, “and winning the World Series.” Ilitch, who is 80, wants to see those goals realized in his lifetime, which helps explain how the Tigers have managed to keep payroll high, ticket prices relatively low and the community-relations budget constant in a period of plummeting revenue. As one major league executive puts it, “Their owner doesn’t operate from a profit-and-loss standpoint. He treats the team more like a public trust.”

..he was also featured in the Free Press where various players describe their interactions and respect for him.

We may think New York Fashion Week leads into London Fashion Week, but we're overlooking something: Detroit Fashion Week, which just wrapped up its fourth consecutive year on Saturday. Detroit insiders are looking to "redeploy" the city's creative force toward fashion:

Joe Faris, a former Project Runway contestant who lives in metro Detroit, says that because car designers are designers, they are aware of fashion — design principles can be translated across industries. "Creative people are just creative — it can be applied both ways," he says. And a manufacturing workforce is a manufacturing workforce, whether they're manufacturing carburetors or brocades. The River Rouge is just a hop, skip, and jump from the garment district!

From the New York perspective, this might seem like a long shot, but if you're interested in fashion (and not necessarily interested in living here, or in any city where the beers cost $6), it's not crazy. Detroit has extremely low overhead costs.

"Michigan is more approachable for a designer who wants to be able to afford housing and also run a business and make a profit," says Brian Heath, founder and producer of Detroit Fashion Week. Also: People in Michigan still need to wear clothes and are still going to buy them, and they don't uniformly think elastic-waisted pants are the way to go. For stylish individuals outside of cosmopolitan cities, there should be life beyond GO International.

In their efforts to make sure Detroit is known for more than just being an automotive town, the fashion community has planned a second sort of Fashion Week: Fashion in Detroit, "a high-end runway show," will drop in less than two weeks.

Unlike Detroit Fashion Week's $350 entrance fee, Fashion in Detroit's fee is $140 for Oct. 1-2, and both Kid Rock (who has a Made in Detroit clothing line) and Betsey Johnson will be showing. It would seem Detroit's catching on quickly, then: The pricier the velvet rope, the better the show.

DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan’s 8th Annual Celebrity Wheelchair Basketball Game, Sept. 24,With Special Half-time Performance by Detroit’s Own Kem.

DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM) will host its 8th Annual Celebrity Wheelchair Basketball Game at The Palace of Auburn Hills on Thursday, September 24, 2009 from 6:00-8:30 p.m. This unique, one-of-a-kind fundraiser supports the wheelchair sports program at RIM.

The game features Detroit’s favorite sports celebrities and radio and television personalities, who compete in wheelchairs along with RIM’s award-winning wheelchair basketball team, the Detroit Diehards. Come and watch as some of Detroit’s greatest sports legends from the Pistons, Red Wings, Tigers and Lions take to the court for an evening of fun, fast-paced action.

Among the sports legends participating in this year’s game include, Ted Lindsey (Detroit Red Wing), Dave Rozema (Detroit Tiger), Lem Barney (Detroit Lion), and John Long (Detroit Pistons). Current players, Dan Cleary (Detroit Red Wing) and Kwame Brown and Will Bynum (Detroit Pistons) will also be participating.

“I'm honored to take part in the RIM Celebrity Wheelchair game," said Pistons center Kwame Brown. "RIM's SportsAbility program does a great job of helping people with disabilities participate and compete in a wide-range of sports activities. I'm proud to support this great fundraising effort and look forward to a fun event.”

Half-time will feature a performance by international recording artist and Detroit native, Kem. Kem’s smooth, jazzy vocal stylings have made him an urban contemporary favorite and his second CD “Kem Album II” released in 2005, went gold. The single “I Can’t Stop Loving You” won a Billboard award that year for R&B Single of the Year.

All proceeds from the Celebrity Wheelchair Basketball Game benefit RIM’s SportsAbility program which provides persons with disabilities the opportunity to compete in competitive and recreational sports.

Tickets for the event are $8 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under.

Click HERE for more information or to purchase tickets online.

