Featured in this month's issue of Imbibe Magazine is a list of the 25 Most Influential Cocktails Over The Past Century.  Making the cut is "The Last Word," it's origin straight out of the Motor City during the Prohibition Era from the Detroit Athletic Club.

While the drink eventually fell out of use, it has recently enjoyed renewed popularity after being rediscovered as a cult hit in the Seattle area by Murray Stenson, a bartender at the Zig Zag Café.

How to Make The Last Word

1 oz gin

1 oz maraschino liqueur
1 oz Chartreuse
1 oz fresh lime juice

Shake well with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Shut up and drink.
As a way to bring attention to the exciting, unique, creative and often unnoticed places and events in the city of Detroit, Garden Court Condominiums, Detroit’s premier high-rise living complex, is launching the first-ever “I Love Detroit!” video contest—asking the community to show their love for Detroit by capturing a video of themselves doing what they love most in the city. The announcement was made by Carrie Cohen, Sales Director for Garden Court Condominiums.

“Detroit is a place that offers its residents the living experience of an exciting urban lifestyle—built upon the city’s long-lasting history of thriving on a creative spirit,” said Cohen. “From Motown to the automotive industry, the people of Detroit have always made their presence known worldwide. However, through this initiative, we want to raise local visibility of all the ongoing things that make Detroit great—the people, the sights, the sounds, the hidden gems that often go unnoticed—all while providing the community with a unique platform to share their love for the city and live rent-free for one year at Garden Court Condominiums.”

Beginning May 23, participants can upload their 2-minute video submission to www.gardencourtvideocontest.com. First, participants must create an account, then click “submit video” to upload their submission. The contest will conclude on Monday, June 21, with the winner of the contest being announced at a “Wrap Party” happening from 6-9 p.m. on Tuesday, June 29 at the luxury rooftop at Garden Court Condominiums overlooking the Detroit River.

At the event, the winner will be announced and awarded the grand prize to live rent-free at Garden Court Condominiums for one year. During the year, this individual will subsequently chronicle their day-to-day experiences participating in Detroit’s culture, dining and sporting events through a blog. The blog will offer those considering a move to the city an unprecedented birds-eye view into the amenities that living in the city of Detroit can offer. A panel of notable southeastern Michigan-based personalities will select the winning video.

Participants can submit their videos and view contest rules at www.GardenCourtVideoContest.com between May 23 and June 21. FOX 2 News is serving as the “I Love Detroit!” video contest’s promotional partner and will showcase video submissions on-air during the duration of the contest.

Designed by famed architect Albert Kahn in 1915, Garden Court Condominiums is a mid-rise condominium complex located in the East RiverWalk District of Detroit with spectacular views of the City and the River. It features 65 superbly renovated residences that seamlessly blend the beauty of the historic architecture with today’s modern amenities. For more information, please visit: www.gardencourtcondos.com.

There are over 125 Bars and Restaurants in Downtown Detroit and many of them are dog friendly. This tour will take you to 3 of them.

Below is the itinerary for the night. All of the bars are located Downtown within just a few blocks of each other. Brought to you by Canine to Five and Inside Detroit this special Drinking with Dogs will include:

Drink specials at each location.

Introductions to owners, bartenders and others.

Personal guide who leads the group and makes sure everyone has a good time!

The Well  - 6:00 – 7:00
1228 Randolph
A funky, friendly pub that has a unique outdoor patio and the owners bartending. A 100-inch projection screen TV and great drink specials make it a favorite neighborhood spot and a great place to catch the game!

Pulse Lounge – 7:00 – 8:00
156 Monroe
One of Downtown’s cooler spots this simple yet sophisticated cocktail lounge has a great environment, an amazing martini menu and some of the best DJ’s in town.

Beaubien Street Saloon – 8:00 – 9:00
641 Beaubien.
More than just a great sports bar. The Beaubien is Detroit’s version of “Cheers”. Cheap beer, free popcorn, pool, darts and by your second visit everyone knows your name.

Click HERE to reserve your spot!

