The Gorilla Challenge, a nationwide competition, will be held in Detroit on June 16, 2012 and will charity spotlight the Gleaners Community Food Bank, an organization that works to fight hunger in the area.

The Gorilla Challenge will make it’s way to Detroit on June 16, 2012. The competition is a combination of both physical and mental challenge that entails decoding clues and racing through downtown in order to win prizes and competing in a food drive and costume contest. In addition, the event provides the opportunity for participants to support a local, charitable organization.

“The goal of the challenge is not only to race around for prizes, ” said Danial Abassi. “It’s all about getting the community involved and communicating about the causes and issues that are locally relevant.”

The Charity Spotlight of the race will be on The Gleaners Community Food Bank whose work over the last 35 years has helped alleviate hunger in the Detroit community by providing the equivalent of 85,284 meals per day to people who otherwise cannot afford the food they need.

Prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place competitors who complete the challenge. The challengers who raise the most for the food drive as well as the winner and runner-up of the costume contest will also receive rewards.

The key to winning the challenge is solving the clues, mapping them out, and taking the shortest distance to each checkpoint. An optional costume competition will also be in full effect.

The starting point will be The Hard Rock Café on 45 Monroe Street. It is recommended that participants arrive at 9:30am for the 11:00am start of the 3-hour challenge.

Click HERE to learn more about Gorilla Challenge: Detroit.

About Gorilla Challenge: The Gorilla Challenge is an Amazing Race/Fear Factor mash up that provides competitors nationwide with a mentally and physically challenging competition while giving back to the city in which it is held through food bank donations and local Charity Spotlights.
50 best Chinese restaurants in the United States

You've been abroad. You know your way around a pair of chopsticks. Now where do you find the best Chinese food in the U.S.?


 26. Best China, Canton 

Best China really is the best in Michigan. With less than a dozen tables, it's a hole-in-the-wall, but the Shanghai-style rice cakes (nian gao) achieve the perfect level of chewiness without being gummy. There are two menus -- Chinese and English. As at any authentic Chinese place, adventurous eaters can ask for the Chinese menu (they’re usually differ slightly from the English menu) and get recommendations from waiters. 7233 N. Lilley Road, Canton, Mich.; +1 734 459 1688

Click HERE to read the full article on CNNGo (dot) com!

CNBC: Detroit, From Urban Blight to Tech Might

Can technological might reduce urban blight?

Business and civic leaders in Detroit certainly hope so.

The city’s troubles are well documented. The auto industry’s decline highlighted a population and brain drain that made Detroit one of the lasting symbols of the Great Recession.

In July of 2009, unemployment in the city touched 18-percent.


A stubborn 10.5 percent. But a whole lot better, and one reason for the positive trend: Technology jobs.

“The energy in the city, what’s happening, the things that are taking place, it feels like it’s not a tipping point. It feels past it,” said 38-year old Scott Aberle, who left San Francisco and Silicon Valley to work at Detroit-based Quicken Loans. “We’re really in the midst of a Renaissance.”

That’s right. He said Renaissance.

It might be laying it on a little thick … or maybe not.

Detroit native and chairman of Quicken Loans, Dan Gilbert, has been buying up just about all the viable commercial real estate he can find. And when he’s not remodeling what his company has purchased, Gilbert’s using his venture capital firm, Detroit Venture Partners, to seed a mini-boom in start-up technology companies.

“Technology as a whole can create value and wealth a whole lot quicker,” Gilbert said. “With manufacturing, it takes five to seven years from conception to building a plant.

“In the tech business, the time frame is shorter and the investment of capital is smaller.”

For example, the firm they simply call DVP recently took an old theatre’s office building and retrofitted it to be an avant garde space for early stage start-ups. It is named “M@dison”, and ironically, the homage must have worked because Twitter just took up some space there.

Click HERE to read the full article on CNBC (dot) com!

Please join the Belle Isle Conservancy in a gala fundraiser, "Race to Reopen the Belle Isle Aquarium" that will take place in the Aquarium on Thursday, May 31st from 7 to 11. 

Tickets are $50 and the money raised will go directly toward opening the aquarium regularly!

There will be strolling hors d'oeuvres from The Whitney and Union Street, music, entertainment, refreshments and a cash bar.


This inaugural gathering will feature live music, a delicious pig roast from Eastern Market, and tasty campfire treats surrounding a bonfire setting with the rippling river as the backdrop.

Come join us with friends or colleagues for the launch of Rivière28 and this unique opportunity to enjoy your Detroit Riverfront.

$15 online registration
$20 at the door


Parking is available on Atwater between Orleans St. & St. Aubin


This event is BYOBB (booze and blankets) you can come by boat and utilize one of the boat slips at Milliken State Park.  Think Pine Knob back in the old school days when you could bring coolers and blankets. Except at this event, food is provided!

In Detroit, a city where bad news has long outweighed good, a group of young urban pioneers is bringing the community together around excellent barbecue and fabulous coffee and cocktails.

Even without floors or glass in the windows, there is something quietly captivating about Detroit’s Michigan Central Station. Opened in 1913, it is a grand, imposing structure, with heroic Corinthian columns created by the architects behind New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. But like so many buildings in Detroit, it has been abandoned. When Amtrak moved out, Michigan Central closed in 1988. It has sat empty, slowly decaying, ever since.

Detroit is a place where bad news has long outweighed good. The city took a big hit when the Big Three auto companies moved their manufacturing plants out to the suburbs in the 1940s and ’50s, it was devastated by the riots of 1967 and it was hit again by the mortgage crisis and recession of 2008. It seems naive to think that anything as simple as good food could help reverse decades of decline.

Detroit Restaurants: Daisuke Hughes and Phil Cooley
Photo © Marcus Nilsson.

But just across Roosevelt Park from Michigan Central Station, on a single block of Michigan Avenue, that’s exactly what’s happening. Families from all over the state wait for a table at the excellent Slows Bar BQ; musicians hang out over meticulously made pour-over coffees at Astro Coffee; locals and suburbanites come for craft cocktails at The Sugar House. A good food-and-drink scene isn’t the only thing this community needs, but it’s one of them. “There is so much work to do here in Detroit,” says Phil Cooley, Slows’s co-owner. “But I thought, I’m gonna bite off a chunk of it.”

Cooley, 34, is one of a growing number of people who have come to Detroit in recent years, attracted by the potential they see in the vacant lots, abandoned buildings and bare-bones cost of living. After working as a model in Chicago and Europe, Cooley moved to Detroit in 2002, bought a loft in the Corktown neighborhood and made a living as a janitor and barback around town. The rundown building next door to his apartment was deserted, so he bought it for $40,000 with the idea of turning it into a restaurant. He and his brother Ryan, along with executive chef and co-owner Brian Perrone and sous-chef Michael Metevia, renovated the space for $300,000, using mostly reclaimed wood from the original building. “We built the kitchen first and then hung up a dust cloth, so Brian would test recipes while we were finishing the dining room,” says Cooley. “He’d bring out food for us to taste as we worked.”

