Matt Roush
WWJ

When it comes to Michigan's film and video production tax credits, most of the talk has been about movies like "Gran Torino" and celebrity sightings around the state.

But the credits have also spawned a growing video game and animation production industry here.

A perfect example is Pixofactor Entertainment, where six partners and an ever-changing cast of contractor animators and graphic artists work on a wide variety of projects.

Principal and president Sean Hurwitz, a serial entrepreneur and one of the six partners, said the company was created in 2007 and took its present form in September 2009, when it took on a couple of video game creators, Michael Bolden and Jeremiah Strackbein, who are graduates of Lawrence Technological University and the College for Creative Studies respectively. The two initially set up their company in Florida but returned to Michigan in 2008 to take advantage of those much-discussed state tax breaks for the movie and video industries.

Hurwitz said the company conducts three major kinds of work:

* Work for hire on projects, in both live action films and animation for video games. "We build pieces of both of them," Hurwitz said.
* Licensing of content and getting local investors to develop that content. Pixofactor is currently working with local angel investors on project development, including Farmington Hills-based Envy Capital.
* Creating its own content and trying to develop it into films or games.

"We've got this team of experts now and we're in a position of strength and opportunity," Hurwitz said.

Projects now under way include a TV series based on a graphic novel called 'The Hunter,' which shows the aftermath of a coordinated series of terrorist attacks on the United States, including an A-bomb explosion at LAX in Los Angeles, an oil refinery sabotage in Houston, a toxic chemical release at the New York Stock Exchange and a biowar release in Boston.

"It's in development now as a pilot," Hurwitz said. "The intention is to take the pilot to several interested networks prior to distributing across digital platforms."

Other conversions of graphic novels are also in the works.

The company has also attracted local video veterans like Gary May, who is the company's head of live production, and Chris Firestone, head of creative services, who brings 20 years of experience in digital production and who has developed relationships and alliances throughout the Hollywood entertainment and production industry. They have also attracted people back to Michigan like Nancy Kelley, Pixofactor's marketing and business development leader, who spent the past 10 years at several startups in the Silicon Valley.

The company is based in some very cool real estate on the fourth floor of a downtown Royal Oak building on West Fourth Street.

Whatever your opinion of the film tax incentives, Hurwitz wanted to make one thing clear.

"Without those incentives in Michigan, this doesn't happen," he said. "We wouldn't be hiring local talent. We wouldn't be leasing this building. We wouldn't be getting investor money."

More -- including some amazing and fun demo reels -- at www.pixofactor.com. Or join their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Pixofacto


Jen Carlson
Gothamist.com

Over the weekend Patti Smith and Jonathan Lethem went face-to-face in the Great Hall of Cooper Union to discuss, you know, stuff. The Q&A format had Smith on the receiving end of questions from the author as well as some audience members. According to VanshingNY, one woman asked if it was still possible for a young artist to come to New York City and find a similar path that Smith and her contemporaries found themselves on decades ago.

The Godmother of Punk recalled coming to New York in 1967 when she was broke and the city was "'down and out,' and you could get a cheap apartment and 'build a whole community of transvestites or artists or writers.'" But today, she says, "New York has closed itself off to the young and the struggling. But there are other cities. Detroit. Poughkeepsie. New York City has been taken away from you. So my advice is: Find a new city."

And with that, we're now living in a world where Patti Smith and Sarah Jessica Parker are pretty much telling us the same thing. Heavy.
Jessica Nunez 

Hugh Jackman will play a robot boxer builder and trainer in the upcoming sci-fi film 'Real Steel.'
The action movie "Real Steel," which will film in Detroit in late July, is looking for people who own military uniforms -- from any branch -- to act as extras in the film.

MichiganActing.com says to send a photo of yourself dressed in uniform to submitca@yahoo.com, and to put your name and the word "Uniform" in the subject line. Also, be sure to include your phone number in teh email.

They are asking that no emails be sent for other inquiries at this time.


"Real Steel"  takes place in the future and stars Hugh Jackman as a fighter who is suddenly without a job when robots take over the boxing industry.

He decides to reinvent himself as a robot builder and trainer. the movie is based on a story by Richard Matheson ("I Am Legend"), and is produced by Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider.

"Real Steel" will be directed by Shawn Levy (the "Night at the Museum" films).

In addition to Detroit, filming will take place in parts of West Michigan and at a restaurant in Leslie, Mich., near Jackson.

The film has a budget of $80 million, the biggest in Michigan so far since the tax incentives were inititated in 2008.

John Cutts    
Real Estate Pros Articles 

Despite the continued increase in Detroit foreclosure auctions, high rate of unemployment and image problems, a big portion of Detroit residents still love living in the city.

A survey conducted by Intellitrends showed that 50 percent of residents of Detroit and other areas of Southeast Michigan love living where they are and 91 percent of them believe that Southeast Michigan has been portrayed negatively by media practitioners. 

Additionally, 51 percent of people who have moved to Detroit said they found what they were looking for and that their expectations were met. A whopping 31 percent even said that what they are experiencing as new residents exceeded their expectations. 

With these positive feelings about Detroit, investors planning to buy properties through auctions for sale in the city and then resell them at a profit in a few years would likely achieve their investment goals as there are a lot of people still believing in the ultimate recovery of Detroit.

In the third quarter, the number of residential properties that were repossessed through Detroit foreclosure auctions and properties notified of pre-foreclosures increased year-over-year by 48 percent to a total of 13,192 units.

Similarly, the number of properties taken back by lenders through public home auctions in Michigan and properties notified of pre-foreclosures in the first quarter increased by nearly 11 percent to 45,732 units. Of these units, a total of 18,604 units became bank owned homes.

On the whole, real estate investors and home buyers planning to profit from properties listed for Detroit foreclosure auctions are right on track, as there are still a lot of people confident about the recovery of Detroit.

A passion for both the sport of bowling and for the care of animals comes together in an annual charity event!  Professional bowling champions Aleta Sill and Michelle Mullen are co-owners of Aleta Sill’s Bowling World, the host of Bowl-4-Animal Rescue! This 5th annual event has a goal to once again raise thousands of dollars for the Michigan Animal Adoption Network (MAAN) and the Friends For The Dearborn Animal Shelter (FFDAS).