Reel Chicago

After a comparatively quiet first quarter, Michigan is looking forward to a tremendous amount of spring and summer activity.

It gets off to a high octane start April 18 in Detroit with Sony Pictures’ action-adventure “S.W.A.T.: Fire Fight,” based on the 1970s TV series, directed by Benny Boom (“Next Day Air”) and starring Robert Patrick.

“Salvation Boulevard,” the Pierce Brosnan comedic thriller will get underway in May. Horror comedy “Vamps,” starring Alicia Silverstone, commences in June. Wes Craven’s “Scream 4” comes to film in Ann Arbor in mid-June.

Also scheduled for Detroit principal photography are “A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas,” “30 Minutes or Less,” “The Double,” “Transformers 3” and “Northern Lights.”

The biggest-budget production will be DreamWorks' “Real Steel,” an action boxing drama starring Hugh Jackman, set in the near-future where 2,000 pound robots that look like humans do battle. Filming will start June 15 for 70 days in the Detroit area.

Last year, Michigan was host to a total of 49 projects, mostly features, but also a TV series and several feature-length docs. (See list below.)

But in order for Michigan to keep pace with the increasing flow of entertainment projects it needs to build a sustainable infrastructure.

Towards this end, the Michigan Film Office in late 2009 hired Richard Jewell as its workforce development director.

His main task it is to standardize and organize the many different skills needed to support a new creative economy.

Jewell, who is developing a basic competencies document, is leading a skills’ alliance of educational institutions and other stakeholders.

An example of this alliance is a very promising educational opportunity: the partnering of Wayne County Community College and IATSE.

This partnership provides for Detroit residents to receive grants for classroom training by IATSE members. They are then embedded into working film sets where they are paid to work alongside union workers, as a fast track to union membership and more feature film opportunities.

This model may be duplicated in other parts of the state.

The goal of the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council (MFOAC) is to increase the film labor pool in a short time. The current number of ready local crew available depends on who you speak to, but seems to be in the range of two to four films.

Through the recently unveiled MFOAC multi-university program, students would be trained in above- and below-the-line skills. Students in this pilot program, which is a collaboration among Wayne State, Michigan State and the University of Michigan, would work together to develop, script, shoot and edit a film.

Organizations such as the Michigan Production Alliance (MPA) have taken it upon themselves to fast track an indigenous creative community. Incentives have kick-started the industry here, although Michigan has been a commercial production center for over 50 years. Now it’s up to the local industry to make it all stick.

On April 22, non-profit MPA sponsored a summit for investors and their agents to understand what to look for in pitches from filmmakers. Until now, Michigan hasn’t had enough reason or interest to support a financial/legal community with expertise in film financing.

Like the entire landscape, this is changing. The hope is to create foundations that will allow the community to grow and maintain Michigan as a viable production center in the United States.

For more about the Michigan Production Alliance, see www.mpami.org/.

Completed 2009 Michigan-made Productions

“Up in the Air” - Paramount Pictures

“Betty Ann Waters” - Innocence Productions, Inc.

“Hopeful Notes” - Red Future Entertainment, LLC

“Oogie Loves in the Big Balloon Adventure” - Big Balloon Adventure Movie, LLC

“Caught in the Crossfire” - Caught in Crossfire, LLC

“Stone” - Stone Productions, Inc.

“The Irishman” - Sweet William Productions, LLC

“Hung” TV series - Hangman Films Inc. / HBO

“What If” - What If Productions, LLC

“The Lake Effect” - Growing Up, LLC

“Crash Course” - Crash Course Productions, Inc.

“Meltdown” - Meltdown Productions, LLC

“Clark Family Christmas” - Karew Records, LLC

“Capitalism: A Love Story” - Front Street Productions, LLC

“Flipped” - East of Doheny

“Jump Shipp” - Dot&Cross, LLC

“The Genesis Code” - American Saga Productions, LLC

“Trivial Pursuits” - 3,4 Women Productions

“The Next Great Mission” - 45 North Productions, Inc.

“Little Murder” - Cine Grande Films

“Fitful” - Fitful Film Associates, Inc.

