Wall Street Journal
Joesph B. White

If there is any place in a gloomy nation that is better off right now than it was four years ago, Detroit would be it.

The Motor City, with its thousands of blighted houses, auto-industry layoffs and dwindling population, became a symbol of economic despair during the depths of the recent recession. Even now, southeast Michigan bears the scars of that downturn and others that came before it.

But lately, the mood in the region is more positive than in much of the rest of the country—and not only on game days.

The success of Detroit's sports team are distracting America's attention from what's really going on in the motor city : an improbable uptick in the city's fortunes. Joe White discusses with Simon Constable and Wendy Bounds on The News Hub.

The triumphs of the city's professional sports teams have helped, of course. The Detroit Tigers' victory over the favored New York Yankees in Thursday's decisive American League divisional playoff game had fans roaring in bars all over the city. The next round of playoff games could bring millions of dollars in additional business for hotels, bars, restaurants and other businesses near the team's home field in downtown Detroit.

An equally big boost for Detroit spirits is the sudden success of the city's pro football team, the Lions. The Lions, a perennial NFL doormat that made history by going winless just three seasons ago, are undefeated so far this season, and will make their first appearance on Monday Night Football in nearly ten years. The University of Michigan and Michigan State football teams are also enjoying winning seasons.

Those televised sports successes have prompted out-of-town media to say nice things about Detroit for a change.

But for locals, it appears there's more to cheer about than Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez's game-ending strikeout, or the Dallas Cowboys' second-half collapse against the Lions last Sunday.

The state's unemployment rate remains higher at 11% than the national average, but it has fallen by 1.5 percentage points since July 2010—a larger percentage drop than all but three other states—and is down from a peak of over 14% in late 2009. Housing prices in Metro Detroit have ticked up after years in freefall, as more young home buyers seize bargains in the suburbs and the city.

Gov. Rick Snyder has won praise from corporate leaders for pushing an overhaul of the state's business-tax code through the legislature earlier this year, and for balancing the state's budget.

Nobody, including Gov. Snyder, says Detroit or Michigan's problems are solved. Detroit's city budget is deep in the red and its schools have been taken over by a state-appointed emergency manager. Some of Mr. Snyder's prescriptions for the state's economy, such as taxing pensions and capping welfare benefits at four years, have drawn fire from critics who say his efforts to spur business investment only add to the burdens of the elderly and poor.

An August poll by EPIC/MRA of Lansing, Mich., found that 54% of respondents said Michigan was on the "wrong track," while 31% said the state was headed in the right direction. But the state scored better than the U.S. as a whole—75% of respondents said the country was on the wrong track.

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It’s no secret Buddy’s Pizza is a favorite here in metro Detroit. The word is out across the country as well. The restaurant that invented the first deep dish square pizza crust – pioneering Detroit’s original style pizza – has again earned the number one spot for independent pizzeria on Pizza Today’s Hot 100 list.

The award debuts in the magazine’s October 2011 issue.  The Hot 100 list was compiled from mail out surveys that ranked the 100 largest independent pizzarias from across the nation, based on sales. As noted in Pizza Today, “This issue is eagerly devoured by readers and the list is a testament to the ingenuity, diligence and skill of the pizzeria owners who make the grade.”

Owner Robert Jacobs was pleased to see Buddy’s Pizza earn recognition for the work his staff does every day. “For the past 65 years Buddy’s Pizza has been serving Detroit with quality and creativity - and we’re proud to continue that tradition. We’ve grown along with our customers but we remain true to our history, our roots and that indendent spirit that started it all. We’re really pleased to be recognized by Pizza Today, and our customers.”

Buddy’s Pizza fans and customers share their thoughts daily on the Buddy’s Pizza Facebook page and Twitter feed. Former and current employees joined a Buddy’s Facebook group to keep in touch.

Earlier this year, Buddy’s unveiled the Motor City Pizza Collection, four inspired pizzas on the Buddy’s menu which are each associated with and benefiting a non-profit cultural institution in the metro Detroit area. When customers purchase The Detroit Institute of Arts; The Henry Ford; The Parade Company or The Detroit Zoo pizza, Buddy’s will donate $1 will to the non-profit institution throughout 2011.

