Detroit Harmonie's Top Chef Challenge Application 

Online Application Deadline - February 8th, 2013 at 5:00PM EST.  

Competition Overview:

Detroit Harmonie plans to award $10,000 in prizes and award one culinary master the title of Top Chef Detroit on March 23rd at the 3rd annual International Experience. Each challenger will be required to take a creative spin on the Detroit classic Coney Island Dish and must incorporate ethnic ingredients and flavors from that region into their recipes.  

The prize breakdown is as follows:  

• $7,500 – Top Chef Award: determined by a panel of judges 

• $2,500 – People’s Choice Award: determined by the event attendees

Process: 

Step 1: Apply online with your own creative recipe and spin on the Coney Island dish by February 8th.
Step 2: Detroit Harmonie will select and notify 20 semifinalists on February 14th.
Step 3: 20 semifinalists will prepare their culinary masterpieces for a panel of judges on February 23rd and 24th.
Step 4: 5 finalists will be selected and notified on February 25th. Each finalist will be assigned a specific ethnic cuisine for the final event on March 23rd.
Step 5: Winner selected at the Detroit Harmonie International Experience on March 23rd. Chefs prepare tastes for 500+ person crowd.

Entry Requirements: 

For an entry to be eligible, it must:

1. Carry an ethnic theme – examples may include Japanese, Arabic, Mexican, or Indian. Chefs must incorporate flavors from a specific ethnic cuisine into their dish.

2. Contain each of following ingredients (or alternatives for the ingredients)
- Meat (or veggie substitute)
- Chili
- Mustard
- Onion
- Bread

Judging Criteria: 

Initial submissions will be judged based on the following criteria:

1. Originality of the idea/dish

2. How you will use the $10,000 to go toward furthering your culinary path and strengthening the Detroit food movement

3. Culinary background

Questions? Drop us a note at allie@detroitharmonie.co

APPLY HERE!!!!! 
As one of the most influential musical artists, Duke Ellington has made significant contributions to jazz and society, documenting meaningful moments in African American culture. The Detroit Jazz Festival will celebrate Ellington’s impact, presenting his “Black, Brown and Beige” symphony for big band and other noteworthy works – including “Creole Love Cal,” “Diminuendo and Cresendo in Blue,” “Black Tan Fantasy” and “Black Beauty” – with the first concert of the 2013 Detroit Jazz Festival Community Series on March 10, 2013, at 3 p.m. at The Fillmore, Detroit.

“This symphony, the only symphony Ellington created, is rarely performed. It’s a truly historic opportunity for the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra,” said Chris Collins, artistic director of the Detroit Jazz Festival. “Ellington’s ‘Black, Brown, Beige’ symphony has a powerful cultural message, it’s an inspirational piece for all. We are proud to commemorate his exceptional work and influence on our history and the jazz community.”

Joining the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra will be world-renowned conductor David Berger, featured Detroit-native tenor sax soloist James Carter and Detroit vocalists Alice McAllister Tillman and Shahida Nurullah. To highlight the meaning behind the music, Berger also will offer narrative and background on each of the pieces, as well as insight on Ellington’s original performance of “Black, Brown and Beige” at Carnegie Hall in 1943.

“We want to bring once-in-a-lifetime opportunities like this concert to our communities, whether that be through concerts, in-school education or other community events. Presenting this symphony, which Ellington only played in its entirety once, is an exceptional experience,” said Gretchen Valade, chair of the Foundation Board of Directors, Detroit Jazz Festival.. “We make it our goal to present these unique opportunities as much as possible “The Detroit Jazz Festival’s year-round efforts are meant to inspire and enrich the lives of music lovers in our region.”

The Detroit Jazz Festival is more than just a one-weekend event, concerts and community initiatives are held throughout the year to celebrate the jazz culture and history. Programs that have continually enriched communities will still be in place in 2013, including JC Heard Jazz Week@Wayne and the Jazz Guardian Award.

Tickets to the concert range in price from $15 to $35 and can be purchased online HERE.




