Making Millions From Cupcakes
Josh Hyatt
Money Magazine

Pam Turkin, 49, left her job as marketing VP for a merchandising firm to start a cupcake store chain.

As VP of marketing for a merchandising firm, Pam Turkin traveled extensively.

Around 2008 she noticed cupcake shops popping up on the coasts and wondered about bringing the concept home to the Detroit area.

Not only was her husband, Todd, recently out of work, but her employer was pressuring her to move to its Florida office.

"I baked for fun, so I started experimenting," says Turkin. She spent weekends devising flavors like S'mores and Fat Elvis (banana cake with peanut butter buttercream, dipped in chocolate), using her five kids as testers.

By late 2008 she'd rented a commercial kitchen and had placed her pastries in a dozen stores. Early the next year, she quit her day job to open a retail shop. In 2010, Just Baked opened its fifth store, and turned its first profit on $1.6 million in sales.

"The business has never slowed down," says Turkin, who has 40 full-time employees -- including Todd, who is manager of operations -- and 25 part-timers. "It's a lot of fun, and more than a little crazy."

How she's doing it:

1. By reinvesting

With business lending tight, Turkin figured she wouldn't get a loan. So, after using $10,000 from her mom to start up, she put early revenue to use. "If we had a big weekend, we bought a mixer," she says.

2. By tapping savings

In 2010, Pam and Todd paid themselves $60,000, just 30% of their old income. To help cover living expenses, they also drew $40,000 from savings. Expected 2011 salary: $100,000.

3. By growing on the cheap

The Turkins recently began licensing their brand. They own just 20% of their fifth store. Plus, a new deal with Faygo, which is distributing soda-flavored cupcakes, could double sales.

Jackie Willis
Entertainment Tonight

Audrina Patridge is looking to make Detroit, Michigan the new "it" city as she packs her bags and heads for Motor City!

The reality star is making a new web series called "Dream Maker" that will feature her "as a new, up-and-coming talent manager from Hollywood who moves to Detroit to start her own firm."

Audrina is looking for people to help her in her quest, asking for audition tapes to be submitted to the YOBIAct contest. The winners will appear as Audrina's assistant and receptionist in the series.

YOBIAct's website describes the series, saying, "The world will watch and laugh as the new firm settles in, copes with interoffice dynamics, and goes through the trials of signing hot new talent before someone else gets them!"

I stumbled on this really great article (excerpt below) from the Canadian Edition of Reader's Digest today.  I love that our friendly neighbor to the north (er south, depends on where you are standing) is giving major kudos to Detroit, but are 9 reasons really enough?  No way!  So for those of you who yearn for more, check out the article I wrote with the lovely Ashley Catherine Woods for the Real Detroit Weekly 2010 Valentine's Day Edition. We give you 99 more (so that's a total of 108 for you math whizs!) reasons to love Detroit! It's amazing to re-read this article after a year knowing there are so many new items to add to the list, as I am sure you have quite a few as well!  Enjoy!

*Note click on the titles below to read the full articles since they are both pretty long and detailed

9 Surprising Reasons Detroit Rocks
Reader's Digest Canada 

1. The Heidelberg Project

2. The Cass Corridor

3. The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit

4. Mexicantown’s Restaurants and Supermercados

5. The Eastern Market

6. Detroit on Wheels (or Feet)

7. Artists’ Studios

8. Motown (and Other Musical Attractions)

9. The Quest for the Perfect Coney

99 Reasons to Fall in Love with Detroit (In Case You Had Any Doubts)
By Erin Rose and Ashley Catherine Woods
Real Detroit Weekly

1. We have an NBA Hall of Famer as our Mayor. Cincinnati had Jerry Springer. Detroit: 1, Cincinnati: 0

2. Being able to basically set your GPS according to what you’re craving: Greek, Mexican, Polish, Soul, Arabic, Bengladeshi, you name it …

3. Catching shots of the Townsend Hotel, Gusoline Alley, Tiger Stadium, our “best and worst” stage props and other things that arouse our civic pride on HBO’s Hung.