Jim Garrett

This building is a selectively scaled down version of the Detroit Institute of Arts on Woodward Avenue.

The original structure, completed in 1927, was designed in the Italian style by Paul Philippe Cret. The real thing is really a great musuem with a large collection. Many of the galleries have period styles to them including a medieval courtyard. The murals by Diego Rivera depicting the auto industry are unique.

If my version of the museum were built to scale, the building would be about 3 times wider and longer. Black granite additions were built from 1966-1970 but due to space restrictions, my model only shows the orginal marble section. The model has a rudimentary interior in which I planned to place reproductions of some art but I have not done so yet. It took about 28 hours over 7 days to build and was completed in November 2004.

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A Ford Anglia drives north on Woodward Avenue past the Detroit Institute of the Arts (DIA). The rather primitive and cubistic rendition of the replica of Auguste Rodin's "The Thinker" sits to the right of the entrance.

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The entrance is covered by three arches resting on four ionic columns. Walls with large marble blocks flank the entrance.

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The real DIA has a hall of suits of armor. The pedestal should have had "The Thinker" on it but I removed it since the Lego version did not turn out so good.

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The rear of the museum which is not very accurate since there is actually a movie theater attached here. I did not include this due to space limitations but instead used architectural ideas from the Detroit Library's main building.

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Skylights cover the Diego Rivera and medieval courtyards. Wait... something funny seems to be going on up on the roof!

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Two people seem to be making off with a large painting!

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"You idiot! You dropped your end and damaged the picture. You upset the old bat!"

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Unfortunately for the would be art thieves, a Detroit PD officer is waiting to take the situation in hand. In reality "Whistler's Mother" by James Abbot McNeill Whistler was exhibited at the DIA in spring 2004 without incident.

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After my first MichLUG train show in November 2004, I replaced the blue roof with a dark grey one for a more realistic appearance. 

In Defense Of Detroit

Kathleen Bushnell Owsley

In a recent column on Forbes.com, author Shikha Dalmia expressed skepticism over a Detroit renaissance. She described Detroit as a desolate city that has failed to acknowledge its challenges and take advantage of its strengths. She insinuates that Detroit is banking wholly on one community--artists--to support our turnaround. Dalmia even went so far as to suggest that the basic need to survive and flourish has ceased to exist in the city.

It's easy to disparage Detroit, but Dalmia--and many others--choose to only see one side of the Motor City, that of a hopeless and unrealistic place. But I can't stop wondering how one person's view of Detroit can be so lifeless, when mine has been the opposite.

I was born in the Detroit and, yes, raised to be a fan and supporter of my hometown. My dad took us to the Heidelberg Project--a surrealistic home turned artistic expression--before it was featured in an HBO documentary. My aunt and uncle lived in Detroit's thriving Woodbridge neighborhood until they reached their 90s and could no longer take care of a house.

In 1989, I left for college. I was away from Detroit for the majority of the following 10 years. I lived in Belfast in Northern Ireland, Aix-en-Provence in France, New York City, Chicago, Orlando, Kalamazoo, Mich., and San Francisco before I came back. So I feel I have a pretty good handle on life in other places.

When I returned to Detroit in 1999, the city lacked excitement. I remember at the time just hoping we could get a Starbucks or two--the supposed barometer of a city's "it" factor. (I believe, for the record, the city now has four, with scores of others in the metro area.)

There was a gray, lifeless concrete area two blocks up from my downtown office at the time, and I have a vague recollection of John Cougar playing an impromptu concert there one afternoon. I thought, "What a lousy place to see a concert."

Today, however, I look out my office window and see Campus Martius Park, a bustling square modeled after an Italian piazza and completed in 2004. In the past year I've seen ice skaters, Segway tours, outdoor concerts and Hilary Swank shooting a movie from my window. Beyond the park, there's a riverfront along which to walk, the Dequindre Cut along which to bike, and unique spots, like the Rowland Café, to grab a coffee.