On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a 42-year-old African American woman who worked as a seamstress, inspired a social movement when she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Ala., city bus. That singular act of courage helped spark the Civil Rights Movement and a new era in the American quest for freedom and equality. On Feb. 4, 2013, The Henry Ford will acknowledge Rosa Parks’ 100th birthday and her inspiring life through a National Day of Courage, encouraging every American to take a stand and commit themselves to do something courageous just as Mrs. Parks did back on that day in 1955.

 The day-long celebration taking place inside Henry Ford Museum will feature nationally-recognized speakers, live music, and dramatic presentations. Current scheduled speakers include American social activist and leader in the Civil Rights Movement Julian Bond, contributing Newsweek editor Eleanor Clift, Rosa Parks biographers Jeanne Theoharis and Douglas Brinkley and author and Wayne State University Assistant Professor Danielle McGuire.

The U.S. Postal Service will also be recognizing Mrs. Parks’ extraordinary life as an American activist and iconic figure in the Civil Rights Movement by unveiling the Rosa Parks Forever Stamp during a special First-Day-of-Issue dedication ceremony at The Henry Ford. Guests can become one of the first to purchase the stamp throughout the day inside the Museum.

Guests in attendance will also have the opportunity to take a seat on the Rosa Parks bus, which is on permanent display inside the Museum. In honor of the event, admission to Henry Ford Museum is free courtesy of Target and the Museum will extend its hours of operation until 9:30 p.m.

For those unable to attend the day’s events in-person, Detroit Public Television will be providing a live national broadcast via satellite and across the Internet. Visitors to The Henry Ford’s Facebook page can also participate by sharing what they have the courage to do in honor of Rosa Parks’ birthday on Feb. 4.


cid:F3ABB707-572E-4A39-AF9E-3EB0F2516C13@slows.local

Over 30 area cyclists will take to the virtual streets for Detroit’s first indoor bike race on cycling simulators in Downtown Detroit this month. Endurance Fest 2013 pits riders against each other, hashing it out tournament-style on Computrainer equipment that measures their exact power output, even factoring in drag and weight.

Participants will race on simulated real-life courses from the comfort of an indoor training facility.

“This is the same equipment that USA Cycling and USA Triathlon use to test and train their team athletes. For indoor cycling, there’s really nothing like it,” says Landall Proctor, owner of Detroit’s newest fitness facility, Detroit Endurance Lab.

Proctor, 31, moved to Detroit last year with his wife and son to fulfill his dream of operating his own endurance training facility that caters to every level of athlete. His Detroit Endurance Lab offers group and individual training, indoor cycling classes, and a built-in cheering section to athletes interested in triathlons, running events, and cycling.

Both beginner and experienced cyclists will participate in the race that will take place Saturday, February 9th just off the Dequindre Cut. “With Detroit’s frigid winters, we think cyclists and health-conscious folks in and near the city are really going to benefit from having easy access to the technology,” says Proctor, “And we’re excited to be kicking it all off with Endurance Fest.”

For more information, visit detroitendurancelab.com


It is time for a change in Detroit.  I usually stay out of all things political and religious in nature with my blog, but times have changed, well the political aspect has.  I cannot stomach to see the progress and strides so many have made in Detroit stifled by inefficient and short-sighted political servants.  To be clear, this is not a blanket statement directed at the Mayor's Office or City Council as a whole.  We all know the individuals that fall under this category and it does not apply to everyone. 

Declare Detroit has put together a Political Action Committee (PAC) to facilitate these efforts, below is from their website.  Please note I have no affiliation with this organization:

Imagine your “Dream Team” at Detroit City Hall. The best & brightest leaders from every district, shaping the city’s future. Now imagine that YOU were a part of sending this team to work.

This year, Declare Detroit is taking the Detroit Declaration to the next level — with real political action. Welcome to our new Political Action Committee (PAC) — a vehicle to support candidates who are committed to moving Detroit forward, guided by the principles of the Detroit Declaration.  They invite you to participate in the PAC by donating to the fund and identifying promising future leaders.

To learn more about Declare Detroit and their principals, please click HERE!

To donate online, click HERE.
Chelsea Clinton Being Filmed By NBC News 


Launching Detroit's 1st Nano Brewery. Contributing to charity through the 'Feelgood Tap'. Small-batch handcrafted beer from Detroit's Corktown Neighborhood.