The event takes place on Saturday, August 7th at Country Lanes in Farmington Hills - Located at 30250 W. 9-Mile Road, west of Middlebelt Road.  Sponsorship levels vary in cost but Sill points out that everyone can help.

“We look for partners to help from simply buying a ticket and bowling, to providing auction items, to pledging a donation, to being official sponsors. We have some very valuable marketing opportunities in conjunction with this event, not to mention that sponsors will be doing a good deed!”  
          
***100% of the proceeds will benefit FFDAS and MAAN!*** 

To find more about sponsoring the 5th Annual Bowl-4-Animal Rescue, contact Michelle Mullen at 248-217-8275 or Michelle@YourBowlingCoach.com.

Sill and Mullen share an enthusiasm for helping animals.  They have adopted eight animals themselves! “The homeless animal problem in Metro Detroit has reached an epidemic level and we want to do anything we can to alleviate the problem,” said Mullen.  In 2009, the event raised $15,000 for FFDAS and MAAN.

Tickets to Bowl-4-Animal Rescue are $25 in advance (or $30 at the door) and include three games, food and shoe rental.  There will be auctions, raffles, door prizes, music, karaoke and a cash bar.  Bowlers can even have one of the professional bowlers throw a strike for them! Tickets may be purchased by calling Aleta Sill’s Bowling World at 248-615-9060 or via email:  Michelle@YourBowlingCoach.com.

For pledge forms, photos and event flyers, please visit: www.YourBowlingCoach.com/Community.



This Memorial Day Weekend 2010, come to the FREE POLISH COUNTRY FAIR on the campus of St. Mary’s Prep in Orchard Lake, MI.    There’s no charge for admission and there are FUN activities for ALL ages.   Live entertainment for dancing - great bands.  Las Vegas & Bingo Tents.  Over 45 Carnival Rides and games.   Plenty of cold beer and great food.

Check out the Fair Website for more info: http://www.stmaryspolishcountryfair.com/ 
 Eco-friendly non-profit AShirtBag is auctioning off Michigan celebrity donated A-shirts and tank tops to raise funds for science, ecology, and environment programs at Detroit Public Schools.

Shirts from celebrities including Kid Rock, Sandra Bernhard, Paradime, and The Dirty Americans are available for bidding at http://myworld.ebay.com/ashirtbag.  Bidding ends Saturday, May 1, 2010.

“Bidding started at $100 per shirt,” stated Jeff Newsom, AShirtBag founder.  “We already have Kid Rock’s ashirtbag’s way over the asking price bid”

In addition to supporting a great cause and reducing waste placed in landfills, the purchase of each bag is a tax write off under all state and federal laws. Each bag is sent with a tax donation form with the final bid amount.

All of the proceeds raised from the sale of the celebrity bags support AShirtBag’s mission of educating third, fourth and fifth grade students about the environment.  Children receive eco-friendly school supplies and each classroom and school receives recycling bags and bins as part of the free project-based AShirtBag program titled “7 Things You Can Do in 7 Days to Save Our Environment”.

“Introducing environmentally conscious behavior at an early age makes it easier for kids to continue eco-friendly practices throughout life,” says founder Jeff Newsom.

For more information contact AShirtBag, at (800) 915-9384 or visit www.ashirtbag.org.  AShirtBag is located at 1331 Holden Street in Detroit.  View AShirtBag’s blog at www.ashirtbagblogspot.com.



John Buccigross
ESPN

John,

What is your problem with the Red Wings? If you are not a fan of them, fine, great, that's your right. But try not to let your feelings about them show TOO much in your columns.

Bob Moore
Madison, Wis.

A decent-sized clump of Detroit Red Wings fans is like that girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband who gets 99 compliments but remembers the one measured comment/opinion that didn't inject sunshine into the other half's body.

I think it's important that Red Wings Nation and I get things ironed out before the postseason begins. This is the last week of the regular season, and we all want to be in a good frame of mind as the greatest tournament in sports begins next week.

With that in mind, I have gone back to my very first NHL column here on ESPN.com and found some of the nice things I've said about the Red Wings throughout the years. This is not all of the nice things I've said, just a sample. So Detroit, put on your Snuggie and smell the bloggy bouquet of flowers I've sent you as we all prepare for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Enjoy.

2001
Detroit diddy: 'Game on'
• Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit: Finally won his first Norris last season. He might end up with five when he's done playing.

• Steve Yzerman, Detroit: He's never won an MVP, but he's everything an MVP is. He's the centerpiece of one of the best teams of all time. Eight Hall of Famers, the Gretzky of coaches, and the fulcrum of it all is a man who is 5-10, 180. What Bono is to U2, Yzerman is to the Red Wings.

2002
Detroit diddy: 'A star is born'
Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings: He's just ol' dependable St. Nick. Never misses a game. Never a minus. Never takes a dumb penalty. One of the classiest players in the league. Maybe the classiest.

Detroit diddy: 'Best time of year'
Certainly, not a lock, but, the most likely to win it all. Could they lose in the first round? Sure. But, I feel they are the smartest team in professional sports. I feel their intellect, talent and savvy will carry them through. They will get better with each round. The concerns are Steve Yzerman's knee and Dominik Hasek's brain. He's been acting goofy in net recently. But, that usually means he's really into it, so perhaps that's a good sign for Red Wings fans. Can they just "turn it on" and bring their "A" game after finishing so uninspired? Yes. They displayed a greatness THAT NO OTHER TEAM CAME CLOSE TO MATCHING for much of the season. Again, they may not reach that level again and they could be bounced, but until then, they are the odds-on favorite to win.

Detroit diddy: 'Playoffs preview'
Detroit vs. St. Louis: The Red Wings are still my pick to win it all. It took them two games to get going, but now they are ready to bleed for the Cup. They just won four in a row against the team that scored the most goals in the NHL during the regular season and they didn't seem to burn much fuel in doing so.