I'm encouraged by a multitude of recent initiatives that support the city, including a plan to increase the density of creative economy businesses, a strategy to get 15,000 more young college-educated people living in greater downtown Detroit by 2015 and a thriving, innovative association that supports the vitality of arts and culture institutions in metro Detroit--which are peppered throughout our community and are not, as Dalmia claims, limited to one block in east Detroit.

The day after Dalmia's Detroit article was published, I attended the Crain's House Party--an annual event where dozens of Detroiters open their homes to attendees for a short soirée. Everyone then gathered together for an "afterglow," where we talked about the amazing lofts, houses and high rises we had just visited. I spoke with a number of people living in the city. They told me it's challenging but worth it. These were regular folks with children and jobs--not the childless bohemian couples Dalmia mentions.

Take Jim Boyle, vice president of Integrated Marketing, a Detroit-based marketing and media relations agency. Jim concedes that raising a family in Detroit can sometimes be difficult, but says his children will have a worldview like no other.

"My children know that not every person is the same or has the same opportunity, and the reasons these things happen are abundant, historical and very complex," says Jim. "We've had author Toby Barlow over for dinner, walked around Heidelberg with Tyree, visited famous musicians' homes (and dogs), and hosted art events and mini-concerts in our home, enabling our children to chat with a whole range of thoughtful people who do cool things with their lives and time."

Jim and his family help with neighborhood clean up, visit the community garden Wednesday nights in the summer, and take car trips to Honey Bee market and cheap eats in Mexican Town.

"The big-picture idea is ... that the soul of the place rubs off on the soul of our people," says Jim. "And Detroit's got plenty of soul."

In the early '90s when my future husband was attending Wayne State University in Detroit, home to one of the largest medical schools in America, I went to visit him at his midtown apartment. The block and the building were broken down and unsafe. I visited the area again for the first time last year. My husband's old apartment building is being restored and converted into lofts. Last week, the raggedy, closed-down bar on the corner had a pre-grand opening party. It's looking amazing. There goes the neighborhood.

During the afterglow, I ran into a young entrepreneur named Kerry Doman, who runs a company called After 5. The mission of After 5 Detroit is to get young people excited about living in the area by connecting them to the best that metro Detroit has to offer. Kerry's business is thriving, and she's in the market to buy a downtown loft. The competition is so fierce she told me that people are outbidding one another to get space.

I also ran into Paul Schutt, publisher of the online magazine Model D. Model D features stories about development, creative people and businesses, vibrant neighborhoods and cool places to live, eat, shop, work and play. Model D is four years old. It has 10 people working on the magazine, including writers, photographers and editors. The fact that Model D continues to publish a weekly magazine about growth and creative types in the city indicates there is a momentum toward positive change.

That's how the resurgence of Detroit is taking place--small pockets, a variety of initiatives, by corners, blocks and buildings. Detroit's revival does not sit on the shoulders of any one industry or group of people. And if we each filter our vision through a veil of sarcasm and impossibility, success becomes laughable, and a holistic look at the facts untenable.

Detroit has gone through stunning tragedies over the years--the auto industry collapse being the latest example. But Detroit has, in myriad ways, defied failure with hundreds of small and large successes, even in 2009. We are acknowledging those issues and working to correct them. This is not a town that will simply throw its hands up and give up.

I'd suggest to Ms. Dalmia that she take a second look at our fair city. I'd be happy to introduce her to some of the gems she missed on her first glance at Detroit.


Well, I'll tell you what they no longer don't have over us: Restaurant Week.

For years there have been "restaurant week" events in cities like New York, Boston, San Diego, Dallas, Austin, Washington D.C., Orlando, Philadelphia, and Chicago. These events offer a prix fixe menu at some of their respective cities' most prestigious dining establishments, encouraging people to experience and celebrate their local cuisine and support their local restaurants.

Detroit has never hosted a dining event on this scale...until now.

Over the past several weeks, I have been giving you previews of the Restaurant Week menus at different participating restaurants. I have interviewed chefs both here and for Model D, and I have heard the same response over and over again from each chef and restaurant manager I've spoken with: Detroit needs this.