4. We have our own version of a Russian Bath House at The Schvitz Health Club on Oakland Avenue in Detroit. Check three-piece inhibitions at the door.

5. Detroit supplied 75 percent of the nation's liquor during the Prohibition Era — na zdrowie!

6. A former Louis Vuitton model convinced his brother and parents to pack their gear, leave their Chicago digs and head to Detroit to open the greatest BBQ joint in the Midwest.

7. We’re listed as one of the five best cities to get a green job by Clean Edge.

8. Low Down Sound — a bass player’s wet dream.

9.Try and order the mystery cobra cognac at Cliff Bell’s. Neat.

10. A double feature at the Ford Wyoming drive-in .

11. Scoreboard proposals at Comerica Park. You blink, you miss it. Kind of like some of our relationships.

12. The entrance and exit ramps on the Dequindre Cut. And the fact that we’re (finally) celebrating graffiti.

13. Catching the occasional post-2 a.m. drag race on the I-75 service drive by the American Axle plant.

14. Ceiling beam signatures at the Scarab Club, including those from Salvador Dali, Norman Rockwell and Diego Rivera.

15. Motor City Motors on the Discovery Channel.

16. (313) Texts From Last Night was born here (thanks for getting one past the goalie).

17. The way Jefferson Avenue and Belle Isle bump on a hot summer afternoon.

18. The complimentary fresh salsa and guacamole that’s available for snacking each and every time we visit Honey Bee Market La Colmena in Southwest Detroit.

19. Pewabic Pottery and the out-of-towners that house it from Chicago to Paris. Martha Stewart loves it, too.

20. There’s no backstage at St. Andrews. So you can hang with the band at the bar ... no “special favors” required.

Click Here for the other 79

Vocalist Nicole New, a 2006 Wayne State graduate, is the Jazz Café’s featured artist for its on-going Happy Hour series.

New, 26, along with Cliff Monear, New’s mentor and former professor, performs Tuesday through Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Music Hall located at 350 Madison in Detroit.

The pair has worked together since New was a music business major at Wayne State. Monear, a jazz pianist, encouraged New to pursue a singing career.

“As a student, I didn’t think I’d ever have a career as a singer,” said New, an artistic coordinator for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. “I was focused on the business side of music, but Professor Monear opened my eyes to my vocal ability and made me realize jazz was something organic to me, something that made musical sense to my soul.”

New’s eclectic style of singing draws from her early influences of performing jazz, pop, bluegrass and musical theatre. She has performed at venues such as The Jazz Café, Cliff Bells, Andiamo and the Steinway Jazz Café.

The free Happy Hour with Nicole New series includes a live jazz performance, complimentary appetizers and drink specials. For more information about the Jazz Café inside the Music Hall, visit

Ronald McDonald House Charities recently approved a grant in the amount of $5,000 to Pewabic Pottery. The grant will support Pewabic Pottery’s in-patient Bedside Art program, “Fun With Clay,” as well as its High School Apprentice program.

The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well being of children. The Vision holds the belief that when you change a child’s life, you change a family’s, which can change a community, and ultimately the world. RMHC strives to be part of that change and part of the solution in improving the lives of children and their families by providing programs that strengthen families during their most difficult or challenging times.

 Pewabic’s Bedside Art program, Fun With Clay, currently serves 200 children per year at Detroit’s Children’s Hospital of Michigan. This weekly bedside ceramic arts program is designed to provide creative activity as well as an outlet for expression beneficial to hospitalized children. The program is currently provided to pediatric inpatients ages 7-18 at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit.