Detroit diddy: 'Inspiration ... dreams'
We all need inspiration. Someone and some things to lift us toward our dreams. I have dreams and you have dreams and since we both spend way too much time assuming they will never come true, I suggest you watch these NHL playoffs and closely inspect the desperation, courage and perseverance the players show every night. For me, Steve Yzerman inspired me to never give up no matter what during my long day on the golf course. You might connect with a different player. Whoever it is and whatever you wish for, you will likely find the keys to achieving in the eyes of your player or players. Smarts, sacrifice, patience, enthusiasm, and a will to JUST GET IT DONE.

When I watch Yzerman on TV and when I saw his name on my golf ball it reminded me of Tennyson:

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Word.

2003
Detroit diddy: 'It's your birthday!'
I find myself shoving the same CDs into the car CD player, and Lord knows nothing on the radio will move me. "... It's your birthday. We gon' party like it's your birthday. We gon' Darren McCarty like it's your birthday ..."

Detroit diddy: 'Mail call'
Mr. Buccigross,

Is there anything better than Ben Harper and Eddie Vedder on stage together entertaining fans?

Tony Wroblewski

When Pavel Datsyuk makes 47 moves in a three-foot area, and then makes one more to cause the goaltender to internally combust.

Detroit diddy: 'A look into the future'
• A week earlier, the Detroit Red Wings won their 15th Stanley Cup and fourth under the direction of president and GM Steve Yzerman, who retired after the 2003-04 season, a year in which he played the entire postseason on one leg. After scoring 23 goals, Yzerman finished the regular season in such pain that he chose to have the leg amputated. He finished the playoffs with 11 goals and 16 assists, the Conn Smythe and his fourth Stanley Cup. His career ended with his double-overtime, Cup-winning goal in Game 7 against the New York Rangers and their so-called Trade Deadline line. With his patented "row boat" style skating, Yzerman weaved past Jaromir Jagr and his linemates, Alexi Yashin and Pierre Turgeon, and beat goaltender Tom Poti five-hole. When Glen Sather was asked why started the startled 42-year-old defenseman in net, Sather responded, "Dude, I'm Slats."

• When I was senior at Heidelberg College, I cut a 2-inch by 1-inch picture of Steve Yzerman out of the newspaper and hung it on my dormitory door. I wasn't a Wings fan and had never seen Yzerman play. This was the mid-'80s, I lived in Eastern Ohio, and the NHL was on SportsChannel. I wasn't one of the 47 people who had that network as part of their cable package. But his eyes mesmerized me. I thought, this is a person who has big dreams. Big visions. He has a plan and a focus to see it through and stick it out. I knew nothing about him, had never seen or heard him speak, but something moved me to hang that picture on my door as inspiration that life's biggest joys and awards come from dealing with and overcoming pain and discomfort. Those eyes said, "Nothing good comes easy." Have a vision and stick it out.

2004
Detroit diddy: 'Draper'
Kris Draper, C, Detroit Red Wings: Throw me a bone here. He skates like he really loves the game. Bloated plus/minus, more goals than Brendan Shanahan and Brett Hull, only one of his 19 goals is on the power play, great faceoff guy, great personality. They would have made this guy's year.

2005
Detroit diddy: 'The Wings are flying'
Mike Babcock has really tightened this team defensively. Sprinkle in creators up front and the beautiful-to-watch Nicklas Lidstrom and Mathieu Schneider on the back end, and the Wings are flying.

Detroit diddy: 'Impressed'
I saw the Red Wings play in person in Columbus and I came away very impressed. They looked like the Minnesota Wild from the spring of 2003. Skating, surrounding the puck carrier and difficult to tell one line from the next. Also, their two best players, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, played hard every shift. This backbone of character will carry them a long way.

2006
Detroit diddy: 'The awards'
Norris: Nicklas Lidstrom. Quarterbacks the best power play in the league, plays 28:34 a night, gets the puck on net low. You don't hear the puck smack off the back glass when Nick Lidstrom shoots it from the point. A calming, classy influence. If actor Jimmy Stewart came back as a hockey player, he would be Nicklas Lidstrom.

Detroit diddy: 'Stevie Y's future'
• I do think Stevie Y will retire after this season. He would never announce his retirement now because it would be a distraction to the team and he's not a rocking-chair-retirement-ceremony-while-he-is-still-playing kind of guy. After he retires, I would then make him the head of Hockey Canada for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

Hey Johnny boy,

Why do you hate the Islanders?

Domenic Longo
Middle Village, N.Y.

• I swear to Yzerman I don't hate any team. I have stated here many times that broadcasters and referees don't care who wins games. If I covered a local team, they would be my favorite team, because I would create relationships within the organization and I am a sucker for the human touch. And broadcasters of teams get paid by the game, so the more playoff games a team wins, the more money they make. But since I am essentially an international columnist (Hello, Guam!), I have to look at the league and teams equally. I do tend to root for my predictions and the four-legged parlays I played in Vegas last week (boy, I did well), but my love for the 30 NHL teams is platonic. Speaking of Plato, he would have been a Red Wings fan.

Detroit diddy: 'P.D.'
I agree Datsyuk is mesmerizing. Maybe the most visually correct player in the league, especially on shootouts. The Red Wings will have a difficult time winning the Stanley Cup without a healthy and productive Datsyuk. I hope he is, because there is no player in the NHL who makes one go "holy $%#$%" more than P.D.

Detroit diddy: 'Predictions'
• Norris Trophy prediction: For 28 minutes a night, nearly every slap shot on goal, outlet pass, power-play goal and regal air -- Lidstrom is simply the best.

• Jack Adams prediction: There were many outstanding coaching performances this season. In fact, one could argue the depth of quality NHL coaching has never been better. Hence, the tight races down the stretch. But it's truly amazing how Mike Babcock elevated the play of so many players after he stepped into the culture of Detroit, with its heavy air of tradition and recent habits.

Detroit diddy: 'Yzerman's call'
Steve Yzerman said he will make his decision on retirement soon. I believe he will retire. If he wants to come back, that is fine, but I believe his knee just isn't well enough to stand up to the NHL. He's still a joy to watch and there is still so much there to take in as a fan, but I do believe retirement is best. And I believe he should be named the man in charge of Canada's Olympic team for 2010.

