Final 4: 2009 Detroit parties

Metromix Detroit

As the Final 4 prepares to touchdown in the dirty D, Detroiters are gearing up tackle the parties which promise big-name celebs, athletes and tons of weekend-long debauchery for sports nuts and nightlife lovers alike.

Detroit Riverfront - Atwater & Beaubein - Riverfront
Daily April 3 through April 5
Three days of free concerts with the AT&T Block Party Friday; Saturday features the Pussycat Dolls and Gavin DeGraw; Sunday hosted by Ryan Seacreast with performances by Fergie, Staind, Gym Class Heroes, Janelle Monae and Parachute

Monroe Street Mayhem

Monroe Street Cafe - 561 Monroe - Greektown
Daily April 3 through April 6
Three days of live music, DJs, food and drink featuring the Dirty Americans Sunday

Andiamo Champions Club - 521 Atwater - Riverfront
April 3 : 10 p.m. - 2 a.m.

Hosted by Braylon Edwards, Denzell Washington, Isaiah Thomas and Rod Strickland in conjunction with the National Basketball Association, there will be 10 different bars set up, each will have its own theme. Andiamo’s will also provide food all night long

South Beach Ultra Lounge - 3011 W. Grand Boulevard - New Center Area
April 4 : 9 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Metromix will be puttin’ the full-court press on this Final Four weekend special event, presented by Channel 95.5 FM, Live Presents, Ambassador Magazine and yours truly. For one night only, the luxurious South Beach Ultra Lounge is pushing its boundaries into the entire lobby of the Fisher Building to transform it into the Metromix Dance Hall, complete with a catwalk bikini fashion show, 360˚ full-service bar and DJ stage. Hosting the event are ’06 Playmate of the Year Kara Monaco, Miss February ’09 Jessica Burciaga, Miss June ’07 Tiffany Selby, Miss November ’07 Lindsay Wagner and ’08 Cyber Girl of the Year Jo Garcia. Spinning records and making heads spin will be guest DJ and former Playboy model Kristin Jackson, DJ Kay Jay.

Andiamo Champions Club - 521 Atwater - Riverfront
April 4 : 9 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Keep the Final 4 spirit alive after the Big Dance on the Riverwalk by joining Vital Productions at the former Asian Village overlooking the waterfront for the Big Dance after party

The 44 Bar - 1407 Randolph - Detroit
April 5 : 8 p.m. - 2 a.m.

Hosted by Detroit's own Kevin Vickerson of the Tennessee Titans with a live performance by L'Renee; confirmed guests include Jason Jones of the Tennessee Titans, Lendale White of the Tennessee Titans, Vince Young of the Tennessee Titans, Royce 5'9", Eric King of Detroit Lions and Howie Bell

Oslo - 1456 Woodward - Downtown Detroit
April 5 : 9 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Hosted by Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes who'll also be one the 1s and 2s.

NCAA Finals Party

Eclipz Ultra Lounge - 555 E. Lafayette - Greektown
April 6 : 8 p.m.
Network with some of the young entrepreneurs of Detroit while catching the game. DJ Sandman on the decks
The New York Times

IN a city whose name is forever entwined with that of Motown Records, it is tempting to expect to hear songs like “Dancing in the Streets” blaring constantly from speakers on light posts, or to see Eminem or Kid Rock shooting videos on the downtown streets.

But Motown left town a generation ago, leaving behind only the small white house that is home to the Motown Historical Museum. And while Eminem and Kid Rock still live and record there, they keep lower local profiles than their fame might suggest.

But the clubs where they and other Detroit acts got their starts are still very much a part of the city, developing performers who could join the ranks of other famous Detroit artists. Even though the city, and its auto industry, have been hit by hard times that threaten some venerable places, live music endures in the Motor City.

Alex Lovat, 17, was born the year the Magic Stick opened on Woodward Avenue, nestled on an often desolate stretch halfway between downtown and the campus of Wayne State University.

On a recent Monday, Mr. Lovat, a high school senior, was taking a break in a cafe below the second-floor club, to soak up the atmosphere of a spot that presented the White Stripes and the Toadies early in their careers.

“I really like the history of the place,” said Mr. Lovat, who wore vintage purple velvet pants, a brown and beige polyester button-down shirt and round, wire-rimmed sunglasses.

The Stick is a gritty 5,500-square-foot industrial spot that offered its first acts in 1992. It is housed in the Majestic Theater Center, a blocklong entertainment complex with a restaurant that emphasizes Middle Eastern specialties and a bowling alley that is nearly a century old.

For followers of rock as well as folk fans, the Stick is the center of the Detroit club universe. Chris Cervenak, 18, recently saw the Black Lips, a flower-punk band whose sound is described as “hippie meets punk” from Atlanta.

“I just dig the concerts here,” said Mr. Cervenak, a high school senior from Hamtramck, Mich.

While Jack White, half of the White Stripes duo, has since moved to Nashville, the Stick is a frequent showcase for up-and-coming artists, including some trying to broaden their visibility in the United States.

Los Campesinos, the seven-piece pop band from Cardiff, Wales, is set to appear on April 2, while the Glasgow alternative rock band Glasvegas visits the Stick on April 4.

During the N.C.A.A. Final Four men’s basketball tournament, which will take place next month at Ford Field, north of downtown and south of the Magic Stick, the city will hold the Big Dance, not just the name of the showdown, but a three-day festival beginning on April 3.

