Matthew Neagle
Michigan Future Inc.

The revival of Detroit is happening, slowly but surely.  The best indicator is the pulse of the so-called “creative class” that are typically the first to re-enter and re-catalyze an urban area.

This weekend, I met up with a friend who is a prototype of the creative class – an artist and musician who organizes underground music events, plays shows on tours around the country , and works freelance as a computer programmer.  And, he has been living in downtown Detroit for almost ten years.  He is living the pulse.

His response to why Detroit is a great place to be an artist – space, food, and time.

For 1/4 the cost of a renting a single room in Chicago or New York, my friend has a stunning and raw 1000 square loft with 20 foot high ceilings that he shares with one other person.  For a quarter the cost, he gets 10 times the space in Detroit.   He has all the room he needs to live, to create music and art, and to put on events in his space.

Untrue to the common gripe about no grocery stores in Detroit, my friend is within walking distance to fresh, local, inexpensive food 365 days a year at Eastern Market, the largest open air market in the country.  In fact, this weekend, bell peppers were selling 5 for a dollar – can’t beat that.

Unless, of course, you are growing it yourself.   My friend also had a vegetable garden outside his building, one of an increasing number of urban gardens and farms in Detroit.   Detroit can now offer the cultural value of urbanity with the space and sustenance of rural living.

With less cost needed to sustain himself, he has more time for his creative pursuits.   The economics of creative work, for those that want a raw urban experience, make sense right now.

And, more and more people are taking up the offer.   My friend said the pulse is changing – Detroit is much better than it was 5 years ago and significantly better than when he arrived almost 10 years ago.

Finally Detroit, the first movie ever released in theaters that shows the positive side of life in Detroit opens November 6th. Prepare yourself for 90 minutes of fall-out-of-your-seat laughter as filmmaker and loyal Detroiter Robert Phelps introduces his new comedy “Stick It In Detroit.”

This award-winning, critically acclaimed, raw, in-your-face comedy epitomizes the roll-up-your-sleeves, never-say-die, do-it-yourself Detroit spirit and promises to be the most fun you will have at the movies all year.

Hoping to help reverse the negative stereotype that Detroit has garnered in movies over the past three decades and against all odds, director Robert Phelps set out on a seven-year journey, sacrificing everything to make the film that would show the world the Detroit he knows and loves, the one that is a great place to live and work, the one full of family, friends and most importantly, laughter.

“I am very proud of my city. It is a beautiful city full of amazing people. I’m sick of how it’s portrayed in movies, so I wanted to make a film that the people of Detroit can identify with, relate to and be proud of. Most importantly, I wanted to make a movie in which Detroiters can forget about their problems and just laugh for 90 minutes straight,” said Phelps.

“Stick It in Detroit” is 100% made in Detroit, by Detroit and for Detroit. “This is Detroit’s movie. It is not going to change the perception of our city overnight, but every positive project counts, and eventually, if we support these projects, we can do it and have a lot of fun in the process.”

“Stick It In Detroit” opens in theaters beginning Friday, November 6th, only at MJR Theaters: Waterford Cinema 16, Marketplace Sterling Heights Cinema 20 and Southgate Cinema 20.

Forbes has released its annual "America's Safest Cities" list and Detroit ranks 12 in the nation!  Mind you, just a year and a half ago, Forbes listed Detroit as the most dangerous city in the U.S.  Oh, how times have changed!  The cities were ranked based on the lowest rate of violent crimes, workplace deaths, fatal crashes, and natural disasters.

Below is how Detroit measures up:

Workplace Fatality Rate: 4th
Traffic Death: 10th
Natural Disaster: 8th
Violent Crime:  40 out of 40

Lee Mergner
Jazz Times

The Kresge Foundation, in conjunction with Kresge Arts in Detroit, announced that jazz trumpeter Marcus Belgrave is the 2009 Kresge Eminent Artist. That award also comes with a $50,000 prize. The Detroit-based Belgrave has gotten a lot of awards and grants over the years, but he told JT that this one was special. “It’s one I didn’t expect, that’s for sure.” It turns out that he knew he had been nominated, but after attending a gathering of various artists in the running for the award, he ruled himself out. “I saw so many gifted artists of all genres, not just music, so I didn’t think I had a chance.”

The Kresge Eminent Artist Award recognizes an exceptional artist in the visual, performing, or literary arts for his or her professional achievements and contributions to the cultural community, and encourages that individual’s pursuit of a chosen art form as well as an ongoing commitment to Metropolitan Detroit. The award is unrestricted and is given annually to one artist who has lived and worked in Wayne, Oakland, or Macomb Counties for a significant number of years. The first-ever Kresge Eminent Artist Award was presented last year to Detroit visual artist Charles McGee. The Eminent Artist Award is administered by the College for Creative Studies. The award recipient is selected by an independent review panel composed of prominent artists and arts professionals from the Detroit area.

Michelle Perron, director of Kresge Arts in Detroit, acknowledged that Belgrave was a natural choice for the award in its second year. “The award recognizes someone who has exemplified outstanding achievement in the arts field, as well as contributed to the Detroit area community. His impact in this community has been so outstanding for many years, not only as a musician but also as an educator.” She confirmed that there are no strings to the award. “This award recognizes his lifelong work and commitment.”

Belgrave himself attributes the award to his lifelong devotion to education in the community. “They knew that if they gave the money to me that I’m going to keep on doing what I been doing.” Indeed, Belgrave has been dedicated to teaching jazz to young people, both informally and formally, since around 1970.

Born and raised in Chester, Pa., Belgrave has been a fixture of the Detroit music community since he settled there in 1963. He told JT that he had his eye on the city for many years. “I was very close with Clifford Brown, who lived in Wilmington, Delaware, not far from me. He became my first mentor. I was trying to play jazz but, you know, I didn’t know what I was doing. He wrote out my first solo for me, for ‘How High the Moon.’ Yes, he opened up my ears.” Belgrave simply couldn’t imagine someone playing the trumpet better than Brown (a sentiment matched by many a trumpet player, past and present). “But these other guys would tell me, ‘Oh yea? There’s a guy in Detroit who plays circles around Clifford.’ I thought to myself, ‘Who was this guy?’ It turned out to be Thad Jones. So I knew that Detroit had a real strong music scene. I got to know him later when I was with Ray Charles and he was with Count Basie.”

Performing with Ray Charles for almost four years was a watershed experience for Belgrave, who had met Charles in Wichita, Kansas and sat in with the band. But it wasn’t until Charles had a three-week engagement in the Chester area that Belgrave was asked to join the band. “The last night he was there, he called me in to be a part of the band, because the trumpet player had had enough,” said Belgrave, laughing. Several years later, Belgrave would have a similar feeling. But he doesn’t harbor any ill feelings about his tenure with the great singer. “Those were beautiful days.” When he left Charles’ band he wanted to find a place where he could make a living without being on the road for months at a time. It was around 1962 and the Motown label was in full swing. Belgave did sessions with the label and when that work dried up, he started looking for other outlets for his talents. “I had worked so hard and lived so hard, I was ready to settle down.”

