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Last month Detroit Unspun broke the news about a special benefit comedy event for food rescue organization Forgotten Harvest, featuring metro Detroit native Dave Coulier and local favorite Ken Brown of the Mitch Albom Show on WJR 760 AM.

Time is inching closer to the show, to be held  at 7 p.m. on May 15th at the Detroit Music Hall, and Coulier was kind enough to record a video invitation to the event himself!

Urban Land Institute

City’s “Jewel” Demonstrates Transformative Power of Public Realm

Detroit’s Campus Martius Park, a 2.5-acre thriving green space created from a  desolate downtown parcel, has received national recognition as the first-ever winner of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Amanda Burden Urban Open Space Award. The award for the park, unique in a city more often characterized by hardship than success, was based on a competition to recognize an outstanding example of a public open space that has catalyzed the transformation of the surrounding community.

The announcement was made today at ULI’s Real Estate Summit at the Spring Council Forum in Boston. Detroit’s park was chosen over finalists Bremen Street Park in Boston; Falls Park on the Reedy in Greenville, S.C.; Herald and Greeley Square Parks in New York City; Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle; and Schenley Plaza in Pittsburgh for the top honor.

Known as “Detroit’s Official Gathering Place,” Campus Martius Park is a vibrant central square that has become the heart of the city’s downtown redevelopment initiative. With extensive landscaping, moveable seating, and an ice skating rink, it serves as a much-needed recreational respite and an entertainment venue that is breathing new life into the area. The space attracts more than 2 million visitors year-round, and has catalyzed an estimated $700 million of adjacent development, including street level cafes, retail shops, and the new one-million-square-foot Compuware World Headquarters.

The selection of Campus Martius Park illustrates the power of well-designed open space to make a tangible difference in the quality of life in urban areas, said award creator Amanda M. Burden, chair of the New York City Planning Commission, director of the New York Department of City Planning, and 2009 laureate of the ULI J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development. “This park has far exceeded all expectations, in terms of the lift it has provided to Detroit’s social and economic well-being,” Ms. Burden said.

“It reflects a creative, innovative approach to transforming an eyesore into a jewel. What makes Campus Martius Park work so well is that quite simply, it’s a place where people want to spend time. As a result, it’s a magnet for investment. That’s the definition of a successful urban open space.”

A $10,000 cash prize is being awarded to the Detroit 300 Conservancy, which originally developed the park as a legacy gift to the city. According to Detroit 300 Conservancy President Robert F. Gregory, the organization had unwavering faith in former Mayor Dennis Archer’s goal of building  “one of the best public spaces in the world” in Detroit. “We had great confidence that Mayor Dennis Archer’s original vision could, in fact, be achieved in Detroit. Our confidence was based on a number of critical factors including very strong community support, a model partnership between the City of Detroit and the private business and foundation community; outstanding civic leadership; a great planning team and a dedicated principle to apply best practice solutions in every facet of the design and operations of the Park. “

The park projects optimism, civic pride and hope, Ms. Burden said. “Campus Martius Park is making a difference in how people in Detroit feel about their city. All great planning comes down to the granular approach of how a building meets the street, how a street feels, how you feel walking in the city, and how it feels to be in public spaces and use public spaces that are inviting. Great cities are not about buildings. They are about people.”

The creation of the ULI Amanda Burden Open Space Award immediately followed the announcement in October 2009 of Ms. Burden being selected as the winner of the ULI J.C. Nichols Prize. The Nichols Prize, awarded annually by ULI, recognizes a person whose career demonstrates a commitment to the highest standards of responsible development. The Nichols prize includes a $100,000 honorarium, which, at Ms. Burden’s suggestion, ULI devoted to an annual competition honoring transformative and exciting public open spaces.

The six entries making the final round, including Campus Martius Park, were selected from 88 entries representing urban areas throughout the United States. The large number of applicants for the first competition is an “encouraging sign that an increasing number of cities are discovering the transformative power of the public realm,” Ms. Burden said.

The Urban Land Institute ( is a global nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has nearly 33,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.
Tell Us Detroit

Mayor Dave Bing this morning joined Detroit Restaurant Week organizers and representatives from participating restaurants for a news conference to announce details of the Spring Edition of the dinner promotion. It begins Friday, April 16 and runs through Sunday, April 25. The news conference was at The Rattlesnake Club in Detroit.

Seventeen of downtown’s finest dining establishments are participating in the follow-up to last fall’s very successful inaugural Detroit Restaurant Week campaign. More than 27,000 people made reservations during the first one, and organizers hope to meet or surpass last year’s total.

"Spring Detroit Restaurant Week is the perfect opportunity for diners to shake off the winter doldrums and enjoy fine dining in Detroit,” said Mayor Bing. “I believe we can build on the success of the first Detroit Restaurant Week, and continue to showcase the great variety of restaurants in the City of Detroit."

New for spring, organizers have added a new restaurant to the lineup with Roma Café, offer a spring-inspired menu, and each restaurant will offer at least one vegetarian dish.