In the past decade or so, Detroit--once a champion of fine dining in this country--has all but fallen off the national radar for our cuisine. The occasional James Beard nomination or Wine Spectator award has still been tossed our way, but the national public consensus has been dismissive at best (and downright brutal when at its worst).

The biggest problem is that we never lost the great restaurants; we just lost the prestige and notoriety. Sure, the London Chop House closed almost two decades ago and Chef Milos Cihelka has been retired for over a decade, but they weren't the only things that Detroit could uphold as its humble offerings to the culinary gods.

What about the Rattlesnake Club, the Whitney, Opus One? And in the last decade, Cuisine, Atlas Global Bistro, Coach Insignia? And in just the last few years when Detroit has been experiencing an explosion of creative new fine dining establishments, Roast,Saltwater, 24 Grille, and Iridescence? (And mind you, I am speaking only of those within city limits, and not of the countlessnoteworthy restaurants in the greater metro area.)

In Detroit we have chefs with impressive pedigrees who have studied under some of the most famous chefs in the most famous kitchens and schools in the world. Even when our very own public seems to have forgotten about is, we have still received recognition from such national publications as Wine Spectator,Wine Advocate, Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, and GQ.Yes, over the last several decades our city has made national headlines for a number of negative reasons, and has certainly suffered in population and public opinion because of it. But make no mistake: this is still a great city, and it has always been a great place to eat.

I've heard all too often people claim that Detroit has no culture. To them, I point to the hundreds of art galleries, museums, artist studios, outdoor art installations, theatres, and performance spaces. To them, I offer the countless indie rock, jazz, funk, and techno acts that play on any given night of the week in dive bars, ultra lounges, and upscale jazz clubs. And to them, I point to thedozens of fun, eclectic, noteworthy restaurants, some of which are truly world-class.

I am no true "expert" in the field of dining. I have not been to Tokyo, Paris, or Moscow, nor have I had any kind of formal gastronomical training. But I think it would be fair to say that I at least know more and have had more experience than a good number of diners out there. I've been to some of the finest restaurants in the world--Osteria di Rendola in Tuscanny; Felidiaand the Russian Tea Room in New York City; Spiaggia in Chicago;Thornton's in Dublin; Grano de Oro in Costa Rica. I've experienced fine dining in Chicago, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Toronto, and Phoenix. The only thing holding me back from having more experience is lack of access to a big-budget national publication's handsome expense account (PS, dear big-budget national publication, please give me access to your handsome expense account, KTHX). But just in my own experience, limited in worldliness though it may be, I can say with absolute conviction that some of Detroit's restaurants can compete with any of these highly-decorated world-renowned places...in fact, some are even better.

Why is Detroit Restaurant Week so important? you might ask. Or rather, why have I been harping on you about it for weeks now? The answer is simple: it finally puts Detroit on the national culinary map. It finally puts us on the same playing field as Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston. It finally forces people to acknowledge the wonderful dining experiences there are to be had here and situates us as one of the nation's premiere dining destinations--a title we really never should have lost.

Jason Huvaere, Producer of Detroit Restaurant Week, said restaurant week promotions in other major cities across the country have brought customers back again and again -- even after the promotion has ended. And based on early feedback from participating restaurants and the local community, Detroit’s restaurant week is expected to be just as popular as those in Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore and Washington D.C.

“We are home to some of the best dining establishments in the country and this region will welcome this type of dinner promotion,” said Huvaere. “Over the course of the last three months, we’ve been promoting Detroit Restaurant Week at events throughout the region, and we’ve received a very positive response from everyone we’ve engaged.

“And based on preliminary reports from the participating restaurants, reservations are strong, which means that our community is truly embracing the Detroit Restaurant Weekconcept.”

Detroit Restaurant Week starts tonight. 17 participating restaurants are offering minimum 3-course meals at a fixed price of $27.00 (excluding tax and gratuity). Restaurant Week runs through Sunday, September 27th. If you don't understand what all the fuss is about, then now is a good time for you to find out.

