Hollywood Comes To TechTown


When the 2011 Hollywood feature A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas debuts, look closely and you may see signs of TechTown.

Well, the cameo actually belongs to the building soon to be known as TechTwo.

Harold, Kumar and their crew filmed at TechTown’s TechTwo facility, formerly the Dalgleish Cadillac dealership, and worked around the clock to transform the empty facility into a “New York City tree lot.” A 30-foot inflatable Santa Claus stood on the corner, colored lights hung from the building and a large “Xmas Tree Brothaz” sign covered the iconic Dalgleish name. About 130 members of the production crew worked during the night for several days, and the action closed off neighboring streets as well during the filming (even the signs pointing to I-94 were changed to I-78!). Learn more about the Harold & Kumar series here and here.

The film’s production team also shot a few other scenes in locations across the Metro Detroit area.

Harold and Kumar’s Christmas romp is one of many Hollywood productions that have turned to Michigan in search of low-cost, high quality environments. Sparked by the Michigan Film Incentive, the country’s premier film incentive program, and Michigan-based film facilities, filmmakers across the country are seeing the unequaled benefits of being made in Michigan. Henry Argasinski, TechTown’s real estate and facilities director, says Detroit’s largest small business incubator reaped a pretty important benefit as well.

“After a diligent sweep of the broom and a can of paint following the filming, our parking lot was left in better shape than before,” Argasinski said. “Talk about a Christmas in July! While we can’t discuss details, the movie’s funniest moment takes place here at TechTown.”

Cornerstone Schools will host the 5th annual “Be a Tiger for Kids” event at Comerica Park on Tuesday, August 24th.  This fun-filled, family summer event supports the children of Cornerstone by providing scholarships to prepare students for life and leadership.  A special challenge grant issued by The Wheeler Family Foundation and an anonymous donor will provide a $100,000 grant to fund two classrooms of children at Cornerstone if the “Be A Tiger For Kids” event nets at least $400,000.

Festivities kick off at 4:30 p.m. at the Rock-N-Roar tailgate party at Ford Field.  Guests will enjoy great food, entertainment, face painting, and games for all ages at the exclusive pre-game party. At approximately 6:15 p.m., party goers will collectively make their way to Comerica Park to see the Cornerstone Honors Choir perform the Star Spangled Banner and cheer on the Detroit Tigers as they play the Kansas City Royals. Game time is 7:05 p.m.

“The ‘Be A Tiger For Kids’ event is an opportunity to impact the lives, education and the futures of Cornerstone students and our community-at-large,” said Ernestine Sanders, Cornerstone President/CEO.  “And thanks to the generous challenge grant by The Wheeler Family Foundation and an anonymous donor, there is even greater reason to help us reach our fundraising objectives.”  Now in its 5th year, this annual fundraiser truly makes a difference in these children’s lives and continues our mission of ‘Changing Detroit – One Child at a Time’.”

 Over 50% of the parents whose children now attend Cornerstone are at or below the poverty line and have been negatively impacted by the economic conditions in the city. A donation to the school’s scholarship fund fills the financial gap.

There are several tax deductible donation options available ranging from $50 - $250:

Ultimate Fan Package ($250) - sends a child to school for one week per year.
Receives one premier game ticket (best seats available on a first-come, first-served basis), entry for one to the private pre-game Rock-N-Roar tailgate and a commemorative event tee shirt. As an ultimate fan, you will be eligible to win a special opportunity to attend batting practice with the Tigers.

Fan Package ($100) - sends a child to school for two days per year.
Receives a premium game ticket, entry into the private, pre-game tailgate party and an event t-shirt.

Stadium Package ($50) - sends a child to school for one day per year
Receives a game ticket, entry into the private, pre-game tailgate party and an event t-shirt.

For tickets, sponsorships or more information, please visit www.CornerstoneSchools.org or call Cornerstone Schools at 1-800-343-0951.

President Obama to sell good news of auto bailout during today's Detroit tour
Associated Press

President Barack Obama is going to the heart of the U.S. auto industry to push an important election-year claim: his administration's unpopular auto industry bailout has turned into an economic good-news story.
With Americans facing a still-limping economy and potentially pivotal congressional elections in three months, the White House sees progress in the auto industry as a concrete area of improvement — and one with direct ties to the president's own actions.