Showing their Detroit spirit, Buddy’s experimented with its first square beer crust this year, by incorporating Kid Rock’s Badass Beer into their Kid Rock’s Badass Detroiter pizza. It is only available at the original 6 Mile and Conant location in Detroit.

A coalition of Detroit residents, small business owners, and other stakeholders are coming together to fund a crowdfunding project aimed a placing a painting featuring Detroit’s Big Three on a billboard along with the phrase “Imagine what Detroit could do if we all worked together.”

The painting, Detroit-born artist Miguel “Belozro” Yeoman’s original work “The Rebuild,” depicts three futuristic laborers representing Ford, Chrysler & GM triangulated around the globe, working together.

Miguel and his business partner James Feagin, Head of Marketing and Strategic Management for BeloZro Visual Energy  have teamed up with Jerry Paffendorf of Loveland Technologies for the project.

Jerry Paffendorf’s previous successful crowdfunding projects include raising over $67,000 to build a statue of Robocop.

They are using the crowdfunding platform Loudsauce.com, a website similar to Kickstarter which allows donors to contribute amounts as little as a dollar to causes and projects they support.

Contributors to the project can receive rewards for funding the project ranging from their name listed on the website ImagineDetroitTogether.org to a t-shirt depicting the image.

Top level donors a can even have their picture or company logo placed on the billboard to signify their level of contribution.

The San Fransisco based loudsauce.com focuses on ‘amplifying ideas that matter” by securing major media outlets such as billboards, television commercials, and bus signs at a discount to broadcast the messages of successful projects.

The billboard project, titled “Challenge people to think big about Detroit’s future via a billboard” has raised over $500 of it’s $3,500 goal in less than a week, and expects to announce several large contributions in the next few days.

Interested donors can find the project’s Loudsauce campaign page: www.ImagineDetroitTogether.org.

BeloZro Visual Energy, founded in May 2011 by James Feagin and Miguel “BeloZro” Yeoman, promotes and manages the brand featuring t-shirts and other merchandise based on the original artwork of BeloZro.
William E. Ketchum, III

 In the 30 plus years of its history, the pendulum of influence in hip-hop has swung between a few cities and regions — New York, California, the Dirty South (which has at various times been voiced by Houston, New Orleans and Atlanta).

It's a tough nut to crack — dominating the sound and style of hip-hop music for any stretch of time. And while Detroit may not have a singular sound or any one artist spawning imitators even outside city lines, at this moment, five rappers from the area are in the national spotlight. The cliques that once divvied up Motor City's underground hip-hop scene have begun working together, intersecting on records, on stage and in national media.

In the context of a city known for its poverty, crime and fallen businesses, the shift is notable. And though the collaborations that are happening now are not the only reason these artists — Royce Da 5'9", Black Milk, Danny Brown, FowL and Big Sean — are enjoying real visibility, it certainly doesn't hurt their cause.

"When we first started, if you went anywhere abroad and said that you were a Detroit rapper, nobody cared," Royce Da 5'9" remembers. "We kind of have a name now. We've grinded to the point that we've created a standard that I'm very proud of. We have to live up to that standard."

Danny Brown
Since those early days a few hip-hop musicians have given Detroit a taste of glory — but none have managed to spread the love onto every upandcomer that shares the 313 area code or create the kind of infrastructure that could support a burgeoning scene. And, aside from Eminem, the most influential albums and artists have remained under the radar of mainstream media and commercial radio.

We all remember Eminem's pop takeover in the late 1990s when he paired his potty-mouthed brilliance with veteran producer Dr. Dre's beats and industry experience, going on to become the best-selling artist of the 2000s. His record label, Shady Records, helped other city talent like his group D12 and solo artist Obie Trice taste platinum-certified success as well. 8 Mile, the semi-autobiographical film about Eminem that was named after a road in Detroit, featured cameos by the likes of Detroit underground staples such as Miz Korona and MarvWon (some in bonus DVD footage).