Bob Biscigliano

Ernie Harwell permanently connected so many people who listened to him to the amazing game of baseball.  I'm a passionate Detroit Tigers fan who grew up not only listening to him broadcast games, but imitating his calls in my backyard with my brothers as we'd play whiffle ball.  When I think of Tigers baseball, I don't just think about my hometown baseball team, I hear Ernie Harwell.  When I see Tigers baseball, I hear Ernie Harwell.

Ernie Harwell is Detroit Tigers baseball.

So when Ernie gave what seemed like a "Thank you fans, good bye" speech tonight between the top and bottom half of the 3rd inning, I couldn't hold back the tears that built up in my eyes.  It was perfect, it was special, and it was heartwarming.  I got goosebumps all over my body as I let a tear drop loose and slide down my cheek.  I'm sure there were thousands of Tigers fans who felt the same way.

Ernie, thanks for all the memories.
More than 200 people came together for Detroit Public Schools’ Osborn College Preparatory Academy on Friday, Sept. 11 on the first National Day of Service and Remembrance.

American Express and Delta Air Lines employees joined Osborn students, staff and the community on the Detroit campus for the first of three “Travel with Your Mind” projects, the credit card company’s yearlong philanthropic effort for the city. Volunteers from Macomb County and other areas spent four hours painting murals, touching up classrooms, beautifying school grounds and more.

The “Travel with Your Mind” theme was selected to help expose Osborn’s students to the new possibilities travel creates through a series of travel-related projects and multicultural initiatives – without the students ever leaving their own backyard.

“American Express has a long history of supporting causes that are important to its Cardmembers, so as more people in Detroit switch to the Delta SkyMiles Card, American Express wanted to enhance its commitment to the area by supporting a cause that is near and dear to its residents – local schools,” said David Rabkin, vice president, Delta Co-Brands, for American Express.

Even his parents – Ann Arbor residents Eric Rabkin, a University of Michigan English professor, and Elizabeth Rabkin, a retired Ann Arbor schoolteacher, pitched in.

American Express worked with the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, an affiliate of HandsOn Network, the largest volunteer network in the nation, to implement “Travel with Your Mind.” Two additional projects planned for the spring and winter semesters will be announced in 2010.

Detroit Fashion Week is Michigan's only fashion industry event. Beginning September 13th and lasting until the 19th, the week includes fashion events and parties as well as numerous designers and special appearances from the CW 50 Gossip Girl characters. The fashion week kicks off with the opening party at BlackFinn in Royal Oak.

On Monday, the Project Muse Gallery Exhibition opens from 6-10pm. The Goldfish Tea will be featuring short film screenings on Tuesday and Thursday, and the week will culminate will a fashion show at the Farmers Market in Royal Oak. For a full schedule of the events to hit, go to www.detroitfashionweek.com.

Part of the hype during Detroit's fashion week is getting a taste of some big name celebs. Designer Reco Chapple from Bravo Networks "The Fashion Show" and Bianca Golden, Americas Next Top Model contestant, will close the runway events at DFW Couture Showcase. Tickets can be purchased through the Detroit fashion week website. There will be free ticket giveaways for the Couture Showcase at each of the events throughout the week.

Other designers featured during the week will be William Malcolm, who will introduce his collection in his first DFW showcase and Robrena Davis, an Alumni of Central Michigan University and student designer from the 2006 DFW. Femelia Couture will be returning for their third year and Jenna Kator will be bringing along a collection of designer handbags and accessories. Also joining the designers will be new student designers from local universities and high schools.

Detroit Fashion Week is a step in the right direction for expanding the industry with so much potential. Detroit is busting at the seams with creativity and talent that is begging to be showcased. Come out for this one-of-a-kind event and support the growth of fashion in Michigan.
Andrea Canter

If my first Detroit Jazz Festival (2008) was a revelation, my second last weekend was at least as much an ear-opening and even more inspiring experience.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary with a focus on Detroit’s jazz lineage, the theme “Keepin’ Up With Joneses” not only recognized the legacy of native sons Hank, Elvin and Thad Jones, but brought “home” famed Detroiters Sheila Jordan, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Charles McPherson, Geri Allen, Louis Hayes, Bennie Maupin, Karriem Riggins, Rodney Whitaker and Carlos McKinney, and a few more who made the Detroit area home, including Gerald Wilson and Marcus Belgrave.