Click HERE to read the full article on Food & Wine (dot) com!

Funding from Detroit SOUP helped a 5th grade class beautify a city park.

In our weekly Hustlin' series, we go beyond the pitying articles about recession-era youth and illuminate ways our generation is coping. The last few years may have been a rude awakening, but we're surviving. Here's how.

On a recent episode of the HBO show “Girls,” Hannah moans to her quasi-boyfriend over the phone from her Midwest hometown: “Why doesn’t everyone struggling in New York move here and start the revolution? It’s like we’re all slaves to this place that doesn’t even really want us.”

Hannah could have been talking about Detroit, which Salon recently dubbed “the official cool-kids destination,” part of a broader trend of educated Millennials moving to Rust Belt cities and towns. A few decades ago, it would have been unthinkable that such people would want to live in Detroit, where white flight, postindustrial decline, and the sub-prime mortgage crisis have resulted in nearly one-third of property sitting empty and boarded shut. But where there’s blight, there’s also cheap rent and vacant lots: ideal habitats for young creatives and their funky art collectives or urban farms.

But Salon’s writer, Will Doig, paints the new Detroiters as pursuing a “romantic fantasy” of “Rust Belt chic,” pointing to a hipsterish lust for “ruin porn.” He echoes many critics of Detroit’s recent “brain gain”: that job-creation, not an influx of creatives, is the real answer to urban decline.

There may be some “creative class” boosterism going on in Detroit, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t also authentic, sophisticated projects in motion. I recently visited Detroit for two weeks and met with some of its newcomers. Many are starting up social enterprises while others are working in creative sectors like advertising. And while they do appreciate the low rent and cost of living in the Motor City, these new, young Detroiters are far from self-absorbed hipsters. In fact, their work is having a meaningful impact on the city’s economy and culture.

Thirty-year-old Amy Kaherl was raised in Detroit’s suburbs. She spent three years in Los Angeles doing a master’s in theology, while living frugally in a shared one-bedroom apartment. When Kaherl finished her degree in 2008, unemployment was inching toward nine percent. Moving back to Detroit, where Kaherl knew life would be cheaper, she fell into a community of people like her, who wanted to have fun while being involved in innovative projects.

“The people here are cool, and the ego’s left at the door,” she told me. “I know New York, I know L.A. You gotta hustle. This is the place where you try to make something happen.”

Kaherl now runs Detroit SOUP, a monthly dinner that charges five dollars for a plate of home-cooked food to generate seed funding for a selected project that promises to positively impact Detroit. Projects funded by SOUP include a park clean-up day for schoolchildren, a homeless outreach program, and a community-run radio station. At first, Kahrel was volunteering, but as SOUP, and Detroit’s overall revitalization, attracted national media attention, a grant came in from the Knight Foundation that allowed Kaherl to fully focus on SOUP.

Click HERE to read the full article on Good (dot) is!

It started, Mark Penxa says, as a tribute to his grandfather -- an artistic "journey through American sports lore" that featured special renderings of famous athletes, and ones long forgotten.

Called Stealing Signs, the first part featured baseball: 100 paintings and sketches, similar to the Derek Jeter. Then came hockey: 76 of them. All offered special elements -- stats, names, other items -- and their slightly abstract style set them apart from straight-up portraits.

Now Penxa, a Detroit-area native who also works at a screen and printing shop, is embarking on his most ambitious project yet: a visual "road trip" from state to state, inspired by stories and suggestions from readers and fans who were touched by his original works. He's going beyond baseball this time, too. All sports are open. All eras, too.

Recently we caught up via email with Penxa, who has "visited" Pennsylvania so far on his trip. New Jersey is underway. New York is coming in July.

And he knows he's got a long, long way to go to get through all 50 -- it'll take years. So suggestions are welcome on his Facebook page (portraits can be purchased, as well).

Tell me about the beginning of the project.

The project started off as a thank-you card to my grandfather. He had been sick for a long time and getting worse. Baseball was the center of our conversations since I was little, he took me to every Tigers game that he could and we would watch every game together.

There was a gap where I wasn't around very much because of traveling and work and the usual day-to-day stuff. I hadn't watched a game with him or heard one of his stories in a long time, and now his memory was really bad and communication was limited to handshakes, hugs and tears. So, I painted a portrait of Al Kaline (seen below is a remake of the original), then Jim Northrup, Hank Greenberg, Norm Cash and so on, to serve as visual flash cards. It was the only way I could think of to still talk about baseball.

After I did those initial paintings, I couldn't stop making them and before I knew it, I had over 100 of them scattered across my apartment floor. So, I put them online on my personal site just to have new content and one day [ESPN Playbook writer] Paul Lukas mentioned it on his Uni Watch blog. The next thing I knew, I was receiving emails from all over the world with people telling me their stories about what their dads and grandfathers told them. It was amazing.

Click HERE to read the rest of this story on ESPN (dot) com!

We asked bloggers nationwide to share can't-miss, off-the-beaten-path summer destinations in their home states. Here's the ultimate list of sites to see, places to shop, and plans to make before September.

Honor & Folly, a tiny inn in Detroit's historic Corktown, charms guests and locals alike with its creative design, great location, and even cooking classes. The two-bedroom apartment sits above popular eatery Slows Bar-B-Q and is decorated with goods made by Detroit- and other Midwest-based designers and artisans — much of which is for sale.

"The food and drink options aren't limited to barbecue — there's a craft cocktail bar (The Sugar House), an independent coffee shop (Astro Coffee) that sells out-of-this-world baked goods, and a gourmet burger joint (Mercury Burger Bar) across the street," says culinary adventuress Noëlle Lothamer, of Simmer Down.

2132 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI; for inquiries and reservations, email

Click HERE to read more: Things To Do This Summer - Plans and Destinations for Summer from Country Living!

Hatch Detroit has announced it will accept applications for its 2012 retail business competition beginning June 1 through Aug. 1.

The contest is open to anyone with an idea for opening a retail business within the City of Detroit.

This year, with support from Comerica Bank, the competition will continue to work toward building a strong community and creating vibrant and dynamic retail businesses in Detroit. Applicants must provide a summary that describes their business idea and its potential impact on Detroit, as well as background for each team member. After all the applications are submitted Aug. 1, Hatch will narrow down the pool to 10 applicants and the public will vote on the $50,000 winner. In addition to the cash prize, the winner will receive a package of services including legal, marketing and advertising and IT support. Finalists will also be exposed to potential investors, collaborators and the community at large.

“We are excited to kick off the second year of Hatch Detroit. The ideas are endless and the opportunity for participants is even bigger this year with the help of Comerica Bank and the generous support they’ve contributed to fund the next winner,” said Nick Gorga, co-founder of Hatch Detroit. “Being a part of the contest helps inspire entrepreneurs to pursue opening a retail business in Detroit with community support.”

“Comerica is committed to supporting small businesses in the City of Detroit,” said Thomas D. Ogden, president, Comerica Bank-Michigan. “We hope that our investment encourages others to find creative ways to improve our region.”