Click HERE to help bring Batch Brewery to life in Corktown!

Click HERE to see Stephen on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon!

For enough money, he may even serenade you with his mean rendition of Al Green's 'Let's Stay Together' or Beck's 'Debra.' Click HERE for a preview (video).

I  personally would prefer door-to-door beer delivery service :).
Ray Wert, former executive director of content for Gawker Media, today announced he has launched a digital content and advertising strategy studio, Tiny Toy Car. The agency will provide online publishers and their automotive and agency clients with customized, branded advertising content designed to entertain, inform and engage car shoppers and automotive enthusiasts.

The studio name comes from the emotions and enthusiasm that children feel when they see a toy car. They fantasize about a fast sports car or an off-road vehicle that careens over dirt trails. Wert's goal is to bring these emotions to life for adults when they engage with content featuring their favorite vehicles..

"Our goal at Tiny Toy Car is to tell our clients' stories in a way that evokes the passion and emotion that people attach to their cars and trucks," Wert said. "We see ourselves as story tellers who bring the advertisers best brand attributes to life, creating deeper, more engaging experiences for auto enthusiasts and consumers in the vehicle shopping process.".

Wert developed a similar strategy for Gawker Media, where he was in charge of conceptualizing and promoting scalable branded content and conversation offerings across all eight of Gawker Media's sites. He helped create Studio@Gawker, the company's custom advertising studio that produced sponsored content for its brand partners. In the three months following the launch of Studio@Gawker, views of sponsored content on Gawker Media brand sites jumped by 300 percent..

Prior to helping Gawker Media launch Studio@Gawker, Wert served as editor for Jalopnik.com, Gawker's automotive lifestyle site. In six years, Wert helped turn Jalopnik from a site with a precious name to the go-to industry tabloid with a precious name, and a must read for auto enthusiasts with more than two million unique visitors per month..

Under Wert's leadership, Jalopnik site traffic increased from 2 million page views per month to 32 million page views per month with average annual traffic growth of nearly 100 percent each year..

Tiny Toy Car's first client will be Gawker Media..

"We're grateful to Ray for his efforts to bring our sponsored content offerings to the next level, and look forward to continuing to work with him at Tiny Toy Car," said Andrew Gorenstein, Chief Revenue Officer, Gawker Media..

The Detroit skyline at sunset. (Photograph by Ian Freimuth, Flickr)
The Detroit skyline at sunset. (Photograph by Ian Freimuth, Flickr)

Freelance writer and editor Laura Bastian grew up in the Detroit area, and currently lives in Durham, North Carolina where she writes about travel, food, events, and business. Laura has spent time all over the world — from Hong Kong to Boston — but here are a few of her favorite things about her hometown, Motor City, USA. Agree, disagree, or elaborate by leaving a comment.

Check out Laura’s travel and food blog www.lauraontheloose.com or find her on Twitter @laurabastian1.

Detroit is My City

First stop: Eastern Market.

When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them is to a Detroit Tigers game at Comerica Park. After the game, we grab dinner at Roma Café, an Italian restaurant near Eastern Market. Get ready for an old-school Detroit experience with brisk older waiters, white table cloths, and some tasty baked spaghetti.

Summer is the best time to visit my city because of Ray’s Ice Cream, Michigan cherries, and fresh-water lakes.

You can see my city best from the General Motors Renaissance Center. Free tours of the city’s most distinctive skyscraper are offered Monday through Friday at noon and 2:00 p.m.

Locals know to skip Woodward Dream Cruise and check out the Ford Rouge Factory Tour instead.

Pewabic Pottery, founded in 1903, is the place to buy authentic, local souvenirs.

In the past, notable people like Aretha Franklin, Madonna, and Eminem have called my city home.

My city’s best museum is the Detroit Institute of Arts, founded in 1885, and home to many important works, including Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry frescoes.