But until recently, that's where the mainstream visibility ended. Legendary producer James "J Dilla" Yancey laid an audible blueprint for what would later be categorized as "neo-soul" music, and contributed songs to superstars such as Busta Rhymes, Janet Jackson and Common. Still, he didn't get his just due until 2006, after he died of complications from lupus. Yancey's group, Slum Village, also enjoyed limited chart success but never completely broke through into mainstream circles.

For years, Detroit's rap scene was largely self-sustained. Acts from the city and the surrounding area, like DeShaun "Proof" Holton (D12 member and Eminem's best friend) and Elzhi, made their rounds in venues like The Hip-Hop Shop and The Shelter before becoming regional indie powerhouses. "It started out as an individual thing. Now, I think all of us realize it can't be an individual thing," says Royce Da 5'9". "We've all been self-contained over the years, but now we realize there's strength in numbers. It's good to be unified, as opposed to everyone on their own agenda."

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The Best Way To Spend 17 Minutes Today (Video)

People Mover from 4exit4 on Vimeo.
4exit4 Productions presents the premiere of People Mover, a short film capturing 24 local artists, cooks, thinkers and musicians as they came together to showcase Detroit's spirit, performing inside the train one day in April.

Executive Producer: Toby Barlow
Produced by: Dorota Coy and Brian Merkel
Edited by: Jeffrey Richardson
Director of Photography: Jeffrey Richardson
Art Director: Michael Burdick


Sean Mann
Stevie Ansara steviesoul.com/​
Stephanie Schult and Frances Mackey
Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas jessicahernandez.net/​
Cedric Tai and Rachel Yezbick cedrictai.com/​
Rick Robinson and Hong-Yi Mo (of the DSO) detroitsymphony.com/​
Cold Men Young coldmenyoung.com/​
Miguel Baptista soundcloud.com/​mbaptistabenedict
Rachel Harkai rachelharkai.com/
Black Tia beehiverecording.com/​arist.aspx?id=1028
Ray Domzalski raydomzalski.com/​
Charlie Slick charlieslick.bandcamp.com/​
Marsden Berger metrotimes.com/​editorial/​story.asp?id=8756
Steve Martin
hygenic dress league hygienicdressleague.com/​
Dave Mancini and Grant Lancaster supinopizza.com/​, citywingsinc.com/​
Prussia prussiadetroit.com/​
Deep River Choir y-artsdetroit.org/​deepriverchoir.html
Bill Snellings thewright.org/​
Mexican Knifes facebook.com/​pages/​Mexican-Knives/​203319536373958?sk=wall
Detroit Party Marching Band facebook.com/​DetroitPartyMarchingBand
Greg Lenhoff leopoldsbooks.com/​
Mark Binelli markbinelli.com/​
Me and Joe Smith feat. Izzy Smith meandjoesmith.com/​

Business Week

Meet the Founders Behind 25 Promising Companies
By Nick Leiber, Sommer Saadi, Victoria Stilwell, Joel Stonington, John Tozzi, and Venessa Wong

When Businessweek.com asked readers over the summer to suggest the most promising companies run by entrepreneurs 25 or younger, more than 200 people responded. We've narrowed the suggestions to 25 finalists whose stories are told here. Please take a look and then vote, through Oct. 20, for the one you think is most promising. We'll announce the top five readers' picks on Oct. 27.

Click HERE to Vote For Texts From Last Night!


Texts From Last Night
What it does: Humor blog
Founders: Lauren Leto, 24, and Ben Bator, 25
Website: textsfromlastnight.com
Revenue 2010: $1 million
Revenue 2011 (projected): $2 million

Intended for readers trolling for a quick laugh, Texts From Last Night is an irreverent blog that collects raunchy cell phone texts and posts selections without attribution. Started for fun in 2009 by friends Lauren Leto, now 24, and Ben Bator, now 25, while attending law school at Wayne State University in Detroit, the blog has grown into a popular franchise, including a book of the same name and paid mobile apps that have been downloaded more than 1 million times. Seizing momentum from the blog’s success, Leto has raised nearly $1 million for her latest venture, Bnter, an online software platform for individuals who want to save and share memorable text messages or other digital exchanges with friends or family. Launched in February with co-founder Patrick Moberg, 25, Leto says Bnter (pronounced Banter) will earn money through advertising. While she runs both businesses, Leto is also working on a book of essays for Harper Perennial titled Judging a Book by Its Lover. —Nick Leiber

Click HERE to Vote for Texts From Last Night!
Click HERE to read the full article!