But it was not all about Detroit, as the festival sought to celebrate other musical families—the Brubecks, the Heaths, the Coryells, the Pizzarellis, the Escovedos, the Claytons. Last year’s Artist in Residence Christian McBride appeared in several configurations, as did the 2009 Artist in Residence and another noted bassist, John Clayton. In further tribute to Detroit and the festival’s long history, there were world premiers of commissioned works by Gerald Wilson and John Clayton; a recreation of Detroit legend Donald Byrd’s Blue Note recording, A New Perspective; and recognition of four of Detroit’s “Jazz Guardians” (Hank Jones, Marcus Belgrave, festival founder Robert McCabe, and longtime Detroit jazz educator Ernie Rodgers).

With over 100 music performances scattered across 3 ½ days and five stages, it’s easy to identify the DJF as one of the world’s largest jazz events, and the nation’s largest free jazz festival. Yet the significance of the DJF transcends the art itself, as one of the city’s critical opportunities to push aside its economic challenges and negative public image, and instead show the world a diverse community bound together by artistic pride and a commitment to cultural education equaled by few urban centers.

Jazz needs Detroit as much as Detroit needs jazz. And for 750,000 on Labor Day Weekend, Detroit and jazz are inseparable and inspiring.

Experiencing the friendly efficiency and artistic integrity of the 2009 DJF, it’s hard to remember that only three years ago, the attainment of a thirty-year anniversary seemed unlikely. In 2006, a jazz angel in the form of Carhartt heiress/Mack Avenue Records owner Gretchen Valade offered a ten million-dollar endowment to ensure the future of jazz in Detroit and stimulate further funding efforts.

Valade was a familiar presence throughout the festival, as was Festival Executive Director Terri Pontremoli and an army of spirited, usually smiling volunteers. Having convinced several friends to try Detroit this year, I am confident my recommendations are still credible. In particular, the Detroit festival boasts:

Only free music—no ticketing of selected headliners, everything is free to everyone.

Mostly open seating--there are a few rows reserved for VIP seating (for donors) at the three largest venues, otherwise its first come, first seated, and comfort in setting up your own chair if you prefer. Like other outdoor festival’s I’ve attended, I’ve never had a problem leaving my chair to hit another stage or concessions, always finding it where I left it. There’s an etiquette among jazz festival attendees that seems universal.

Diverse music largely within the umbrella of “jazz”―and leaning more toward bebop and post bop mainstream eras with a small smattering of Detroit’s “other” sounds that often find their way into jazz—Motown, soul, gospel, blues, hip-hop.  None of the smooth palp that confuses naïve audiences about the difference between Kenny Garrett and Kenny G.

More headline acts per day than any one individual can attend (or absorb!)

Strong emphasis on “passing it on” via performances from middle and high school bands, area and national college bands, even a “Kid Bop” tent for the youngest fans to enjoy some hands-on experiences. College student musicians appeared on the main stages with such luminaries as Dee Dee Bridgewater, Stefon Harris and Eddie Daniels.
Sarah Szurpicki

The rails-to-trails concept isn’t new.  Neither is urban greenspace.  Bike lanes have been paved before.  And yet, to a Detroiter, the opening of the Dequindre Cut this May felt almost revolutionary.

The Dequindre Cut is one mile of paved bike and walking lanes, with an adjacent greensward that could, in the future, be used for light rail–and currently functions as a picnic spot–which run from Lafayette to one of Detroit’s greatest community assets, Eastern Market.  It’s a “cut” because it’s set about 25 feet below-surface of roads and sidewalks, like an open-air subway for foot and bike traffic, in the footprint of the former Grand Trunk rail line.  Entrance and exit ramps about every 1/2-mile make the Cut accessible.