“Daisy Tells a Secret” - One of Us Films, LLC

“Annabelle and Bear” - Radish Creative Group

“John, The Revelator” - Revelator Movie, LLC

“Alleged” - Dean River Productions

“You Don't Know Jack” - Royal Oak Films, Inc.

“Grey Skies” - Grey Skies, LLC

“The Domino Effect” - Detroit Film Production Services, Inc.

“Highland Park” - Highland Park Productions, LLC

“What's Wrong With Virginia?” - Tic Tock Studios

“Vanishing on 7th Street” - Vanishing Film LLC

Game of Death - Game of Death Productions, LLC

Mooz-Lum - Peace Film, LLC

Secrets In The Walls - Prospect Park Productions, LLC —Ruth L Ratny

On Saturday, May 22 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., American Express will work with United Way for Southeastern Michigan, an affiliate of HandsOn Network, City Year Detroit and The Greening of Detroit to plant an urban garden designed to expose Osborn High School students and the community to international and locally-grown foods.

Volunteers will also build benches, a rain-catching gazebo and decorate flower pots to create a welcoming space surrounding the garden. Students will continue to care for the garden throughout the school year and the community will benefit from the foods harvested.

Following the garden planting, Chef Edward Bailey, executive chef of Andiamo Detroit and 1998 Osborn alum, will provide a cooking demo for students.

American Express and Delta employees will work hand-in-hand with students, parents, teachers and community members on each project element. The spring gardening event is the third in a series of “Travel with Your Mind” volunteer events that kicked off in fall 2009. The “Travel with Your Mind” program was designed to help revitalize a local school through a series of transformational projects and multi-cultural initiatives. The projects have all been travel-themed and aim to expose students to the new possibilities travel creates without leaving their own backyard.

*Note: Due to the possibility of Osborn closing in the fall, the urban garden will be planted between Osborn and Brenda Scott Middle School, where the students will be placed at the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year.

Volunteers interested in participating should register at http://volunteer.united-e-way.org/uwsem/volunteer/. Volunteers must be at least 10 years of age and be accompanied by a parent.

Volunteers will meet at Brenda Scott Middle School located at 18440 Hoover in Detroit.

Elaine LeBalme
Pop City

I know, I know – what could we possibly want from Detroit?  They have a 30% unemployment rate, entire neighborhoods filled with abandoned houses, and the Detroit Lions.

But. This desperation is fostering creation, not only from the artist class that tends to gravitate toward seemingly hopeless situations (hey, cheap studio space!) but from local officials, the business community and universities which have banded together with a can-do spirit borne from the realization that there's nowhere to go but up.  'Burghers would be wise to adopt a similar "we can't wait!" attitude.

The Greening of Detroit
The Greening of Detroit is an organization that has teamed up with Michigan State, the Detroit Agriculture Network and EarthWorks Urban Farm to facilitate urban agriculture.  Created to counteract the "food desert" that city-center Detroit had become, the program currently supports 877 urban gardens manned by individuals, families or community cooperatives.  For a minimal annual buy-in ($10/families, $20/communities), farmers are provided training and materials (tools, seeds, organically-grown trans-plants) so they can grow food on their own land or on the many parcels of vacant land throughout the city (permitting arranged, though the group is not beyond guerrilla gardening).

"Local is the new organic," enthuses Rebecca Salminen Witt, president of The Greening of Detroit.  "This movement is exploding, making it easier to raise money from corporate donors and foundations.  We might not be doing this if the auto companies were still cranking out cars, but there's a pioneering spirit now.  There's also an agricultural heritage in this state and with improved growing techniques, we can now grow 51 weeks a year.  This can change people's lives and already, it's making us all feel better."  A fertile idea for Slow Food Pittsburgh?

Tech Town
Putting people to work indoors is TechTown, a research and technology park at Wayne State University in downtown Detroit.  Acting on its plan to re-engineer Detroit's economy, this business incubator has taken $5 million in funding from ten foundations and placed roughly 40% of its bets in the hi-tech sector (alternative energy, life sciences, homeland security and advanced engineering), with the remainder going to services and lifestyle companies that are putting Detroiters back to work.