Menus for each restaurant can be reviewed at

The price point for a three-course meal that includes an appetizer, entrée, and dessert is once again $27 per person (exclusive of beverage, tax and gratuity) for the 10-evenings of Detroit Restaurant Week at these fine restaurants:

24Grille – Westin Book Cadillac                   Andiamo Detroit Riverfront – GM Ren Cen
Atlas Global Bistro – Midtown                       Coach Insignia – GM Ren Cen
Cuisine – New Center                                       Da Edoardo Foxtown Grille - Foxtown
Detroit Fish Market – Paradise Valley Forty-Two Degrees North – GM Ren Cen
Iridescence – MotorCity Casino-Hotel Mosaic Restaurant – Greektown
Opus One – Downtown                                     Rattlesnake Club – Stroh River Place
Roast – Westin Book Cadillac Detroit          Roma Café – Eastern Market
Saltwater – MGM Grand Detroit                     Wolfgang Puck Grille – MGM Grand Detroit
The Whitney – Midtown

Reservations for Detroit Restaurant Week Spring 2010
Organizers for Detroit Restaurant Week note that reservations are not required; however they are strongly encouraged so that restaurants can provide an outstanding experience for each guest.

Detroit Restaurant Week Executive Director Jason Huvaere said, “based on last year’s numbers and the fact that many of the restaurants recorded sellout evenings, it would be a good idea to make reservations sooner rather than later.”

To make a reservation, visit  and select a restaurant to obtain contact information for each establishment. Reservations can be made by contacting restaurants directly or through the Open Table link, which can also be found on the web site.

Prelude Party & Donations to Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan
Detroit Restaurant Week festivities begin on Thursday, April 15 at 5 p.m. with a prelude party at Iridescence and Amnesia located on the top floor of the MotorCity Casino Hotel to benefit Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan.

“We wanted this year’s prelude event to be a party with a purpose,” said Huvaere. “The partnership we have formed with Gleaners Community Food Bank and the Nino Salvaggio International Marketplace will help to provide less fortunate individuals and families from our region with nutritious foods.”

Entry into the Detroit Restaurant Week prelude party is FREE, however attendees are encouraged to either make a monetary donation to Gleaners upon entry, or bring canned food items to donate.

Upon entering guests will be treated to much more than just the breathtaking views of the Detroit skyline. They will be greeted by models in custom-crafted chef coats; five avant-garde food installations; an array of delicious appetizers and decadent desserts; and entertainment by the John Arnold Trio. A cash bar will also be available.

Detroit Restaurant Week Sponsors & Partners
Sponsors: Dig Downtown Detroit, Metrotimes, Half Off Depot, and Dick Huvaere’s Richmond Chrysler Jeep, and Paxahau Event Services. Media Partners: WJBK Detroit Fox 2,, TellUsDetroit.Com,, WWJ Newsradio 950,,,,, Hour Detroit, The Michigan Front Page, and Community Partners: City Living Detroit, Inside Detroit Tours and Outings; Eastern Market; The Detroit People Mover, Detroit Metro Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, Detroit Regional Chamber, Pick MI Date, and Charity Partners: Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan and Nino Salvaggio International Market Place

History of Detroit Restaurant Week
In 2009 the Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP) approached the leadership of the greater downtown districts — Downtown, Midtown, Corktown, New Center and Eastern Market — to jointly sponsor restaurant week. DDP then recruited Paxahau Event Services to produce Detroit Restaurant Week.

The Other Side of Detroit


That picture is of a house in the city of Detroit. Surprised? Don’t be. Detroit actually contains numerous intact neighborhoods ranging from working class to upscale. These are seldom shown in the voluminous photo tours of the city that tend to focus exclusively on decay, and too often on the same handful of sites such as Michigan Central Station, a practice Vice Magazine dubbed “ruin porn.”

The decay is there. The collapse is real. That is the story. But it’s not the whole story. Amid the truly legitimate and titanic struggles of Detroit there’s another side, one that’s too seldom told. In the interest of completeness, I’ll share some of it today.

Most of this material is not original to me. It was created by two people I know only by their handles of “hudkina” and “LMichigan”. I don’t know who they are, though I get the vague impression they work for the state of Michigan. They seems to spend most of their time engaged in quixotic message board debates about Detroit. I’d suggest they start blogging instead. At any rate, credit to them for the ideas and picture links, though the data is mine.

Strange But True

Detroit is Big. When you hear about Detroit, a mention of its population collapse can’t be far behind. Detroit’s population fell by 50% from its peak and it was the first city to fall below one million in population after first exceeding it. The region has fallen out of the top ten metro areas in size nationally. But the other side is that Detroit is still big (perhaps too big, but that’s for another day). The city of Detroit has 912,062 people, making even the city still the 11th largest in the United States. Detroit has 100,000 more people than San Francisco and is 50% bigger than Boston.

Detroit’s metro area has 4.4 million people, making it the 11th largest in the United States. That’s about the same size as Boston or Phoenix. But wait, there’s more. Nearby Ann Arbor is technically not part of the Detroit MSA, but probably soon will be. That’s another 350,000 people. And Detroit doesn’t include anything on the Canadian side of the river because it is in another country. The Windsor, Ontario area adds another 300,000+ people.