In addition to the competition, Hatch Detroit plans to support retail businesses in several Detroit neighborhoods with grassroots improvement projects during the next six months.

All applications must be submitted online. For complete submission guidelines and contest rules, visit

Hatch Detroit launched its inaugural competition in 2011 with overwhelming success. Hatch received more than 250 applications, and through social media and grassroots efforts, the public helped select the winner – Hugh, a home furnishings shop featuring classic bachelor pad style. Hugh received $50,000 in addition to a suite of donated services from individuals and companies to help the business “hatch” and thrive. Hugh will open in fall 2012. Many of the 2011 finalists are also in the process of opening retail stores in Detroit.

Hatch Detroit is a Michigan based 501(c)(3) organization that champions and supports independent retail businesses in Detroit through funding contests, education, exposure, and mentoring. Hatch Detroit was co-founded by Nick Gorga and Ted Balowski, Detroit natives who are passionate about the revitalization of the city and inspiring others in the community to create change.

Just before crowds of music fans gather from across the globe to attend the Movement: Electronic Music Festival in Hart Plaza, the party begins when the Detroit Historical Society pays tribute to those who have shaped the city’s musical past.

From 8-11 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, all are invited to Woodward Plaza outside of the Detroit Historical Museum, 5401 Woodward Ave., to share in one of Detroit’s most treasured stories as the birthplace of techno. The Movement and Renovation Kickoff will be set to the sounds of World Class DJ and Planet-E Communications founder, Carl Craig and opener Keith Kemp. The pre-Movement party and the Detroit Historical Museum will be open to the public and admission is free. 

Following the event, the museum will temporarily close to the public to undergo a 6-month project that marks the first major renovations on the museum since the 1960s. The renovation is part of the Society’s $20.1 million Past>Forward campaign. By Thanksgiving, visitors will explore new and expanded exhibits, enjoy technology upgrades and experience educational offerings at the Detroit Historical Museum. Among the new exhibits will be the Allesee Gallery of Culture, which will include significant artifacts from Movement festival artists.

When the museum reopens to the public Nov. 23, admission will be and remain free to all. “This is a redefining moment for the Detroit Historical Society,” said Executive Director Bob Bury. “The renovations will allow us to better tell the region’s stories and to connect with our members and visitors in new and innovative ways. We are so pleased that, through the support of our donors, we will have a chance to provide increased access to all those who want to explore the newly renovated museum and all it has to offer.”

The Detroit Historical Society’s Past>Forward campaign includes the creation of Detroit Legends Plaza, on the grounds of the Detroit Historical Museum. The outdoor destination where this party will be held will transform to honor Detroit’s stars of sports, entertainment and media. It is set to be unveiled in September 2012.

In preparation for Detroit Legends Plaza, influential Detroit electronic artists have been invited to cast their handprints and signatures in cement during the Movement and Renovation Kickoff. Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Eddie Fowlkes and Carl Craig will take a moment during the festivities to complete the castings. These performers’ handprints will join such noted Michigan celebrities as Martha Reeves, Gordie Howe, Al Kaline, Elmore Leonard and Lily Tomlin.

"I'm excited that something like this is taking place,” said Craig. “To see something like a Detroit Legends Plaza happen, is to see a dream come true." Featuring Carl Craig during the event, who made a name for himself here in Detroit and whose songs are known around the world, seemed a fitting tribute for a celebration that will preview not only the Movement festival but also a widespread renovation of the Detroit Historical Museum. A cash bar will be available during the Movement and Renovation Kickoff and Garden Fresh will provide snacks for party-goers.
mobile homestead

The late artist Mike Kelley spent most of his career working in Los Angeles, but his origins lie in Westland, Michigan, a working-class town 16 miles outside Detroit. One of his final works before his suicide in January reconnects with those roots using a replica of the classic ranch-style home he grew up in in the 1950s. The public art piece, called "Mobile Homestead," toured through Detroit and surrounding towns on a flatbed truck to demonstrate a symbolic reversal of the "white flight" from a struggling city to its suburbs.

The project began in 2005 when Artangel, a British organization that produces site-specific art, asked Kelley to create its first project in the United States. Kelley responded with the idea of transporting a model of his childhood home from downtown Detroit to his real-life home in the suburbs, then back again. A trilogy of films about the journey emphasize the extreme inequality between communities within the city and outside it, interviewing everyone from strippers to church officials to Ford employees along the route.

The house made stops at locations relevant to Detroit's history as well as Kelley's childhood: Corktown, the city's historically Irish neighborhood; Dearborn, where Ford was founded; Wayne, where Kelley went to school; and finally Westland, where he grew up.

Click HERE to read the rest of this article on Good (dot) is! 
The Detroit Chapter of AIGA, the professional association of design, is proud to announce the second annual Beyond the Bar: An LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered) Design Showcase for LGBT designers and illustrators in the greater Detroit metro area. Beyond the Bar 2012 will be held on Thursday, June 14, 2012 at the Affirmations center during Ferndale’s Pride Week.

Beyond the Bar is a celebration of the contributions that LGBT designers bring to the applied arts. The design showcase seeks to dispel the career stereotypes of this unique subculture though a display of various creative projects, ranging from graphic design, illustrations, photography, industrial design, and architecture pieces. LGBT designers were asked to submit their favorite project during a Call for Entries in April and May 2012. Chosen pieces will be on display at a reception at Affirmations (290 W. 9 Mile Road, Ferndale, MI 48220) during Ferndale’s Pride Week.

The design showcase and reception on June 14, 2012 will feature appetizers, wine, and beer, along with musical selections from some of the Detroit metro area’s finest DJs. Suggested donations of five dollars will be collected at the door. Event partners are AdCraft, AIA Detroit, AIGA Detroit, and Affirmations. This event is open to the public, and advance registration is not required.

For more information about Beyond the Bar 2012, contact Alex Harvilla, AIGA Detroit Social Chair, at 313-977-0204 or via email at More information can also be found at

We’ve all read the story of Detroit’s downfall by now. Once a booming hub for automotive manufacturing and a center for technological innovation, the veritable Silicon Valley of its day, the city has witnessed devastating economic changes. Between 2000 and 2010, the city's population fell by 25 percent, the largest drop of any city with a population over 100,000. Even New Orleans, despite Hurricane Katrina, didn’t see a population plunge as dramatic. At the height of the recent economic crisis, Detroit’s unemployment rate was 18.2 percent.

But the other story of Detroit, the bigger one – is of its rebirth, its rising. Given the austerity of these times, this is less a story of top-down government efforts, and much more a story of the organic efforts of the entrepreneurs and artists, designers and musicians who have chosen to live in Detroit and be the stewards of its resurgence. 