It will feature a block party, a wrap-up concert hosted by Ryan Seacrest, and acts like the Pussycat Dolls, Gavin DeGraw, Fergie and Staind.

But Detroit’s music scene stretches beyond downtown, and it can be hard to sample without getting behind the wheel.

Forty-five minutes west in Ann Arbor is The Ark , one of the country’s top folk clubs, along with the Michigan Theater , which regularly features artists like Ben Folds and Randy Newman.

Mark Braun, a local pianist known as Mr. B., will perform at The Ark on April 4 and 5, while Chris Cornell, perhaps best known as the lead singer and drummer of Soundgarden, appears at the Michigan on April 14.

Northeast of downtown, Hamtramck, long a working-class Polish-American enclave, is now home to a busy collection of small bars that hold the annual Blowout, a three-day festival in which 200 bands play 15 places. This year’s Blowout, held March 7 to 9, took place in bars like the New Dodge Lounge , which opens at breakfast, serves some of the area’s best burgers and offers a free shuttle to Ford Field.

North of the city sits Ferndale, home to the Magic Bag, a converted theater known for holding retro ’80s parties and presenting a variety of artists, including Lez Zeppelin, an all-women tribute band covering Led Zeppelin songs, which appears on April 3.

But the area’s entertainment center remains Detroit, where live music, poetry slams and big-name acts can be found every night.

St. Andrew’s Hall, a converted church just a few blocks from the Detroit River, made its name in the 1980s and 1990s, featuring bands like Nirvana, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Cure on its concert floor. Meanwhile, its hip-hop dance floor is known as the spot where the local rapper Marshall Mathers, better known as Eminem, battled other Detroit-area emcees before breaking onto the national scene. Coming acts at St. Andrew’s include Lily Allen on April 13 with her opening act, Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head.

In another direction, geographically and musically, are two clubs with a strong link to Detroit’s jazz past.

Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, located on the city’s far west side, calls itself the world’s oldest jazz club, operating since 1934. Named for its founder, Clarence Baker, the club has been home to generations of jazz greats from Fats Waller and John Coltrane to the Detroit natives Tommy Flanagan and Earl Klugh. It will celebrate its 75th anniversary with concerts May 1 to 4, though there are fears that the city’s financial straits may force it to close after that.

For now, the club holds a jazz-for-kids program on Sunday afternoons and open jam sessions with the Noah Jackson Trio on Sunday nights. The Diego Rivera Quartet, whose saxophonist-founder shares his name with the famous Mexican muralist, appears at Baker’s on April 11.

Back downtown, Cliff Bell’s is a small, elegant spot, once the heart of the city’s jazz world, in a building designed by Albert Kahn, architect for many Detroit landmarks. Founded by the local entrepreneur John Clifford Bell in 1935, the club closed in 1985 but was reopened a few years ago by Paul Howard, who relied on photographs for restoration. As close to a Manhattan jazz spot as anything in the city, Bell’s has two long, intimate rooms divided by a double-sided bar, and curved, rich mahogany ceilings hung with chandeliers. Patrons sit beneath vintage photos of the club.

Bell’s emphasizes local acts like the Scott Gwinnell Jazz Orchestra, akin to its house band, which is led by one of the city’s best-known jazz educators. The club features poetry readings, attracting a diverse young audience that nearly filled the club on a recent Monday night.

“When the organs work together, it’s called or-gan-i-za-tion,” said the poet Liteshineth, whose fiery cadence elicited shouts of “That’s right!”

“Everybody here is really real, and has a story to tell,” said Kristine Milostan, 22, of Clinton Township, Mich., who, like half the audience, was waiting to perform.

Another Detroit poet, Fluent, 31, wearing a black-and-red-checkered cap, brown jacket and red gym shoes, said the setting at Bell’s was inspirational, especially in a city that has seen such challenges, financially and artistically.

“Detroit has such talent,” he said. “Something about this place — it’s like family.”
Detroit Free Press

Five years and $26.3 million worth of out-of-state tourism promotion has resulted in nearly 5 million new tourists coming to Michigan who spent $1.1 billion and contributed $75.3 million in tax revenue.

That's a return of $2.86 for every $1 spent, pleased state tourism officials reported Tuesday at the Driving Tourism state conference in Detroit.

An independent company, Longwoods International, based in New York, did the analysis of how well the state's marketing is working. The company uses a statistical model that separates people who were influenced by the advertising from those who would have visited anyway. It then analyzes their spending and derives the tax total.

The next step for Pure Michigan was Tuesday's launch of a $10-million national ad campaign, a first for the state.

It is part of a record $30 million being spent on promotion this fiscal year.

The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin and Reverend Al Sharpton are slated to be honored at the 54th Annual Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner in Detroit.

"Aretha Franklin has been honored by many all over the world. Yet there is no award like getting the award and total recognition from those in your own hometown," says Rev. Wendell Anthony, President of Detroit's NAACP chapter.

According to organizers, Franklin will receive the James Weldon Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award during a special dinner slated to be held at Detroit's Cobo Center May 3.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, founder of the Brooklyn-based National Action Network and the Rev. Edwin Rowe of the Central Methodist Church Detroit will be honored at the dinner with Freedom and Justice Awards for their contributions in recent years to civil rights and justice.

The dinner also marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the NAACP. The theme for the event is "Facing the Rising Sun of Our New Day Begun," a line from the Black National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice." The song was penned by Johnson, a poet and civil rights activist.