Click HERE to read the full article! 
Photo: Freep, Adam Richman showcasing 'The Reason' during "Best Sandwich In America"filming


Anyone else noticed just how many great beers there are in America these days? How did this happen? We guess it could be because American microbreweries are now back to the level they were at in the 1900s (going from under 100 to over 1,700 in the last 30 years), strengthening the beer market through diversity and competition. Or it could be that people have stepped out of the "Great taste, less filling" safety bubble. Honestly, we don’t really care why, just so long as it keeps happening. If you’re looking to pair some craft beers with great food, here are ten gastropubs leading the way.  

3. Slow's BBQ: Detroit, MI 

If, like any good American, you assume that the closer you get to Canada, the worse the BBQ has to get, you'll be surprised to see Slow's consistently get rave reviews from even the most southern of folk. Slow's boasts the BBQ spectrum: Texas Style Beef Brisket, Carolina Style Pulled Pork, Alaskan Sockeye Salmon and much, much more. On the sandwich side of things, The Longhorn (thin-sliced beef brisket with onion marmalade, smoked gouda and spicy sauce) and The Yardbird (pulled smoked Amish chicken breast drenched in mustard sauce, tossed with sautéed mushrooms and cheddar and topped with applewood bacon) are favorites. Pair those with one of their weekly-tapped, cask conditioned ales, and you've got yourself a good 'ole fashioned Michigan Meat Mania.

Peruse their menu here!

Click HERE to read the full list!

Detroit Picture Of The Day, Friday Jan. 18th

Photo via the very entertaining Jim Boyle

"No other city in America has had a business community step up and raise $100 million."- U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood, right before adding $25 million to M1 Light Rail + $6 million Toward RTA

Click HERE to read more about what this investment entails!

WXYZ

Hollywood superstar Ryan Gosling is expected to be shooting a movie in the Detroit area this spring, and you can be in it!

How to Catch a Monster is set to star Mad Men's Christina Hendricks. Gosling will be in our area to direct the movie beginning in May. The production has set up a website to cast parts in the film.

In order to apply you must go to their website. Once there follow the posted instructions to upload a video and send them your information. As of now there are three parts available, but the website says they will be making other roles available for submissions.


The state of Michigan’s official travel and tourism website, michigan.org, is once again the most visited state tourism website in the country. The site attracted more visits than any other state tourism website for the sixth year in a row, according to the independent online measurement company Experian Hitwise.

With nearly 1 million more visits than the number two state tourism website, Florida, michigan.org received 7.1 percent of the overall market share of visits to state tourism sites.

“The michigan.org website continues to be an incredibly popular and effective site to showcase Michigan’s terrific destinations and highlight the award-winning Pure Michigan campaign nationwide,” said George Zimmermann, Vice President of Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “With a new design and consumer friendly features such as a trip planner tool and Trip Advisor property ratings, michigan.org helps to turn our website traffic into tourism dollars here in Michigan.”

In 2012, michigan.org recorded more than 8.8 million web visits, with consumers using the site an average of 24,000 times per day. In addition, click-throughs from the site to other Michigan tourism industry sites totaled an average of 14,000 per day and 5.3 million for the year.

Last fall, Travel Michigan launched a newly designed michigan.org with features including an interactive map, Hot Spots page and a trip planner tool. The new site utilizes responsive web design, making michigan.org one of the first state tourism websites to take advantage of this mobile-friendly technology.

Also new, Trip Advisor ratings are now available on michigan.org for many of the 15,000 Michigan tourism attractions, events, hotels, resorts on the site.

Pure Michigan’s social media efforts have also continued to lead the industry. Think Social Media recently ranked Pure Michigan’s social media presence the best in the United States among all destination marketing organizations (DMO). This is the ninth time since 2009 that Michigan has been ranked #1 in this quarterly report and it has been ranked either #1 or #2 for 14 of the past 15 quarters – the highest rankings of any state. The U.S. Travel Association awarded Michigan a 2012 Mercury Award for “Best Use of Social Media” among all state DMO’s in the nation.

Pure Michigan also holds the number one state tourism spot on Instagram with more than 15,000 followers and more than 115,000 photos using the #PureMichigan hashtag since its launch in July. Pure Michigan continues have an active and growing presence on Google+, Twitter and Pinterest as well.

Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, markets the state’s tourism industry and provides valuable visitor information services. For Michigan travel news and updates, go to michigan.org.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) serves as the state's marketing arm and lead agency for business, talent and jobs, with a focus on helping grow Michigan's economy. For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit: MichiganAdvantage.org.


Buddy’s Pizza supports the Great Lakes! $6,000 donation to benefit Alliance for the Great Lakes, Belle Isle A business made famous in the Great Lakes State, Detroit original Buddy’s Pizza is ready to donate $6,000 to the independent citizen’s organization Alliance for the Great Lakes.

In June 2012, Buddy’s Pizza joined forces with the Alliance for the Great Lakes, a nonprofit devoted to protecting and restoring the Great Lakes through education, policy and citizen involvement, to unveil the Made in Michigan Great Lakes Pizza Collection which featured five pies inspired by the Great Lakes.

In addition to a variety of campaigns and initiatives set forth by the Alliance, the donation from Buddy’s will be used to benefit an innovative restoration and education project targeted at returning 72 linear feet of shoreline and coastal wetland on Belle Isle and a litter reduction campaign.

“Michigan is truly a beautiful state, and we owe so much of that beauty to our amazing lakes and bodies of water,” said Robert Jacobs, president of Buddy’s Pizza. “We’re so pleased to present the Alliance for the Great Lakes with a donation that will not only be used to better the Great Lakes, but Belle Isle, which is an iconic Detroit landmark.”

The pizza collection was created to pay tribute to the family restaurant’s Michigan heritage and dedication to everything Pure Michigan. For each pizza from the collection sold, Buddy’s president, Robert Jacobs, announced he would donate $1 to the Alliance in support of the nonprofit’s efforts in maintaining a healthy Pure Michigan environment.

Thanks to an overwhelming response from metro Detroit patrons, the collection fostered a substantial donation to benefit the nonprofit.

"In naming a pizza collection after the Great Lakes, Buddy's Pizza gave every customer a chance to protect this great regional resource -- something we at the Alliance for the Great Lakes do every day," says Joel Brammeier, Alliance president and CEO. "But we don't do it alone. When an established business like Buddy's makes the Great Lakes its priority, everyone who orders up shares in 'a piece of the pie.’"

Additionally, due to metro Detroiters overwhelming support, all five Made in Michigan Great Lakes pizzas will remain on the Buddy’s Pizza menu at all nine locations.

The pizzas are:

Lake Huron – Spinach and artichoke blend, roasted tomatoes, fresh spinach Lake Ontario – Fresh cilantro, Canadian bacon, grilled pineapple, Buddy’s BBQ sauce Lake Michigan – Ground beef, carmelized onions, blue cheese, tomato basil sauce Lake Erie – Red onion, roasted red peppers, salami, pepperoncini, tomato basil sauce Lake Superior – Fresh basil, pine nuts, pepperoni, tomato basil sauce, Buddy’s spice blend.

About Alliance for the Great Lakes Formed in 1970, the Alliance for the Great Lakes is the oldest independent Great Lakes organization in North America. Our mission is to: conserve and restore the world's largest freshwater resource using policy, education and local efforts, ensuring a healthy Great Lakes and clean water for generations of people and wildlife. More about the Alliance for the Great Lakes is online at www.greatlakes.org.

Forbes: Show Starters At The Detroit Auto Show




The North American International Auto Show press days officially begin on Mon. Jan, 14, but on the evening before the show some of the most anticipated automobiles have been revealed at private events held around the Motor City.

The talk of the town is the show-starting 2014 Corvette Stingray, pictured here in my furious effort to document history unfolding on Detroit‘s North End at the reveal. At writing, every detail and sculptural cue is being sussed out by reporters and Corvette enthusiasts who have been waiting eight years for a new model to take over the holy grail of American super cars.