2007
Detroit diddy: 'The constant'
Nicklas Lidstrom: The Red Wings are always good because he is always good. Do you know how many times the Red Wings have missed the playoffs since his first season, in 1991-92? That would be, uh, zero.

Detroit diddy: 'Worth the admission'
The majesty of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg is still worth the price of admission for the hard-core hockey fan. They take your breath away on occasion.

Detroit diddy: 'The characters'
• Dominik Hasek: For the "Hey There, Delilah" crowd, he has won six Vezinas and two MVPs.

• Nicklas Lidstrom: When I think of him, I think of the first two lines of one of the 10 songs I would take to heaven ... or hell. It's still up in the air at this point. The song is "Mary's Prayer" by Danny Wilson. And the lines are: "Everything is wonderful; being here is heavenly."

• Henrik Zetterberg: A high-powered European sedan weaving through the pylons of life.

• Chris Chelios: The Mike Wallace of the NHL.

Detroit diddy: 'Best-coached club'
So far this season, the Detroit Red Wings are the best team. They are by far the best-coached club. Mike Babcock is hands down the best coach in the NHL. He has to be Canada's coach at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, and Steve Yzerman should pick the team. Synergy, people.

They score, they check and simply control the game. They are a little top-heavy scoring-wise and, for this game (at least at the start), will split up Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Jiri Hudler is coming on and has been playing at about a point-per-game rate. You can see his confidence growing.

2008
Detroit diddy: 'Lidstrom/Flavor Flav comparison'
I LOVE Sergei Zubov. But ... not only should Nicklas Lidstrom win the Norris, I think it's time he wins the MVP. He controls a game like Flavor Flav controls Public Enemy. Yes, that's the first Lidstrom/Flavor Flav comparison. Unless Mickey Redmond already beat me to it.

Detroit diddy: 'Belichick's influence?'
• The Red Wings are King ... so far. The Red Wings are dominating the NHL, much the same way the Patriots dominated the NFL during the regular season. Their coach, Mike Babcock, confesses to reading Bill Belichick's Web site. Babcock is a much better interview, however, than Belichick and is neck-and-neck with Kings coach Marc Crawford for the league's best head of hair. We care about these things in the NHL. Hair is part of the history of the league; Derek Sanderson and the Big Bad Bruins of the '70s helped break the mold of no long hair and facial hair in hockey.

• Any Red Wings fan who has seen Detroit play this season has marveled at Pavel Datsyuk's ability to strip opponents in the neutral zone. The Red Wings are playing with machine-like efficiency. I expect them to make a major move at the deadline, if they can, and really make a hard run at the Cup. I'm a big "Ryan Kesler for the Selke" guy, as well. But keep an eye on Datsyuk during games and watch how he strips players around the blue line and turns that turnover into points.

• Detroit has been far and away the best team in the NHL, Major. If I had a vote, I would vote Mike Babcock as coach of the year and Nicklas Lidstrom as MVP and Norris Trophy winner.

Detroit diddy: 'Once-in-a-half-century knight'
• Any franchise would have basked in that success, but the Red Wings augmented the winning with interesting characters. Steve Yzerman is a once-in-a-half-century knight. Brendan Shanahan, Sergei Fedorov, Darren McCarty, Nicklas Lidstrom, Igor Larionov, Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille, Dominik Hasek, Scotty Bowman, Chris Chelios, Tomas Holmstrom, Martin Lapointe, Joey Kocur, Vladimir Konstantinov, and so on. This was an interesting group of characters who gave the Red Wings' success texture and depth to last a lifetime. Theirs was an interesting story. Talented, physical, mysterious, confrontational, comedic -- this team had it all.

• Datsyuk has the uniqueness and flair of Crosby. He lacks the physical play Crosby exhibits around the net of the opposing goalie, but he is better at defensively stripping opponents of the puck and has that knack to know when to hover and when to pounce. Datsyuk would be very adept at killing wild game if he put his mind to it. I could see him killing raccoons with ease.

• Zetterberg is a complete player who is hybrid efficient. He can create, score and provide the spectacular. His goal-scoring rate does not change in the postseason. I love that. That means his game has depth.

2009
Detroit diddy: 'NHL's most complete team'
The Red Wings are still the most complete team in the NHL. They are a great skating team with a defense that has skill and mobility, much more so than the Hawks saw against Vancouver. The Wings' offense is a touch deeper than the Blackhawks, and Pavel Datsyuk will be more comfortable playing against the Hawks' defense than Anaheim's.

Detroit diddy: 'NHL's best, when healthy'
• I believe wholeheartedly the following statements are quite possibly absolutely true: When completely healthy, the Red Wings are the best team in the NHL.

• Red Wings coach Mike Babcock will retire with between 600 and 711 coaching wins and be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Detroit diddy: 'Lidstrom? Kobe?'
• And when Nick [Lidstrom] senses a big moment, he turns into Kobe Bryant without the trash talk and false bravado. He is a silent assassin. He stalks, he sees, he pounces. He is one of the best of all time at that. There has never been anyone like him.

• He [Zetterberg] does everything well. And, most important, he plays hard all the time with no arrogance. He is making a late charge for the Conn Smythe Trophy if the Red Wings win the Cup. He got a late start to his career at age 22 and then lost a season to the lockout. He turns 29 this fall, but has played just 432 regular-season games. He should be able to get to 1,000 NHL games if he stays healthy. That will get No. 40 to the Detroit rafters and the man to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

2010
Detroit diddy: 'A new page'
The Wings needed a new arena 10 years ago. Joe Louis Arena is the equivalent of 1982 Chrysler K-car. I love the intimacy of The Joe and long for the days of smaller arenas, but it's time for a new home for Detroit. Imagine what kind of creativity and care could be put into a new cathedral for the Wings and Michigan hockey. I have not been to the Palace or the surrounding area to have an opinion on that. I would hope a new arena could be built downtown. I know things look bleak now, and in the immediate future, in Detroit. But there have been plenty of examples in which cities have come back strong over time.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010!
And one more, fresh sentence: I love you, Detroit. ;)
Attention aspiring and professional Michigan fashion designers: BravoBravo!, Michigan Opera Theatre's highly anticipated annual fundraiser, recently announced its 2010 Fashion Design Contest. New this year, Michigan fashion designers are invited to enter to fill the final spot for the BravoBravo! fashion show on June 4, 2010.