Detroit is Dense. You’ve seen the pictures. I’ve even posted some. The miles of empty streets and “urban prairie”. A recent comprehensive survey recently discovered that fully one third of Detroit’s lots are vacant. But despite this, the overall density of the city is far higher than you might expect.

The city of Detroit has 6,571 people per square mile. That’s almost 60% more dense than Portland, Oregon (4,152)! Detroit’s density is roughly comparable to Seattle (7,136) and Minneapolis (6,969). It’s more dense (sometimes much more dense) than Denver, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Milwaukee, or St. Paul.

And if one third of Detroit is vacant, then localized densities must be much higher.

Detroit Has Money. Detroit may be a very poor city, but with so many people in it, there are still a significant number of folks with money living inside the city limits. There are 18,140 households in Detroit with income over $100,000 per year. Milwaukee, hardly a basket case, has 19,297. Upscale Minneapolis only has 29,460, a mere 10,000 household gap vs. Detroit in high earning households. Now both of these cities are smaller (Minneapolis much smaller) and so are proportionately much richer. But the point is that in total, there actually are a material number of households in the city of Detroit with significant incomes.

The Detroit metro area also has numerous upscale suburbs that hold their own with any around the country.

Detroit Has Immigrants. Another thing that distinguishes Detroit versus other struggling cities is that it has been able to retain a significant foreign born population. Detroit metro is 8.5% foreign born, which does trail the US average of 12.8%, but it is well above places like Cleveland (5.8%) or Cincinnati (3.6%).

Detroit has also established itself as the hub of Arabs in America. Muslims frequently get a bad rap, but unlike Muslim populations in Europe, which are often stuck in marginalized ghettos, the American Muslim population is more educated and makes more money than the population as a whole, according to some reports. They range from Arab party store owners to Pakistani Ph.D.’s. Detroit’s Arab population is, like many immigrant groups, highly entrepreneurial.

While over 350,000 domestic migrants left the region, Detroit metro saw nearly 100,000 new international migrants move in during the 2000’s. For these people at least, Detroit is still a land of opportunity.

Detroit Has Real Assets

Detroit also has some legitimate and impressive assets. First is “Brand Detroit.” In one of the famous Cleveland tourism videos, the song ends with “at least we’re not Detroit.” Actually, Cleveland might actually be better off if it were. As with winning the NBA draft lottery, it’s better to be worst than second worst. Detroit has a powerful brand that literally resonates around the world. I think it’s fair to say that for people overseas with any familiarity with America, Detroit is one of the cities they know. Most other places are ciphers.

Detroit is the main gateway to trade with Canada. It also has a world-class airport that was just ranked as the most passenger friendly large airport in the United States by JD Power. Originally a Northwest hub, it is actually benefiting from that carrier’s merger with Delta. Detroit is the second largest Delta hub and its primary gateway to Asia. In an era where global connections are more important than ever, Detroit has or soon will have flights to London Heathrow, Tokyo, Seoul, and Hong Kong among other destinations.

Detroit also has a globally important legacy of innovation in popular music, ranging from Motown to electronica to hip-hop. Artists like Eminem, Kid Rock, and the White Stripes still call Detroit home. Also, it is home to the well-regarded Cranbrook school of art, as well as the College for Creative Studies. If creativity really is key to the future economy, Detroit has it.

Pictures of the Other Detroit

Here are a selection of Detroit photos you aren’t likely to see in the latest “ruins of Detroit” survey.

A farmers market at Eastern Market:

Click HERE to see the full article more photos highlighting the beautiful architecture in Detroit.

D. Tour Spa at MotorCity Casino Hotel is among the Michigan participants in Dove Deodorant’s national Spa Week promotion. The bi-annual event promotes $50 full-service treatments at the finest spas across the country. Spa Week runs from April 12-18.

D. Tour Spa is a 8,000 square foot facility complete with thermal whirlpools, steam rooms, dry saunas and rain shower facilities. The spa has 10 treatment rooms.  It is located at 2901 Grand River Avenue inside Detroit’s MotorCity Casino Hotel.

D. Tour is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. D. Tour is closed Tuesdays.

As a participant in 2010 Spa Week, presented by Dove Deodorant, D. Tour Spa is offering the following treatments for  $50 each:

*A 45-minute D. Tour Drive Scrub with Sugar Scrub – This signature service offers gentle body exfoliation and massage treatment sure to lift the spirits.

*A 45-minute Express Manicure and Pedicure – Stop in for nail shaping, cuticle exfoliation, moisturizing and polish with a flash dry finish.

Appointment: Call (313) 309-4595 or visit  

Brewers from six continents earned awards from an elite international panel of judges this week in the 2010 Brewers Association World Beer Cup—the world's largest-ever commercial beer competition. The eighth bi-annual competition announced awards to brewers from 19 countries ranging from Australia and Italy to Iceland and Japan.

This year, 642 breweries from 44 countries and 47 U.S. states vied for awards with 3,330 beers entered in 90 beer style categories. The entries in each category were eligible for gold, silver and bronze awards. Judges presented a total of 268 awards.

The 2010 World Beer Cup eclipsed the record of the Brewers Association's own Great American Beer Festival (GABF) to become the largest commercial competition ever. There were 3,308 entries judged in the 2009 GABF, compared to the 2010 World Beer Cup's 3,330 entries judged.