His conversion to the field of jazz education came in 1970, during a difficult time physically. He had been ill in the hospital and when he was released, he had some time on his hands without an instrument. “The doctor told me, ‘I know you’re not going to give up playing, but you have to give it up for at least three months.’ I lasted two! But it was during that time that I started teaching. And I took to it. It seemed like a natural thing to hook up with talented kids.” Talented they were. Among his students are some of the most accomplished players on the contemporary jazz scene, including Geri Allen, Regina Carter, James Carter, Bob Hurst, Rodney Whitaker and Kenny Garrett, all of whom are quick to publicly acknowledge their debt to their mentor. In an Overdue Ovation profile of Belgrave in JT in 1994, Regina Carter told Jim Dulzo that Belgrave had and continues to have a unique relationship with his former students. “He is like baby’s milk,” Carter explained. “He’s like a nutrient, like a parent. It was just so important to us as young people to really get a firm grasp on the music and come to it in a way that is fun and enjoyable.”

It’s clear in talking with Belgrave about his former students that he gets much pride and pleasure from the relationships. Belgrave said about Garrett that, “He asked more questions than any other student. He’s always trying to learn more. Did you know that he learned Japanese and now he’s learning Chinese? Oh lord. At one point he was working with Miles and he would call me up and ask me for advice. I told him, “You’re playing with Miles Davis—ask him!”

During the ‘70s, Belgrave worked as a musician and teacher with the late Harold McKinney and his organization Metropolitan Arts, but eventually formed his own organization, the Jazz Development Workshop, where many of the aforementioned artists got their early jazz training. Belgrave felt that his program made a difference in the city. “It was a positive thing for Detroit. There are a lot of dedicated teachers in the city—like Ernie Rogers and Dan Pruitt. But it seems like the schools are in such a state of decline, they just don’t get a chance.” Belgrave himself never taught formally in the Detroit school system, preferring to work on his own with students who wanted to learn from a master. Looking back on his teaching experiences, Belgrave attributed whatever impact he had on the students to the simple message that he delivered. “I let them know that they can really play. I think they knew it anyway. But I found that I was able to impart my own knowledge, direction and guidance to them.”

I asked him if he ever regretted settling in Detroit, where he became known more as an educator than as a musician. “No, no. I spent a year and a half in New York City. I worked and played with so many greats. I played on records with Mingus and Donald Byrd. I was in contact with all the musicians. I put in my dues. But it’s a hectic place. You can get in trouble there!”

In addition to his work as an educator in the Detroit music community, Belgrave also teaches jazz at Oberlin College, along with Wendell Logan, Gary Bartz, Robin Eubanks and Dan Wall. He enjoys teaching to these college kids who likely are very different from the inner city kids Belgrave has mentored over the years. “They seem to like my approach there.” He laments that he doesn’t get to spend more time with his fellow professors, who tend to come to the campus for different 2-3 days stretches. And Belgrave continues to be active as a performing musician. He recently toured with his wife, singer Joan Belgrave, in a show dedicated to Louis Armstrong. He performs and records regularly in the Detroit area and is a founding member of the Detroit Jazz Musicians Co-Op. Recently, Belgrave represented Detroit as part of the Lincoln Center Motor City Jazz Masters tribute which Included Yusef Lateef, Curtis Fuller, Charles McPherson, and Ron Carter.

Belgrave has no concrete plans for using the money from the award. He does want to explore the music of his family’s roots in Barbados. And he’s looking forward to doing the 2010 Jazz Party at Sea, which will make stops in the Caribbean, not far from his family’s origins. “I want to see if that music is still in my blood.”

David Runk
The Huffington Post

A photographer and an architect plan to freeze one of Detroit's thousands of abandoned homes this winter, encasing it in ice to draw attention to foreclosures that have battered the region.

The project from Gregory Holm and Matthew Radune, dubbed Ice House Detroit, is the latest example of the remnants of Detroit's population loss and industrial decline serving as both artistic inspiration and canvas.
"I've been really fascinated by the whole mythology of Detroit and the structures and what they represent," said Holm, who grew up on the city's east side and lived in the suburb of Hamtramck from 1997 until moving to New York City four years ago.

Holm, 38, plans to photograph the transformation of the house, which will be sprayed with water and gradually covered in ice. In the spring, crews will salvage what building materials can be reused and demolish the home. The lot will be donated, probably for a community garden.

The Detroit area has a foreclosure rate that's among the nation's highest, and Radune said the city offers a unique backdrop for the artists' work.

"It's a project that couldn't be done in the same way in New York City and it wouldn't necessarily make the same sense," said Radune, a 32-year-old freelance architect in Brooklyn who also is a DJ. "Detroit was a place where we could make it into more than architectural installation."

Holm and Radune are working to raise $11,000 online to fund the project, mostly for costs related to demolition, and hope to soon figure out where in the city they'll freeze a home.

Detroit, which has shrunk from a population of 1.8 million in the 1950s to half that now, has tens of thousands of vacant homes and buildings.

Read more at:

It's Detroit's distinctive history that makes it so resonant for this kind of work," said John Beardsley, an adjunct professor with Harvard's Graduate School of Design. "It was a go-go city that in recent years has been identified as gone.

"This is not to say that Detroit can't come back, but there is a particular poignance to this history."

One deteriorating Detroit neighborhood became the outdoor art gallery for Tyree Guyton, whose more than two-decade-old Heidelberg Project has drawn international attention. Guyton transformed the houses, streets and lots with his colorful polka-dot art and collections of stuffed animals, shoes and old appliances.

More recently, a group calling itself Object Orange painted the shells of crumbling Detroit buildings bright orange to call attention to the city's blight and decay.

Radune developed the idea for Ice House while studying architecture at Rice University in Houston. After talking it over with Holm earlier this year, they decided to collaborate. A book and film about the project also are planned.

Toby Barlow
The New York Times

I was recently sitting at the bar of Le Petit Zinc talking to the owner, Charles Sorel, when he said something I found shocking: “I can’t imagine opening a business anywhere but Detroit.”

From a local, I would have just written it off as city pride, but Charles is, as he himself puts it, a citizen of the world. Born in the French Caribbean and reared in Paris, he ran a French joint in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene and lived in Brazil before winding up here. When I pointed out the risks of starting up in a city as troubled as Detroit, he shrugged it off. “When I moved to New York in the late ’80s there was not a day when someone in the city wasn’t robbed or beaten or killed,” he said. “This is so much better than that.”

A year ago, Charles opened Le Petit Zinc with the simple belief that there was a market here for a crêperie and cafe that served fresh organic food at a decent price. But that was certainly no guarantee of success. Not only was the economy cratering, but the building itself, an abandoned day care center tucked between a working-class Irish neighborhood called Corktown and a few abandoned warehouses, was on a street with no foot traffic. The only thing the place had going for it was a rundown playground out back that was good for outdoor seating. For the first five weeks after opening, when he was the cook, waiter, busboy and janitor, he had no idea what to expect.

Now, we are all raised to think of business as a sort of vicious spy-versus-spy, cutthroat activity where every competing establishment is out to stick a shiv into the other. You’d think that this kind of blood thirst would be even worse in Detroit, which — with Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance, Eminem’s lyrics and our old, quaint Devil’s Night tradition of burning down houses — has acquired a certain reputation for toughness. But Charles discovered that the neighboring Detroit restaurants actually had quite a different reaction to a new competitor.