There are over 200 companies on the TechTown campus, a 1,200-acre spread that is an amalgam of repurposed auto industry buildings.  The program provides a full spectrum of services, including funding, to these nascent ventures.  "There's a culture of innovation here," says Randal Charlton, executive director of Tech Town, "and we figure if you keep them close, they'll help others.  The plan is the cavalry ain't coming and while (Detroit) may get help from the Feds, we have to provide our own solutions.  It's time to put aside old tribalism and get to work."  Charlton hopes to have 1,200 companies up and running in the next three years and early successes include Asterand, a human tissue bank that went public in 2007 and whose shares were the top performer on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in 2008.  Hmm, if CMU could get an old plant from U.S. Steel...

M-1 Rail Project
Yet another example of the community coming together is a novel public/private partnership that's spearheading a light rail system in Detroit.  As the only major city in the U.S. without  a rapid transit system, Detroit finally approved the M-1 Rail project, only to find itself without funding.  With the facts on their side, e.g. every dollar spent on transit yields $4-8 of new development around it, city officials approached the business community and found them eager to plead their case.

Local mega-millionaires Roger Penske (racing) and Dan Gilbert (Quicken Loans) took the lead and soon brought in Mike Illich (Little Caesar's Pizza, Detroit Tigers) and Peter Karmanos (CompuWare), all of whom made personal contributions in the millions of dollars, along with the Kresge Foundation, which contributed $35 million.  The consortium raised over $100 million, which generated a match of $400 million from the Federal government.  The initial 3.4 mile line will run along Woodward Avenue, the city's grand boulevard and site of many of its cultural institutions, sports venues, the Henry Ford Hospital and Wayne State University, with planned spurs that reach the 8-mile city limit and beyond.  This approach gives me hope for rapid transit from downtown Pittsburgh to Squirrel Hill and I'm fine with plastering the names of benefactors at every T station. First stop:  Super Mario station at Consol Energy Center?

Saved by Art
Equally novel yet inspirational are the urban canvasses created by Detroit artists from the blight and desolation of their city.  This guerrilla art is at its best at The Heidelberg Project, a blocks-long installation by artist Tyree Guyton that runs primarily along Heidelberg Street, part of a once-thriving middle-class neighborhood where the artist grew up and that was home to musician Wilson Pickett, Motown founder Berry Gordy and longtime UPI reporter Helen Thomas.

Now one of the three poorest ZIP codes in the country, the project is all about healing and in the hands of Guyton, it is a colorful pastiche of found objects ("faces in the hood" painted on rusting car hoods, shopping carts perched precariously from battered tree limbs) on and around empty, dilapidated houses.  The artist's penchant for polka dots serves to illustrate that we're all shapes and colors and the poignancy of his vision attracts 275,000 visitors from a hundred countries every year.  On a more modest scale is Hamtramck Disneyland, where a visionary artist from a once-Polish enclave has plastered a series of handmade whirligigs on the roof of his house.  It's whimsical and hopeful at the same time.

More somber in tone is Project Orange, where a group of artists has painted some of the city's most barren houses a bright orange hue as a stark reminder of work to be done.  New mayor Dave Bing is listening, selectively razing structures that will never again be useful to a city whose population has declined from two million residents to 900,000.  Many of the city's edgier artists create, and collaborate, at the Russell Industrial Center, a sprawling former auto parts plant where artists once squatted an entire floor.  Oneita Porter, principal of grrlDog Design, revels in the wall of gaslight windows that brighten her space and supports the building owners' vow to never gentrify.