A detailed analysis of the entries and awards can be found in the 2010 Brewers Association World Beer Cup Fact Sheet.

"Brewers from around the globe participate in the World Beer Cup to win recognition for their creativity and brewing ability," said Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewers Association, the U.S.-based trade association that has put on the competition every two years since 1996. "For a brewer, a World Beer Cup gold award allows them to say that their winning beer represents the best of that beer style in the world."

Detroit Area Winners:

Old Ale, 15 entries
Gold: Fourth Dementia Olde Ale, Kuhnhenn Brewing Co., Warren, MI

German-Style Brown Ale/Düsseldorf, 26 entries
Silver: The Detroit Dwarf, The Detroit Beer Co., Detroit, MI

Belgian- and French-Style Ale, 57 entries
Silver: Saison du Bastone, Bastone Brewery, Royal Oak, MI

American-Style India Pale Ale, 104 entries
Gold: Norm’s Raggedy-Ass IPA, Big Rock Chop House & Brewery, Birmingham, MI

Imperial India Pale Ale, 69 entries
Silver: Bonnie’s Raggedy-Ass Imperial IPA, Big Rock Chop House & Brewery, Birmingham, MI

Other Michigan Winners:

Herb and Spice Beer or Chocolate Beer, 109 entries
Bronze: Black Licorice Lager, Short’s Brewing Co., Bellaire, MI

Category 61: Robust Porter, 64 entries
Silver: Founders Porter, Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI

Category 62: Sweet Stout, 25 entries
Silver: Cream Stout, Redwood Brewing Co., Flint, MI

Category 67: Strong Ale, 26 entries
Silver: Dirty Bastard, Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI

Category 82: American-Style India Pale Ale, 104 entries
Silver: Centennial IPA, Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI

Category 89: American-Style Imperial Stout, 37 entries
Bronze: Imperial Stout, Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI

Click Here to Cast Your Vote Now! 

Hurry, last day to vote is tomorrow, April 7th!
Live 2 Give Foundation is giving away 2 tickets to 3 lucky winners to the Red Wings v. Blue Jackets game TOMORROW (Wednesday, April 7th) at 7:30. How do you win? Tweet the most empowering, inspirational and uplifting 140 characters about the state of Michigan to #L2G!

Our recent partner, Celebrities Against Autism, has given L2G 6 tickets to the Detroit Red Wings game this Wednesday out of appreciation for the volunteering we offered at the 50/50 Joe Louis Raffle. BUT WE WANT TO GIVE THESE TICKETS TO YOU!

T4T Guidelines:
- Tweets must include the hashtag: #L2G

- Tweets must be received before noon on Wednesday, April 7th

- There is no limit to the amount of tweets you can submit

- Tickets must be picked up at Mars Advertising on Wednesday between 4:30 – 6:00 (MAP)

View Larger Map
Get the Edge
We encourage you to be creative! Include links, pictures, videos, and quotes. There is NO LIMIT to your ability to catch our eye and win these tickets. How will YOU Tweet 4 Tickets?

@LiveToGive – Follow Us!
@CAAutism – Follow Them!

As the FIRST Robotics state championships take place at Eastern Michigan University, Lori Gleason, a physics teacher at Milford High School, has been honored as 2010 FIRST Robotics Teacher of the Year.

Presented by WWJ Newsradio 950 along with Kettering University, FIRST Teacher of the Year competition is meant to honor those teachers who, as team mentors, give selflessly of their time and resources to support the bright and talented Michigan high school students designing, constructing, and competing in the FIRST Robotics competition.

Gleason wins the award as the #1 vote recipient in voting by thousands of FIRST students and WWJ listeners.  As winner,  she will receive a $1,000 check and a trophy from Kettering University.

One nominator writes, "Ms. Gleason has been a physics and chemistry teacher for over 11 years at Milford High School in the Huron Valley School District. Her desire and hard work to help students succeed is as strong today as it was when she first started...Whether she is tutoring one on one or working in small groups after school, Ms. Gleason is there for the students."

"Teamwork is also important to Lori," writes Gleason's second nominator.

"She is aware that it takes a team, not an individual, to build a robot and she wants every member to know that as well. She has the students work in small groups so that people are encouraged to communicate with each other... Lori taught all of the members that communication is the key to success and that no one knows what you are thinking unless you tell them. Because of this, team members learn the vital skill of communication, which they will use for the rest of their lives.

Lori makes sure the individual team member knows that their contribution is essential to the group's success. Countless times Lori has gone above and beyond her mentoring duties to help HOT Team students succeed.... Students are very aware of Lori's obvious passion for the HOT Team. In the student's eyes she is the most influential mentor on the team."

. To check out the team website, click here.

To learn more about FIRST and view videos of some of the robots  in action, visit this link.

The event is a FREE tweet-up of sorts, but non-tweeters and non-dog owners are more than welcome!

Yelp community will be making baked goods for dogs AND people (including vegan and gluten-free goodies) and coffee for donations during the event.  Items to be raffled off include a gift certificate to Traffic Jam, Canine to Five and some goods from Omni Hotels. Donations from the raffle go directly to the Animal Welfare Society of Southeastern Michigan and is located in Madison Heights.