Here’s the quick draw: The 2014 Corvette is in its seventh generation, hence the C-7 moniker. It was inspired by the Corvette Stingray first used by Corvette godfather Bill Mitchell in 1959, but perhaps best embodied by the 1963 Stingray, when Corvette was at the peak of it’s thrill. The C7 is powered by a front-engine V8 that makes 450 hp. And yes, most importantly to Corvette’s allure, it has a whole new exterior style. When it came to first reactions to the exterior appearance, everyone had an opinion about the tail lights the contours — for better or for worse. This is no watered-down meek Corvette. And finally, yes of course the show car is red.

Click HERE to read the full article!

The Farnsworth Community Garden in Detroit. Detroit Works recommends expanding existing neighborhood initiatives, such as community gardens.
 After nearly three years of research, members of the Detroit Works Project unveiled yesterday a host of recommendations for tackling the city’s most daunting economic, infrastructural, and social challenges. From job growth to zoning reform, the recommendations range in scale from small pilot programs to 50-year infrastructure projects. And today the Kresge Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation announced that they will jointly give $3 million to fund an office dedicated to overseeing the implementation of those recommendations.

In addition, all of Kresge's grants for the city over the next five years—a minimum of $150 million—will be aligned with Detroit Works' recommendations.

Detroit has racked up a large collection of shelved master plans, but Detroit Works—an initiative launched by Mayor Dave Bing in 2010, funded primarily by private organizations, to inventory the city’s challenges and make recommendations for renewal—has taken careful steps to buck the trend. The recommendations are the result of meticulous data crunching and communicating with approximately 100,000 community members. In addition, philanthropies, as well as other public and private funders, have pledged financial support for various projects. An implementation committee will continue to advocate for the recommendations.

While accounting for the grim prediction that the city’s population will drop from roughly 700,000 to 600,000 in the next 20 years, the report emphasizes Detroit’s strengths. It calls for building up existing business districts; adaptive reuse rather than demolition for vacant industrial buildings; creating incentives for small businesses to expand; and making use of empty space in large office buildings that have shed jobs over the years. Other recommendations include developing flexible land-use codes, turning little-used roads to rubble for stormwater collection, planting forests along highways, and reconfiguring public bus schedules for higher efficiency.

Click HERE to read the full article! 
Jerry Paffendorf and Mary Lorene Carter, co-founders of the Imagination Station
Jerry Paffendorf and Mary Lorene Carter, co-founders of the Imagination Station, a nonprofit organisation renovating two blighted historic houses to help revive the city. Photograph: Brett Mountain/Eyevine

The raucous scene inside the M@ dison building is not one usually associated with inner-city Detroit.

It appears as though a wacky slice of California's Silicon Valley has landed smack in the middle of a city now just as famous for catastrophic urban blight as for being the spiritual home of America's car industry.

Two youthful tech engineers play table tennis in the middle of a busy open-plan office, while bubble chairs hang from the ceiling. Around a table three people are having an intense discussion and a snatch of their conversation drifts across the room. "Having an eye patch would be kind of cool," insists one, earnestly.

This is no mirage. Increasingly it is a common sight in the Motor City as over the last few years a flood of hi-tech firms have sprung up in downtown Detroit, sparking talk of an urban renaissance in an area laid waste by poverty and abandonment.

The M@ dison building has just been named one of the world's coolest offices by business monthly magazine Inc. The building is not alone. Around the M@ dison a cluster of tech firms, design boutiques and other web-savvy projects have emerged. In their wake have come bars, restaurants, spas and, that ultimate accolade of hip urban youth in America, an upmarket table tennis club. Most are centred on Woodward Avenue, leading to the once-proud street being dubbed "Webward Avenue" by local media.

But, unlike many previous attempts to rejuvenate downtown Detroit, the growth of a tech industry seems to have legs. Suddenly buildings empty for decades are being snapped up and turned into loft apartments. On "Webward", the sound of construction rings out as new buildings rise skywards. In Detroit, so down on its luck for so long, never underestimate the sheer joy the sound of jackhammers brings. "You are seeing construction. It is pretty exciting," said Jim Xiao, a financial analyst for Detroit Venture Partners, the driving force behind the M@ dison and an investor in new tech firms in the city.

Xiao, a 24-year-old who evaluates tech firms for DVP to finance, has trouble concealing his enthusiasm. He lives in one of the converted buildings nearby, socialises at the new downtown bars and has a keen sense of mission about tech's role in the city's future. "Where else in the country can you make an actual impact on a whole city when you are in your 20s?" he said.