To highlight that progress, which presidential aides believe has received too little attention, Obama will stop at three auto plants over the next several days, visiting General Motors and Chrysler factories in Michigan on Friday and a Ford facility in Chicago next Wednesday. Hoping to ratchet up public notice further, the White House also had the administration's top auto officials brief reporters Thursday.

Following the government-led bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler, the companies have shown signs of improvement.

"You now have all those U.S. auto companies showing a profit. They've rehired 55,000 workers. We are going to get all the money back that we invested in those car companies," Obama said in an interview aired Thursday on the ABC daytime talk show "The View."

He said the government is on track to recover all the taxpayer money his administration poured into GM, Chrysler, auto lenders and suppliers to avert a near-certain industrywide meltdown.

However, the White House said that proclamation referred only to the $60 billion spent by the Obama administration, not the additional $25 billion funneled to the industry in 2008 under the Bush administration. The most recent government estimate found that taxpayers will lose $24.3 billion on the auto bailout.

In a report on the status of the auto industry, the White House said failing to intervene would have led to the loss of nearly 1.1 million jobs. The auto industry has added 55,000 jobs in the year since the automotive bankruptcies, making it the strongest year of job growth in the industry since 1999.

The administration pointed to several signs of progress: plans by GM and Chrysler to skip the typical summer shutdown of several auto plants to meet demand for hot-selling vehicles and the addition of shifts at GM, Chrysler and Ford Motor Co. plants. The report notes that the three companies are beginning to post profits.
White House officials estimate that Detroit automakers could add 11,000 new jobs before the end of 2010.
On Friday, Obama will visit GM's Hamtramck plant, which is planning to assemble the Chevrolet Volt rechargeable electric car. The plant is one of nine the automaker will keep open during the usual two-week summer shutdown.

In nearby Detroit, Obama will tour Chrysler's Jefferson North plant, which recently added a second shift of production, adding about 1,100 jobs. Next week, the president will visit the Chicago plant where Ford builds the Taurus sedan and plans to assemble a new Explorer sport utility vehicle.

GM has repaid $6.7 billion that the government considered loans, with the remaining $43.3 billion converted into a 61 percent stake in the company. GM is expected to conduct an initial public offering of shares in the company later this year, a move that could help the government recoup some of its investment.

United Auto Workers President Bob King said in a statement Thursday that GM would file paperwork in mid-August to start the process of selling stock to the public.

Chrysler received about $15 billion in government help and was placed under control of Italian automaker Fiat as part of its bankruptcy. The company has repaid about half of the $4 billion loan portion of its aid and is considering a public stock offering sometime in 2011.

Ron Bloom, the administration's senior counselor for manufacturing policy, said it was unclear how long the government would hold ownership stakes in the companies. "We don't like having this investment, but we're not going to sell it at a fire sale," he said.

Edsel &  Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich., continues the Ford family legacy of innovation and technology with the launch of its own iPhone and iPad application and interactive tour.  The app is now available free of charge on iTunes and as a web app for most smartphones. Pre-loaded iPod Touches are also provided on-site to guests.

The launch of the mobile app and tour reflects another crucial step in Ford House’s 2010-2015 strategic plan – increasing accessibility to the Ford Family story by sharing their personal stories of innovation and creativity, giving guests an epic visitor experience superior to anything at a museum or historic site in the United States.

In an effort to create greater accessibility, the Ford House has launched an abbreviated version of the mobile tour as a “web app” (in addition to the iPhone app), allowing most Internet-enabled smartphones to experience the tour, as well.

The app features 60 minutes of exclusive video content, an original soundtrack, and never-before-seen archival footage of the Ford family at play. The tour uses home movies, photos, an interactive map of the Ford House estate, site-specific interviews and much more, stirring up genuinely heartfelt emotion for this close-knit family. Guests literally enter the Ford story with just a few simple touches on their smartphone screen, becoming the  leader in their own journey through the estate.

Many videos were filmed by Edsel Ford himself, using his own personal camera. It’s an intimate look into the auto legend’s mind at a pinnacle time in the Ford family history. While a time machine doesn’t exist quite yet, the Ford House iPhone app is about as close as one can get to going back in time.