EVERYONE is welcome to attend!  Please RSVP through the Twtevite or e-mailing Erica Finley at

Motor City Flicks

Last Friday before his appearance at the Royal Oak Music Theater, acclaimed directer Kevin Smith told the Drew & Mike morning show on WIRF that he will be shooting his upcoming hockey movie Hit Somebody in metro Detroit this year.  The film is rumored to star Seann William Scott and Johnny Yong Bosch and will be set in the 1970s in the final days of old-time hockey, the World Hockey Association, and blood-splattered ice.

Most intriguing are reports that Smith is teaming up with local Detroit author Mitch Albom to write this adaptation of famous Warren Zevon’s song by the same name.

Frozen Four Moves To Bigger Stage At Ford Field

Associated Press

Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves hopes that holding the Frozen Four at Ford Field in Detroit will help draw attention to college hockey the way NHL has benefited from playing outdoor games.

"I think it's a good idea to go and try it and see how it works out," he said.

The NHL game at Wrigley Field last year between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings drew the biggest television audience for a regular-season NHL game in nearly 34 years. More than 30,000 fans are expected to attend the games in Detroit. The semifinals are on April 8 and the title game is April 10.

The Badgers (28-11-1), who are seeking their seventh national title, will face Rochester Tech in the opening game. The Tigers, who have won 12 straight, are in just their fifth season in Division I.

Miami of Ohio (29-7-7), which came within a minute of winning last season before blowing a two-goal lead and losing in overtime, will play Boston College (27-10-3). The Eagles have ended the RedHawks season in three of the past four years.

BC coach Jerry York said he was initially opposed to playing in such a large venue when it was proposed because he was worried about ice quality and fans being too far away. But he changed his mind after seeing how excited his team was to play at Fenway Park against Boston University in January.

"The chance to play at Ford Field I think is going to be a positive one," he said.

He also is encouraged that the NHL's ice expert, Dan Craig, will be monitoring conditions and that portable stands will bring fans closer to the action.

Eaves, who has coached the Badgers in outdoor games in front of 40,890 fans at Lambeau Field in 2006 and in front of 55,031 fans at Camp Randall in February, said playing indoors in such a large venue will bring different challenges.

He expects it to be warmer in the larger venue and is concerned it could cause players to cramp up.
"Another thing is, how far is the walk? I've heard rumors they're going to have golf carts for the goaltenders. So these are some of the logistics we're going to have to deal with," he said.

Rochester Tech coach Wayne Wilson isn't worried about the venue, he's more worried about how his team is going to handle playing on a bigger stage.

"There are a lot of possible traps and distractions out there. But with this particular team it's another game against another very good team in a different facility," he said. "It's Wisconsin on another ice sheet."
He's more concerned about the attention his team is receiving as heavy underdogs. The Tigers entered the tournament as the 15th seed.

Wilson said he consulted with Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore, who last year became the first coach to guide a No. 16 seed into the Frozen Four. Wilson said Serratore warned about not getting caught up in the media attention.

"The guys started believing everything and were all so excited that they lost a little bit of their grit, they just lost a bit along the way because of the attention they were getting through the media," he said. "We can either listen to him and benefit from someone whose been through it or do our own path and maybe follow into the trap."

Miami coach Enrico Blasi said last year's experience playing for the national championship should help this year's team deal with the distractions.

"Once you've been there it's not as new, it's not the novelty of being at the Frozen Four. Hopefully that will calm us down and help prepare us to stay focused," he said.

Tickets for BravoBravo! On Sale Now!

Tickets for this year's BravoBravo! fundraiser, supporting Michigan Opera Theatre and the Detroit Opera House, will go on sale tomorrow, April 1, 2010.

In its 11th year, BravoBravo!, presented by Bank of America, will take place on Friday, June 4, 2010 from 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. at the Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway, in Detroit. Tickets cost $85 during the month of April. The event, coordinated by the young professionals group of the Michigan Opera Theatre Volunteer Association (MOTVA) brings together the city's top restaurants, showcases its best live musical acts and draws thousands of revelers all in support of Michigan Opera Theatre (MOT).

This year's event is co-chaired by three of Detroit's most involved young professionals: Jerrid Mooney, Jen Knapp, and Rich Rice. Fashionistas take note: BravoBravo! spans the globe this season, transporting high fashion straight from the runways into the elegant rooms inside the Detroit Opera House.

BravoBravo! supports the continued success and daily operation of Michigan Opera Theatre. In 2009, BravoBravo! drew a record crowd of over 2,000 young professionals and raised over $180,000 to support MOT. For 2010, organizers aim for a goal of $250,000 to support MOT's artistic and educational programs. Since its inception, BravoBravo! has raised more than $800,000 and is considered a critical fundraising effort for Michigan Opera Theatre.

Tickets can be purchased at the Detroit Opera House box office, by phone at (313) 237-SING, or online at The event is expected to sell out.

BravoBravo! attendees must be 21 or older.
Michael Thompson
Associated Content

It's April Fools' Day - the 24-hour period where most everybody seems to be angling for a laugh at somebody else's expense.