Beginning April 27, those interested can upload an image of their original design to the BravoBravo! website, www.bravobravo.org.  The design with the most votes will receive two tickets to BravoBravo!, will be showcased during BravoBravo!, and will receive a feature article in 944 Magazine.

Fashion students, amateurs, and professionals are all invited to participate in the contest.  All entries must be received by May 28.  The contest winner will be announced June 2.  Only Michigan residents are eligible to participate.

Entrants Must Provide:
1 photo - 800pixels x 600pixels; File can be up to 5 megabytes
Short Bio - up to 280 characters
Email address and contact information

About BravoBravo!

In its 11th year, BravoBravo!, presented by Bank of America, will take place 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Friday, June 4, 2010 at the Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway, in Detroit.  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).

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 $833,000 and is considered a critical fundraising effort for Michigan Opera Theatre.

Tickets are $85 during the month of April, $95 during May and $105 during June.  Tickets may be purchased at the Detroit Opera House box office, by phone at (313) 237-SING, or online at www.bravobravo.org. The event is expected to sell out.

BravoBravo! attendees must be 21 or older.  

About BravoBravo! Fashion Design Contest

BravoBravo! fashion design contest is coordinated by Ohm Creative Group, provided by 323East.  323 East is a collection of creative energy materialized in a smashup of art, culture, lifestyle and creativity. Located 20 minutes north of Detroit in Royal Oak, MI; 323East is home to over 100 artists with rotating works in a variety of mediums. Recent solo exhibitions include local and international artists Glenn Barr, Ron Zakrin, and David Foox. In addition to the gallery, 323East's new boutique offers 400 square feet of extra space dedicated to handmade goods by local and international artists including jewelry, handbags, clothing and more. find out more online at www.323east.com  



Send a piece of home to soldiers serving in the United States Armed Forces!

"Operation Opening Day" is intended for transplanted Detroit Tigers fans currently on military duty at home and abroad. The DVD presentation of Opening Day 2010 is a gift from Mario Impemba that features the game telecast of the Detroit Tigers defeating the Cleveland Indians, 5-2 and all the festivities surrounding the annual Detroit holiday. This project is also made possible through the cooperation of the Tigers and Major League Baseball Productions.


"Opening Day in Detroit is a tradition that dates back over 100 years. It's a celebration that brings the city of Detroit together for the start of every baseball season. This year, in an effort to bring a piece of home to our men and women serving in the Armed Forces around the world, I would like to provide you with the presentation of Opening Day 2010 at Comerica Park in Detroit," states Mario Impemba, play-by-play announcer for the Detroit Tigers on FOX Sports Detroit.


To receive this special gift, click HERE and complete the form with a valid military address -- APO address, SPO address, FPO address, military base or ship address. "Operation Opening Day" will be mailed solely to valid military addresses as the gift is intended for the men and women currently serving our country.

"Operation Opening Day" will be shipped within 4 business days of receipt of request.

Quantities are limited. Requests will be fulfilled as received.

Should you have any questions, please email Kristen.Joe@detroittigers.com.


Find the perfect gift for mom at Pewabic Pottery’s  Mother’s Day Shopping Event on Wednesday, May 5 from 6-9 p.m.

This evening event at Pewabic’s historic landmark in Detroit offers refreshments, door prizes and specials. Pewabic Society members can double their discount up to 20 percent.

“In addition to buying mom a beautiful vase or ornamental tile, why not consider giving her a Pewabic Society membership,” said Terese Ireland, executive director of Pewabic Pottery. “Membership includes invitations to member-only events, exhibit announcements, discounts and a newsletter and can be purchased on May 5 or by calling (313) 822-0954 or visiting www.pewabic.org.”

Pewabic Pottery is a non-profit arts and cultural organization and National Historic Landmark dedicated to ceramic education and advancing contemporary ceramic arts while honoring Arts & Crafts ideals.

Pewabic Pottery is open to the public year round and offers classes, workshops, lectures and tours to children and adults. Pewabic continues to create tile for architectural and offers galleries that showcase more than 70 ceramic artists and a museum store for purchasing handmade items. Visitors are welcome, free of charge, during regular business hours Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. To learn more about Pewabic Pottery, visit www.pewabic.org. Pewabic Pottery can be found at 10125 E. Jefferson Ave. in Detroit across the street from Waterworks Park.
Hundreds of women are expected to visit downtown Milford for deals and discounts during the village’s annual tradition, Ladies Night Out, set for 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 29.

“Ladies Night Out is a great way for women to get together for a night of catching up, dining and shopping,” said Wendi Skolnik, Milford Business Association president and owner of Nana’s Niche & Corner, one of the participating Milford businesses. “During the evening, patrons can expect specials at many of Milford’s restaurants, and exclusive deals and previews of the latest merchandise at dozens of clothing boutiques, jewelry stores, furniture outfitters and more.”

Besides plenty of time to shop, dine and mingle, ladies will also have the chance to win one of 40 gift certificates worth at least $20 each, redeemable at a variety of Milford spots. To enter, attendees can pick up stamps at participating businesses to place in a booklet. Once they’ve picked up 10, they can enter to win by dropping their completed form in any box at participating locations.

For more information on shopping and dining in Milford, visit www.meetmeinmilford.com.

The Staying Power of Michigan's Film Industry

Michigan Municipal League

Detroit Public Radio’s Craig Fahle Show took an in depth look at Michigan’s film industry’s “staying power” on April 20, 2010. He interviewed a number of experts on the ins and outs of producing films, building a local infrastructure, how to get investors on board, opportunities for Michigan’s universities to better educate filmmakers, and what local governments can do to support the growth of the industry. Listen to the radio broadcast online. Start the audio halfway through if you only want to hear Craig Fahle’s segment on the film industry.