“It’s unlike any museum tour I’ve seen,” said Kathleen Mullins, president of Ford House.  “It literally allows visitors to enter the story by providing access to personal movies of the family when they weren’t in the public eye, relaxed and enjoying being a family.  It’s very personal and sometimes deeply emotional.  Visitors will be able to connect with this iconic family in a whole new way.”

For example, guests walking near the family swimming pool will touch the screen to begin a video of Eleanor and the children playing by the pool, standing in the space where it actually happened. Or they will be able to watch touching footage of Edsel and Eleanor ice skating before Edsel’s untimely death.

The app offers several options to users: take a guided tour; explore on your own; meet the Ford family; meet landscape architect Jens Jensen; and browse a comprehensive photo gallery.

Through exclusive video, photos and interviews, the iPhone tour explores both the interiors and exteriors of the home, including the lakeside lawn, lagoon, swimming pool, flower garden, the meadow, boat house, garage, Bird Island peninsula and more.

The Edsel & Eleanor Ford House App, produced by award-winning Audissey Media, has been in development since January 2010. (For a sneak preview of the iPhone tour, visit www.fordhouse.org).

Audissey Media is a pioneer in the high-tech tourism industry, allowing travelers to use their smartphone as a personal tour guide. In addition to Ford House, the company has created Audissey Guides for downtown Houston, Washington D.C., and Boston Public Garden.

“This mobile app puts the visitor in the driver’s seat,” said Rob Pyles, Creative Director at Audissey Media. “This technology is a sort of liberation from the traditional, passive museum experience. It’s really about you - what do you want to explore? I think Edsel would have thought it was the perfect way to share his home with visitors. This positions the Ford House as a real leader in the field.”

Approximately 75 percent of the project was funded by outside sources, including a grant from the MotorCities National Heritage Area, part of the National Parks Service, and donations received through last fall’s Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan Arts & Culture Challenge Grant program. The latter issued a challenge grant to area cultural institutions encouraging the use of web-based technology and social media for fundraising outreach.

“In the spirit of the challenge, we thought it was quite fitting to further the Ford family legacy and our use of new media by directing some of the donations received through Community Foundation’s initiative to develop this programming,” Mullins said.

Visitors may use an iPod Touch from the Ford House or download the free app from iTunes.  Most other smartphones can access the tour as a web app from their phones at www.fordhouse.org/mobiletour.

Admission and rental: Admission to Ford House, which includes a guided tour and use of an iPod Touch, is $12 per person, $11 for seniors and $8 for children six to 12 years old, with children 5 and under free. iPod Touch rental will be $5 for guests  who have purchased grounds-only admission. It is free to Ford House members. Guests may also use their own smartphone on the tour.

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House is located at 1100 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Shores.  Since 1978, Ford House has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors to share in Eleanor Ford’s vision of preserving the estate for future generations to enjoy through interpretive tours, family activities, lectures, exhibits and gardens and grounds events.  For more information, visit www.fordhouse.org or call 313.884.4222.

On Saturday, August 28 -- 1:00-7:00 pm, Come Hear Belle Isle is an event for young adults (targeting ages 18-34) who live in Detroit and will be the next generation of people who live and settle in the city, but all ages are welcome to attend and get involved.

The goal is to get people to come out and discover what Belle Isle, and Detroit as a whole, has to offer, while raising money for the preservation of Belle Isle.  We will have nonprofits from all over the city come out and showcase ways to get involved in the community.  Each organization will have space at a table at the event.  The event will have a music component with several bands playing to provide a festival feel.  Bands donating entertainment to the event include The Sights, Champions of Breakfast, The High Strung, Chris Bathgate, Loune, The Maunder Minimum, Doop and the Inside Outlaws, Copper Thieves and more.  This is a FREE event, with a suggested donation.

Proceeds will go back to the preservation of Belle Isle through our partnership with The Friends of Belle Isle, a register non-profit.

For more information check out our page@ http://www.facebook.com/comehearbelleisle or http://www.fobi.org
Blue Öyster Cult will rock Detroit on the GM Riverfront stage on Friday, July 30 for the second concert in the 2010 Rockin’ on the Riverfront classic rock concert series, sponsored by Andiamo Detroit Riverfront and in partnership with Detroit’s Classic Rock Station 94.7 WCSX-FM.