The owner of Slows, a barbecue place nearby, not only helped him get his permits, but also built tabletops for him at no cost. Jordi, the owner of the Cafe con Leche coffee shop, hooked him up with his coffee supplier. Dave, who had recently opened Supino Pizza, even dropped everything one day to get the paper Charles needed for his credit card machine.

Most surprisingly, just as Charles was starting up, Torya Blanchard was opening another downtown crêpe place called Good Girls Go to Paris. Instead of treating Charles like a rival, Torya happily exchanged recipes with him, even coming in one day to help make his batter, an act of crêperie solidarity that would surely have made Detroit’s founder, Antoine de Lamothe Cadillac, extremely proud.

“They want their neighbor to make it,” he says. “It’s different from anywhere I’ve been. Here, your success is their success.” Even his suppliers have shown a generosity he finds surprising: the Avalon bakery charges him wholesale prices even if he orders just one loaf.

In other ways, too, Charles seems to have timed things well, opening just when Detroit residents with an agricultural bent were beginning to take advantage of the 40 square miles of unoccupied open land here, an area almost the size of San Francisco. Greg Willerer, for instance, sells Charles spinach, flowers and zucchini at an affordable price, all grown within the city limits. Charles also planted his own garden out by the patio, putting in tomatoes, basil, peppers, thyme, parsley and beets.

Maybe it’s that adage that nothing brings a community closer than having a common enemy. For the restaurateurs, the residents, the urban farmers and the community activists now working to reshape the city, the enemy is Detroit’s own reputation. They know they will succeed only if they are a part of a larger, collective success, one that makes downtown a thriving destination again, and so they’re working together to make it happen.

Which leads to another entrepreneurial advantage Detroit possesses: instantaneous and automatic publicity. “Open a business anywhere else, and no one will notice,” Charles said. “Open it in Detroit and everyone talks about it.”

Sure enough, people are now driving in regularly from affluent suburbs like Bloomfield Hills and Grosse Pointe to try his smoked-salmon crêpes and ratatouille, a considerable achievement considering many suburbanites come downtown only for Tigers games or a night at the symphony. While I was there, the place was bustling with a diverse crowd that seemed more than satisfied.

“This is the best restaurant ever. I would eat here all the time if I had more money,” beamed a woman dining alone at the bar.

“Somebody send that lady a dessert!” shouted Charles with a smile.

Toby Barlow is the author of “Sharp Teeth.”

According to the Louis Aguilar Detroit News, Slows Bar BQ will be opening its second location, Slows to Go, a takeout and catering business in the Midtown area (NW corner of Cass Avenue and Alexandrine Street) by the middle of 2010.

The 6,000-square-foot building expands the reach and capacity of the Michigan Avenue restaurant, which was an instant success when it opened four years ago, west of the old Tiger Stadium.

The new building will allow for the preparation of larger quantities of food compared to the original restaurant, which has a tiny kitchen and limited smoker capacity. It also will fill carryout and catering orders. "We're just trying to keep up with demand," said chef Brian Perrone, who also is an owner.

With its slow-food, Southern-inspired menu, Slows has been named one the best barbecue restaurants in the nation by Bon Appetit magazine, the Wall Street Journal and others.

Slows to Go is a $1.5 million investment, including the purchase of the building. The original restaurant's success tapped into a number of movements, including the counter-trend of young people moving back into the core city and the interest in restoring old Detroit buildings.

"We view differently than Time (magazine) and other reports," said co-owner Phil Cooley, referring to a spate of national coverage of hard times in Detroit.

Phil Cooley, a 31-year-old former Louis Vuitton model, convinced his brother Ryan, a former Chicago banker, and their parents Ron and Patty to move to Detroit. And all of them are owners. Other owners include general manager Terry Perrone and sous chef Mike Metevia.

"I've lived in Milan, Barcelona, Tokyo, Paris and Chicago and this is best community that I know,"said Phil Cooley. "The people who are here are often very committed to the area."

TEDx Detroit 2009 Highlights

Chris Spiek
The AWS Blog

If you’re not a fan of the videos at Ideas Worth Spreading, I’d be willing to bet that it’s just because no one has introduced you to the site yet.

If you’ve never heard of, drop whatever you’re doing for the next half hour and watch the videos in this post.

Yesterday, Ted’s ideas spread to Detroit as some of the area’s top thinkers gathered at Lawrence Tech University for a day of compelling discussions about technology, energy, entrepreneurship, and other current challenges.

The first conversation that I had when I arrived at the conference I believe to be very representative of what everyone there was feeling. The man in front of me in line at the registration desk turned around, introduced himself, and asked, “So … what are your expectations?”

Anyone that’s been a long-time fan of knows that the expectations are high. When I watch a TED video online, it tends to introduce a number of new ways of thinking about the topic. On a very positive note, I can honestly say that many of the presenters at TEDx Detroit had the same impact on me.

I’ve seen Richard Sheridan from Menlo Innovations speak on a number of occasions, but this was hands-down his best presentation. Richard spoke about design issues, and specifically how they relate to software design. He opened with a wonderful example: “Have you ever walked up to a door and pushed on it, only to discover that it’s a ‘Pull’ door?” That is BAD DESIGN. His presentation went on to explain a number of examples where studying natural human behavior in the workplace can lead to better software interface design. I agree wholeheartedly with Rich in his argument that we don’t spend enough time incorporating user observation into the design process.

Dan Izzo form Bizdom U gave a though-provoking talk on Turning Dreamers into Doers. Although I think that’s a pretty tough challenge to face (motivating people to act), especially in a 20 minute presentation, he made a number of good points about innovation. His most pointed comment being: “If your business idea is the answer, then what is the f$#@ing question?” The next time you have the next great idea, spend time talking to people about the challenge that they face, and be sure that your solution is actually mated to their problem.

Inspiration & Creativity
In her TED presentation, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love discusses the creative process, and explores the demands that we put on creative thinkers (the possibility of never creating anything great, and the even greater challenges that come with actually creating something incredible).

I believe one of the only standing ovations of the day went to D Blair after he performed his poem Detroit (While I Was Away), and it was definitely much-deserved.

TEDxDetroit video: Poet D Blair performs 'Detroit (while I was away)'

Rory Sutherland presents one of the funniest TED videos that I’ve seen so far as he explores the differences between actual “real” value, and perceived value. If you’ve read Predictably Irrational, you’ll definitely want to watch this.

Would I Attend another TEDx
On the drive home I thought back to the first conversation of the day; had it met my expectations? The short answer is that I would definitely go to another TEDx. The long answer is a bit more involved.

For me, TED is always about taking in a new, thought-provoking perspective on a topic, and the online videos fill that need perfectly. When I think about how I pull them into my life, they are effective because 1) I can watch them whenever I want, and 2) I can skip to the next one if a video turns out to be boring.

I’ve spoken to a few people about the idea of collaboration at the TEDx conferences. I didn’t experience a whole lot of it (the physical layout of the auditorium didn’t lend itself terribly well to round-table discussions), and I didn’t really expect to. Most of the useful conference-type collaboration that I’ve been involved with have been with a number of people who are all experts on the same subject, throwing ideas around (e.g. a CIO conference).