 Pewabic’s High School Apprenticeship program serves the inner-city youth of Detroit, supplementing high school curriculum in Detroit Public Schools. In the school year 2009/2010, Pewabic provided ceramic art instruction through its programming to 8,000 underserved Detroit youth who do not have access to the arts. Pewabic programs are focused on underserved Detroit youth who do not typically have access to the arts through their schools. Pewabic’s underlying belief is that ceramic arts are a powerful vehicle for youth development; this is much needed in a disinvested community with a high rate of youth poverty.

Pewabic Pottery’s Tudor Revival style building is a National Historic Landmark, located at 10125 East Jefferson Avenue. The mission of Pewabic Pottery is to engage people in learning experiences with contemporary ceramic art and artists while promoting and preserving its historic legacy. Pewabic offers visitors an exciting glimpse of a little known part of American history. Founded in 1903 during the Arts & Crafts Movement, Pewabic is nationally renowned for its tile and pottery in unique glazes. Today Pewabic Pottery is a non-profit ceramic art education center that welcomes 40,000 visitors to the Pottery, as well as 100,000 web visitors annually.

 Pewabic youth education programs are offered free to Detroit youth in public and charter schools, offering opportunities for quality after-school programs for youth that take place in healthy, safe, and supportive environments. These programs teach real-life skills using ceramic arts while supporting creative self-expression, career exploration for youth, and helping participants develop self-confidence. Pewabic also teaches 1,000 adults each year through varied courses from beginner to advanced levels.
The traditional K-8 class scheduling model of students in one grade moving through all the same classes as their peers has been turned on its head at Palmer Park Preparatory Academy (P3A), a new K-8 school in the Detroit Public School District. P3A launched a ground-breaking pilot program in late December in which seventh- and eighth-grade students receive customized instruction based on comprehension level.

This month marks the start of the first full semester when students follow individualized class schedules based on data pulled from three years of reading, writing and mathematics MEAP assessments in Data Director, a digital assessment tool developed by global education leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and implemented in partnership with DPS.

The schedules place students into English Language Arts and Mathematics classes with peers who tested at similar learning levels in each subject, allowing teachers to develop tailored instructional programs. Students will follow this new, individualized schedule through the remainder of the 2010/2011 school year, though a student could be moved to a different level of English Language Arts or Mathematics if needed during the year based on their performance without having to change their other teachers. To date, this innovative approach of using technology to improve student outcomes has only been used at a select number of schools in New York City.

“Traditionally, K-8 schools have operated under the notion that students should receive ‘one-size-fits-all’ instruction based on grade – but the truth is that students learn at different paces and within different modalities, and we need to respect the learner as we create the learning environment,” said Barbara Byrd-Bennett, Chief Academic and Accountability Auditor of DPS. “By filling classrooms with students who share similar learning levels, teachers can offer customized instruction that engages students based on their individual needs – and that makes them more successful. We hope P3A will be a model to implement in other K-8 schools at DPS.”

Replication of the program is being considered as the district designs new schools and reviews its School Improvement Grant school plans, Byrd-Bennett said.

The pilot program at Palmer Park Prep Academy builds on the individualized program at the school, which for the first time is being run by a group of highly-qualified Detroit Public Schools teachers who are focused on excellent teaching under the guidance of an Executive Administrator. The new school has extended hours and a robust curriculum, including arts, sports, clubs, Math Games, Science Projects, Current Events and Music. Foreign languages are offered to the youngest students in the PreK-8 school, and character development is woven throughout the curriculum.

Because research has shown having an effective teacher improves student learning, the school places a heavy emphasis on excellent teaching and high standards in every classroom. The teaching staff meet routinely to assess and build programming based on the needs of children they see every day in their classrooms.

The program also provides students with an additional period of English Language Arts, a mandate DPS is trying to implement in each building as part of the district’s rigorous 5-year academic plan.

Additionally, the pilot program restructures the classes teachers are assigned to and the way teachers prepare lesson plans. P3A English Language Arts and Math teachers are no longer assigned solely to one grade level; rather, they now transition between seventh and eighth grade classes throughout the day. The program also allots 45 minutes per day for a common planning period in which all teachers meet to collaboratively develop lesson plans, share best practices and discuss adjustments that need to be made to provide the students with the best possible educational experience.

