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!