For the novices among us, some of the best advice for garnering a chuckle comes from those who make people laugh for a living.

"Being foolish is what we do every day," says Pj Jacokes, producer for Go Comedy! Improve Theater in Ferndale. "So April Fools' is like a day off for us, because everybody else is with us on that day."

Comedian Mike Green of Warren, a mainstay at Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle in Royal Oak says an occasional part of his comedy routine has an April Fools' aspect.

"It's just a little trick I play. A practical joke," Green says. When an audience member heads for the restroom, Green cuts off his microphone and speaks quietly to the remainder of the group. He explains that near the end of his show, he is going to tell a supposed joke, but "it's not gonna make any sense at all."

Later, when the time arrives, this non-joke will cause immense quiet in the room. However, when he gets to a chosen keyword such as "monkey," everyone bursts into planned laughter as they keep an eye on the person who'd earlier had been away.

Invariably, Green says, the person will join in the revelry, although often with a somewhat puzzled expression. He says this is simply a human instinct, a desire for belonging.

To change things up a bit, Green will instead gather information on the person when he or she leaves for the restroom, such as the type of car they drive or the number of children they have. Later in the show, he pretends to be a mind-reader. "They freak out like I'm really psychic," he says with a laugh.

Green notes, "After the show, nine times out of 10 they will approach me and say, 'Yeah, yeah, my friends told me what you did. I can't believe I fell for it.' But people are good-natured, and they realize it's a comedy club."

At Go Comedy! Improv Theater, Jacokes says patrons always have an opportunity for foolery (today or any other day) because their format involves audience participation in an improv setting.

"The thing that sets improv apart from stand-up, for me, is that it's a unique experience," Jacokes says. "You will never see the same thing twice. The audience dictates what happens, so they have some ownership in the show. If a stand-up wants to talk about airplane food or diseases, you don't have any say in it."

Jacokes says, "April Fools' is pretty much a one-shot deal, without a whole lot of meat on it. It's not like Presidents Day, when you have 44 different targets."

Mark Ridley, owner of the Comedy Castle, says most April Fools' Day activities are pranks rather than jokes, better suited for a morning radio drive-time host than to a stand-up comic.

"Basically, I've treated April Fools' Day just like any other day in the 31 years I've been in business," Ridley says.

A stand-up comic might make playful fun of an audience member's hair or clothing or whatever, but that's not really in the April Fools' Day mode, Ridley says. That type of interplay falls in the category of teasing rather than pranking, he says.

The Moth 

Detroit SLAMs are on the first Thursday of each month at:

Cliff Bell's
2030 Park Avenue
Detroit, MI 48226

Upcoming SLAMs in Detroit:

April 1: On the Road
May 6: Money
June 3: Scars
July 1: Persuasion

7pm Doors/7.30pm Stories
$5 at the door

Learn more about how to prepare your true, 5-minute story and sign up for the Detroit mailing list - we'll send you a note one week before every Detroit StorySLAM with tips and tricks on how to come up with the best story.
Detroit Medical Center

Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan’s (RIM) wheelchair basketball team, the Detroit Diehards will compete in the National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament (NWBA) April 7-11 in Denver, CO. The Detroit Diehards are one of 22 Division III teams competing for the national championship title.

RIM’s Diehards are seeded 7th in the tournament after finishing their regular season with 16 wins and 9 loses. RIM’s 14-member team is comprised of athletes with physical disabilities, aged 17 to 50 from throughout southeast Michigan.

Teams qualified for the Nationals via NWBA-sanctioned regional tournaments – the teams playing in this event in Colorado will be the best of the best.

Players to watch on RIM’s Detroit Diehard team include Darryl “Tree” Waller and Mo Philips. Darryl is an amputee who has been competing since 1978. He has been a member of three Paralympic teams, winning gold and bronze medals, and has played on four World Cup teams. In 2002, Waller was inducted into the National Wheelchair Basketball Association Hall of Fame.

Philips is also an amputee who has been playing and coaching both nationally and internationally for over 25 years. Over his playing career, Philips has won 3 National Championships and was inducted into the National Wheelchair Basketball Association Hall of Fame in 1998. Philips also serves as the coach of the Diehards.

The NWBA is comprised of over 200 wheelchair basketball teams within twenty-two conferences. Founded in 1948, the NWBA today consists of men's, women's, intercollegiate, and youth teams throughout the United States of America and Canada.

RIM has been sponsoring the Detroit Diehards since 2002. The team is supported through grants, donations, and fundraising events such as RIM’s annual “Celebrity Wheelchair Basketball Game,” (

DMC’s Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan is one of the nation’s largest hospitals specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation. The Institute is home to many innovative programs, including the Southeastern Michigan Traumatic Brain Injury System (SEMTBIS), one of only 16 federally designated centers of excellence in the U.S. for the treatment of brain injuries, and the Center for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery, a world-class facility designed to implement and study innovative treatments in spinal cord injury recovery. RIM is one of eight hospitals operated by the Detroit Medical Center (DMC). The DMC is proud to be the Official Healthcare Services Provider of the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, and Detroit Pistons.