The Food Scene
Flashier and far more mainstream are the celebrity chefs seizing on Detroit as the new frontier.  Iron Chef Michael Symon of Lola fame in Cleveland has opened Roast in the lobby of the Westin Book Cadillac, a hotel which has undergone a $200 million historical re-creation that is as sumptuous as Symon's food.  The "roast beast of the day" is muscular in size and pairs beautifully with many sides and there's no denying that young sommelier Joseph Allerton is the toast of the town.  Across town, chef, restauranteur and cookbook author Michael Mina has opened SaltWater and Bourbon Steak at the MGM Grand Detroit and his buzzy, beautiful rooms are equal to the food.  Down-market eats are also popular in The D as seen in Greektown and Mexicantown, ethnic neighborhoods chock-full of mom-and-pop eateries serving delectable meals (the Astoria Pastry Shop in Greektown and Panaderia La Gloria in Mexicantown are confectioners without peer).  Somewhere in the middle is Slow's Bar-B-Q, a five-year-old establishment that's already a Corktown institution thanks to heaping plates of 'cue served in a hipster-laden room.

Despite its many challenges, Detroit still glitters at night and the twinkling lights that extend across the Detroit River into Windsor, Ontario are only part of it.  All three of the city's casinos have built 400-room hotels atop their gaming halls as permitted by the state of Michigan and nowhere is the result more impressive than at the MGM Grand.  "Absolutely, the hotel has improved our bottom line," proclaims Chris McClain, Hotel Director, who is delighted that MGM has built an entirely new facility from the ground up to replace its previous casino.  "Across the street, it was a gambling hall.  Here, it's a resort with everything you need."  Could this be a winner of an idea for the Rivers Casino and a way to maximize the North Shore Connector that will soon stop at its door?

Speaking of winners, here's hoping the Penguins and Red Wings face off again next season.

Photographs courtesy Marvin Shaouni
Meg Mott
Brattleboro Reformer

Along with the drifting pollen and darting swallows, the other airborne substance in these May breezes is the question, "Where are you going after graduation?" In years past the answer might have been, "I've got an internship with an NGO in Guatemala," or "I'm off to Brooklyn to write music reviews for the Huffington Post," or "I'm going to Japan to teach English." Not that all our seniors go far and wide. Indeed, a reliable number of our graduates settle down on Green Street or in the woods of West Halifax. Their college education may have introduced them to canonical texts and historical methods of research but their hearts and eyes fell in love with the hills and seasons of Windham County. To the question, "where are you going after graduation?" many answer with a knowing smile, "Go? Why do I have to leave?"

And indeed, compared with the over-development and unemployment of much of the United States, this corner of Vermont has much to commend it. Unlike California and Nevada, Vermont's economy is relatively stable. Unlike other small cities, Brattleboro hasn't been taken over by big box stores. We've got farmers' markets and gallery walks, street music and CSAs. The eateries up and down Main Street provide enough shifts to keep a recent graduate in rent and Frisbee games for the foreseeable future.

Lately, however, Detroit is showing up on the short list of places to go after graduation. For one thing, housing is cheap -- one student claimed he found a house for sale for under $15,000. But the big draw to the Motor City isn't just the squatting opportunities, it's the farming possibilities. Detroit is quickly becoming the model city for urban agriculture.

Fifteen years ago, Detroit had very few vitals signs. Manufacturing plants had closed and people who could flee did. As in other post-industrial cities, arson was rampant and dumping was routine. As the population plummeted, more and more buildings were abandoned, leading to a dangerous cycle of fewer firefighters and police to serve the needs of increasingly depopulated neighborhoods. It reached the point in certain parts of the city where firemen never knew if the building in flames was inhabited or what was being stored inside. Detroit firemen were more likely to be killed in the line of duty than their counterparts in any other American city. By 2005, it was estimated that 40,000 lots stood vacant in Detroit.

In the past, those neighborhoods would have been bulldozed to make way for freeways or public housing or industrial parks. The city would have condemned a district on the grounds that a brand new industrial park would bring more jobs to Detroit. That argument might still work in those parts of the country that only recently saw a drop in employment, but Detroit has been living in economic distress since the 1980s. Now, rather than putting their hopes in some multinational corporation or public works project, the residents, themselves, are putting those vacant lots to use.

The growth in agricultural production within the city limits has been astounding. The 2009 growing season provided enough produce to keep six farmers markets operating year round. During that same season, the Grown in Detroit Cooperative sold over 23,000 pounds of fresh produce and donated 1,100 pounds to the local soup kitchen. Besides providing residents with fresh food, these farming endeavors are providing employment opportunities for the city's young people and restoring dignity to some of its elders. 