I found it to be a rather meaty report that hit on a number of poignant topics - from Michigan Film Investment Summit organizer Gary Bourassa’s idea for how to educate investors, to “Gran Torino” producer Jeffrey Spilman’s experience working in Michigan as managing partner for S3 Entertainment, to a report from Emory King about how Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State are collaborating on a new program that will allow film students to use each school’s unique resources.

Other people featured in the interview include Mark Adler of the Michigan Production Alliance, Miller Canfield’s Lisa Pick, independent filmmaker Brian Hopkins, and Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, who talks about a couple of things that local governments can do to create a local filmmaking infrastructure.

I’ll leave you with the question that Craig Fahle poses at the beginning of the show; “Generous incentives from the state have attracted a number of projects, but what will it take for the industry to have deep and strong roots?”

Amy Lane
Crain's Detroit Business

Five companies bringing $79.4 million in investment mostly to Southeast Michigan were cleared for nearly $23.3 million in state tax credits on Tuesday.

The projects were among 10 statewide to receive assistance from the board of the Michigan Economic Growth Authority.

They included:

• A $11.4 million expansion by a Farmington Hills business process outsourcing company. The expansion in Southfield by The Minacs Group (USA) Inc. is expected to create some 1,928 new jobs, with the help of a $9.1 million state tax credit approved by the MEGA board.

A MEGA board briefing memo said the city of Southfield has also proposed a three-year personal property tax abatement with an estimated value of $208,000 in support of the project.

• A $4.2 million investment in downtown Detroit by Somerset, N.J.-based information technology services provider GalaxE. Solutions Inc. Read more in the Crain's story.

The company plans to create up to 500 jobs and lease space in the 1001 Woodward building adjacent to Compuware Corp.'s headquarters on Campus Martius. It was approved for a $4.6 million state tax credit.

• A $12 million project by PSCU Financial Services Inc. to expand software development, sales and technology-based call center operations and support services in Michigan, consolidating two operations in Auburn Hills and Southgate into a single location in Auburn Hills.

The expansion by the St. Petersburg, Fla.-based company, which provides financial services to credit unions, is expected to create 837 jobs. The MEGA board approved a tax credit of up to $3.5 million for the project.

A MEGA board briefing memo said the city of Auburn Hills plans to consider a property tax abatement in support of the project. The staff at the Michigan Economic Development Corp. estimate the value of an eight-year abatement at $349,836.

• A $49.2 million expansion by Troy-based Magna Holdings of America Inc., in four Michigan communities. The project involves several Magna divisions and would create up to 508 jobs in Auburn Hills, Shelby Township, Troy and Lansing. Read more in the Crain's story.

The company was approved for a $5.6 million state tax credit.

• An approximate $3 million investment by Aeroflex/Inmet Inc. in Ann Arbor, a manufacturer and designer of microwave and wireless components.

The project would expand current operations and relocate design and manufacturing of a resistor product line from New Jersey to Ann Arbor, creating 47 jobs.

The MEGA board approved a $466,004 state tax credit. A briefing memo said Scio Township expects to approve a $42,000 tax abatement in support of the project.

A Kick-Off Rally for Rob Becker, Richmond, Mich. resident who is traveling cross-country on his motorcycle in an effort to raise money and awareness for Covenant House Michigan, a Detroit-based shelter serving homeless and at-risk youth.    

After 14 years as a paramedic, Becker, lost his job in 2005. He spent two years unemployed, looking for work, but in 2007, he lost his home and became homeless. Becker lived in his vehicle for a few days before a bed became available at a local shelter where he stayed for two months. He eventually found another job and began volunteering at the shelter. “I tried to give back everything that was given to me,” he said.

His experience has compelled him to give back even more, so he decided on the approximately 9,000 mile cross country journey on his motorcycle to raise at least $5,000 for Covenant House Michigan. He plans to sleep in a tent and visit other Covenant House locations throughout the country. “Covenant House is doing such great things for homeless young people in a loving caring home-like setting,” Becker said.

Donations can be made at www.covenanthousemi.org, donor’s should designate their donation to Ride4Homeless. Supporters can visit Becker’s website www.ride4homeless.com for a turn-by-turn map of his trip and updates on his journey.

Friday, April 30, 2010
10:00 am

Covenant House Michigan
2959 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, Detroit, MI 48208



Environmentally-conscious and education-minded non-profit AShirtBag has embarked on its next major fund-raising effort. This time, founder Jeff Newsom adds Michigan born and bred celebrities into the mix.
“We’ve asked comedians, musicians, actors and artists – who have a connection to Michigan – to donate their used tank tops or A-shirts to our cause,” said Newsom. “Each celebrity a-shirt will be crafted into a reusable tote bag. A custom AShirtBag tag will come autographed by the celebrity donor then attached to the bag.” Newsom has secured participation from such stars as Kid Rock, Sandra Bernhard, Mayer Hawthorne, Paradime, The Dirty Americans, Dita Von Teese and many more.

The donated shirts have been sewn into AShirtBag’s, and will be showcased at Pluto in Birmingham (400 Hamilton Row) on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22nd.  The public is encouraged to stop by and preview the bags from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.  Each celebrity-donated bag will be available for bidding at http://myworld.ebay.com/ashirtbag on April 23rd.

100% of the proceeds raised from the sale of the celebrity bags will support AShirtBag’s mission, to promote science and ecology programs in Detroit Public Schools, a district with some of the lowest standardized science test scores in the country.

The non-profit provides a free project-based learning program, titled “7 Things You Can Do in 7 Days to Save Our Environment,” to third, fourth and fifth grade students in Detroit elementary schools. Children receive a tri-fold handout; an eco-friendly pencil; a Tree in a Box kit and each classroom receives a set of four recycling bags. These tools are intended to motivate the younger generations to practice earth-friendly lifestyles as well as develop an interest in science. AShirtBag also provides yearly recycling services for select schools in The Detroit Public Schools and its surrounding communities.