I think there are both obvious benefits and challenges that would come along with a group of people with very different backgrounds digging deep into a wide array of topics. It might be worth exploring these types of round-table discussions at future TEDx events (I’m sure some light discussions happened at the after-party, but that’s not the same as a deep exploration of a topic).

All-in-all the event was a great experience. Kudos to Charlie Wollborg, Derek Mehraban, Catherine Juon, Jennifer Wright, and Terry Bean for putting it all together.

The conference had a definite undertone that could probably be described as something like: Do whatever it takes to get Detroit back on its feet. One quote that I absolutely love stuck in my head that I think sums it all up:

Hell, there are no rules here - we’re trying to accomplish something! 
- Thomas Edison

Sven Gustafson 

Do not adjust your TV sets: More than a dozen major national companies including AutoZone, Wal-Mart, Aldi, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chase Bank, and Tim Hortons are expanding in Michigan.

Companies are trying to capitalize on the growing demand here for lower-priced food, goods and services, The Detroit News reports. That means millions of dollars in new investment and badly needed new jobs as companies build anew or take over vacant storefronts.

Discount grocery chain Aldi expects to add seven stores in the next two years in Michigan, which is one of its top 10 markets nationwide, and has already been hiring in the Detroit area. Wal-Mart plans to open 13 stores here, expand others and move into urban markets such as Detroit. And Meijer will open stores next year in Grand Rapids, Rochester Hills and Petoskey.

"It is important to look at this and realize Michigan is still filled with a large population that needs to eat, shop and be entertained," Scott Watkins, senior consultant with the Anderson Economic Group, told the News. "With the right business model, you can make a lot of money."

Click Here for More Information and to Purchase Tickets

Save the Date for Detroit!

Days of our Lives has partnered with NBC affiliate WDIV Local 4 and the MGM Grand Detroit to hold its first ever talent and fan search in Detroit, Michigan, on Friday, November 13 and Saturday, November 14, 2009.

Fans and aspiring actors alike are encouraged to come take part in this historic occasion. The biggest Days fan will win a trip to Hollywood, California, with a visit to the Days of our Lives set. Promising actors will have the chance to win a role on the award-winning show. All of those participating in the search will have the opportunity to meet some of Salem's favorite cast members including Bryan Dattilo, James Reynolds, Nadia Bjorlin and Shawn Christian.

Days is collaborating with Gleaners Community Food Bank for events through the week leading up to the main function on Friday. Gleaners is the third-oldest food bank in the United States and their mission is to turn surplus food, which otherwise would go to waste, into millions of meals for hungry people. Those involved from the show will not only get to discover new talent, but will also have a hands-on experience helping the Detroit community. All participants are encouraged to bring a can of food or non-perishable donation to the event on Friday, November 13.

TEDxDetroit video: Poet D Blair performs 'Detroit (while I was away)'

Dear Fans of Positive Detroit,

I have a simple request of you: join with me and help make a world of difference for Detroit. We are all tired of the media's bad habit of picking on our area. I ask of you to help change the world's perception of the Detroit Area and one by one, we can do it!

My goal is simple with Positive Cities Detroit: To create a fun, interactive online media platform that gives the voice back to the people to decide how we want the rest of the world to perceive what's really going on in our own backyard. We cannot expect the world to speak kindly of us if we don't do it ourselves.

Here is our chance.

I was invited a few weeks ago by the website to raise money for Positive Cities Detroit, a Michigan Non-Profit.

There are 1,262 Facebook Fans of Positive Detroit and 2,308 Followers on Twitter.

If every fan pledges just $15 (that's just 5 days of Starbucks!) to my Kickstarter drive, I will achieve the monetary goal and the Positive Cities Detroit website will launch in early January of 2010.  Oh, and did I mention you get some great prizes along with your pledges!!!

If you think is great, just wait and see what I have in store for Positive Cities Detroit. It is like nothing you have ever seen before and I promise you will love it! Please help me make Positive Cities Detroit a reality, not just for me, but for all of you.

Thank You!
Erin Rose


Detroit woke up on Monday to find itself under siege by a foreign army.

The army arrived with camera booms, military trucks, massive pennants and green camouflage extras for a remake of the 1984 action film "Red Dawn," turning a normally lightly populated Motown intersection into a hub of activity.

Several blocks of downtown Detroit will be closed off for up to two weeks during the filming, which appeared to have little impact on traffic flow, but drew curiosity seekers on foot.

Michigan has wooed filmmakers to the state with incentives in a bid to diversify an economy that remains very dependent on the health of the still-struggling U.S. auto industry. Clint Eastwood filmed "Gran Torino" in the Detroit-area.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has been filming "Red Dawn" around the state for weeks. The filmmakers blew a car into the air near the downtown Detroit intersection on Monday and set off an explosion in a small Detroit building a week ago.

The original movie saw teenagers take to the hills to mount a guerrilla war after their small U.S. town was invaded by Cuban and Soviet soldiers in a Cold War theme.

In the new movie, the soldiers are from Russia and China, and Detroit serves as a kind of anytown USA stand-in for Spokane, Washington, and other places.

On Monday, passersby snapped cellphone pictures of military trucks and actors wearing green fatigues or officers uniforms reminiscent of past decades.

Paul Thomas, a student cycling to medical school, stopped to take a photo from the seat of his mountain bike. The street closings made his ride easier, he said. "They should shut it down more often."

The movie is planned for release in November 2010.

David N. Goodman
Associated Press

Detroit's $22 million ferry and Great Lakes cruise-ship terminal will help revitalize the area economy and is another fruit of the federal economic stimulus program, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Monday.

LaHood, U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, Reps. John Dingell and Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick and Michigan Transportation Director Kirk Steudel toured the facility. It will be fully operating next summer.
The passenger terminal and public dock on the Detroit River is getting $7.1 million in federal stimulus funds.
The project wouldn't be moving ahead as is without congressional approval of President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan, said LaHood, who thanked the Democratic lawmakers flanking him at a riverfront news conference.

"It's not an easy thing to vote for spending $700 billion, but it's working," he said.

The project consists of a two-story headquarters on the Detroit River near the Renaissance Center and a 200-foot-by-25-foot offshore wharf serving cruise ships, ferries and water taxis connecting to nearby Windsor, Ontario, and other sites along the river.

Plans have been on the drawing board for a decade, but officials didn't agree on a site until 2004.

It's part of a series of Detroit riverfront developments that gained momentum in 2007 with the opening of the Tri-Centennial State Park and the opening of 2 1/2 miles of what is to be a 3 1/2-mile Detroit RiverWalk from downtown east to the Belle Isle park bridge.

Michigan Transportation Director Kirk Steudel said the wharf and terminal will reinforce proposed light-rail and high-speed train service in spurring redevelopment of the region.

Levin, a former Detroit City Council president, said the project marks the culmination of more than half a century of efforts to open Detroit's shoreline to the public.

"What we're witnessing is the renewal of this riverfront," he said.

Earlier Monday, LaHood met with Ford Motor Co. officials. He's taking part in a series of briefings Monday and Tuesday on U.S. safety technology programs at Ford, General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC.
"We got to ride the new Taurus," LaHood told Dingell. "Great car. They're back in the business, I'd say."
On Tuesday, LaHood is scheduled to address the Detroit Economic Club to defend the stimulus plan.