 “This customized schedule already has made a huge difference in our students’ lives – we’re already noticing the students are happier because they are in the right place,” said Ann Crowley, a lead teacher at Palmer Park Preparatory Academy.   “Teachers appreciate the additional planning period to collaborate around meeting the needs of our students.  In our school, we ‘own’ the children together. A common planning period gives the teachers time to share best practices, plan lessons together, and even mentor one another around each other’s areas of expertise.”

The pilot program is part of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s multi-year partnership with DPS to provide a unique integrated education solution that combines advanced technology, customized lesson plans and educator training and development that will improve student learning. DPS is implementing individualized student-centered schedules first at P3A and will evaluate its success for future rollout at other DPS schools.  The individualized scheduling program was developed by Cimple, a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt partner who used its Web-based platform with advanced tools to design different scheduling structures and models to produce the individualized student schedules.
Skateboarding Magazine

Grub Street Chicago

We agree that grocery stores are crucial, but is it necessary to hate on urban farms?

In general, the attitude toward inner-city Detroit's urban-farming renaissance over the past few years has been ebullient. Sure, it's deplorable that poor city residents found themselves in the position of being without reliable access to fresh food, but props to them for growing their own! A documentary chronicling the city's hundreds of community gardens has won numerous awards, and it seems every few months we read another article celebrating Motor City's conversion to Farm City. But now along comes this recent story in Good, provocatively titled "Forget Urban Farms. We Need a Wal-Mart."

Richard Longworth, a fellow at the policy think tank the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, argues that residents of inner-city Detroit growing their own produce is anything but positive: "Urban farms are nothing less than a symptom of civic catastrophe, a desperate last measure for people trapped in destitute neighborhoods that have become food deserts." These kind of small farms are not the future of agriculture, he rails, but merely "niche" producers that "will never meet global demand," and are costly enough to price out all but urbanites with lots of money and the resources to figure out how to prepare haricots verts.

As we see it, though, urban farming in Detroit isn't about meeting global demand; it's about meeting local demand, and community gardens most definitely help with that. What's more, if people are raising their own food (or buying it affordably from neighbors), it's a different matter than privileged urban dwellers going to the Greenmarket and paying $5 a pound for biodynamic fingerling potatoes. It seems like Longworth (who has written a book that, in part, examines the disappearance of family farms) is using Detroit to make a complicated point about agriculture that, to our ears, isn't totally a fit.

Longworth's next argument, that the city of Detroit should allow Wal-Mart free rein to open stores in the suburbs if the megaretailer agrees to put local grocery stores into the shuttered supermarkets that dot inner Detroit, is an interesting one. Clearly, having grocery stores within city limits — accessible even to people without cars — would be a tremendous step forward. In fact, wouldn't it be great if a person could complement her haul of Swiss chard by easily being able to buy some chicken and rice to go along with it? Longworth might be right that what inner Detroit really needs is grocery stores, but he makes a mistake in discounting the urban farms that are, at this moment, giving many people fresh food and a source of income. Instead of thinking in terms of either there's urban farming or supermarkets, wouldn't the ideal scenario involve having both?

Forget Urban Farms. We Need a Wal-Mart

Photo: Courtesy Brooklyn Grange
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, considered by many fans and sportswriters to be the greatest basketball player of all time, will deliver the keynote address at Wayne State University's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, a fellow member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, will introduce Abdul-Jabbar at the event.

The program will begin at 11 a.m. at the Max M. Fisher Music Center, located at 3711 Woodward Ave. in Detroit. Tickets for the program only are $10; tickets that include a strolling luncheon are $65.