Ace Show Biz

"Scream 4 will take its cast and crew to Michigan to shoot the movie there. The report comes out as Production Weekly claims they have learned that Dimension Films has opened up offices for the movie there, allegedly to take advantage of the city's film production tax incentives, which is said "attractive".

The previous films were filmed in different cities in the U.S. The first film's principal photography took place in California. Then director Wes Craven moved the set to Georgia for "Scream 2", which was also partially shot in Los Angeles. The production of the third installment, meanwhile, was held in Los Angeles too.

Dimension Films gave the green light to "Scream 4" on March 23 with Wes Craven, who has helmed the first three films, on board to direct the upcoming thriller. Shooting is planned to start in spring for April 12, 2011 release. Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette are set to return to join the cast for the new installment of "Scream" film franchise

Tom Henderson
Crain's Detroit Business

After graduating from the University of Michigan in 2006, Elizabeth Redmond moved to the Windy City to try to turn a school project into a business.

Her clean-tech design project would use high-tech ceramics to convert the energy generated by pedestrian and vehicular traffic into direct current that could be stored in batteries. She worked by day trying to secure funding and at night as a waitress in a high-end vegetarian business.

Redmond, 25, grew up in Dexter and missed the Ann Arbor area — especially bike rides along the Huron River — but what got her back to Michigan last year were the economic support systems at the state and regional level.

“Chicago is a really neat town, but the resources of a small community in Michigan are much more accessible than those in Chicago. I couldn't find much support there,” she said.

Her company, Powerleap Inc., is now a virtual tenant at Ann Arbor Spark's downtown Ann Arbor facility. She doesn't have an office there but uses its facilities and has been provided a wide variety of support services, including help with a new business plan and a due-diligence package for potential investors.

“I think this company is going to be huge, and I want it to be in the state where I grew up,” she said.

These days, it's never a surprise to hear of a 20-something who has moved to Chicago, New York or L.A. in search of greener pastures. Redmond, though, is among a crop of young professionals who realized the region's perks and potential and chose to return.

Brian Mooney seemed to have it made as an up-and-coming 20-something in Chicago, where he worked from 2002-2004 as a project manager for a construction company. But Mooney, who grew up in Rosedale Park and went to University of Detroit Jesuit High School and UM, found himself missing Detroit.

“I loved Chicago. I loved everything about it, but I have an absolute love for the Detroit area, he said.

“Being able to invest my time and energy in the city and help bring it back, preserving some of the world's best architecture, pulled me back,” he said. Mooney, 29, is a project manager for Detroit-based J.C. Beal Construction Inc. and has worked on projects at the Detroit Athletic Club, the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, Christ Church-Detroit downtown and a number of projects for Ilitch Holdings Inc. In addition, he serves on the Clawson Downtown Development Authority and is active with the Motor City Blight Busters.

He has no regrets about having left one of the most vibrant cities in North America.

“We've been hit really hard, here. Everyone is tightening their belts. I see it as an opportunity to be more creative,” he said. “People here are tough-minded, focused and passionate. Detroit's going to be a success story, maybe the biggest success story.” 

When Tim Atkins, now 27, graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2006, he, too, moved to Chicago.

“It was a graduation present to myself. I loved Chicago. I thought it was great,” he said. “I loved everything about it, but I missed the community feel of Ypsilanti, and I missed my friends.”

After 13 months, Atkins moved back and is now managing partner in Pakmode

Publications L.L.C., which has published a series of student survival guides for Michigan and Ohio universities and which publishes emYOU! The Magazine, a monthly that covers the EMU campus and Ypsilanti community.

“I wanted to start my own business, but rent everywhere in Chicago was going to be ridiculous,” said Atkins, who rents space in downtown Ypsi, where he avails himself of networking opportunities through the Spark East incubator across the street.

“There's a sense of community here — people helping each other out. I can make a difference here. I couldn't make a difference in Chicago,” he said. 

Sean Forbes, 28, grew up in Farmington Hills and lived in Rochester, N.Y., from 2000-2006 while attending the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

He moved back to form the Deaf Performing Artists Network, now Deaf Professional Arts Network, which produces music videos for the hearing impaired. He works with Joel Martin, Eminem's publisher, owner of 54 Sound Studio in Ferndale, and the sort of music impresario that has helped make Detroit famous for generations.

“I just love being here,” he said. “It's a comfort thing. ... All of the other places I've lived and visited, one thing has always rung true in my head: You can take me out of the D, but you can't take the D out of me.” 

Peter Allen, president of Ann Arbor-based Peter Allen & Associates, a developer of mixed-use urban projects and an adjunct professor at UM for 30 years at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, said the examples above are part of what he sees as an emerging and long-term trend.

“I've been taking my students to downtown Detroit on the first Saturday of February for 15 years. They get to see the city at an ugly time. It's a great time to measure their enthusiasm. This year, the metric for enthusiasm was off the charts,” he said. 

“These are all graduate students. They're MBAs or law students or architects, and many of them have lived all over the world. They see Detroit and they see some of the greatest empty buildings in the world. And they say three things. "One, I can have a lot of fun here. Two, I can make a difference here. Three, I can make some money.' Students see themselves making a difference, and they can't do that in New York or Chicago.