A determined city looks to the future See full coverage They are drawing on a long legacy of creativity and innovation that are part of the city’s very DNA, from the industrialist Henry Ford to the architects and designers Albert Kahn, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen and Minoru Yamasaki. And then there is Detroit’s incredible line of musical innovators. The blues’ John Lee Hooker moved to the city in the 1940s. The legendary jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd grew up in Detroit and of course there was Berry Gordy’s Motown, which brought such artists as Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, The Temptations, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, and Michael Jackson, among many others, to national prominence. And it doesn’t end there. Detroit’s influence on rock 'n' roll goes back to the 1960s, with Mitch Ryder, the MC5, Iggy Pop, The Amboy Dukes, Grand Funk Railroad, Alice Cooper, Marshall Crenshaw, Glenn Frey, Bob Seeger and Kid Rock, not to mention hip hop’s Eminem, Insane Clown Posse and the late J Dilla. In recent years, the White Stripes and Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson of Detroit Electronic Music Festival fame have kept the city in the forefront of popular music.

Detroit’s new generation of place makers and city-builders draws deeply on the city and the region’s many assets. Yes, urban renewal devastated parts of the city, and yes, it’s true that there are too many empty lots and abandoned buildings. But a walk through and around the urban core evidences a fabulous urban fabric with fantastic historic buildings of the very sort that Jane Jacobs was talking about when she said that old buildings give rise to new ideas. Consider, for example, Signal Return-Press on the periphery of the city’s historic Eastern Market, where we filmed much of this series, where young artists and designers are experimenting with printing techniques abandoned by commercial presses.

Organizations such as I Am Young Detroit, Detroit Lives, and Detroit 4 Detroit are the products of energetic and engaged locals who are utilizing everything from citizen philanthropy to social branding to change the way people view Detroit from the ground up. The PowerHouse Project promotes neighborhood stabilization and revitalization by supporting artistic and creative enterprises, while PonyRide supports collaboration among community members as they create new opportunities and ideas. Every time someone signs the Detroit Declaration, they are making a commitment to their community.

This spirit is also alive and well in athletics. The Detroit City Futbol League, for example, now in its third year, is growing faster than anyone could have predicted. With 600 players from 22 neighborhoods, it is yet another way that people are coming together and strengthening their community.

Click HERE to read the full story on The Atlantic Cities (dot) com.
The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy announced today the official launch of Riviѐre28, a new volunteer group created within the Conservancy that looks to engage the growing number of young and active professionals who live, work or play in Detroit and introduce them to the riverfront.

Riviѐre28 will host its inaugural event, Light Up the Riverfront, Thursday, June 7 from 6-10 p.m. at the Milliken State Park & Harbor. This unique gathering will feature live music from the soul pop band Greenstreet, a delicious pig roast from Eastern Market, tasty campfire treats surrounding a bonfire setting with the beautiful Detroit River as the backdrop. Tickets are available online for $15 at

“We want everyone to know what a beautiful gem we have in our own backyard,” said Kristin Lusn, founding member of Riviѐre28. “Whether you’re a new professional working downtown, or for those who live here and know the city front to back, we’re hoping you’ll take part in this new experience on the Detroit Riverfront.”

Riviѐre28 also has two additional events in the works, including Soirée on the Greenway, which will be an evening on the Dequindre Cut Greenway Thursday, July 12, featuring cocktails and appetizers and a community art project. The third and final summer event, Sunday Funday, is scheduled for Sunday, August 12 on the Detroit Riverfront. More details for these events will be shared in the coming months.

For more information about Rivière28 and updates on the three planned events, people can visit or “like” the community group “Rivière28 presented by the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy” on Facebook.

The members of Rivière28 are dedicated to raising awareness of the non-profit Detroit RiverFront Conservancy and its mission to develop public access to Detroit’s international riverfront and to serve as a catalyst for economic development in the city. The ultimate vision is to develop five and a half miles of riverfront from the Ambassador Bridge to just east of the MacArthur (Belle Isle) Bridge. As the permanent stewards of this public space, the Conservancy is responsible for the construction as well as the year-round operations, maintenance, security and programming of the riverfront as well as the Dequindre Cut Greenway and raising the funds required to support all components of this project.

The Rivière28 Planning Committee includes: Austin Black II, Natalie Bruno, Jade Burns, Katherine Cockrel, Phillip Cooley, Katie Dirksen, Peter Fezzey, Bria Gillum, Jamie Grimaldi, Susan Hopkins, Julie Howe, Mitra Jafary-Hariri, Lorron James, John James, Heather Kazmierczak, Kristin Lusn, Elizabeth McClure, Tony Prainito, Tony Saunders, Will Smith, Beth Stallworth, Carly Strachan, Drew VanTongeren, Bianca Williams and Marja Winters.

The name “Rivière28” was inspired by the history of Detroit, which was first developed from a French fort and missionary outpost along the banks of the Detroit River, a river that spans 28 miles in length.

2011 Michigan Filmmaker of the Year, Amy S. Weber has announced her search for real teens in an open casting call for her next feature film, The Bully Chronicles. Casting is open to non-union males and females, ages 14-21. No acting experience necessary. All ethnicities are encouraged to audition.

Date: Saturday May 19th and Sunday May 20th by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, please visit to view all roles and casting information.

Location: Radish Creative Group at 326 East Fourth Street, Royal Oak.

“We are so excited about this project and the fact that we are casting real teens in this critical story about bullying. Who better to teach us about this epidemic than the ones who are living it everyday? This could very well be the most important project of my life and I am so proud that once again we will be releasing a 100% Michigan-made product,”says Director Amy S. Weber. Weber’s first feature film, Annabelle & Bear, was produced in 2010 entirely in Michigan. The film’s success landed Weber the Filmmaker of the Year last year at the Michigan Film Awards.

With the assistance of a team of teen producers—including 17-year-old Katy Butler, the Michigan teen who launched an online petition that lead the MPAA to change the rating of the documentary Bully from R to PG-13—The Bully Chronicles is a revolutionary approach to narrative film, combining unscripted documentary-style filmmaking with a groundbreaking take on the ‘found footage’ style. Inspired by real cases of bullying that happen each and every day across the country, this film is truly the first of its kind. Weber is humbled by the overwhelmingly positive response from teens about her approach to telling this story.

The Bully Chronicles begins as a documentary investigation into the story of 16year-old Jessica Burns who lies in a coma after a nearly successful suicide attempt. As filmmakers examine Jessica’s life, confessional tapes recorded in secret by Jessica and her best friend Brian surface. Jessica’s bully, Avery Keller, initially denies tormenting her, but once given the opportunity to film her own thoughts and experiences, we see the other side of the story for the first time: The bully’s side. At times gritty and shocking, at others heartbreaking and poignant, The Bully Chronicles mirrors what’s happening today in a realistic and eye-popping way.

Bullying is a hot topic right now. Some might say that it is over-saturated. But we feel that until the focus shifts from victim to bully, the stories will continue to manifest. This film will do what no other has done: give bullying a face and an icon that will change the game forever.

Weber and her team are raising funds to make this film possible through Indiegogo, the online funding platform for creative projects. Shooting is set to begin in the Metro Detroit area this summer. Learn how to help bring this film to life at and

Urban farm plan reels in cash, tilapia
Gary Wozniak regards his domain with the enthusiasm of an evangelist. Where most people would look at these wide expanses of Detroit blight and see dark despair, he sees nothing but gleaming possibilities.