A 10-pack of program/luncheon tickets is $500. For more details, visit, or call (313) 577-0701. Reservations are required and may be submitted at

Net proceeds from this year's event will be donated to select Detroit schools through the Adopt-A-Classroom program. Adopt-A-Classroom is a nationally recognized organization that raises funds to help teachers purchase resources for their classrooms. Last year, Detroit schools received $10,000 from Wayne State's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute.

The Wayne State tribute program includes special recognition for community leaders who exemplify King's goals and philosophy. It also highlights WSU's role as a bridge-building institution that keeps King's vision of racial harmony and community service alive.

A Rebirth for Detroit's Big Three Automakers

Chris Isidore
CNN Money

What a difference a year or two makes!

As the auto industry gathers for the annual Detroit Auto Show, the outlook is for strong sales gains ahead, both domestically and globally. In 2010, U.S. sales rose 11%, and they're expected to be up at least that much in 2011.

Gains could be even bigger overseas, with China, now the world's largest market for auto sales, leading the way.

Most forecasts are for sales increases to continue until at least 2015, even if overall economic growth remains modest.

"We are in a growth industry," said Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, chief economist of Ford Motor, in a speech to the Society of Automotive Analysts Sunday night.

The profit outlook, shaped by the painful restructuring of recent years, is even better, with several experts saying this is the best competitive position for U.S. automakers in decades.

Higher profits ahead

A few years ago, Detroit automakers spent an extra several thousand dollars per vehicle on production compared to import brands. But that disadvantage has largely vanished, mostly due to the closing of 19 auto plants in recent years, and new labor contracts that trimmed costs.

"Certainly in terms of getting their footprint of production to match the market, they're probably in the best position we've seen in 20 or 30 years," said William Strauss, senior economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. "That bodes well in terms of profitability."

In the sales boom years, the Big Three took losses on many of their car models due to weak demand. But experts say that new cost structures and more attractive offerings in car models position them to weather changes in the market.

Rebecca Lindland, director of strategic review for IHS Automotive, said even conservative estimates of sales growth to 15 million vehicles a year in 2015, should be enough to drive significantly higher profits.

"It's been decades since they made money on something other than trucks and SUV's," she said. "But they're structured well now."

General Motors (GM) and Ford Motor (F, Fortune 500) have already reported their best net profits in more than a decade, while Chrysler Group is reporting operating profits. And all three gained U.S. market share in 2010, and are well positioned to keep making inroads in the years ahead.

More than half of the 200 senior auto industry executives surveyed by accounting firm KPMG expect GM and Ford to gain global market share in the next five years, and most believe Chrysler will at least hold onto its market share, if not make gains. That's a radical departure from a year ago, when the majority were forecasting continued declines for GM and Chrysler and expected Ford to hold pat.

"It is quite a remarkable change in opinion," said Gary Silberg, national auto industry leader for KPMG., who said he was particularly surprised by the change of opinion among overseas auto executives. "It's not easy to convince outsiders to take a positive view of the U.S. industry."

And U.S. auto plants are finally hiring again. Overall factory employment at U.S. plants was up 37,000 at the end of the year, or about 6%. But most of the 300,000 auto plant jobs lost in the industry since 2007 are not likely to be recouped for the foreseeable future, even as sales rebound.

While most experts agree that the outlook is vastly better than it was two years ago, when the very survival of the U.S. industry was in question, not all are convinced that Detroit has completely turned the corner.

Michelle Krebs, senior analyst with, said the industry still has to prove it won't fall back into its old habit of overproducing vehicles, only to have to cut prices and raise incentives to move the cars. While Detroit made many tough decisions to get to this better outlook, some of it was simply luck, Krebs said.

"It didn't hurt [the U.S. automakers] to have Toyota (TM) recall a lot of vehicles," she said. Toyota's recall woes in 2010 resulted in it being the only major automaker to suffer a U.S. sales decline.

But other experts are convinced that Detroit has learned from past mistakes, and that strong profits should continue for the foreseeable future.