100 Gift bags for attendees of the event will be filled with goodies from Randy’s Granola; FIGO Salon; products from TIGI’s Love, Peace & the Planet Eco-friendly hair care line; discount cards from Royal Oak’s Scout boutique, cookies by Pure Food 2U and a free yoga lesson and raw food consultation by Dawn Whitehorn of Dawn In the Raw.

For more information contact AShirtBag, at (800) 915-9384 or visit www.ashirtbag.org. A-ShirtBag is located at 1331 Holden Street in Detroit. View AShirtBag’s blog at www.ashirtbag.blogspot.com.


Building a Brand on a Budget

To elevate their digital profiles and carve out entrepreneurial niches, more businesses are turning to social media and other free digital marketing alternatives.

Jason Ankeny
Entrepreneur Magazine - May 2010

Chances are that anyone seeking a place to live in and around the trendy Detroit suburb of Royal Oak, Mich., eventually will come across property investment and management company Urbane Apartments. In fact, type "apartments Royal Oak" into the Google search toolbar, and the first result that pops up is the Urbane website--a destination highlighted by photos of the firm's modern, inviting rental units and the young urban professionals who occupy them.

With 16 apartment communities spanning across Royal Oak, Urbane has emerged as one of the region's fastest-growing property management companies. But the virtual prominence of its brand has little to do with its real-world scope. Credit instead founder Eric Brown's decision to extend the firm's message into the social media realm --a move that not only slashed spending on paid property listings, but also afforded Urbane the tools to more accurately communicate the contemporary lifestyle experience so integral to its business.

"When I first announced to our staff that we were going to have a MySpace account, they looked at me like I was crazy," Brown recalls. "They said, ‘We can't do that. Whenever we drop the ball, our tenants are going to write bad things about us.' I said, ‘They may, and we will work to make those things right.' By reaching out and addressing those complaints, those residents became Urbane evangelists and started writing positive things about us. There's no way we could have the reach we have without hooking into the customer base we have."

Urbane Apartments now boasts a resident-penned blog touting favorite Royal Oak destinations, a social networking site exclusive to tenants (dubbed the Urbane Lobby) and active YouTube, Facebook and Twitter profiles. With each new post, photo, video and tweet, the company builds and nurtures its brand at no cost while fostering the hip, forward-thinking image its target demographic finds irresistible. According to Brown, in October 2008 about 100 people were visiting the Urbane blog each month. By the following spring, traffic grew to 4,500 visitors per month, and the number now tops 16,000 per month. Those metrics are even more impressive given that Urbane offers only about 300 rental units in all.

Urbane Apartments is the quintessential example of a small business that has maximized the possibilities of social media to champion its brand online, eschewing conventional advertising and search engine optimization solutions in favor of word-of-mouth buzz. Thanks to social networking, do-it-yourself website creation software and related tools, it's never been easier or cheaper to establish a beachhead online. Of course, the same alternatives are available to your competitors, meaning it's also tougher than ever to earn virtual visibility. That's where small businesses must get creative.

"The average small business doesn't need to worry so much about SEO or spending money on a web consultant. If they're out there and relevant to their audience, that's as much search engine optimization as they need," says Mike Whaling, president of 30 Lines, an online branding consultancy in Columbus, Ohio. "There are plenty of opportunities to build a strong brand on a small budget."

Regardless of how the message is articulated and distributed, the core mission of branding remains the same: communicating to customers who you are, what you do and how you do it. The web is the simplest, most direct channel to convey that information.

"Every company should have an online presence, and the cost of developing a site has come down to relative pennies," says Craig Reiss, founder of retail web developer Reiss Media in Cos Cob, Conn. "Organic search can still drive traffic. People go online looking for [a firm's service or product], and all you have to do is get found. It doesn't matter if you're a single retailer and can't afford the time or have the expertise to drive traffic. Most people are just looking for directions to your store anyway."

Websites serve different purposes for different companies, says Nicholas Chilenko, principal of web design and Internet marketing firm Nicholas Creative in East Lansing, Mich. Sometimes the goal is generating new business, sometimes it's about relaying messages to clients and other times it's defining or even redefining the firm's image. "If someone wants to find out more information about you, they go to your website. It's the convergence of all your marketing messages," Chilenko says. "It's easy to create an identity because it's virtual."

The challenge is getting that identity across in quick, broad strokes, says Mary van de Wiel, CEO of branding and communication design consultancy Zing Your Brand in Brooklyn. N.Y. According to her, businesses have just moments to succinctly communicate their purpose and value to consumers before they click away for good.

"You've got to be bold, you've got to be provocative, and you've got to be daring. Create a language and vocabulary that allows people to get that," Van de Wiel says. "Branding is what sets you apart--it's a natural magnet. If people come to your site, they need to say, ‘Yes--this is who can answer my problem.' If you make a bad impression in the first five seconds, you're toast."

The most essential component of successful online branding is the human element, she says. "People are craving a story. They want to know something about who they're buying from, and they feel like they need to like and trust you," she explains. "You've got to shout what it is that makes you special and makes you different. Our personalities are what drive our brands. Look at Richard Branson--his personality is embedded in all of the Virgin brands. You need to put a face on your business."

Perhaps no tool is more effective at putting a human face on a firm than social media--and no tool is less expensive, either. In addition to utilizing social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, 30 Lines' Whaling recommends that small businesses introduce their own blogs as a means to pass along content that underscores the company's knowledge and expertise, with an emphasis on local information that directly affects customers. For example, an accountant might post about changes to city or state taxes that are likely to affect his clients, positively or negatively.

"Make sure you're regularly adding fresh content," Whaling advises. "Not only are you providing value, you're also adding pages to your website--that's more pages for search engines to index, and more opportunities for customers to find you."

All businesses have information to share, regardless of vertical, he adds. "Not enough companies take advantage of the opportunity to tell a story that's bigger than the company itself. There's always a story you can tell. Maybe your merchandise is made from local products or from sustainable materials. You've got to find that unique angle."