As a former resident of Seattle and Microsoft employee, Xiao is typical of the breed of tech engineers and entrepreneurs popping up in Detroit. Already DVP has invested in 18 startups in under two years. The aim is to set up many of them in the M@ dison and then watch them grow, leave to find their own offices and have their spaces filled by an already long waiting list of new ones looking for a leg up. In a city known for the "big three" of General Motors, Chrysler and Ford, the corporate names around "Webward Avenue" now boldly proclaim their arrival with techie monikers such as Doodle Home, Tapjoy and Bizdom. Nor is it just in downtown that the tech industry is taking hold. In one of the furthest-flung parts of the city, Brightmoor, there are plans to set up a project called TechTown that will help locals start or improve their businesses.

One of the biggest success stories is Detroit Labs, which makes apps for mobile phones, iPads and other tablets. The firm has grown from nothing to being 30-strong in 18 months and is about to move out of the M@ dison for two floors of office space of its own. Detroit Labs co-founder Paul Glomski is another evangelist for the city. "There is the cool grit factor with Detroit. This is a genuine, hardworking place. It is not superficial. It is full of people getting things done," he said.

It is not just new firms giving birth to the hi-tech industry in Detroit. The giant car-makers are playing a role too. The industry, which is bouncing back after a government bailout during the recession, is producing cars increasingly focused on tech. As a result, the big three are hiring thousands of software engineers as vehicles become internet-connected and tech-oriented.

Click HERE to read the full article! 
Mix master: Travis Fourmont, a bartender at Roast at the Westin Book Cadillac in Detroit, makes his Manhattan on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2013, during the competition in Manhattan, N.Y.
Photo from Freep.com

What bartender makes America’s best Manhattan?

According to judges in the Woodford Reserve Master of the Manhattan contest held Thursday in Manhattan — where else? — it’s Travis Fourmont of Roast restaurant at the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit.

Fourmont of Berkley was one of six national finalists who competed for the title on Jan. 7, mixing his variation of the classic drink for a panel of celebrity judges. The competitors were chosen in local and regional contests.

Click HERE to read the full article! 
Image:
Stephen McGee / for NBC News

The building has been abandoned for years, but its windows aren’t broken and there’s no graffiti on its walls – unlike so many other forgotten hulks nearby in the long-impoverished southwest corner of Detroit.

Community organizers promise to soon reopen the Mexicantown Mercado and turn it into an anchor for the city’s Latino community. They also hope to turn the complex into a shining example of what can happen in Detroit with help from the companies that transformed the once sleepy Midwest town into the Motor City..

As part of Operation Brighter Future, Ford Motor Co. is pumping $10 million into the resurrection of the Mexicantown Mercado – which will serve as a new food bank and community center and be renamed the Ford Resource and Engagement Center. Company officials, notably including new Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields, promise still more aid to come for the long-beleaguered Detroit..

Such moves are not entirely altruistic, said Fields. Detroit’s long-running problems don’t just serve as the butt of jokes when he travels, but the transplanted Jersey boy has also seen firsthand that it can be difficult to get others to migrate to Motown. .

“The community we live in can be either a draw – or not – to get the best and brightest we need for our company’s future,” Fields said. .

Ford is by no means alone. Since emerging from bankruptcy in 2009, General Motors has ramped up its involvement in a city that is teetering on bankruptcy. So has Chrysler, which moved its headquarters to the fringe suburb of Auburn Hills more than two decades ago..

There’s no question that Detroit needs all the help it can get. .

The making of Motor City.

In the years after World War II, the “Arsenal of Democracy” was a major part of American pride about its industrial muscle – and the primary source of the machines that helped transport U.S. workers out to the fast-growing suburbs. But over the years, the factories and jobs followed, leaving a city of abandoned assembly and supplier plants and rapidly shrinking communities, especially after the riots of the mid-1960s..