The Detroit Pistons and presenting sponsor National City teamed-up with Samaritan’s Feet to tip-off their 2009-10 season by donating 1,000 pairs of new shoes and socks to pre-identified children from the metro Detroit area on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 from 4-7 p.m. at Boll Family YMCA (1401 Broadway, Detroit, MI 48226). The entire Pistons team will be on-hand to help distribute the shoes during the event.

“During hard times such as these, it is even more important we find ways to help children with basic needs such as shoes,” said Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince. “We are excited to participate in this event and give back to the Detroit community.”

Employees from National City, Fathead, Palace Sports & Entertainment and Pistons mascot Hooper will be volunteering during the event. This event is part of the NBA Cares “Week of Service” where every NBA team is giving a day of service to their local community. Fathead is also supporting National City and the Pistons to help provide the 1,000 pairs of shoes and socks. Parking accommodations were made possible by the Detroit Opera House.

Samaritan’s Feet, founded in 2003, is a humanitarian relief organization based in Charlotte, NC that puts shoes on the feet of children all around the world. With over 300 million children going without shoes everyday, their goal is to provide 10 million pairs of shoes to 10 million impoverished people in 10 years. To date, nearly one million pairs of shoes have been collected for children around the world.

President and Founder, Manny Ohonme, received his first pair of shoes at the age of 9 from a missionary. He started playing basketball and other sports with these new pair of shoes and earned a spot on a traveling basketball team and eventually his high school team. Upon graduating high school, he was offered a scholarship to play basketball at the University of North Dakota (Lake Region), where he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees.

To learn more about their organization, or contact Todd Melloh at 317-417-3525.
I recently purchased a Souvenir of Detroit booklet which contains “a sketch of Detroit’s History, Resources and Points of Interest to Visitors.”

It was written in 1891 during the golden age of bicycling. Sure enough, the booklet contained this text on the city’s cycling scene:

The Detroit Wheelmen are the outgrowth of the two Bicycle Clubs, the Detroit and the Star. These, after several meetings, united in the spring of 1890, everything seeming favorable for re-organization. Wheeling up to this time, owning to many reasons, had been indulged in by but the few, and was looked upon as a pastime. Since that time the club has grown in membership, and among its members may be found many of the brightest and most energetic young men in the city.

The Club House, 64 Washington Ave., is cosy and comfortable, where any visiting wheelman finds a welcome. The twelfth annual meet of the League of American Wheelmen fell in good hands, and was the largest and most successful in the League’s history, and stamps Detroit as an important cycling center, around which the rider will find many delightful tours.

The booklet also highlighted Detroit’s early parks, including Belle Isle and Clark, and concludes that “the city is wonderously well provided with lungs.”

And while describing Belle Isle, it notes its “perfect roadbeds furnish facilities for wheelsmen and their ‘bikes’ not excelled anywhere.” It’s not clear why “bikes” is in quotes unless that was a newer term in 1891.

A Detroit-based shelter for homeless, runaway and at-risk youth will get a boost this fall from
Calling All Angels, a committee of local women passionate about ending the cycle of child abuse in Metro

Calling All Angels (CAA) will host its fourth annual fundraising event Nov. 6 at San Marino Club in Troy, with
100 percent of proceeds benefiting Covenant House Michigan.

“Although our foster care system was originally designed to provide temporary emergency guardianship, more
and more children enter it as infants or youngsters and remain until they reach adulthood,” said Laura Bostick, CAA co-creator.

“Thousands of children age out of the foster care system each year at age 18. We are honored to assist Covenant House Michigan this year in supporting youth who are homeless and in need of shelter and guidance.”

Covenant House Michigan, a faith-based non-profit organization, provides support, educational and programs, as well as other support services, to overcome hurdles such as homelessness, unemployment, education, violence, drugs and gangs. Since 2007, CHM has helped more than 35,000 Michigan teens.

Every night, thousands of young people roam the streets because they are homeless, were abandoned escaped an intolerable situation.

"The problem of homeless kids in Detroit is an invisible one," said Cynthia Adams, Director for Covenant House Michigan. "They go from house to house, 'couch surfing' or living in abandoned buildings or cars. Some sell drugs or their bodies to survive and try to maintain a 'normal' appearance. But they desperately
need unconditional love, support and an alternative to life on the street."

CAA is consistently successful in its efforts to help area organizations year after year and is eager to support
Covenant House Michigan this fall. Since its inception five years ago, CAA has raised $140,000 plus in-kind
donations valued more than $100,000.

Last November, Calling All Angels’ fundraiser raised $40,000 for the purchase and renovation of the Angels of Grace and Hope house in Pontiac, providing a transitional home for children aging out of the foster care system.

The 2007 fundraiser raised $50,000 to help build “House of Hart & Hope,” named for the late Christian radio broadcaster Rhonda Hart, who died in her sleep.

In 2006, the women reached out to Grace Centers of Hope, raising $50,000 to help pay off the mortgage for
Gracie House in Pontiac.

How you can help

Please take this opportunity to bring hope and joy into children’s’ lives by contributing to our cause. We thank you for your consideration with our whole hearts and know that many small hearts will be thanking you too!
Call 248-393-2086 to pre-order tickets or make donations for this year’s event.

Volunteers are needed to help with auction items, donations, sponsorships, program ads and ticket sales.

Visit or for more information.

Yelp Teams Up With Great Local Spas to Offer 50% Off Top Services, the site that connects people with great local businesses, presents Hawt on Yelp, a week-long promotion dedicated to giving consumers the chance to try great local spas at deeply discounted prices. The promotion will run from Monday, November 2nd to Sunday, November 8th.

Six Yelp-worthy local spas, salons & studios participating in the promotion include:

Balance Massage Therapy (Ann Arbor)
Curl Up & Dye (Midtown Detroit)
Main Street Massage Therapy (Ann Arbor)
Om Spa (Dearborn)
Salon Vertigo (Ann Arbor)
SprayChic Airbrush Tanning (Farmington)

These special offers are open to the public. Appointments must be made in advance by calling the business and mentioning Hawt on Yelp. No walk-ins! For more information about the special offers please see our list of specials (below/attached) or visit:

Hawt on Yelp will be running nationwide in 14 markets with 143 spas participating in the program. Other markets offering the promotion: Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, DC, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Orange County, Philadelphia and Phoenix, San Diego.

Come take a sneak peek at the newest Urbane feature...CO-WORK SPACE @ Urbane on Adams!  If you've seen the Urbane Offices, you know how snazzy we like it! If you live at Urbane, you get to use this space for FREE.  We're also small-medium companies to lease out part of the space for everyday use!

Urbane Residents attending the event will be entered to win 6 month FREE rent!

Not an Urbane Resident yet??...Rent a TRENDY one bed @ Urbane on Adams during the event and you too will be entered in to win 6 months FREE rent!

 If you are an artist and want to get in on the friendly competition, shoot us an email or give us a call!

1050 Adams Road, Birmingham
6:00-9:00 P.M., Thursday October 22

Nicole Brown
Woodward Avenue Action Association

On Friday, October 16 historic Woodward Avenue was designated a All-American Road (AAR), the highest honor for a road in the United States, by the U.S Department of Transportation. This important designation is administered by the Federal Highway Administration's National Scenic Byway program. The AAR status will now include Woodward Avenue in the international tourism marketing campaigns done by the FHWA of the prestigious AAR program.