"The age of going blindly after sales, no matter the cost, is over," said Jesse Toprak of TrueCar. "We are now seeing a new emphasis on profitability."
Movie Web

Warner Bros. revealed earlier in the week that The Dark Knight Rises would shoot on location in Los Angeles and the UK, with a third location not yet decided. Fans of Christopher Nolan's Batman franchise have long hoped that the third location would be Chicago, which was utilized to great effect in The Dark Knight, giving Gotham City a very distinct, dark, industrial, and textured look. But that doesn't seem to be the case, as a local Chicago report indicates The Dark Knight Rises has chosen to shoot in Detroit instead.

The city of Detroit is very industrial and rundown, and should provide The Dark Knight Rises with the proper atmosphere it needs, though some fans still worry that the look of the new movie will not fit the continuity set up with the first two installments. But hey, if Maggie Gyllenhaal can replace Katie Holmes, a town swap shouldn't be too big of a deal, right?

Detroit is simply offering better incentives at this point, and it is quickly becoming the premiere destination for location shooting, with Real Steel and A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas having both just wrapped there.

Christopher Nolan recently made the press rounds, but instead of talking about the locations he has chosen to shoot in, he decided to further expound upon his decision to forego 3D for this third installment of his Batman franchise. Here is what he had to say:

In the case of Batman, I view those as iconic, operatic movies, dealing with larger-than-life characters. The intimacy that the 3D parallax illusion imposes isn't really compatible with that. We are finishing our story on the next Batman, and we want to be consistent to the look of the previous films. I've seen work in 3D like 'Avatar' that's exciting. But, for me, what was most exciting about 'Avatar' was the creation of a world, the use of visual effects, motion capture, performance capture, these kinds of things. I don't think 'Avatar' can be reduced to its 3D component, it had so much more innovation going on that's extremely exciting. 3D has always been an interesting technical format, a way of showing something to the audience. But you have to look at the story you're telling: is it right?"

The Dark Knight Rises comes to theaters July 20th, 2012 and stars Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy. The film is directed by Christopher Nolan.


As bad as the recession has been for most American cities, it's been even worse for Detroit. Now there are new signs of economic life.

CBS News correspondent Seth Doane reports Detroit is reinventing itself from the bottom up.

Inside a downtown Detroit office building there may be more carpenters than cubicles but CEO Tim Bryan sees that low occupancy as a business opportunity to cut costs. He's moving part of his healthcare IT company GalaxE Solutions to Detroit, Mich.

Michigan has lost 838,800 jobs since October 2000. GalaxE is planning to hire up to 500 new workers.

"Every renaissance starts somewhere," says Bryan.

Bryan's company has offices in India and considered expanding to Brazil but after crunching the numbers chose Detroit at a cost of just 5 percent more than South America.

"For the first time we can deliver services here in Detroit at price points that are competitive with offshore," says Bryan.

There are no foreign governments, fluctuating currencies or time zone changes. The area's 2 percent unemployment rate includes lots of laid off but highly skilled workers from the auto industry.

"A cubicle is paradise for me at this point!" says Chris Thomas.

Thomas, a father of three, struggled for nearly two years to find work before GalaxE hired him as a business analyst.

"I've been smiling every day since," says Thomas.

Across the street, Quicken Loans just made downtown its new headquarters, bringing 3,700 jobs here.

Down the street Torya Blanchard's crepe shop has a staff of just seven people. Small businesses like hers make up 86 percent of private employers in the area.

This former French teacher expanded her business Good Girls Go to Paris from 48 square feet to more than 2,000 in just two years.

"I truly feel I couldn't have done it to this extent anywhere in another city the way I've done it here," says Blanchard.

Affordable rent means the chance to take a risk and now there are more shops on the block. Blanchard is banking on this mini-neighborhood revival and opening a bar on the corner.

Doane: "You've gone from French teacher to real estate developer."

Torya Blanchard: "I want to do what I love."

