CNN Features Kid Rock's Gift To War Veteran (video)

A recent online spoof to raise half a billion dollars to save Detroit went viral. Now the filmmaker behind it, has another message he'd like to share.

Oren Goldenberg's latest video is a quick-cut stream of logos for Say Nice Things About Detroit, Made in Detroit, Imported from Detroit, Seed Detroit, Popup Detroit and dozens more. As a robotic voice reads each one out loud over the course of three minutes, the point hits home. Invoking the city's name for marketing purposes can work for nearly anything and yet mean almost nothing.

"I'm fascinated by this idea: Who is Detroit? What do you mean when you say it?" said Goldenberg. "We don't have any consensus on what Detroit is, so how can anyone come up with a plan to revitalize, regenerate, save, (do) anything (to) Detroit?"

The 29-year-old Detroit filmmaker is best known for his serious, unblinking documentaries about the city. But at the moment, he's switching gears to comedy, the language of political and socially relevant discourse for a generation that finds truth in The Daily Show and instant analysis on Twitter.

And if people are forced to think about what his videos are trying to say and whether they're real, well, mission accomplished.

A couple of weeks ago, Goldenberg posted a clip of a perky young woman pitching a Kickstarter campaign to raise $500 million to save Detroit. She explained how a $1 donation would get you a ride on the People Mover, $500 an abandoned home, $20 million the city's entire water department and so on.

So far, the video has drawn nearly 23,000 views on YouTube, as well as comments like, "This is a joke, right?"

Goldenberg's Kickstarter campaign is for real. He's trying to raise $15,000 for a six-part online comedy series, Detroit (Blank) City, to be directed by him and co-written by Ari Rubin, a childhood friend who is now a New York voice actor.

The project is described on the popular crowd-sourcing site as absurdist comedy. "Through humor, we will laugh to breathe another day," the text explains. In person, Goldenberg describes laughter as a catharsis for what's happening here -- both the problems of the city and the sometimes surreal ideas floated as possible remedies.

A University of Michigan graduate who studied film and video, Goldenberg has worked on everything from indie drama (he was the editor of Bilal's Stand, which screened at Sundance in 2010) to music videos.

"He's an excellent storyteller. He takes his work very seriously. He takes Detroit very seriously. He's committed to it," said acclaimed local filmmaker and educator Harvey Ovshinsky, who applauds Goldenberg's attempt to stretch his creative muscles with comedy.

Read the full article HERE!


When Ralph Watson, the Executive Creative Director at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, told his wife in 2011 that he’d been asked to move from New York to Detroit to head up the advertising company’s new office to rebrand Chevrolet, her reaction was immediate and to the point. "There’s no fucking way," he recalls her telling him.

Who could blame her? For more than three decades, Detroit has been portrayed in the press as a city in decline, beset by unemployment, crime, civic corruption, and wholesale abandonment by anyone and everyone who could afford to get out. Hundreds of buildings stood vacant, whole tracts of the city reclaimed by nature with urban explorers and photographers parachuting in from all over the world to capture it in all its decaying glory. To many, the city that had birthed the auto industry, armed the Allies during WWII, and given the world some of the best music of the 20th century, was nothing more than a failed state, America’s answer to the Roman Ruins.

And yet, on a cold Thursday morning in the beginning of 2013, Watson, who somehow convinced his wife to move with him to the Motor City, is sitting in his corner office across from Todd Grantham, GSP’s Managing Director, at the company’s newish office in the Palms Building, an historic spot downtown, a home run hit from Comerica Park. The office, which opened in 2011, occupies five floors and has 275 employees focused on Chevrolet. Together they’re working to rebrand the carmaker as it expands globally with the new slogan, "Find New Roads."

On Watson’s window, which faces onto Woodward Avenue ("the first paved road in the U.S.," he noted) is a stenciled message that’s been used in a series of Corvette print ads being developed: "THIS IS AMERICA."

So, how does he like Detroit? "It’s Startupville," Watson says. "It’s anything goes, which I really like. It’s almost no rules."

"There’s massive opportunity here," adds Grantham, who relocated from San Francisco around the same time as Watson. "It feels like there are more interesting things here. People feel like there’s more wide open space than anywhere else"

GSP is among a small but dedicated cohort of creatives, entrepreneurs, and techies who are trying to stake a claim in Detroit and, they hope, help the city as they do so. Just down the street from the Palms Building is The M@dison Building, home of Skidmore Studio, a design and branding firm that started with auto illustrations in the late 1950s and has grown to a full service creative agency. The company moved back to Detroit three years ago after several decades in the suburbs, since, as Tim Smith, Skidmore’s President and CEO, puts it, "If the city is gonna come back, the creative community is gonna be part of that." Smith remembers a time when he’d fly out to meetings with clients in other cities and they’d say, "Oh, you’re from Detroit. We feel so bad for you." Now, he says, "We get off the plane and go 'We’re from Detroit,' and they say, 'That’s kinda cool.'"

"Damn right, it’s cool!," he tells us. "I think the bravado is coming back."  

Click HERE to read the full article! 

It looks like 2013 may be a better year for the Detroit housing market. In the first month of the year, all multiple-listing service sales rose by 9.4% from a year earlier, according to data from Realcomp.

This stands out in a market that suffered so much throughout the housing crisis, and in a market that the Obama Administration considers a struggling economy.

In the Obama administration’s monthly scorecard for January, the U.S. Department of Housing of Urban Development revealed that the administration’s efforts have helped nearly 100,000 Detroit households avoid foreclosure.

"Every foreclosure avoided has positive impacts for families, communities, and our economy," said Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad.

Additionally, an estimated $208 million has been provided for the city via HUD’s stabilization program in order to aid redevelopment and assist resident property purchases, the scorecard revealed.

The median sales price for all homes for sale jumped 27.1% from $63,000 to $80,091 year-over-year in January. The median sales growth varied from metro to metro, with some metros seeing as much as a 65% increase since last year, the Realcomp report showed.

It looks like buyer demand grew as the Detroit market continues to become healthier, with the average days on the market dropping from 89 to 81.

The true indicator of a market turnaround in Detroit, however, is the decline in foreclosure sales, which dropped 11.7% from last month to January 2012. Some metros saw a much larger drop of foreclosure sales, such as Grosse Pointe, whose foreclosure sales fell 40% year-over-year.

Click HERE for the full article!
Challenge Detroit, a national initiative focused on revitalizing Detroit by retaining and attracting top talent to the city, has launched year two of the program and is now accepting applications for its 2013-2014 fellows.

The program recently received a $230,000 grant from the Live
WorkDetroit initiative of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. that will be applied toward programming and recruitment for the upcoming class.

Challenge Detroit chooses 30 fellows based on a combined public voting-private selection process to live and work in the city of Detroit. Every month the group also works on a community "challenge."

The current team on Friday kicked off the fifth of its 10 challenges – helping revitalization efforts along the storefront districts on Livernois in Detroit, near The University of Detroit Mercy. That team of 30 fellows started the program in August.

The organizers' goal by the end of the program is to turn the fellows into 30 advocates for the city.

The fellows work 32-hour weeks at their host companies and spend the fifth weekday on community service projects around the city.

Partner nonprofits include the TechTown Detroit and the Detroit Regional News Hub.

It will be accepting applications until March 3 and is still looking for companies to participate.

Click HERE to read the full article on Crain's Detroit!

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


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

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.


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

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, 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 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!