Since they formed in the late 1960s on Long Island, New York, Blue Öyster Cult has been one of rock’s most prolific bands. They have released 13 studio albums and scored hits such as “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” “Burnin’ for You” and “Godzilla.” With their unique sound and lyrics they influenced many talented artists such as Metallica and HIM. Their work remains timeless, with “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” being featured in various movie soundtracks, and even parodied on Saturday Night Live.

Blue Öyster Cult will play from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Rockin’ on the Riverfront features classic rock headliners on select Fridays during the summer making Riverfront Plaza a great destination for food, fun and free concerts.

Additional Rockin’ on the Riverfront performers include:
Aug. 6 – Gregg Rolie
August 13 – The Romantics

Additionally, opening bands include:
July 30 – Solid State
August 6 – Salem Witchcraft
August 13 – Steve Kostan With The Eddie Leighton Project

Admission to the concerts is free and no advance tickets are necessary. Viewing space will be on a first-come, first-served basis and people are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets. In addition, boaters on the Detroit River are invited to anchor near the riverfront and enjoy the view of the stage from the water.

Andiamo Detroit Riverfront will provide refreshment and food concessions at several locations on the plaza. Outside food, beverages or coolers will not be permitted. Andiamo Detroit Riverfront will accept dinner reservations before and after the concert and invite guests to take advantage of its outdoor patio overlooking the Detroit River.

Convenient parking is available for $5 per vehicle at the GM surface lot at the intersection of St. Antoine and Atwater, adjacent to the GM Renaissance Center.

For more information, call (313) 567-6700 or visit www.andiamoitalia.com/detroit.

Jessica Nunez


The much-anticipated Raleigh Michigan Studios will break ground today, paving the way for a 200,000 square-foot sound stage building and a possible 3,000 new jobs in Metro Detroit.

The Los Angeles-based Raleigh Studios is building its new Michigan branch at the site of the old General Motors Centerpoint business campus in Pontiac.

The making of Raleigh Studios Michigan has been underway since early 2009, and since then has faced raising $60-80 million in financing, getting approved by the city and Oakland County and other obstacles.

A. Alfred Taubman, the Pontiac-born father of American shopping malls is heading up the project, along with John Rakolta and Linden Nelson, chairman and CEO of Michigan Motion Picture Studios.

Nelson was on air with WJR's Warren Pierce before the ground-breaking ceremony and talked about how important this project is to Taubman on a personal level.

"When Alfred originally walked through the site, he said ... where are all the cars, where are all the people? And what's happening with their families? And he had tears coming out of his eyes as to what had happened in southeast Michigan."

96 movies or TV productions have been filmed now in the state of Michigan so far, and the Michigan Film Office believes the new sound stages will draw even more television production.

The studio is also going to double as a teaching venue, training people in film industry trades.

"We're going to be a teaching studio with 5 to 7 colleges and universities having classrooms on our second floor," Nelson said. "So you're able to learn your trade, get trained in the business and go right down and work on a set or a movie, in an accounting office, production office, in animation or in editing."

Nelson said they hope to have the grand opening at the end of this year and have the first production on stages in February or March 2011.

The first factory-built, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant, wheelchair-accessible vehicle will arrive in the Motor City on the 20th Anniversary of the ADA as part of a 27-city road show to reach the 14 million Americans who use mobility devices and their caregivers. The MV-1 (“first mobility vehicle”) will be at both Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM) and Lakeside Mall. Interested consumers will be able to experience MV-1’s unparalleled accessibility and learn about its car-like ride and comfort with truck-like safety and durability, and at the same celebrate the signing of the historic ADA legislation. The vehicle is built by a new American car company, The Vehicle Production Group.

In Michigan alone, 13.2%* of all residents have a disability, with 7.2% of the state population reporting ambulatory disabilities. For the city that put the world on wheels, Detroit is the ideal place to showcase this new, ADA-accessible vehicle on the 20th anniversary of the signing of the ADA.

Public Demo Events:        

Monday, July 26, 2010, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, 261 Mack Avenue, Detroit (Main RIM entrance on Brady Street)

Tuesday, July 27 – Wednesday, July 28, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Lakeside Mall, 14000 Lakeside Circle, Sterling Heights (Lot between Lord & Taylor and J.C. Penny)          
For additional information, visit www.vpgautos.com.

* Source: Disability Statistics, Cornell University (http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/disabilitystatistics/)