On a walk there last week (during which my audio recorder failed me, so I sadly can’t bring you a podcast) with Tom Woiwode, the Director of the GreenWays Initiative of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and one of the major forces behind the building of the Dequindre Cut, and Sue Weckerle, a Program Associate in the Foundation’s Community Investment group, we noted a few families, several people on bikes, and at least one motorized mobility assistive device.  (In Detroit, you’ll often see those devices in the middle of a busy road, because the condition of the sidewalks doesn’t allow passage.)  It was a warm, sunny day, and the landscaping, still-fresh lane paint, and signage made the Cut extremely welcoming.

The city purchased the land in the ’90s with plans to use it as, essentially, a driveway to a casino planned for the riverfront.  The brilliant idea to use the riverfront for casinos was thankfully scrapped, and the possibility begin to gather in several minds that this overgrown, neglected, and dangerous pathway could be transformed.  Funding from multiple government sources–including out of the transportation enhancement pool of MDOT’s ISTEA funding–was matched by the Community Foundation; overall, $3.4 million was required to lay the pavement, clear the brush, deal with a mystery sewer system, shore up the retaining walls, and, perhaps most importantly, provide the few little “extras” that really make the Dequindre Cut work.  Street lighting, benches, and emergency phone boxes (like those you see on college campuses), along with the frequently-mowed lawn, are what make the Cut inviting.

The GreenWays Initiative and its many partners, including the City and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, say that the current Cut is just the beginning.  The mile between the south end of the Cut now and the Riverwalk will hopefully be connected by an extension of the Cut, and talks continue with the private property owner just north of the existing Cut.  But on an even larger scale, they envision a city in which all of our existing greenways are interconnected, and they are developing piece-by-piece a plan for construction of linkages between Detroit’s current parks: from Gabriel Park in the east, to Belle Isle and the Riverwalk, to the Dequindre Cut, to the planned “Midtown Loop,” and beyond.

Tom emphasized that, to him, bike lanes are important–but not in and of themselves, so much as potential triggers to a culture change.  The “greenways” are about inspiring “green WAYS” of living. They are also about the development of a community asset that Detroiters can be proud of and can communally use and celebrate; walking the Cut, you’re likely to receive twice as many smiles and “hellos” from strangers than you will on the sidewalk above (unscientific estimate).

The creation of the Cut involved overcoming several obstacles (like the mystery sewer system mentioned above).  Tom and Sue attribute its success to the dedication of all the involved parties, who met monthly and sometimes bi-weekly over a period of years to hone the plan and gather resources.  The maintenance and expansion of greenways in Detroit is similarly reliant on a series of collaborations.  One small example: the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy is charged with the ongoing maintenance of the Dequindre Cut.  Graffiti that has been preserved on the abutments within the Cut gives a nod to its history and Detroit’s graffiti culture.  But the more sun-exposed graffiti is already starting to flake, and the Conservancy having to vet new graffiti art for family-friendliness probably seems a little counter-cultural to the graffiti counter-culture.  A partnership in the works with an arts organization might circumvent the challenge.

The Dequindre Cut alone is not going to get Detroiters to sell their cars, and its success can’t be measured in miles of pavement laid.  Over time, what I’ll be watching for, with optimism, are answers to questions like: Are new small businesses popping up on the corners with Cut entrance ramps?  Is there less car congestion at Eastern Market on Saturday mornings?  Have obesity levels in the neighborhoods surrounding the Cut decreased?  Will people in those neighborhood start biking to work?  Are those neighborhoods seeing populations increase?  Do their residents feel prouder of their homes, and more warmly towards their neighborhoods?

I ask those questions because I believe that new greenways, especially those with a commitment to the maintenance that keeps them safe and welcoming, can have economic, health, and community benefits–and hope that the Dequindre Cut serves as a tipping point for those transformations in Detroit.

Thanks again to Tom and Sue for spending some time sharing their work and their passion with me.