Detroit Creative Corridor Center (the DC3) Director Matthew Clayson will travel abroad this week to share the best practices being used to accelerate Detroit’s creative economy as part of the North Africa Partnership for Economic Opportunity “Creative Industries” delegation to Algiers, Algeria and a panelist for the 2nd Annual U.S.–Maghreb Entrepreneurship Conference in Marrakech, Morocco.

Clayson departs Wednesday for Algeria as part of a four-person “Creative Industries” delegation that includes Marete Webster from Americans for the Arts, John Cimineo from Creative Leaps International, amongst others. As part of the “Creative Industries” delegation, he will provide entrepreneurial training to Algerian creative practitioners. His topic of focus will be digital marketing and tools to reach a global audience.

Then, on January 16, 17 and 18 Clayson will be presenting at and participating in the Conference which has the goal of bringing together private, social, and cultural sector entrepreneurs to identify and implement specific projects and programs in the areas of entrepreneurship, arts & culture, education & research and science & technology.

“Believe it or not, Detroit and Algiers share similar assets and challenges,” said Clayson. “I look forward to sharing the best practices the Detroit Creative Corridor Center is using to accelerate our creative economy in Detroit in hopes of providing relevant examples of resources, tactics and strategies that can help advance the work of creative practitioners and grow creative economies in the Maghreb.”

The U.S.–Maghreb Entrepreneurship Conference is sponsored by the U.S. State Department, U.S. North Africa Partnership for Economic Opportunity (NAPEO), Partners for a New Beginning (PNB), and The Aspen Institute. To learn more visit

About Detroit Creative Corridor Center 
Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3) was established in 2010 to energize the creative economy in Detroit. Offering a suite of services and initiatives designed to accelerate the growth of creative sector industries and practitioners; DC3 is striving to transform Detroit into a global center of creative innovation. DC3 is a joint venture between Business Leaders for Michigan and the College for Creative Studies.

In another positive sign for the U.S. auto industry, General Motors took the top spot in China sales in 2011, displacing Japanese automaker Toyota to take a dominating share of what the Detroit automaker called its biggest international market.

GM sold 2.547 million vehicles in China in 2011, up 8.3% from the same period a year ago. Toyota, on the other hand, sold 883,000 vehicles in 2011. At 4% year-over-year growth, that’s Toyota’s slowest sales increase in China since 2004.

Ford’s China division posted 2011 sales of 519,390, up 7%.

After many years in the gutter, U.S. automakers seem to be on the rebound. As Forbes’ Joann Muller noted from the North American International Auto Show, “[U.S. automakers are] gaining market share, raking in profits, cranking up production, and welcoming consumers who are finally in the mood to spend.” Detroit’s Big Three are on the comeback after GM and Chrysler were bailed out in 2009, while Ford was on the ropes. Now, they seem to be dancing around the ring.

On the losing side we find Toyota. The large Japanese automaker suffered the effects of the massive earthquake-cum-tsunami of early 2011, which disrupted its production and reduced its market share. As it repairs its supply chain, Toyota aims to take its China sales north of one million in 2012.

GM is the clear outperformer in China. The largest of the Detroit automakers, GM sold one truck or car every 12 seconds in 2011. The company operates 11 joint ventures in China and two wholly owned foreign enterprises, and counts with more than 35,000 employees. It has expanded its dealership network to 2,700 and now covers all of China’s mainland provinces.

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Mary M. Chapman
New York Times

Navigating tables laden with lentil burgers and smoked wild salmon B.L.T.’s, Sharon Robinson escorted a guest toward paintings hanging on the high walls of the Cass Cafe, a venerable gathering place near Wayne State University popular with students, poets and visual artists. The cafe is about three miles from Cobo Center, the site of the North American International Auto Show, where press previews officially begin on Monday.

“It’s one of the bonuses of coming here, all this great stuff,” Ms. Robinson, 32, a Detroit poet and habitue of the cafe, said of the dozens of paintings by local and nationally known artists for sale on the walls. “They’ve been rotating them for years, but it seems like what’s been going on the last year or two, all the artsy folks around, more people have been paying them attention.”

Detroit will always be entwined with its automotive heritage, and after a few years in the abyss, the primary industry of the Motor City is looking up. Sales last year were at their highest levels since 2008, and analysts project an even more robust 2012.

The renewed fortunes of the big three automakers is a welcome story here, but a funny thing happened on the way through the recession. The region, which had long suffered the vagaries of a cyclical industry, was forced to rethink its identity and, yes, its dependence on an industry that, despite the improved near-term outlook, is hardly out of the weeds.