The elite collection of 37 roads were selected because of their scenic, natural, historical, cultural, archaeological or recreational qualities that contributed to the America's story which could not be duplicated anywhere else in the country. The Woodward Avenue Action Association, a economic and community development non-profit submitted the application for the designation in January of this year with the full support of state and local goverment officials, community and business leaders.

For more information on the designation please visit: .

Sam Abuelsamid

Earlier this week, Brammo's director of product development Brian Wismann along with Dave Schiff of Crispin Porter Bugosky, began a ten-day journey meant to take them to Washington, DC.

The trip, which is being chronicled on the site, is intended to raise awareness of the company's new electric motorcycle, the Enertia, and electric vehicles in general.

The trek began at Zingerman's deli in downtown Ann Arbor, MI, which just happens to be a a few blocks from this blogger's office. Brian and Dave swung by the office for a visit to show off the bike – which they prefer to call a powercycle – and chat about what it can do.

Along the route to the capital, they'll be making plenty of similar stops, partly to demonstrate the bike but mostly out of necessity. While the Enertia is undoubtedly a neat ride, it underscores two of the major problems with EVs. They are expensive ($11,995 for the Enertia) and have limited range. This bike only has a 42-mile range and then takes four hours to charge. That means plenty of short hops to cover the 520 miles to DC. On the plus side, it should only take about $4 worth of juice to make the trip.

Hopefully sales will bring volumes that help bring the cost down. In the meantime, check out the video after the jump.

Screen Writing Basics 

Michigan may be best known for its auto industry, its college football teams, and its contributions to the art of office-furniture manufacture. The fact is, though, that this mitten-shaped Upper Midwestern state has made great contributions to American arts and culture-and all sorts of positive signs, from the growth of downtown Grand Rapids to the sudden explosion in Detroit-based visual arts, suggest that Michigan plans to remain one of the cultural capitals of the United States.

And that place is well-earned. After all, this is the state where Motown Records was founded, where punk rock pioneer Iggy Pop, filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, and author Nelson Algren hail from, where the classic Anatomy of a Murder was filmed, and where Ernest Hemingway set his first published story. Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Gilda Radner, and Lily Tomlin were all born here, Elmore Leonard calls the state home, and Sufjan Stevens made his name as the leader of West Michigan-based band Marzuki.

Michigan has an important place in film history, too. It provides backdrop for such films as The Evil Dead, Four Brothers, Grosse Pointe Blank, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, RoboCop, and 8 Mile. A recent bill enacted by the Michigan legislature ensures that the Wolverine State will continue attracting quality film productions, luring famous and unknown film artists alike with a forty-percent across-the-board refundable tax credit, a loan program, and other goodies. (A complete list and application are available from the Michigan Film Office.) This incentives package, coupled with the state’s unique geographic diversity that allows it to “stand in” for many kinds of locations (urban, mountainous, forested, coastal), makes Michigan one of the most attractive possible shooting locations in the United States. But filmmakers should also note the state’s lively film-festival calendar-a mere sampling of which is provided below.

In the Detroit area alone, we have a plethora. Royal Oak offers the results of the innovative 48 Hour Film Project every July, after teams of Detroit-area filmmakers spend a forty-eight hour period writing, shooting, editing and scoring an entire film, using just a prop, line of dialogue, character, and genre which must be included in the film. Similar projects are done in fifty-four other cities from around the world, and Detroit’s version features robust participation from area filmmakers.

And in December there’s Dearborn’s Annual Arab Film Festival, hosted by the Arab American National Museum. Given the impact that filmmakers from Arab cultures have had on the art form in recent years-Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami is regularly acclaimed as one of the great artists of world cinema, and films from the region are often cited as influences by such directors as Werner Herzog and Michael Haneke-this is one festival not to miss, since today’s Arab film festival entry may be tomorrow’s influential new classic.

Other possibilities for the discerning Michigan cineaste include the long-running Ann Arbor Film Festival. The lower-Michigan city of Ann Arbor is something of a regional cultural capital-it supports one of the world’s best research universities in the University of Michigan, and it has all the bookstores and museums you’d expect of such a place-so it’s no surprise that it’s also the home of one of the oldest, best-established, and most vital film festivals in the country, which continues to attract artistic experimenters from all over the world. Early work by Lawrence Kasdan, George Lucas, Andy Warhol, and Gus Van Sant, among others, has appeared at this festival (one of Variety’s top ten “Festivals We Love”); it’s the place to catch works by tomorrow’s trendsetting young film directors-today.

For filmmakers and their personnel visiting any of the above festivals (and many more every year in places such as Traverse City, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Mt. Pleasant), the state offers an excellent transit infrastructure experienced in handling film and television productions. For example, Checker Sedan-the company that most recently handled transportation for SuperBowl XL, and the official transportation provider for the Detroit Metro Airport-has years of experience in dropping off dailies, picking up stars, and every other kind of work associated with film and television production.

The Gov Monitor

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced that Detroit will host the 2010 World Stem Cell Summit organized by the Genetics Policy Institute.

The conference will take place October 4-6, 2010, at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center.  It will be co-hosted by Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

“We have been working to grow Michigan’s life sciences sector as part of our strategy to diversify the state’s economy and create jobs,” Granholm said.  “The World Stem Cell Summit is one of the most important life sciences conferences in the world.  The selection of Detroit to host the 2010 summit is positive recognition and support of our efforts here in Michigan in this emerging economic sector.”

“Hosting the 2010 World Stem Cell Summit will allow us to showcase the innovative research that is occurring in the city of Detroit and at Michigan universities,” said Detroit Mayor Dave Bing.  “Scientists, researchers, government officials and industry representatives from around the world will see firsthand the great minds and facilities we have in Detroit.”

The summit will attract more than 1,200 of the most influential stem cell stakeholders from more than 30 countries, representing the fields of science, business, policy, law, ethics and advocacy.  There will be 150 internationally-renowned speakers, producing a unique international network designed to foster collaborations, economic development, technology transfer, commercialization, private investment and philanthropy.

“We are delighted to bring the 2010 World Stem Cell Summit to Detroit,” said Bernard Siegel, executive director of the Genetics Policy Institute.  “Michigan is fast becoming a biotechnology hub.  Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University all have world-class researchers and outstanding facilities dedicated not only to fundamental stem cell research but also to translating lab work into effective treatments and cures.”

Presidents of all three universities expressed enthusiasm about the summit.

“Michigan State University has a long history of working in a number of areas in the stem cell field such as bio-engineering, cancer biology, and toxicology,” said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon.  “The 2010 World Stem Cell Summit will be an opportunity to showcase our work as well as continue, and establish new, collaborations with our University Research Corridor colleagues.”

“Stem cell research and discovery are of tremendous importance not only to scientists, patients and families but also to transforming our state’s economy,” said University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman.  “The University of Michigan is excited to welcome the 2010 World Stem Cell Summit to Michigan.”

“As a leader in life sciences research, Wayne State University is pleased to sponsor the 2010 World Stem Cell Summit with our University Research Corridor partners,” said Wayne State University President Jay Noren.  “With the planned opening of the Stem Cell Commercialization Center at TechTown, Wayne State’s technology park and business incubator, Detroit and Michigan are poised to assume leadership in research in this field of increasing importance to both the biomedical industry and pioneering clinical care.”