“Detroit is the most undervalued big city in the world. They get their leadership and safety and education issues under control, and it's going to be a lot of fun watching it come back.” 

“With all the national attention on Detroit recently, this generation, which wants to save the world, sees this as the place to do it,” said Lou Glazer, president, Michigan Future Inc. “The irony is that we may have momentum now to keep these young professionals. They see Detroit at rock bottom and they want to help fix it.”

Between October 2007 and March 2008, Michigan Future surveyed 5,360 recent Michigan college graduates. Forty-nine percent had left the state, with 17.7 percent of those who left living in Illinois, 10.7 percent living in California and 8.2 percent living in New York.

Glazer said good numbers are hard to come by, but he assumes the recession that hit after his survey accelerated the issue of out-migration of young professionals. Thirty-three percent of those who left said they had no job offer in the state, and an inability to find a job was easily the No. 1 reason for moving.

Another study was published in July 2008 by Michigan Future, titled Young Talent in the Great Lakes: How Michigan is Faring.

It showed that 21.3 percent of all households in metropolitan Chicago, or 744,000, where headed by young professionals, compared with 21.3 percent, or 269,000, in metro Minneapolis; 14.7 percent, or 311,000, in metro Detroit; and 4.9 percent, or 15,000, in the city of Detroit.

“The brain-drain issue is entirely a function of the job market in Michigan,” said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. “Michigan has had a history of young people who left and came back when they were ready to raise a family, which speaks to the quality of life here.”

“If you look at the most dynamic economies in the U.S. — Austin, Texas, Silicon Valley, the Research Triangle, Boston — all have a strong entrepreneurial culture,” said Greg Main, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. “It's absolutely imperative we keep our young professionals. That's where a lot of entrepreneurial energy comes from.”
The FutureMidwest team has been buzzing for days about our exciting new speaker announcement, and now we can finally blurt out the news! We’re thrilled to tell you that Jay Adelson, CEO of Digg, will be our FutureMidwest keynote speaker on Friday, April 16. Jay will deliver the keynote address before the evening networking/entertainment program. Joseph Jaffe, chief interruptor at Powered, also joins the speaker lineup and will kick start the conference as the opening presenter Friday morning.

Jay and Joseph combined have extensive knowledge about online marketing, technology and the social Web. Under Jay’s direction as CEO, Digg has grown to more than 40 million visitors per month and is now considered one of the top socially-focused Web sites. Jay is a well-recognized expert on technology and the Internet who has spoken at a variety of industry events and conferences. 

Prior to Joseph’s current role at Powered, he worked with mega brands like The Coca-Cola Company, Panasonic and Kraft. He provides daily and weekly commentary on all things related to new marketing on his “Jaffe Juice” blog and podcast. Check out Joseph’s bio for more background details.

FutureMidwest starts in less than a month! Let the countdown begin.  Click HERE to get your tickets!

Looking for a wild and exciting way to network with young professionals in the Metro Detroit area?

The Detroit Zoo is offering the opportunity to mix and mingle (in the Wildlife Interpretive Gallery) among the butterflies and hummingbirds.

The 21-and-older event will be held Thursday, April 22, 2010, 6:30-9:30p.m.

Ticket prices are $15 for Zoo, Detroit Young Professional, Fusion and After 5 Detroit members and $20 for non-members. Ticket prices include parking, one drink ticket and complimentary hors d’oeuvres. A cash bar is available for beer, wine and specialty drinks.

Tickets can be purchased in advance online HERE. Tickets will be sold the night of the event for $20 for all guests.

Detroit Restaurant Week Spring Edition April 16-25

Goodwill's PartnerShop in downtown Detroit offers free ice cream March 23 during National Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day, announces specials for Foursquare users.

The Goodwill Industries Ben & Jerry's PartnerShop in downtown Detroit will hand out FREE 4 oz. ice cream cones to anyone who stops by Tuesday, March 23, as part of Free Cone Day. The PartnerShop, owned and operated by Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit, provides paid work experiences for Southeast Michigan youth with barriers to employment.

PartnerShop employees receive training in resume-building and personal skills development, helping them gain important skills to prepare for their future. Proceeds from the PartnerShop support Goodwill Industries training and career development programs.

Also launching during Free Cone Day is the PartnerShop’s special offers through, a location-based social network that offers businesses the chance to reward repeat and loyal customers. Ice cream fans will be able to check-in from their phone at Ben & Jerry’s online venue on, and will be offered a free small cone for every fifth virtual check-in. Users holding the virtual title of mayor (the Foursqure user with the most check-ins at the specific location) will receive a 10 percent discount on any order.

In the past two years of the organization’s nearly 90-year history, Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit has placed more than 2,000 Wayne, Oakland and Macomb County individuals into new jobs and provided education, training and career assistance to thousands more in the region.
"It's a great thing to see these young adults, who have overcome so much, laughing, smiling and even singing while handing out the free cones," said Lorna G. Utley, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit. "The PartnerShop exists to prepare them for successful careers. It also supports our efforts to help Metro Detroiters become trained, trusted and ready to work."

Time & Location:

Tuesday, March 23, noon to 6 p.m.

1014 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, in the Compuware building at Campus Martius