By Eric Smith
The Bleacher Report

According to local Indianapolis newspaper the Indianapolis Star, the Izod IndyCar Series will return to Detroit next season.

The city council approved the return today and it seems like Belle Isle will return to the schedule.

As of now the race is scheduled to be run the first weekend in June and race day will be June 3, 2012.  The Grand Prix of Belle Isle will be the first race run after the Indianapolis 500.

Next year will be the first time the Izod IndyCar Series returns to Belle Isle since 2008.

I believe that this deal was done to keep new engine supplier Chevrolet happy.

Chevrolet returns to the Izod IndyCar series as an engine supplier next season and where would you want to stage an event to make an engine supplier happy?  Of course the motor city.

I think it's only fair that if Detroit is added back to the schedule, then you need to keep Twin Ring Motegi. Motegi is the Honda test track and Honda has been extremely loyal to the Izod IndyCar Series by supplying engines for years.

It was also announced that this is the last year the series will go to Japan, which is upsetting because those fans are passionate about IndyCar racing and deserve to keep their race.
Greg Morabito


New York chefs know that if you're gonna steal, you should steal from the best. Here's a list of 10 dishes that first received acclaim at one restaurant, and were subsequently copied by a bunch of other ones.

7) The Pickle Back: It's not a dish, but this trendy drink has taken New York by storm lately — it's just a shot of straight booze with a chaser of artisanal pickle juice. You'll see hipsters slamming these back at The Breslin and Death and Co., but the trend apparently started at the Bushwick Country Club in 2006, when the bar was sharing a basement with McClure's Pickles. As the story goes, one of the bartenders guzzled the green stuff after a shot of whiskey as a joke, but he liked what he tasted and decided he should force it upon paying customers.

Feast your eyes on the other 9 dishes that made the list HERE

The Associated Press

A group of local artists, designers, writers and others has transformed a piece of vacant land in Detroit into a European-style beer garden.

The Tashmoo Biergarten will pop up once a week and feature a rotating selection of beer by Michigan brewers, local food vendors and board games to keep patrons entertained throughout its run, which will be five Sundays, from Sept. 25 through Oct. 23.

Organizers say "tashmoo" is a Native American word understood to mean "meeting place."

Event co-founder Suzanne Vier says Tashmoo Biergarten is patterned after European beer gardens, which she says are great places "for people within a community to come together while drinking a beer, having a bite to eat, or playing a game of chess outdoors with their neighbors."

People Mover Trailer from 4exit4 on Vimeo.

Attend the official "People Mover" premiere tomorrow, Sunday September 25th at 7:30 pm at the Tashmoo Biergarten!

Detroiters are invited to help create a public artwork, which is part of an international multi-media documentation project featuring aspects of Detroit. The sponsor is Artefacting, a New York City-based nonprofit dedicated to using art to bring awareness to social issues. On September 18, between 1 pm and 4 pm, Detroit residents are encouraged to bring their own personal flag (any material, size, or color) or to make one onsite as a peaceful protest against the murders and negative community activity. An abandoned and charred house with a history of murder will serve as the canvas for the interactive public artwork called SPIRE: Beacon of Hope. The event address is 4232 Chene, Detroit.

Alex White-Mazzarella, artist and founding director of Artefacting explains, “This is one segment of an international project focusing on how people who they feel are not being taken seriously and who feel hopeless in their economic outlook can use art to make a statement and change their situations. We will use the flags of hope to transform the house.”

According to White-Mazzarella, Spire is the culmination of Artefacting’s six-week Detroit mission. Along with other team members from Holland and Brazil, White-Mazzarella is engaging Detroit’s inner-city community through interviews, research, community service, and discussion groups with at-risk residents. The international team’s research and findings provide the impetus of the artwork for SPIRE, which serves as their social contribution to Detroit’s regeneration.