Whole neighborhoods have vanished or are largely filled with abandoned homes and once-thriving businesses. In the 1950 census, Detroit’s population peaked at 1.85 million, making it the nation’s fifth-largest city. That dwindled to 706,585 people in 2011, according to the U.S. Census estimate. During the previous decade, the city lost one resident every 22 minutes.

Click HERE to read the full article! 
Detroit City Is the Place to Be
Author Mark Binelli grew up in a Detroit in decline during the 1970s. The city used to embody the American dream: the auto industry, consumer culture and Motown.

When Rolling Stone magazine asked him to write about the Detroit auto show in January 2009, Binelli tells weekends on All Things Considered host Jacki Lyden, he jumped on it.

But Binelli didn't stop there. He moved back to his hometown to chronicle the city. He put it all into a book called Detroit City Is the Place to Be: The Afterlife of an American Metropolis.

Covering Detroit as a native

"When I got there, I realized Detroit had become this poster city for the recession. I mean, reporters were coming [from all over the] country, all over the world, really, to look at the place, and I felt like, as someone who'd grown up there, I could really bring a little bit more nuance to the story, and not tell the same stories that are being told over and over — and that includes things like humor. I mean, Detroit is a very surreal, weird place, and I thought a lot of that was being missed by reporters who were just coming in for an afternoon or a day or two."

Visiting the 'zone'

"It's a huge swath of land — 190 acres — that had been a residential neighborhood once upon a time. It was raised by the city, and was supposed to become an industrial park. The idea was lots of factories would move in, and nothing happened. So, it's hard to really convey what it is like. You're basically five minutes from downtown of a major American city, but you are standing in these fields, that, I mean you could be in rural Arkansas, and you can still see traces of the old neighborhood. The sidewalks are so overgrown, they are almost invisible, but if you look carefully you can see the sidewalks ... You will notice a glimpse of red, and it turns out to be an old fire hydrant that is covered with grass that is 3 feet high. It's a surreal place."

Room for improvement

"One of the problems with Detroit is, you know, it was a city that at its peak, population was 2 million. Now with this last census, in 2010, it's down to just over 700,000, so you have all this vacant land, all of these abandoned buildings, what do you do with it? I mean, one of the more intriguing things that's been talked about, not much progress has been made so far, has been this sort of right-sizing initiative. That's the euphemistic term they have been using. Basically the idea is to convince people, incentivize people somehow, to move to denser urban cores, so then you would have the vacant land concentrated, and you could turn that into parks, possibility into farms.

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josh noel | chicago tribune
 Many people can’t see past this city’s abandoned buildings and overgrown lots, and that’s sort of fair. A city once boasting 2 million people and an unbreakable auto industry is down to 700,000 and apocalyptic decay in every direction. But look past the blocks of broken windows, sunken roofs and graffiti, and there is a Detroit stirring back to life. The word revitalization might be a bit strong, but as low as the city has sunk, its subtle energy and excitement put it at a fascinating crossroads: Bruised old times, meet scrappy invention.

You see it in the food and drink, the art, the rebuilt urban trails and the people. I learned it at my first stop: a modern barbecue joint called Slows Bar-B-Q, which is widely credited for jump-starting the Corktown neighborhood west of downtown. People wait two hours to sit during the weekends. During my wait, I met Felix Nguyen, 34, a hotel manager with friends in town for one of the nation’s biggest electronic music festivals.

Nguyen explained that she lived in Detroit in the 1990s, moved to the Chicago suburbs and then back to Detroit because she missed it.

“The people are real here,” Nguyen said. She proved it by asking me to join her and her friends for dinner. Over our plates of meat and pints of Michigan craft beer, she explained how things have improved.

“When I lived here in the ’90s, everything was closed at 5, and there were no grocery stores,” Nguyen said. “The customer service was the worst I ever had in my life.” Where, exactly? “Detroit,” she said. “All of it. But now the whole vibe is different.”

Father and son Steve and Austin Snell, whom I met on my way out, had driven in from the suburbs to drop Austin’s sister off at a concert and stopped at Slows because of its glowing reputation. Before dinner, Steve sipped a gin and tonic two doors over, at Sugar House, Detroit’s first craft cocktail bar — no big deal in many urban areas but significant in Detroit.

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