Grandmothers teach techniques in canning and preserving. Domestic arts that were almost lost during the heyday of industrialization now add value to the garden produce.

The sound of urban renewal in post-industrial Detroit is the sound of roosters crowing and bees buzzing. The city is in the process of changing its ordinances to allow for more community and institutional gardens -- already 600 and counting -- easier permitting for livestock, and fewer obstacles to the distribution of local agricultural products to schools, residential facilities, and hospitals. The Detroit Urban Garden Education Series offers over 50 workshops each year for both novice and seasoned gardeners. Want to know how to compost? There's a workshop nearby. Interested in how you can extend your growing season? There's a Web site with useful information.

The proposal for an Urban Agricultural Policy, filed with the City Council this past spring, uses a "triple bottom line" to make its case. Not only do urban gardens provide jobs and economic stability, they also improve the environment and the community. As young people learn the joy of growing their own food, soil is improved and the neighborhood becomes safer. Growing tomatoes in a vacant lot doesn't just benefit the pantry, it also benefits the city. The agricultural use of vacant land means that Detroit firefighters won't be killed because a meth lab exploded.

The effect of all this hoeing and planting and weeding and herding is that the citizens of Detroit are building a city worth living in. By engaging in a community development program that builds soil, food security, and neighborhood stability, the triple bottom line, Detroit is showing the rest of the nation how to rise out of the rubble. For a young college graduate trying to implement the values of a liberal arts education in an uncertain world, the post-motor city seems like a good place to go.

Even during the most tedious moments of weeding, Detroit's road to recovery gives our future leaders much to think about.

Todd Scott
Momentum Planet
With its humble beginnings as a French outpost in 1701, the city of Detroit, Michigan has seen more than its share of booms and busts. A century of modest growth ended with the great fire of 1805, which gave the city its motto: ‘We hope for better things; it shall rise from the ashes’, a motto that remains valid more than two centuries later.

But while Detroit looks to move forward, it’s also looking back. Certainly, alternative energy, new vehicles and medicine are the future, as are urban agriculture, streetcars and bicycling.

And for most residents outside the city’s boundaries, it’s a tough sell to imagine Detroit – a metonym for the American auto industry – as a great bicycle city rather than just the “Motor City.” For those living within the city limits, there’s a growing recognition that this is one of America’s best urban biking environments. Even David Byrne lists Detroit among his top eight favorite biking cities in the “Great rides where you least expect it” category.

Wide Open Roads
Detroit has the basic ingredients for bike-friendliness. The terrain is flat and the streets are in well-formed grids. From here, though, Detroit’s path to bike-friendliness doesn’t follow the commonly accepted route.
This is a city with a road network built for nearly two million residents. It later invested heavily in a well-connected urban expressway system that pulled vehicles from the main arterials. Then a million residents left the city to sprawl across the suburbs.

Unlike most other cities where traffic engineers struggle to carve separated biking areas from busy roads, Detroit’s streets have excess travel lanes. Motown cyclists may not always have their own four-foot bike lane, but they often have their own 10-foot vehicle lane – or two. With the same amount of car traffic, a five-lane road in many cities is a seven- or nine-lane road in Detroit.

Still, Detroit is investing in bike facilities to encourage more riding. In 2008, the city council passed an ambitious non-motorized transportation plan that called for nearly 400 miles (643.7 kilometers) of bike lanes, nearly all of which were to be created through road diets. That plan’s implementation is underway with 30-some miles of new bike lanes planned for 2010 alone.

Cassandra Spratling, a newspaper reporter who enjoys riding to work and to Belle Isle, says “there’s a misconception that these city streets are bad for biking. The opposite is true. The key is knowing the streets with the least traffic.”

