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!

CLICK HERE TO CONTRIBUTE TO OREN GOLDENBERG'S KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN!

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!
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