Skepticism toward an enduring automotive rebound has fomented a kind of can-do, post-industrial attitude here that embraces Detroit’s lineage and also separates from it. Young people, many from the suburbs, see opportunity in Detroit’s transition and are moving into affordable loft spaces, opening small businesses and generally contributing to a vision, not altogether cohesive, of a city that isn’t so dependent on one income stream.

“A lot of people feel like the auto industry is something that we don’t think about anymore,” said Amy Kaherl, facilitator for Detroit Soup, a two-year-old organization run by volunteers that uses entrance fees from monthly dinners to finance creative projects in and around Detroit. “People in this community are looking for something else, not for the next industry that’s going to save the city, but working toward a lot of sustainable things that can build this community up.”

“We saw a need to encourage people to try things that they’ve always wanted to try, on a smaller scale,” Ms. Kaherl said in a telephone interview.

There are also new-business incubators like Paper Street, based in suburban Ferndale, which leases office space in a building and offers classes ranging from photography to business. “We get more creative types rather than those from traditional automotive businesses,” Andy Didorosi, the company’s founder, said in an interview. “But whoever has a viable idea can get space with us. The idea is to get here, then go on to big things.”

Jacques Driscoll and his wife, Christine, spent years in San Diego before arriving here two years ago. They are opening a restaurant called Green Dot Stables, after the original owners’ equestrian involvement, near the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit. “We came here for a wedding and started talking about all the potential here, all the affordability and the growing cultural community, then how we wanted to live here,” Mr. Driscoll, 30, said. 

Gerald Dixon has been at the vanguard of the city’s growing creative class. For nearly a decade, in black-lighted basement gigs in the city’s historic Boston-Edison district, which once sheltered many of Detroit’s auto barons, including Henry Ford, his events have included spoken-word marathons, photo exhibits and a steady stream of concerts.

“We all know that it used to be you could go to the factory if you couldn’t find anything else,” said Mr. Dixon, who is in his late 40s. “Now, all that’s changed. Not only can we not get those jobs, a lot of us can’t get any job. So people come here and to places all over the city as outlets for whatever they’re feeling. Positive outlets. And some of us have been able to make a living at it.”

Two years ago, James Feagin IV lost his job as an economic and community development coordinator for a nonprofit. A chance encounter with an artist resulted in Mr. Feagin leading the marketing and strategic management efforts of BeloZro Visual Energy, a painting and graphic design collective, out of Mr. Feagin’s downtown loft.

“My peers and I see opportunity in everything. We know that there aren’t so many traditional jobs left, so we’ve got to figure out new ways to make money,” Mr. Feagin, 30, said. “When I got laid off, if there was anything less practical than going to work in the auto industry, it was trying to sell original art. But we’re doing it, in new ways.”

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Triple Pundit 


When “green,” “sustainable” or resilient cities come to mind, the usual suspects crop up: Portland, Amsterdam, San Francisco and even high-tech Abu Dhabi score plenty of attention. As more cities push their green agenda the way they promote business opportunities or local tourism, some cities are way ahead of others. Mayors now try to jockey themselves to the front of the sustainability beauty contest with some cities here in the United States showing far more success (Chicago) than others that miserably fail (Los Angeles). Around the world are many cities that have responsive government, vibrant passion at the grass roots level, or both.

Whether they benefit from visionary leaders, flourishing social enterprise, or commitment from community activists, the following 10 cities are well worth a visit to experience their transformation and resilience. If they are not in your travel plans anytime soon, track them from afar. The progress underway in these cities will inspire other mayors and civil societies to learn from their example.

Detroit, Michigan: 

The year is off to a bad start with the announcement that light rail will not happen and the city is close to a takeover by a emergency financial manager. But young graduates and professionals who seek to reinvent themselves will find the area’s leading universities, low cost of living and local biodiversity ample reasons to plunk themselves in the Motor City. Never mind an overwhelmed local government, ignored buildings and automakers who are just now recovering from the crisis of a few years ago: Detroit’s contraction means the city’s citizens are already in the middle of redefining the urban and rural. Watch for urban farming, social enterprise and the creative arts to thrive.

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Serious Eats: 6 Great Taquerias in Detroit

El Papa De Los Pollitos Taco

Serious Eats

The 48209 zip code of Detroit is a hot bed of delicious taco activity, as I found out on a one-day whirlwind tour of 11 taquerias and trucks in the city. Though Detroit's Mexican Town is located in the area, the tacos we tried from the several joints located directly in Mexican Town were uniformly sub-par compared to some of the exceptional finds at the trucks, supermarkets, and loncherias nearby.

At each taqueria we tried, we ordered at least one taco with carnitas, one with another steamed/braised meat, one with a griddled/grilled meat, and a specialty of the house. Do the math and you'll find that's nearly 50 tacos in one day with only two stomachs consuming. Yes, there were leftovers.