At Paper Street Motors an old warehouse has become a new business incubator. Taking advantage of short-term leases at $300 per month, casualties of the recession can reinvent themselves.

"When people lose their jobs and there are not a lot of jobs available that they create their own business," says business owner Paul Zimmerman.

In a city better known for hulking reminders of the ghosts of its past is a renewed entrepreneurial spirit.
Erin Rose
Positive Detroit

In 2010, I experienced some pretty cool "Firsts" in Detroit:
So I decided in honor of the traditional New Year's Resolution List, I would make a list of new "Firsts" I want to experience in Detroit this coming year.  So in honor of 2011, here's my Top 11 List:

1. Ice Skate at Campus Martius

I haven't ice skated in ages!  I am not good at it.  Roller Skating, yes.  Ice Skating, nooooo! That needs to change.  Plus it is an excuse to wear a cute outfit!  Just cross your fingers I'm not on crunches for the rest of this winter season :).

2. Experience Critical Mass

Critical Mass is a monthly bike ride through Detroit that begins at 5:30 pm at Grand Circus park the last Friday of every month during the warm weather months. The goal is to get as many bikes as possible on the streets and take them back from automobiles. The more bikes the better. Photo is of a couple of my friends en route this past summer.

3. Get in Touch with My Artsy Side at Pewabic Pottery

Pewabic Pottery is Detroit's very own "type" of pottery.  The pottery was founded in 1903 by the artist and teacher Mary Chase Perry Stratton and Horace James Caulkins, her partner. Caulkins was considered a high-heat and kiln specialist, and developed the "Revelation kiln". Mary Perry Stratton was "the artistic and marketing force." The collaboration of two and their blend of art and technology gave the pottery its distinctive qualities as Detroit's contribution to the International Arts and Crafts movement. You can find Pewabic Pottery all over town: Comerica Park, Detroit Public Library, The People Mover Stations, various homes in Detroit (specifically Indian Village, Bloomfield Hills, and Grosse Pointe), and many public and private collections such as the ones at the DIA and Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

Earlier this year, I went on a tour of the facility with my parents.  While there, I learned about all the different classes Pewabic offers. Pewabic hosts a series of classes, but the ones I am most interested in is their Friday night "Evenings at the Pottery," Introduction to Throwing (cause I never worked on a wheel, cue that scene from "Ghost"), and Intro to Ceramics.  They also host a series of weekend workshops as well.  Pewabic's 2011 schedule is not posted yet, but click HERE for an example of the classes they offer. 

4.  FINALLY Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Mexican Town

5. Watch The Villages Detroit City Futbol Team Clench Another Victory for a Second Year in a Row

Model D TV: Detroit City Futbol League from Terry Parris Jr. on Vimeo.

I sadly missed my favorite soccer team clench the title in 2010.  In 2011, I won't miss it for the world.  Yes, this item is meant as a taunt to all the other Detroit Futbol teams, all in good fun of course :).  If you are interested in playing in the Detroit City Futbol League this spring/summer, click HERE.  Games are played at the World Cup Practice Field on Belle Isle.  Whether you play soccer or sit on the sidelines and cheer for your favorite team, it is a guaranteed swell time!

6. Go to Viciente's and FINALLY try their Paella

7.  Paddle Boat Around Belle Isle in These Babies

Paddle Boating is fun, we all know that. Paddle Boating in a giant swan around the largest isle park in the whole US of A , now that's entertainment!  For just $5, you can ride one of these beauties for a half hour. 

8.  Get My Dose of Vitamin Z While Walking Through the Butterfly House at the Detroit Zoo

9.  Ride a Segway on an Inside Detroit Tour with the lovely Maureen and Janette

10.  Visit Harsens Island

Harsens Island is located at the top of Lake St. Clair and is less than an hour from Detroit. You can get there by boat, short ferry ride, or small plane.