Covered at the summit will be all areas of stem cell science, disease models, drug discovery, tissue engineering, bioreactors and nanotechnology.  There will be progress reports on treatment for cancer, diabetes, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, neurological disorders and cardiovascular disease.  Panels will discuss commercialization, funding, economic development, regulatory agency perspectives, law and ethics.

The summit also will feature the 2010 Stem Cell Action Awards Dinner where the Genetics Policy Institute will recognize organizations and individuals who have most positively impacted the stem cell community.  At the 2009 summit dinner in Baltimore, two Michigan stem cell organizations won awards:  Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures won the Education Award, while Cure Michigan won the Grassroots Advocacy Award.

The 2010 World Stem Cell Summit will be the sixth annual conference organized by the Genetics Policy Institute.  Previous summits have taken place in Houston, Palo Alto, Boston, Baltimore, and Madison, Wisconsin.
Dave Bing - watch more funny videos

Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer

City Manager Tom Markus was not surprised when a representative from informed him that Birmingham had made their Best Places for a Healthy Retirement list.

“It’s a community that is safe, clean, healthy, and it has all the amenities, so I wasn’t surprised we were in there,” he said.

One of just 20 communities nationwide to make the list, Birmingham was the only town in Michigan to be recognized.

Cities made the list based on a variety of factors, such as population, the percentage of people over the age of 50, the number of doctors in the county, the number of hospitals within 30 miles, life expectancy at birth, and whether the city provides for an active lifestyle, according to the Web site.

The top 10 list included Anaheim, Calif; North Hempstead, N.Y.; Fort Lee, N.J.; Yonkers, N.Y.; Downers Grove, Ill.; Los Angeles; San Jose, Calif.; Natick, Mass.; Stamford, Conn.; and Seattle.

Birmingham was listed as No. 14. Birmingham’s description on the Web site stated “retirees can leave their cars behind and stay fit exploring this quaint, affluent Michigan town on foot.” noted that in Birmingham, the focus is on walking, although it’s just a half-hour’s drive from the hustle and bustle of downtown Detroit. The Web site went on to say that because of the city’s efforts, Birmingham is now considered among the top 20 walkable towns in the U.S.

Planning Director Jana Ecker said all of the city’s planning practices work towards walkability, and creating a lively and diverse atmosphere that will encourage visitors and residents alike to spend time downtown.

“We have several master plans across the city — the downtown, Rail District, Triangle District — that all require a mix of uses to create a live, work and play environment.  All of these plans are also form-based, in that there are regulations built in that mandate the form and location of buildings to create pedestrian-friendly, walkable streetscapes, such as requiring buildings to be built up to the frontage lines, hiding parking in the rear, requiring pedestrian-scaled architectural details along street facades, creating public gathering spaces, and enhancing sidewalk activity through outdoor dining, street furniture and special events,” she said. also noted the wide mix of shops, restaurants and entertainment available in the city’s downtown, as well as the abundant opportunities for recreation within the city’s 220 acres of parks, two community golf courses, several tennis courts and trails along the Rouge River.

In some categories, Markus said, he is considered a senior now. He sees the city as a great place to retire.

“It’s a wonderful town. It’s a civically engaged community, and people are passionate about their town,” he said. “We have had people come here specifically to retire — I know that, because I know some of them — but I think what’s equally impressive is people don’t leave to retire,” he said.

Mayor Stuart Sherman said it seems that the rest of the country is just now noticing that Birmingham is a great place to live and recreate.

“We have worked very hard to make Birmingham a premier community, and our work is paying off. This just confirms what the residents and visitors to Birmingham already know — with our walkable neighborhoods and downtown and our improved parks, Birmingham offers many opportunities for people to be active and enjoy the atmosphere,” he said.

The area's leading creators, catalysts, entrepreneurs, artists, technologists, designers, scientists, thinkers and doers will gather on Wednesday, October 21st to share what they are most passionate about — positive ideas for the world from Detroit.

TED is an annual event where the top minds in the world share, connect and inspire. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design — three subjects that, collectively, shape our future. The event draws CEOs, scientists, creatives, philanthropists and extraordinary speakers including Bill Clinton, Jane Goodall, Frank Gehry, Sir Richard Branson, Philippe Starck and Bono.

This year, TED expands beyond its annual conference by seeding smaller, independent events throughout the nation, called TEDx. The first TEDxDetroit will emulate the spirit and ideals of the TED Conference.

TEDxDetroit will be held at Lawrence Tech's Science Building Auditorium in Southfield, Michigan, from 8:30AM to 6:00PM, Oct 21. Due to an outstanding response, the conference is full, but several surrounding events have been opened to the public in an effort to bring the entire community into the excitement.

Tuesday, October 20th
Pre-party Tweetup 7pm-9pm Bar Louie in Novi (Open to the public)
This is an informal gathering for attendees and friends to meet, connect and enjoy a cocktail in a relaxed setting the night before the event. The pre-party tweetup will be co-hosted by and take place at a popular nightspot Bar Louie in Novi (near the junction of I-275, I-96 & I-696).  This is a free event and open to the public.

Hotel Accommodations
If you are coming in from out of town, you may want to try the Embassy Suites Detroit Southfield which is a nice hotel just a stone's throw from Lawrence Tech and the after party.

Wednesday, October 21st
TEDxDetroit 8:30am-6pm
The moment you've been waiting for. Doors open at 8:30am. The program starts promptly at 8:48am. The event is sold out. If you have been notified that your application for attending has been accepted, please arrive early to claim your seat. Please bring $20 cash or a check payable to "Public Art Workz" for admission.
Lawrence Tech Science Building Auditorium

TEDxDetroit Lunch 11am-1pm PLEASE PRE-REGISTER (Open to the public)
We'll be breaking for lunch just after 11am. Our community partners LA2M and Motor City Connect are hosting a TEDxDetroit networking lunch. We encourage you to click the link below to register for lunch ASAP. This event will be open to non attendees as well and will sell out. Cost $20 in advance.
Copper Canyon Brewery
27522 Northwestern Hwy Southfield, MI 48034

TEDxDetroit Afterglow 6pm-9pm (Open to the public)
Reflect and connect with speakers, attendees and community leaders at this informal gathering. Light hors d'oeuvres  will be available. The venue also offers a full cash bar and a dinner menu which features items such as their famous gumbo. This is a free event (pay for your own dinner and drinks) and open to the public.
Fishbone's Rhythm Kitchen Cafe
29244 Northwestern Hwy Southfield, MI 48034
Each child who participates in the Marathon’s Kids Expo activities will receive a free ticket to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents Over The Top coming to The Palace Nov. 18 – 22.

Children from across metro Detroit will want to lace up their clown…uh, running shoes for the third annual Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Marathon, Whole Foods Health and Fitness Expo, and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Red Nose Run events on Saturday, Oct. 17 and Sunday, Oct. 18.

The fun begins in the Ringling Bros. kids area of the Whole Foods Health & Fitness Expo at Cobo Center on Saturday, Oct. 17, with different activities taking place every hour. All expo events are free and each child who participates in the featured Ringling Bros. activities will receive a free ticket to a weekday. performance of Over The Top, coming to The Palace of Auburn Hills next month.

