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 aharvilla@detroit.AIGA.org. More information can also be found at detroit.aiga.org/beyondthebar.html.





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 DetroitRiverfront.org/Riviere28.

“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 DetroitRiverfront.org/Riviere28 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 www.thebullychronicles.com 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 http://www.indiegogo.com/thebullychronicles and http://www.thebullychronicles.com.

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: www.detroitcreativecorridorcenter.com.
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 www.fordfreedomaward.com.
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 guten-tag@tashmoodetroit.com).

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 http://fb.com/tashmoodetroit. To volunteer during the event, contact our volunteer coordination partner, the Waldorf School, at development@detroitwaldorf.org.


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 Billboard.com. "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!
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