According to Pure Michigan, Is located in St. Clair County near the Detroit metropolitan area. The 39-mile long St. Clair River has recreational harbors in St. Clair and Marine City before the river divides into several branches at its mouth, creating the island strewn St. Clair Flats.

Harsens Island, the largest of the islands on the American side, was once a resort for the wealthy who arrived on steamers from Detroit. Today, Harsens Island and the St. Clair Flats area comprises one of the largest inland fresh water deltas in the world.

Harsens Island is also considered one of the most haunted places in America.  

11. Attend Dally in the Alley

Dally in the Ally is an annual fall street fair in north Cass Corridor neighborhood that's a celebration of local musicians, artists, restaurants and vendors of all sorts, sans corporate sponsorship. Every year it is organized by volunteers and the North Cass Community Union.


Read the news and you'd think Detroit was a no-go area. But the music community is still thriving, thanks to the city's rich heritage.

I was at a record store a few days ago when a young guy asked if I was in "the documentary about Detroit?" that had just gone online (see above). I told him I was, to which he replied: "I loved it, but I want more."

I've been getting this from everyone – people want to hear more about the beauty and possibilities of the city. But growing up in Holly, which is 45 minutes north of Detroit, all I ever heard were the horror stories. As a teenager I would drive to a show at Zoot's Coffee or the Trumbellplex, two local all-ages venues, and I was always nervous that a wrong turn would lead me to this "ghetto" that everyone from my parents to the news talked about, a place where a group of carjackers would rip me from my 89 Chevy Astro and leave me for dead surrounded by burning houses and crack dealers.

When I worked at a liquor store in the suburbs I would listen to MC5 all the time. I would hear stories about the Vanity Ballroom, of someone who knew Rob Tyner or smoked grass with Wayne Kramer. I would hear about how great or awful the Stooges sounded.

Being a kid who didn't know anything about the history of the city, I would ask people about the Grande, or Eastown.  But some people were so detached from whatever Detroit had become that you could've been talking about Beirut. The history of our city was fed to us from the mouths of those who fled. That's probably why, when it was time for me to move, I fled just like everyone else. I moved to Chicago, but after a few years I had to leave. I just didn't feel satisfied. Something about that city didn't feel right; it wasn't my city. Back home with my parents, and unsure where to move, I slowly realised that everything that was happening from a musical standpoint was happening in Detroit. If you were a musician you just gravitated towards the city. You can't escape Detroit's musical history. The vastness of abandoned buildings has left places that would have been torn down in other cities. You can visit the Grande, Eastown or the Vanity, all staples of Detroit rock history. It's this history that is still present and, rather than hindering us, it fuels us. For me, Detroit's history isn't just an etching upon its tombstone, but a future of unlimited possibilities.

There are bands such as Human Eye, Terrible Twos and Tyvek, who are fixtures of the Detroit scene. Everybody here is in two bands and you wouldn't really call them side-projects because here you have enough time to do both. Living in Detroit you have much more freedom to create simply because you're not overburdened by living expenses. I am surrounded by people who can live comfortably and still pursue their craft. They can focus solely on the music. Most of the people I know who live in Detroit have low-key jobs, so they can spend most of their days practising, playing shows, making flyers, recording, listening to records, making T-shirts. Playing in the Dirtbombs, I can come home from a long tour and not be completely broke from paying rent, or have my house smell like cat piss from someone's pet sub-leasing my place. This is the freedom you have living here. That's why there are so many amazing things happening in this city.

A few weeks ago I was able to see Detroit hip-hop artist Guilty Simpson backed by the funk group the Will Sessions' Big Band at an outside festival against the backdrop of the now infamous Michigan Central Station. Next week my other band, Lee Marvin Computer Arm, will be appearing alongside sword-swallowers and flame-blowers at Theatre Bizarre – an incredible carnival behind the state fairgrounds.

Soon that guy at the record store won't have to ask for more, it will already be there. It already is here.