We judged tacos based on the quality of their tortillas (charred, tender, moist, and corny is the ideal), the fillings (punchy flavors and plenty of moisture and freshness—we had more than our share of meat that was just on the other side of spoiled), their salsas (bright, complex, complementary), and their cilantro and onions (freshly chopped and aromatic).

Overall, I was floored by the quality of the tacos in Detroit, a city I've always known for the quality of its burgers, but not necessarily its tacos. Truth be told, almost every taco I had blew away anything I can get in New York.*

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Sliders from Saltwater 
Food & Wine Magazine

Once the territory of greasy diners and fast food chains, "sliders" originally referred to thin mini-burgers in squishy potato buns. While purists can still find this classic version, America’s obsession with haute comfort food has inspired chefs to adopt the term for any shrunken sandwich. Now, buzzy ingredients like pork belly or ahi tuna stand in for ground beef, and condiments might include miso aioli over ketchup or house-made kimchi in place of grilled onions.

Detroit, Michigan:

A humble roadside burger chainlet founded in the 1940s, Telway sells mini-burgers topped with grilled onions for just $1. 6820 Michigan Ave.; 313-843-2146.

At Saltwater in Detroit’s MGM Grand Casino, celebrity chef Michael Mina serves a twist on the Vietnamese street sandwich: A baby banh mi of breaded sea bass, pickled veggies and cilantro on a tiny bun.

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"Lemonade: Detroit" - 17-minute short. from Erik Proulx on Vimeo.

Huffington Post

"Because not everyone in Detroit is an abandoned building" -- that's the tongue-in-cheek but sharp-edged tagline to Noah Stephens's "People of Detroit" portrait series.

Stephens, who grew up in Highland Park, says he started his photography project in response to negative and over-generalizing media portrayals of the city. The one that sparked the idea for "People of Detroit" was a 2010 "Dateline" special about a Detroiter who hunts raccoons and sells their meat, which received criticism for its misrepresentation of the city.

"When 'Dateline' implied that circumstances in Detroit were so dire that people had been forced to consume wild 'coon meat as some kinda of post-apocalyptic staple food, I had finally had enough of misery-obsessed, sensationalized portrayals of the city," Stephens wrote in an email to HuffPost. "I started 'The People of Detroit' to call attention to a side of life in the city rarely examined in national or global media."

Stephens posts his widely varying portraits to his blog. Most are of strangers he meets around the city, and each portrait is paired with a short essay about the subject.

"I try to get a sense of what it is that drives them; occupation, hobbies, what are they passionate about," Stephens said. "I also like to find out as much as I can about the relationship the person has with the city."

What began as a response project quickly took on a life of its own. Recently, when Stephens started thinking about bringing his photography to an offline audience, he came up with the idea to show his photographs at the Renaissance Center during the 2012 North American International Auto Show. The big car event will be held at Cobo Center, but the nearby Ren Cen is General Motors' headquarters.

Stephens made a fascinating case for why his work should be shown to coincide with the Auto Show.

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The Daily Beast

While the 2012 presidential race distracts the nation in the new year, 20 up-and-coming pols will be quietly gaining strength. From Gary Locke to Tim Scott and Susana Martinez, David A. Graham on the Republicans and Democrats to watch.

 Democrats: Dave Bing

If there’s good news coming out of Detroit, you can probably thank Dave Bing. It’s not his first turn in the spotlight: he was a seven-time all-star in the NBA. Since becoming mayor of the beleaguered Motor City in 2009 after his predecessor’s massive corruption scandal, he’s worked to “right-size” the city, bring in young members of the creative class, and attract new business. But with massive deficits facing Detroit, it’s unclear whether Bing will be able to beat the buzzer to prevent municipal bankruptcy.

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Beginning on Jan. 6, 2012, Detroit based Simply Suzanne Granola will be available at more than 190 Meijer stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.

Simply Suzanne has been on the shelves of 43 Michigan Meijer stores since their debut this summer but strong sales have shown that Simply Suzanne is ready for full distribution to all Meijer stores in all states.

“Building a relationship with a nationally-known retailer with the volume and revenue Meijer has is an amazing step for our company and we are ready for this expansion,” said Suzanne Vier, owner.

The partnership with Meijer marks the largest Simply Suzanne retail account to date. “I am proud our product is showing that we can stand alongside the national brands out there. After an amazing year, we look forward to continued growth in 2012,” said Vier.

Each bag of Simply Suzanne Granola is all natural and handcrafted in small batches using whole grain rolled oats. Local farmers and suppliers are used as much as possible in the process, too. Each batch is produced in the Detroit area and locations include a warehouse in Detroit.