For Urbane Apartments' Brown, the bigger story is the world that surrounds his properties. "At the end of the day, I'm not sure folks really care about apartment features. What they really want to know is what's going on nearby, like where is the best corner bar and the best place for sushi," he says. "Our blog focuses on everything about the local neighborhood--it's all about new bars and restaurants. And our website traffic is off the charts."

Social media outreach also lets businesses keep tabs on their online reputations and interact directly with fans and foes alike. According to Brown, Urbane Apartments closely monitors tenant reviews and feedback across multiple websites and is quick to respond to any criticism.

"A lot of folks want to ignore the ratings and review sites, which is a huge mistake. There's no hiding from that," Brown says. "If you're getting a bad review, you need to fix it and think about how to encourage good reviews. No longer does the general public believe in ads--they believe in what is said on Facebook."

Brown is applying to his own consulting business the lessons he's learned from building Urbane Apartments' online brand. Under the Urbane Way umbrella, he works with small businesses looking to pursue digital marketing opportunities. In late 2009, Brown also joined real estate information content provider Network Communications as a social media strategist. He practices what he preaches: Urbane Apartments dropped all print advertising and premium online promotions years ago, and Brown isn't looking back.

"Internet marketing is what enabled us to compete on a level playing field," Brown maintains. "I'm not suggesting print advertising is dead, but sometimes there's no money for that. There are certainly lots of pay-per-click programs, but how many times do you click on ads on Google? Most people never do that. But you can still build your brand organically. Wherever we can expand our digital footprint, we will do it."



Chicago-based writer Jason Ankeny is the executive editor of Fiercemobile content, a daily electronic newsletter dedicated to mobile media, applications and marketing.

Although experts agree that an engaging online presence is a must for any business, a user-friendly website and compelling products and services aren't enough to distinguish your brand from the rest of the pack. "Getting your brand out there and setting yourself apart should be easy, but it's not," says Mary van de Wiel, CEO of branding and communication design consultancy Zing Your Brand. "You've got to be fearless, and you've got to live out loud--make yourself unmistakably unforgettable."

Here are some suggestions for making it happen:

Establish an identity. "If you can't work out what the unforgettable, differentiating spark is, you're a dead brand walking," Van de Wiel says. "It's a matter of working out what you want to do and working out the attitude of your brand. Your brand has a behavior and a tone. Brands like to show off and have fun. It wants to come out."

Be easy to find. "You want to make sure you're not invisible to search engines--that's why some people avoid all-Flash websites," says Mike Whaling, president of online branding consultancy 30 Lines. "Make sure you're represented in all the local directories. Go to GetListed.org, type in your business name and see where you come up on searches."

Steal good ideas and make them your own. "It's important to create a look and feel that represents your business in the best way, but not everyone has a design aesthetic, so you might need a little bit of help along the way," Van de Wiel says. "I recommend that people look around and see what speaks to them. If you can identify that, then track down the person who worked on that website. But be accountable, give the designer some benchmarks, and be clear about how you want to express your business."

Watch for opportunities. "Lots of people miss the boat in terms of call-to-action. Once you get people to your website, it's not always clear what you want them to do," says Nicholas Chilenko, principal of web design firm Nicholas Creative. "Make sure there's a clear path of motion through the site. The goal is to get customers to convert. Insert subtle cues throughout the copy, and give them some incentive to make that initial contact."

Remember other marketing channels. "Don't forget about basic digital tools--e-mail marketing still works," Whaling says. "E-mail can feature posts from your blog; repurpose content you're using elsewhere. Also, leverage your offline promotions to complement what you're doing online. For example, list your Yelp page on your business card and encourage customers to go there to let you know how you're doing."

Lighten up. "Some people are so intense about their brand, but it shouldn't be a struggle," Van de Wiel says. "We like people who are friendly and relaxed. So have fun." --J.A.
MSNBC
This e-mail was sent to the Dateline NBC producer of "America Now: City of Heartbreak and Hope," which aired on April 19, 2010.

After allowing time for the dust and tempers to settle, I want to express my disappointment with the Dateline piece on Detroit. The story told was one-sided, and failed to accurately reflect the other side of the story--and Detroit. For so many who look to outlets such as yours for information, they will yet again walk away with a misperception about the city and its people.

For the access and assistance given to your organization and staff to research this story, the outcome was disappointingly shallow. Media outlets come to the city and tell and then re-tell the same things--Auto epicenter, riots, white flight, desolation. Same story, different byline.

While we acknowledge our challenges, which mirror or even pale to those in other urban cities, we also recognize our potential and accomplishments. Nowhere did the story include those who are buying into and supporting the city's rebirth. No energy or excitement surrounding the Riverfront, Eastern Market, Tech Town, Avalon Bakery, Indian Village, the DIA, Campus Martius, and the list goes on and on.

We are not perfect, nor do we desire to be portrayed as such. But, we also find no value in being incorrectly painted as a city whose residents must resort to hunting racoons for food. It is this image that contributes to fueling decisions to not return, invest or remain in our city.

In all fairness, it would be great for Chris [Hansen] to return and tell the rest of the story--where people are not struggling on $200 every two weeks to feed their families, shooting racoons to eat, contributing to government corruption, or attending a struggling school system. This may be the reality for some of Detroit, but it is not the reality for all of Detroit.

Rounding out the story would prove that NBC's interests and efforts were not to simply gain ratings at the expense of the city, its residents and supporters. You showed the heartbreak...we'd like to see the hope.

Thank you.

Karen Dumas
Group Executive/Communications

Office of Mayor Dave Bing
City of Detroit

Detroit's TechTown Featured on CNN



Randal Charlton, Chanell Scott and Matt Cullen are interviewed by CNNMoney


Detroit Regional News Hub

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 (www.uli.org) 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 www.DetroitRestaurantWeek.com.



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 www.DetroitRestaurantWeek.com  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, Metromix.com, TellUsDetroit.Com, modeldmedia.com, WWJ Newsradio 950, After5Detroit.com, Metromodemedia.com, detnews.com, freep.com, Hour Detroit, The Michigan Front Page, and Yelp.com. 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 Opentable.com. 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






Urbanophile

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 www.spaweek.com  


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



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