“This is the center of the farm,” he said, gazing over the corner of Warren and Grandy on Detroit’s near east side at a vacant lot waving with overgrown grass on a windy spring day. Not long ago, it was where Northeastern High School stood. Today, it’s ground zero in an agreement Wozniak hopes to make with Detroit Public Schools and the city to convert it to one of the city’s most ambitious urban agriculture projects — one that will eventually encompass everything from organic fruits and vegetables to an indoor tilapia farm in an abandoned municipal garage.

Yep, you read it. Fish, farmed, in a garage, in Detroit.

Wanna see more?

Hops growing on trellises surrounding an abandoned factory? Sure.

Plastic-wrapped hoop houses yielding fresh spinach in the midst of a Michigan winter? Why not?

And all of it to be run by recovering addicts — providing stability, job training and income, in a self-sustaining model.

“The farming is really a small piece of the pie,” said Wozniak. “I’m really interested in food-system development.” That is, creating new, shorter lines between where food is grown and where it’s consumed, mitigating such related headaches as pollution and poor nutrition.

It’s almost insanely ambitious, but the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation of Bloomfield Hills recently announced a four-year, $1 million grant to RecoveryPark, the umbrella organization for Wozniak’s plan. RecoveryPark is, technically, a redevelopment project, but what a redevelopment.

In a three-square-mile piece of one of the city’s most abandoned neighborhoods, Wozniak proposes taking it more or less full circle, bringing back not just farming, but 19th-century farming – labor-intensive, small parcels, minimal processing. Not giant combines and acres of soybeans, but food, healthy food, for people.

“This has really made me see the ‘power of we’ like never before,” Wozniak said.

Raising opportunities with the food

“Power of we” is a phrase from the recovery movement, something Wozniak knows well, having flushed his young adulthood away with cocaine and found his way back as an addiction counselor; he ran SHAR, Self Help Addiction Rehabilitation, an intensive residential treatment program for addicts, for many years. Rehab is a trail fraught with setbacks, and one of the biggest obstacles is finding meaningful work for clients, many of whom have other problems as thorny as their drug use.

“Most of them are over 40, they’re felons, functionally illiterate,” Wozniak said. “They’re not easy to place.”

But given the right structure, they could work in an environment with their peers, a type of sheltered workshop where they’d gain skills, new habits and produce something in demand in and out of the city. Wozniak wants to make them farmhands in the RecoveryPark urban agriculture experiment; he expects it to provide 15 to 17 jobs per acre, with 20-30 acres planted, winding through the RecoveryPark footprint “like an amoeba.” It will wind around and through the sparse remaining housing and few commercial buildings still left, making an unprecedented cityscape in the modern United States.

When Wozniak first proposed his idea to his board in 2008, “they wanted to drop me (to take) a urine test.” But perhaps because so few of the urban revitalization strategies imagined for Detroit over the years have come to anything — and perhaps because the local-food movement has come on strong across the country — the idea of converting the city’s vast open spaces into productive farmland doesn’t seem so crazy now.

“The city has land, buildings and water infrastructure,” said Wozniak, adding it also has a ready supply of unskilled, unemployed residents in need of job training.

It does have some policy hurdles to overcome, however. While the city abounds in gardens and truck patches — a glance around the Eastern Market on a Saturday reveals many sellers of Detroit-grown produce — it doesn’t have an ordinance regulating urban agriculture. Yet.

The term itself is undefined, said Kathryn Lynch Underwood, city planner. An urban agriculture work group recently drew up, after input from stakeholders across the board, a draft ordinance that will “legalize what’s already happening,” she said.

The problem has been that local ordinances are trumped by Michigan’s right-to-farm law, which was written to protect existing farms from nuisance suits filed by those living in encroaching suburbia. Urban agriculture hadn’t yet appeared on the radar when the bill was written in 1981. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is working on an exemption for larger cities’ urban-agriculture plans, which has given the work group the confidence it can move forward.

Underwood also is confident the city ordinance, once it passes the Detroit City Council (in early fall 2012, she hopes) will give the city’s farmers solid legal footing for next year’s growing season.

Wonder where the fish are

Wozniak’s ideas really take off when he visits the abandoned municipal maintenance garage near the Eastern Market where he plans his fish farm. The graffiti-covered walls? They’ll be preserving those, with a coat of polyurethane. The roof? Not a problem — fish don’t really like light, anyway. The tanks? Made from fiberglass, 13 feet high, each holding 35,000 fish, with a goal of 5 million pounds of fresh tilapia (a mild freshwater fish widely farmed around the world) to be sold throughout the region. The fish farm would be a joint venture with an Ohio company looking to expand in the Michigan market.

Click HERE to read the full article on Bridge MI (dot) com!

Win (2) Tickets To Every Concert AT DTE This Summer!

Share your favorite memory of DTE Energy Music Theatre with us. You’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win (2) Royalty Passes for this summer's concerts at DTE. That's two tickets to every show, so you can create countless more memories.

Click HERE to enter! 
The Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3) will launch “Design in Detroit,” an online platform and annual festival that allows individuals and institutions across Southeast Michigan to engage, connect and partner with Detroit’s creative, entrepreneurial community.

The three-year initiative is funded by a $510,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which supports informed and engaged communities. It will be anchored by the annual Detroit Design Festival, which will call on Detroit’s creative community starting in June to submit new ideas for design, business and technology that advance local community interests.

Through an online platform and real-world forums and gatherings, individuals and institutions from across Metro Detroit will be able to pledge financial, leadership, volunteer and marketing resources to the submitted projects. Over the course of each year, DC3 will lead targeted programming that nurtures these connections, ensuring that they result in artistic, retail and digital innovation that improve Detroit’s quality of life.

“Detroit is becoming a leader in creative and civic innovation, but many Detroiters remain unable to participate, support, and engage with this movement,” said Rishi Jaitly, program director/Detroit for Knight Foundation. “We hope this project will help foster an environment where all people and institutions can share in the city’s social entrepreneurial momentum, and advance the success of the movement itself.”

The pilot Design festival in 2011, for example, produced “Mind The Gap,” a contest to improve Detroit’s in-between spaces. The greater community helped shape that contest’s success, and more than 200 Detroiters viewed and rated proposals to transform vacant and under-utilized spaces in Detroit. The winning submission, entered by a high-school student at Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies in Detroit, was shared with hundreds of Detroiters and business and creative-cultural leaders in a series of events that featured the concept.

“Design in Detroit will result in a unique digital and physical infrastructure for the local creative movement to showcase its skills and ideas to the broader community,” said Matt Clayson, director, Detroit Creative Corridor Center. “We’re looking to create a global model here, one that respects the authenticity of local creative movements in Detroit while encouraging deeper engagement and more meaningful connections.”