The granola comes in three sizes and comes in four sweet and savory flavors: Original, Lotsa Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and Coffee and So Very Cherry. Availability of flavors will vary on a per-store basis for all Meijer locations. All flavors are all natural and made without preservatives, artificial flavors, trans fat, cholesterol and high fructose corn syrup.


It all started with a computer chip.

Coined 40 years ago, the term “Silicon Valley” originally referred to the silicon chip manufacturers that helped build the high-tech movement in the San Francisco Bay Area. The region has been a technology hot spot since, but today, it’s evolved from hardware giants into social technology and consumer internet, thanks to companies like Google and Facebook. “Silicon” is no longer literal, but a metonym for the entrepreneurial spirit that’s fueled the region’s growth for decades.

But the Bay Area isn’t this country’s only pocket of innovation, and “Silicon (fill-in-the-blank)” is an increasingly popular shorthand for regions with brewing start-up scenes. With predictions that start-ups will bring the United States out of its recession, entrepreneurs across America are stepping up to the plate. Here’s where the action is happening.

Silicon Mitten (Michigan) 

In the state shaped like a cold-weather accessory, Michigan residents fondly refer to their homeland as “The Mitten State,” and they’re not letting the cold—or the region’s economic decline—keep them down. From Ann Arbor’s clean tech scene to Detroit’s manufacturing-based start-ups, young entrepreneurs and forward-looking investors like Detroit Venture Partners and Ludlow Ventures are taking their state’s future in their own hands. As Texts From Last Night founder Ben Bator explains, “We realize that our dream job doesn’t exist, and so we have to make it.”

One thing Detroit isn’t short on is available real estate, and projects like the revitalization of the Madison Building downtown and Phil Cooley’s Pony Ride property in Corktown will provide much-needed incubator space for Motor City entrepreneurs.

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The Best Beer Menus in America In a wine-soaked restaurant world, these ten establishments give hope that the food-and-ale revolution is coming 

Evan S. Benn
Esquire Magazine 



Iron Chef Michael Symon may call Cleveland home, but he's put his best beer menu in Detroit. Symon's Roast boasts a stunning lineup of sour, acidic, and funky ales served in wine-size bottles, with the stated goal of turning wine drinkers on to beer, a project I'm more than willing to get behind. The kitchen's "Beast of the Day" and a bottle of Jolly Pumpkin's Noel de Calabaza, a Michigan-brewed Christmas ale aged in oak barrels, can provide you with all the warmth you need this winter.

 Click HERE for the full list!

In its five-decade history, Autoweek has expanded from its origins as a print magazine to creating and delivering content across multiple platforms. Next, Autoweek takes on primetime television with the debut of Autoweek’s Vinsetta Garage on Velocity, the network launched by Discovery Channel in October.

Hosted by Courtney Hansen, the show will air on Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, 7:30 p.m. Central. The first of 13 episodes premieres on Tuesday, Jan. 3. “Autoweek’s Vinsetta Garage is all about our passion for the automobile,” said Autoweek vice president and publisher KC Crain. “It’s 30 minutes of unadulterated car enthusiasm right from Autoweek’s editorial pages – covering everything from design to driving, customization, cooking and cruisin’, travel and technology.”

Named for the storied auto repair shop on Detroit’s legendary Woodward Avenue, Autoweek’s Vinsetta Garage gives us a closer look at car culture from all over the country. Before joining Autoweek, host Courtney Hansen worked at Fox Sports and at TLC where she co-hosted the showcar makeover program Overhaulin with Chip Foose. She is currently hosting her seventh season of Spike TV’s “PowerBlock”. Hansen will be joined on screen by various Autoweek editors and special guests from around the country, with Emmy Award-winning, Detroit-based Gary May directing.

Vinsetta Garage opened as a repair shop for carriages and Model Ts almost a century before it’s closing in 2010. Now owned by KC Crain and restaurateur Curt Catallo, this storied part of Detroit’s automotive legacy will live on with its repurposing as a sister restaurant to metro Detroit’s famed Union Woodshop and Clarkston Union. Autoweek’s Vinsetta Garage marks a new chapter in the histories of both Vinsetta and Autoweek.

“Passion for the automobile has shaped our culture,” Crain said. “Anyone who loves cars should tune in to see how the American story—past, present and future—is indelibly linked to that of the automobile.”

Viewers can visit to learn more about the show and to view a trailer. Follow Autoweek’s Vinsetta Garage on Facebook (, Twitter (@VinsettaTV), and YouTube (

TLC's latest reality show, All-American Muslim, filmed in Dearborn, latest "controversy" is discussed on the Daily Show. Pretty funny stuff. This has become one of my favorite shows. It portrays Detroit and these families in a very positive light. Tune in and check it out!

Bus Rapid Transit: Bogotá from Streetfilms on Vimeo.