“What makes working with Detroit different is how open and willing to share residents have been with us but they are not that way with each other,” shares Artefacting photographer and co-director Arne de Knegt. In contrast, de Knegt says, “Mumbai was like a bee hive, very connected and collaborative. They have a lot of social wealth.”

Already documented or “artefacted”are the following locations: Mumbai, India; Rome, Italy; and Lillestrom, Norway. Next the team will move to Queens, New York. This November the Detroit segment will be on exhibit in New York City.

Artefacting is a fiscally sponsored project of the Brooklyn Arts Council in New York, New York. Locally, the team is partnering with the Heidelberg Project in using art to engage and address social issues. They are also coordinating with the Mt. Elliott Business and Community Association and the. 

More information at http://www.artefacting.com/blog/2011/09/04/introducing-spire-a-community-art-projectindetroit/

General Artefacting information, videos and photographs at http://www.artefacting.com/blog/2011/07/08/artefacting-detroit/

Consortium Views Arts as Engines of Recover
Robin Pogrebin
New York Times

In the two years since he became chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Rocco Landesman has been trying to make the case that art is an effective linchpin to economic development. Now in a broad effort to build on that thesis, he has helped to enlist an unusual consortium of foundations, corporations and federal agencies that will use cultural enterprises to anchor and enliven 34 projects around the country, from a struggling city block in Detroit to a vacant school in East Harlem.

The projects will receive $11.5 million in grants from the foundations and another $12 million in loans from the corporations under the program that is to be financed through the private sector but coordinated in part by federal agencies. The program, to be announced on Thursday and called ArtPlace, aims to integrate artists and arts groups into local efforts in transportation, housing, community development and job creation as an important tool of economic recovery.

“We really need to scale up the resources in the field,” Mr. Landesman said. “It is not going to be through Congressional appropriation.”

“We felt,” he added, “if we worked together and coordinated our efforts, it would have a multiplier effect.”

So in St. Paul the program will help underwrite efforts to stage more than 100 arts projects along a new light-rail line. In Detroit a stretch of Woodward Avenue will gain a music center, pedestrian greenways, improved museum space and a new building for start-up companies. And P.S. 109 in East Harlem will become a home for 90 artists and their families as well as 13,000 square feet of space for community and cultural groups.

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Pick Mi Date Turns Up The Heat For Their Next Date!

When was the last time you cut a rug with a world champion salsa dancer? That’s right, never. But because of our smooth, latin tongues, we at Pick Mi Date can make that happen. (You should really hear how we can roll our “R’s”)
So why don’t you let Pick Mi Date help you get in touch with your Latin side?
Dinner and Salsa Lessons at Vicente’s Cuban Cuisine!
Saturday, September 24 at 8:00pm!!
  • The Winning Couple Will Receive a 3 Course Cuban Dinner and Two Round of Drinks from Vicente’s Cuban Cuisine !
  • After Dinner Entertainment Salsa lessons with World Champion Salsa Dancer Victor!
  • Street and Lot Parking is Available
You Must Sign Up As a Dater By Sunday, September 18th 2011!
Voting Begins at 9am Monday, September 19th!

Directions To Register:
1. Head over to http://pickmidate.com
2. Click on the “Register To Date” Button
3. Fill Out The Most Hilarious Dating Form Online
4. Click “Submit”
Darren Calabrese | The Associated Press

During Friday’s jam-packed press conference at the 36th Toronto International Film Festival, mega-star George Clooney had high praise for both Ann Arbor and Detroit, two locales where he shot parts of his latest movie—“The Ides of March.”

“We loved it there,” said Clooney, in response to my question about how much he enjoyed being in town earlier this year. “First of all, Ann Arbor is an amazing city. We got there on St. Patrick’s Day and everyone was drinking beer and everyone was screwed up, and I was like, ‘This town was made for me.’ "

After that initial bit of glibness, the director, co-star and co-writer of “The Ides of March” continued his Michigan love-fest on a more serious note. “We loved being on the campus, we loved shooting all around Detroit and Ann Arbor," said Clooney. "When you go to Detroit you see a town that is resilient, that’s just fighting to win again, and there’s an energy to that. Just watching a city really fighting to get back on its feet and watching the inner strength of a city is tremendous.”

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