Featured activities at the kids expo area provided by Ringling Bros. on Saturday, Oct. 17 include:

11 a.m. – Noon                Ringling Bros. CircusFit® Presentation – active fitness demonstration with Ringling Bros. Clown
Noon – 1 p.m.                  Activity Hour – juggling and balancing activities
1 p.m. – 2 p.m.                 CircusFit Presentation
2 p.m. – 3 p.m.                 Ringling Bros. kids races – open to all kids 12 and under
3 p.m. – 4 p.m.                 Q&A with CircusFit Representatives

“We are thrilled to partner yet again with Ringling Bros. to host the Red Nose Run and CircusFit events in conjunction with the marathon,” said Patricia Ball, executive director of the Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Marathon. “The Detroit Marathon is committed to the health of local residents and these Ringling events help us to encourage young people to lead healthy and active lifestyles in a fun and motivating manner.”

In addition to receiving a free ticket to a weekday performance of Over The Top at The Palace, each child who participates in the CircusFit activities will receive other Ringling Bros. goodies (while supplies last) and also meet a Ringling Bros. clown. CircusFit is a national youth fitness program from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey that encourages America’s youth to lead healthy, active lifestyles by combining the fun of circus skills with stretching, strength building and aerobic exercise. Free fitness plans and activities are available at

The fun will continue on Sunday, Oct. 18, at the 5K Fun Run/Ringling Bros. Red Nose Run. The run is the opportunity for children to experience the thrill of the race in this 5K precursor to the marathon. The run kicks off at 7:30 a.m. at the marathon start line. Adults and children may participate together in the 5K Fun Run/Red Nose Run. To register, go to and follow the registration link. Interested participants can also register in person at the Whole Foods Health & Fitness Expo.

All participants in the 5K Fun Run/Red Nose Run will receive an official short-sleeve wicking shirt, commemorative finisher’s medal goody bag and free admission to the Marathon Expo.

To find out more about the fun events surrounding the Marathon, please visit

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents Over The Top will play The Palace of Auburn Hills Nov. 18 through Nov. 22. One hour before show time, ticketholders are invited make their way to the arena floor to learn how acrobats stay CircusFit. Fans will also be able to clown around with Ringling Bros. performers; try their hand at circus antics, such as juggling; and meet the human and animal stars of the The Greatest Show On Earth®. It’s all part of the All Access Pre-show and FREE to every ticket holder!

Over The Top is a wacky and whimsical circus spectacular where audiences will experience maniacal mayhem as Ringmaster Chuck Wagner and clown eccentric Tom Dougherty compete for control of a magical top hat that brings to life their fantastical imaginations.

 Tickets to Over The Top range from $12.50 to $21.50. Additionally, specially priced VIP, Front Row and Circus Celebrity seats are available at The Palace Box Office, at all Ticketmaster locations, online at and by phone at1-800-745-3000 .

Over The Top show dates and times: Wednesday, Nov. 18 and Thursday, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 20 at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 21 at 11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 22 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

HBO Comes to Oakland to Film Kevorkian Movie

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Home Box Office filmmakers for the Jack Kevorkian biopic "You Don't Know Jack" will be in town this week to film scenes for the movie already in production in New York City.

Both interior and exterior shots are planned at the Oakland Circuit courthouse off Telegraph Road in Pontiac, where the former pathologist, now 81 years old, was a frequent visitor in the years before being sentenced to prison in 1999 for second-degree murder in one of 130 deaths he claims to have assisted over a decade.

Actors Al Pacino, John Goodman and Susan Sarandon are just a few of the film's stars expected to be in town, according to Kevorkian attorney and friend Mayer Morganroth. Goodman is to portray Kevorkian's friend, Neal Nicol, and Sarandon will take the role of Janet Good, a right-to-die advocate and former head of the Michigan Hemlock Society, who befriended Kevorkian and also died with his help.

Pacino has the lead role of Kevorkian, but don't look for him and the man who became known as "Dr. Death" getting together during the shoot, Morganroth said.

"Pacino doesn't even want to meet Jack until the filming is done on this project," said Morganroth, a consultant on the film. Like several other principals close to the Kevorkian story, he will be interviewed for a behind-the-scenes "making of" the film expected to be released sometime next year.

Courthouse filming is expected to be shot Thursday and Friday. And for some who were around when Kevorkian made headlines here in the 1990s, the scene may be like travelling back in time.

In some of his last court appearances, the outspoken and always irascible Kevorkian strolled past sign-toting critics and supporters dressed in colonial-style garb, wig and even slipped his arms through a set of fake wooden stocks, a common punishment for running afoul of the law in the 1700s. It is expected Pacino may don some of the same type of paraphernalia for the film, directed by Barry Levinson, whose resume includes the Academy Award-winning "Rain Man."

Filming is also expected to take place at other Oakland County locations, including near places where Kevorkian lived and created his self-proclaimed "Mercitron" (assisted suicide machine) and where some of the assisted suicides occurred.

Kevorkian served eight years of a 10-to-25-year sentence and was paroled in June 2007 for good behavior. Jessica Cooper -- the judge who sentenced him with a terse "no one is above the law" and "consider yourself stopped" -- became the county's prosecutor earlier this year.

"I've had a conversation with the film's screenwriter, as has (assistant prosecuting attorney) John Skrzynski, who handled the case," said Cooper. "We've both been given the impression it will be balanced, and I guess we will just have to see. I can't think of anyone better than Pacino playing him."

Erin Rose

Sporting News Magazine just released its annual "Best Sport City" survey and Detroit landed on the #10 spot.  I personally think we are number one, but hey making the top ten is still pretty good.  Also, a word of caution to Wings fans who are still a bit sore from this year's Stanley Cup outcome: you may want to skip over the #1 pick.  

1. Pittsburgh 
2. Philadelphia 
3. Boston 
4. Chicago + Evanston 
5. Los Angeles 
6. New York 
7. Phoenix + Tempe 
8. Miami 
9. Dallas-Fort Worth 
10. Detroit + Ann Arbor + Ypsilanti 
11. Houston 
12. Nashville 
13. Atlanta 
14. Washington 
15. Tampa-St. Petersburg 
16. Minneapolis-St. Paul 
17. Raleigh + Durham + Chapel Hill, N.C. 
18. Denver + Boulder 
19. Salt Lake City + Provo 
20. Indianapolis 
21. Anaheim 
22. Cleveland 
23. Charlotte 
24. San Jose + Palo Alto + Santa Clara 
25. New Orleans 
26. Milwaukee 
27. Orlando 
28. Baltimore 
29. Cincinnati 
30. St. Louis 
31. San Diego 
32. Portland 
33. Oakland + Berkeley 
34. Columbus 
35. San Antonio 
36. Toronto 
37. Oklahoma City + Norman 
38. Austin, Texas 
39. Vancouver 
40. Buffalo 
41. Gainesville, Fla. 
42. Calgary 
43. Storrs, Conn. 
44. East Lansing, Mich. 
45. Montreal 
46. San Francisco 
47. Memphis 
48. State College, Pa. 
49. Kansas City 
50. Jacksonville