About Detroit Creative Corridor Center

The Detroit Creative Corridor Center ("DC3") is a business accelerator focused on helping creative sector businesses grow. Supported by Business Leaders for Michigan and the College for Creative Studies, the DC3’s vision is to establish Detroit as a global center of creative business, creative innovation and creative talent. For more details visit:
America's best and worst airports: Detroit Metropolitan (DTW)

No. 3 Detroit Metropolitan (DTW)

Detroit’s airport is at the top of its game, ranked No. 1 in terminal cleanliness, design, location, lounges, and business centers. It came in third for service and staff communication and fourth in baggage handling. As Delta’s second largest hub and the carrier’s primary gateway for Asia, that’s no mean feat. The airport fell short only when it came to public transportation options—not surprising considering you’ve landed in the Motor City.

Click HERE to read the full article on Travel and Leisure! 

The New York Renaissance “Harlem Rens” basketball team and all-time NBA leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will be honored for their talent, tenacity and teamwork in sports at the 14th Annual Ford Freedom Award on May 17.

The Ford Freedom Award program includes a scholar’s lecture by Abdul-Jabbar to nearly 2,000 elementary and middle-school students from around the state, presentation of the 2012 Ford Freedom Award Scholarships and a black-tie gala at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. “The Ford Freedom Award has a legacy of honoring trailblazers who have changed the world through their actions,” said Ziad Ojakli, group vice president, Government and Community Relations, Ford Motor Company. “Ford is proud to recognize one of the greatest teams of all time that paved the way for many of today’s athletes, and a sports legend who demonstrated excellence not only through his play on the court but through his dedication to the education of youth.”

The 2012 Ford Freedom Award Honoree is the Harlem Rens basketball team, which was the first all-black, African American-owned pro basketball team. Known as one of the dominant basketball teams of the 1920s and ’30s, the Harlem Rens also was the first basketball team to win a world championship in 1939.

NBA hall-of-famer and newly selected U.S. Global Cultural Ambassador Abdul-Jabbar is this year’s Ford Freedom Awards Scholar. His career spanned six championships and a record six regular-season MVP awards. As an actor, coach and promoter of social justice and African American history, Abdul-Jabbar has authored a book and produced a documentary highlighting the career of the Harlem Rens, “On Shoulders of Giants.”

The Ford Freedom Awards program recognizes two recipients each year. The Ford Freedom Award Honoree is presented posthumously to a distinguished African American who dedicated his or her life to improving the African American community and the world at large through that individual’s chosen field (such as arts, humanities, religion, business, politics, sports, science or entertainment). The Ford Freedom Awards Scholar is an African American who has excelled on a national or international level in the same field as the Ford Freedom Award Honoree. The Scholar serves as a living legacy, carrying forth the ideals of the Honoree and furthering those achievements for a new generation.

“The history of African Americans in sports is a storied one,” says Juanita Moore, president and CEO, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. “But it’s easy to forget the talent, tenacity and teamwork it took for those early pioneers to demonstrate not only physical prowess, but also the courage and fortitude necessary to overcome prejudice and roadblocks to their ability to even compete. In the modern era, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has earned his place as a basketball legend, but continues to build on that legacy with his achievements as a writer, filmmaker and Global Cultural Ambassador.”

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, in partnership with Ford Motor Company, launched the Ford Freedom Award program in 1999 to create a forum for celebrating and recognizing individuals whose achievements brought forth lasting and positive change for African Americans and the world. In addition to the evening gala, the Ford Freedom Award program includes a statewide essay contest for grades four through eight, which this year drew more than 1,900 submissions.

The Ford Freedom Award program is made possible by a grant from Ford Motor Company, and is an annual fundraiser for the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

Additional major sponsors of the Ford Freedom Award include McDonald’s Owners of Southeast Michigan, and MGM Grand Detroit. For additional event information regarding sponsorship opportunities and tickets, call (313) 494-5800 or visit
Aaron Wagner
Ask any of last years’ patrons about Tashmoo Biergarten and you’ll know they were chomping at the bit for another round almost as soon as last season ended. That’s why this year, Tashmoo Biergarten is taking its game to another level and opening up for a special session - May 19 and 20 - at its home on Van Dyke in West Village.

Scheduled to coincide with the Villages Lonely Homes Tour, Tashmoo co-founder Aaron Wagner says it was a natural fit – more than 7,500 visited the biergarten during its five-weekend run in fall 2011.

“That kind of foot traffic – if even for a couple of days – is part of what makes Tashmoo so great,” he says. “People came to the Villages from all over to join us for a drink, and they got to see that Detroit is an amazing place worth visiting, and even moving to.”

The spring biergarten will feature three of the same food vendors as last year – People’s Pierogi Collective, Pork Town Sausage and Corridor Sausage Co. – with new items on the menu.

The biergarten will also feature a new variety of Michigan bier – all session brews, which are traditionally around 4-percent alcohol by volume. Bier can only be ordered with tickets purchased at the door, but food can be purchased with cash. (Wagner says anyone interested in becoming a vendor for Tashmoo can send him a note at

Though this event is only a two-day affair, Wagner says Team Tashmoo is actively planning for its next phase. “The pop up style biergarten was always our first phase of the plan, and we’ll be back in the fall,” he says. “But we are now in the process of developing a three-season permanent biergarten.”

As always, Tashmoo Biergarten is a family-friendly event. Patrons can enjoy the same great games – from Cornhole to Candy Land. Children under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult, and dogs are not allowed.

Tashmoo Biergarten Spring Fling takes place Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20, from noon – 9 p.m. at 1420 Van Dyke (Between Agnes and Coe), Detroit. For updates, join our Facebook page at To volunteer during the event, contact our volunteer coordination partner, the Waldorf School, at

Performing a benefit concert with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on Saturday night (May 12) at the Fox Theatre, according to Kid Rock, was "the best drunk move I ever made," have received the call while he was enjoying some post-show libation backstage in Louisville during the spring of 2011.

On paper it certainly looked a little...screwy. The likes of "Bawitdaba," "Devil Without a Cause" and "You Never Met a Mother****** Quite Like Me" hardly seem like orchestral fare, and the DSO has surely never before worked with vocalists who drop liberal F-bombs and sing about prostitute, pimps, drugs and debauchery. The orchestra may play Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man," but the terrain of Rock's song is little more, well, common in the rawest sense of the word.

And it's highly unlikely any previous DSO guest has ever referred to music director Leonard Slatkin as "badass," as Rock did on Saturday.

But the pairing, which raised $1 million for the DSO -- still feeling the after-effects of a six-month 2010-11 musicians' strike as well as a challenging economy in general -- worked well. The two-hour and five-minute show, during which Rock and his Twisted Brown Trucker band performed 11 of his songs with the DSO as well as a three-song encore set on their own, added layers of orchestral bombast and spice to a repertoire more stylistically diverse than, say, Metallica's "S&M" set list and proving that the orchestra could rock and that Rock's songs, at least those played with the DSO, were sturdy enough to support a little bit of sophistication. Rob Mathes' complementary arrangements gave the DSO a prominent place in the music without trying to upstage the songs, making a batch of familiar sound richer, fuller and fresher.