Growing Trail Network
There has been a substantial public and private investment in off-road bicycle facilities too. There are a dozen non-profit organizations planning, developing and maintaining trails within Detroit. These organizations – along with government officials and other stakeholders – meet on a regular basis as the Detroit Greenways Coalition. The Coalition has developed a 70-plus mile (112.6 kilometer) interconnected greenway network vision. A couple of the highlights are the existing RiverWalk and Dequindre Cut trails. There are also plans to run a trail from the river to Eight Mile and an ambitious greenway that would loop around the entire city.

Detroit also has singletrack! Rouge Park on the west side has a modest 1.5 mile (2.4 kilometer) hiking and mountain biking trail. The plans are to expand that to a three mile loop in the near future.

Metro Detroit Cycling
It should be noted that while the city of Detroit offers great bicycling infrastructure, the surrounding suburbs typically don’t. The inner ring suburbs – those designed and developed during Metro Detroit’s streetcar era – offer decent cycling opportunities. These older suburbs also offer many weekly rides for the go-fast Lycra crowd.

Unfortunately, as is too common across America, the metro area’s newer suburban communities are auto-centric. Rides there often begin by loading the bike onto the car. The unfriendly roads keep cyclists mainly on rail-trails and at Metro parks.

Community Challenges
Detroit faces many challenges. Bicycles are often pegged as a last choice mode of transportation, i.e. riding a bicycle means one cannot afford a car.

Nationwide, bicycling advocacy is not very diverse. Detroit’s large African-American, Hispanic, Arabic and Muslim populations are all too often under-represented and under-served in the cycling world. Detroit bicycling advocates look to be leaders in diversifying the cycling movement.

While on the subject of “under-served,” Detroit is nearly 140 square miles (363 square kilometers) yet one cannot buy a Trek, Giant or Specialized within the city. In fact, no city shop fully stocks new bicycles. Filling that gap are bicycle co-ops like The Hub of Detroit – Michigan’s First Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Business. Their popular Earn-A-Bike program and bike shop are helping get a lot of Detroiters on the saddle.

Joey Rodriguez-Tanner, The Hub administrator added, “There’s still a lot of room to grow.” As a positive sign, during a recent ride into work, Rodriguez-Tanner noticed many other riders on the road – and he didn’t recognize any of them.

A related challenge is improving access to healthier food within the city. One result has been a major push into urban agriculture. According to Ashley Atkinson with the Greening of Detroit, there were 11,000 Detroiters engaged in urban agriculture in 2009. “Detroit has the highest participation rate for any major urban area,” said Atkinson. During the summer, cyclists can see this “growing” movement through farm-to-fork bike tours or the Detroit Agriculture Network Tour scheduled for August 4, 2010.

Looking Ahead
Bikes Belong and REI have recently awarded a $15,000 grant to the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance. This grant will be used to help Detroit gain recognition as an official Bicycle Friendly Community in the League of American Bicyclists program. Applying for Bicycle Friendly status may be illuminating since the current process isn’t geared towards cities that have become bike-friendly by reverting to their pre-WWI population levels.

Detroit is not Portland. Or even Los Angeles.

LA artist Alex Aranda, who now lives in Detroit, added, “Compared with Los Angeles, the Detroit biking scene is a smaller community where you tend to know most everyone. Also, riding here is not just a fashion statement. People often ride out of need rather than to be seen.”

The city of Detroit is also continuing their Safe Routes to School efforts and is exploring a possible Complete Streets ordinance.

All told, Detroit is clearly more than just the Motor City.

Photos by AJ Manoulian Vanessa Miller Geronimo Patton/Heidelberg Project Archives

Free Is My Life

Java and Jazz at the Library- Thornetta Davis

Tuesday, May 18, 6:00 p.m.

Thornetta has opened for legendary blues and R&B greats such as Ray Charles, Gladys Knight, and Smokey Robinson. It's clear that the Motor City knows just who Thornetta is and now it is time the rest of the world discovered it as well.

Join us for a magical evening, we like to call Thornetta Live! At Main Library, 3rd floor, Old Fine Arts Room, free and open to the public. 6:00 - 7:45 pm. Comerica Java and Jazz at the Detroit Public Library, 5201 Woodward, North of Warren in Midtown Detroit. 313-481-1339.

Matt Roush

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

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


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.


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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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