"I think the good idea is to let the audience hear the band rock and use the orchestra to enhance what the band is doing," Mathes, whose voluminous credits include musical director for the Kennedy Center Honors, told "I want to use the orchestra as another member of the band -- albeit an extraordinary one -- and let them shine in their glory at times but not just let them be this carpet over everything." Mathes, who had worked with the DSO's Slatkin on previous projects, studied a number of live tapes from concerts by Rock and his Twisted Brown Trucker band and also attended a concert in Tampa "so I could really write the orchestra to the way they play live, not just on record."

Rock sported a tuxedo while Slatkin and the orchestra musicians donned his trademark black fedoras for the opening "Devil Without a Cause," which included the late Joe C. rapping via tape about his 10-foot you-know-what while a scrim featuring his photo hung over the DSO. Rock changed garb quickly -- "You didn't really think I was wearing a tuxedo all night, did you?" he said -- a ran through a repertoire during which the orchestra added bold, Mahler-esque stabs marked "Bawitdaba" and "Rock N Roll Jesus" and bulked up the main riffs of "You Never Met...," "All Summer Long," "Born Free" and "Cowboy," with the latter mixing tastes of Americana fiddle flare with Gershwinesque grandeur. Mathes borrowed from Al Green's Memphis soul on the ballad "Rock On," while melodic counterpoints enriched "Purple Sky" (a favorite of Rock's mom, which he dedicated to her for Mother's Day) and "Picture." The DSO also introduced songs such as pro-Detroit paean "Times Like These" and "Born Free" with specially created intros.

Click HERE to read the full article on Billboard (dot) com! 
Amateur baseball teams face off on the site of the former Tigers Stadium in late summer 2010. After the demolition of the stadium, locals took it upon themselves to clean up the site and put it to use. (2010)
Over the next couple of weeks, The Atlantic Cities is exploring America's rebuilding efforts in a four-part series.

Read the first installment here.

A couple of sharp-eyed Midwestern academics spotted the first green shoots of a national urban rebuild three years ago.

In mid-2009, Chicago sociologist and photographer David Schalliol and Milwaukee-based urban historian Michael Carriere launched a collaborative study of creative revitalization efforts in urban areas across the country, particularly those hardest hit by decline. They've since visited more than 30 cities and turned up nearly 200 outfits and initiatives, creating a national map of grassroots renewal, from Albuquerque to Providence.
"We're seeing this huge number of groups, this ubiquity of DIY development,” says Schalliol, who is working toward a sociology doctorate at the University of Chicago. “We seem to have reached a new moment, where this kind of community-based and community-directed activism is playing a larger role in shaping the possibilities and facilitating a variety of new opportunities, from play to work to food to housing."

Some are sustainable businesses looking to redevelop a fallen neighborhood, while others are slapdash, activist-bred pop-ups that quickly come and go. Many are small-scale, longer-lasting efforts – such as turning a demolition site into a park, or reclaiming unused or abandoned buildings for housing or recreation activities.

Click HERE to read the full article on The Atlantic Cities (dot) com!

Click HERE to purchase tickets!!!!

Whole Foods Detroit Groundbreaking This Monday!

Camp Couture NYC * ON TOUR

Kicking off May 19th, 2012 in Detroit, MI at the Renaissance Center, the Official Camp Couture Team embarks upon a National tour in search of the future innovators of the Fashion Industry. Select models, photographers, hairstylists, make-up artists, stylists and/or fashion designers will assemble into creative teams with the opportunity to join us during Fashion Week in NYC and for their work to be featured in a national marketing campaign. Teams will work closely with Camp Couture mentors who will guide them through the creative process.

The Camp Couture Team is comprised of celebrity models, make-up artists, hairstylists photographers and fashion stylists whose clients include Amika, MTV Networks, Sony Music, Bravo TV, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Usher, Marcia Gay Harden, Twilight and Modern Family to name a few.

Camp Couture is currently accepting submissions from aspiring talent through our website, For more information regarding Camp Couture, please email


DETROIT, MI & CLEVELAND, OH 05.19.12 + 05.20.12 (IN MI)
LITTLE ROCK, AK 05.26.12 + 08.27.12
JACKSONVILLE, FL 06.08.12 + 06.09.12
BIRMINGHAM, AL 06.16.12 + 06.17.12
AUSTIN, TX 06.23.12 + 06.24.12
NASHVILLE, TN 07.07.12 + 07.08.12
NEW ORLEANS, LA 07.14.12 + 07.15.12
LOUISVILLE, KY 07.21.12 + 07.22.12
CHARLOTTE, NC 08.11.12 + 08.12.12
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 08.18.12 + 08.19.12
MONTREAL, QC 08.25.12 + 08.26.12

Be the First to Experience Detroit Businesses “Doing the Right Thing”

Films created by Liberty Mutual Insurance and The Responsibility Project

Model D Speaker Series presented by Liberty Mutual, special thanks to MSHDA

As more people open their own businesses in Detroit and around the country, entrepreneurs are faced with difficult choices. When trying to do the right thing for their business, their community, their customers and themselves, how does responsibility come into play?

On May 8, Liberty Mutual Insurance invites you to join entrepreneurs, small business owners and other guests for the debut of two short films featuring successful Detroit businesses, Avalon International Breads and City Living Detroit, before the nationwide film releases. After the screening, the featured business owners will further share their insights into being responsible business owners, expressing the “Entrepreneurial Spirit” and making a positive difference in Detroit.

What? A new national film series called “The Entrepreneurial Spirit” from Liberty Mutual’s Responsibility Project features two innovative Detroit business:

  • Avalon International Breads - When co-founders Jackie Victor and Ann Perrault first opened their bakery in Midtown Detroit, they set three bottom lines that reflected their ethics: “Right relationship with the earth, right relationship with the employees and right relationship with the community.” Since then, they have been walking the walk to live up to their motto: “Eat Well, Do Good.”
  • City Living Detroit - When it came time for Austin Black to start his own real estate company, it was important for him to give back to the city that inspired his love of architecture and urbanism. From his office in Midtown, he has made it his mission to showcase Detroit’s historic homes and neighborhoods and improve quality of life in the city.

Join us on Tuesday, May 8 at 6:00 pm at Willys Overland Lofts:

Willys Overland Lofts
444 West Willis Street
Detroit, MI 48201

If you are interested in attending or learning more, please contact Michelle Pan: or 415.984.6260

About The Responsibility Project:

The Responsibility Project, created by Liberty Mutual Insurance in 2008, uses entertaining content to create a forum for people to discuss personal acts of responsibility. Through short films and online content, The Responsibility Project is a catalyst for examining the decisions that confront people trying to “do the right thing.”

The city is in the midst of numerous efforts to stave off bankruptcy, from major budget cuts to appeals for state and federal funding. Mayor Dave Bing explains how his administration is trying to save Detroit.

It's no secret... Midtown is loaded with an array of fantastic locally owned businesses! But do you spend as much time there as you could? Well, here's your chance! From May 14-23rd Yelp Detroit is encouraging Metro-Detroiters to make a point of exploring and hanging out out in this part of our glorious city during Yelp's Passport to Midtown!

 What's Passport to Midtown?

Well it's a celebration of all things awesome in this bodacious 'hood and we've brought together some of the best spaces in Midtown to participate! From delicious eateries, unique shopping, delectable grocery, luscious libations, and killer cultural landmarks, each venue is bringing something incredibly awesome to the table to thank you for visiting Midtown! We've got beer tours, food crawls, doggie meet-ups, street fairs, Margarita Monday happy hours, bike mechanic classes, and more! Not to mention discounts, giveaways, and special offers to over 30 Midtown businesses and cultural spaces. WHEW! Why would you want to be anywhere else?

 Want to know more? Check out the Passport to Midtown page on Yelp for all the individual details and a list of participating businesses and discounts.

I’ve been wanting to explore Detroit for ages and finally there were enough reasons and planning to make it happen two weeks ago over Easter.

At the outset it’s hard to prepare for Detroit’s massive abandonment, decay, and poverty, even though I knew to expect it. To fresh eyes, large swaths of the city look, no jokes, like the leavings of a war zone. It’s pervasive, you can’t go more than a block or two before encountering it. Once opulently designed & crafted buildings are now windowless skeletons, sunken and rotting like forgotten jack-o-lanterns, scrappers having come and gone long ago. A particular image that won’t be leaving my head easily is the sight of the former Packard Motor plant. It’s a carcass that goes on for literal blocks. When Christina from printmaking shop Perfect Laughter showed us around her brand-new printmaking studio in the Corktown neighborhood she told us of the rubberneckers on the hunt for “ruin porn” documenting as if Michigan Central Station were the Acropolis or the Coliseum in Rome. And I can certainly understand that pastime, though it’s not my particular style, because the ruins really are a breathtaking sight to see.

Yet it’s undeniable that there are just as many marvelous things happening despite the sad parts of the city. Everyone we met in Detroit is doing something or working for something, their efforts beautifully poignant in the face of the city’s hard edges.

Culture is also on the rise in Detroit too. Chicagoans would not believe the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) rivals our Art Institute, but you’d be wrong there. It’s every bit as good, if not better. MOCAD, the contemporary art museum, is consistently one of the most creative and innovative contemporary spaces out there. Every visit it’s completely remade new and you can expect to be surprised, that’s for sure. This time around we enjoyed an incredible installation by Joshua White & Gary Panter’s Light Show. The best way I can think of to describe it as a modern fun house, a huge echoing space vibrating with psychedelic rhythm and sound. So intense it’s almost repellent at first, but then little surprises and funny things start appearing and then it’s all smiles if you hang out awhile. It’s like a little mini vacation, and a pretty perfect metaphor for how the city is itself.

We stayed at the adorably rustic yet modern inn, Honor & Folly, run by Meghan McEwen of Designtripper. The space was filled with plenty of handmade and thoughtful cozy touches, just as I imagined when I posted about it before. We made good use of the full kitchen and even hosted a meal with our families who hiked in from the suburbs to hangout. Every place comes with a story in Detroit. At the Peacock Room, a little boutique near the DIA, the shop owner told me how she tore down the drywall in her space, only to discover it was hiding a 1920′s ballroom with mirrored walls, marble columns and tin ceilings. Talk about hidden treasure, eh? Or Café D’Mongo’s, a former speakeasy which is a feast of 1920′s nostalgia. It only reopened recently, pretty much intact from it’s original heydays. The charming & feisty older lady running the joint seems like she came back to life with the bar too.

Click HERE to read the rest of this story on Pitch Design Union!

Online registration for the 2012 Tour de Troit opens on May 1 at noon. A direct link can be found at

Early Bird prices will remain in effect through June.

The pricing schedule is as follows:

May 1 to June 30 – $35/$30 (student) w/t-shirt
July 1 to August 31 – $40/$35 w/t-shirt
Sept. 1 to Sept. 10 – $50/45 w/t-shirt
ONSITE (if available) $65 w/t-shirt (size not guaranteed)

Please note that student IDs will be required at packet pickup for those registering at the Student rate.

Gather your girlfriends, get out and get healthy at the Ladies Night Out Health Crawl, set for 6 to 8 p.m. May 17 on the campus of Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit.

The School of Medicine and the Wayne State University Physician Group will host the event in celebration of National Women’s Health Week May 13-19, an annual project of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Women’s Health.

The free event will take place at the School of Medicine’s Scott Hall, located at 540 E. Canfield St.

The event aims to empower women of all ages and backgrounds to make their health a top priority. Mothers, daughters, aunts, grandmothers and girlfriends can nosh on gourmet nibbles and sip wine while strolling through physician-led informational stations covering women’s health topics such as bone density; breast, colorectal and ovarian cancer; diabetes; heart health, reproductive and sexual health; nutrition and healthy eating. A local chef will demonstrate healthy recipes and share tips for healthy cooking.

Attendees may also enter to win an Amazon Kindle Fire, courtesy of the Wayne State University School of Medicine and the Wayne State University Physician Group.

This is a free event, but ladies are encouraged to RSVP at

Free parking will be available in Wayne State University parking lot No. 75, located on Canfield Street, between St. Antoine and Brush streets.

The hosts have pledged $1 for every “like” of WSU’s School of Medicine and University Physician Group on Facebook May 13-19, with proceeds benefitting the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries and its affiliated shelters. WSU School of Medicine students provide free medical care to children and families at DRMM’s SAY Detroit Family Health Clinic in Detroit.

To like the Wayne State University School of Medicine on Facebook visit

Note: Canfield St. is closed for construction between John R. and Brush.
Collectors and bargain shoppers alike will be delighted with the fabulous finds at The Salvation Army Thrift Store in Rochester Hills, as its hosts its 8th annual spring auction on Saturday, May 5, 2012.

Nearly 1,000 lots will be available for bid starting at 11 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m., with a preview beginning at 9 a.m.

“From Gibson guitars to full-size cars, The Salvation Army has seen a variety of unique merchandise cross the auction floor. We’re excited to host another successful auction this spring,” said Brian Smith, manager of the Rochester Hills thrift store. “Last year we raised $35,400 for The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Centers, and we are confident this year’s lineup of items will inspire auction goers to raise their paddles and help a great cause.”

All proceeds from the auction benefit The Salvation Army Southeast Michigan Adult Rehabilitation Centers, independently funded, 180-day residential rehabilitation programs for adults.

“You never know what you’re going to find,” said Linea Rydstedt, veteran Salvation Army thrift store shopper and auction goer. “I’ve been attending auctions for more than 50 years and The Salvation Army’s auction since its inception. They always have an assortment of cool things you’d never know you wanted!”

This year bidders can expect to see unique and antique housewares, fine oil paintings, various autographed tchotchke, musical instruments, a vintage Electric Razor Scooter and even a beautiful, historic sampler created in 1819. The Salvation Army Thrift Store in Rochester Hills is located at 823 East Auburn Road in Rochester Hills.

For those unable to attend the auction, you are invited to register for absentee bidding and have auction staff place bids for you. To see a full lineup of auction items and to learn more about absentee bidding, visit or contact Oz Zamora at 586-978-0369.