Thank God almighty... One hundred and one years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, and two months before the march on Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to 25,000 people in Detroit, and made it clear to America that "the Negro is now determined to be free". This speech in Detroit became the foundation for King's speech in Washington...."I have a dream..." On June 23rd we celebrate the 50th anniversary of that speech in Detroit.
The race for one of the worst jobs in America took a sharp turn this week as Mike Duggan was removed from the ballot for the Detroit mayoral election. [more inside]
Detroit Institute of Arts collection could face sell-off to satisfy Detroit's creditors Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr is considering whether the multibillion-dollar collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts should be considered city assets that potentially could be sold to cover about $15 billion in debt.
In what could be the largest strike of its kind, hundreds of fast food workers in Detroit walked off their jobs on Friday, echoing the rallying cry heard (or not?) across the country that the currently underpaid workers deserve $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. Friday's strike in Detroit comes on the heels of similar actions in other cities—Wednesday and Thursday in St. Louis, and in Chicago and New York City last month.
The Commotion Wireless Project is a free, open-source (but still early beta) software platform for creating decentralized wireless mesh networks. [more inside]
Out of the ashes of 1970's Detroit rock came Sonic's Rendezvous Band. One part Iggy and the Stooges and one part MC5, they only released one single, same song on both sides of the record.City Slang [more inside]
Detroit's Lewis Cass Technical High School, Then and Now. Period photos superimposed over the historic building's abandoned interiors, presented by detroiturbex.com.
Airing before the Saturday morning cartoons on Detroit's WDIV, Kidbits (Optical illusions pt. 2, pt. 3) delivered snappy science from the Detroit Science Center, along with a handy venue for PSAs and goofy local ads. [more inside]
In 1962, fifty years ago this month, striking union printers shut down four New York City newspapers in resistance to computerized, automated technologies that were being introduced in newsrooms across the country. Five other area papers shut down voluntarily. The strike lasted 114 days and sounded the death knell for four newspapers. For a brief period, New York was a laboratory that demonstrated what can happen when newspapers vanish. Today, new technology is again shaking American newspapers as the Internet drains away more and more advertising revenue. Is this The Long Good Bye? [more inside]
Jay Walljasper covers Detroit: Not Your Father's Motor City, The Surprise Behind Detroit's Emerging Comeback, Young People’s Fascination With Motor City is Only Part of Detroit Revitalization, A Food Commons Grows In Detroit. [more inside]
Sonny Eliot celebrated 50 years in television back in 1997. Sonny, a B52 bomber pilot who was shot down and spent months in a POW camp in Germany, returned to Detroit after the war and began accepting any position/role he could in local TV. [more inside]
Around The Corner: How Differential Steering Works (9:31) is a brilliantly simple explination of the deceptively simple concept of differential steering by the Jam Handy Organization in 1937. It makes a great introduction to this more advanced modern explination (4:44) for the layman. [more inside]
In the early 1930s, William Valentiner thought the Roman Baroque courtyard at the Detroit Institute of Arts needed to be spruced up. With a commission from Edsel Ford, he hired Diego Rivera to paint two large murals of "some motif suggesting the development of industry." The end result was the Detroit Industry Murals. [more inside]
Homebuilding a 474mm tall model of "Robocain" from 1990's Robocop 2, complete with a working head. Clips of Robocain and the other Robocop prototypes from the movie. All photos from the project. Bonus music link: Front Line Assembly performing the Robocop 2 sampling Mindphaser live.
A fun photo set of drunk 20 year olds touring the Motor City in 1982 and taking pictures.
Renowned L.A. based graffiti crew The Seventh Letter and affiliates have been working on the Detroit Beautification Project (Vimeo link). [more inside]
Louder Than Love: The Grande Ballroom Story. While not as famous as Bill Graham's Fillmore Theaters, from 1966 to 1970, Detroit's Grande Ballroom hosted national acts such as Cream, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck, and Pink Floyd. The brainchild of Russ Gibb, with help from activist John Sinclair, the Grande provided a stage for local bands like The MC5, SRC, The Rationals, The Amboy Dukes, The Frost and the The Stooges. The Grande had it's own psychedelic poster artists Gary Grimshaw and Carl Lundgren. Leni Sinclair took pictures. Local boys from the Grande that went on to national prominence included The Bob Seger System, Alice Cooper, and Grand Funk Railroad. [more inside]
5 Pillars of the Abandoned World is a tour through lost landscapes and shrugged off citadels. From the Gothic, Disney villainness ominousness of Miranda Castle to the distant splendor (photo by Cédric Mayence) of the abandoned Luxembourg Stock Exchange. Don't feel left out, North Americans: the US has plenty of holy, holey structures to sweep you off your feet. Fan favorite for urbane decrepitude, Detroit has lots to see. The St. Agnes Catholic Church is the place to be for the religiously inclined ramshackle rambler. Need a place to put up your feet? The Book-Cadillac offers a cozy spot to spread out your tour guide and relax. When you're ready to move on, just head over to Michigan Central Station and hop on the last train to forever. The world's an awfully big stage. There's a lot to take in, but don't worry about a thing. Just enjoy the show. There's no hurry; what's already gone isn't going anywhere. [more inside]
Tumblr of Photos from the Detroit News archives.
I've been dreading this day since I became manager in 1997," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. This day, today, Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom retired from the game of professional hockey after 20 NHL seasons. Lidstrom is considered to be one of the best defenseman ever to play the game. [more inside]
American cities going dark. Detroit is the poster child, 40 percent of the 88,000 streetlights are already broken, but under a new plan half the city is going permanently dark in an effort to get citizens to move. “You have to identify those neighborhoods where you want to concentrate your population,” said Chris Brown, Detroit’s chief operating officer. “We’re not going to light distressed areas". Other U.S. cities have gone partially dark to save money, among them Colorado Springs; Santa Rosa, California; and Rockford, Illinois. Bonus: 360-degree photo tour of abandoned rail station in Detroit.
"These historic parks are perfect symbols of the romantic small-town fantasy most people first thought they would get when they moved out of the city." [more inside]
How a fire in a small German town threatens to cause a worldwide car shortage. "When a fire in the small town of Marl in the west of Germany closed down an obscure chemical plant on 31 March, it barely made headlines." Now according to a recent IHS Automotive report, "shortages of the obscure component are 'likely to be serious.'"
Life on the Edge is a series by Detroit based photographer Dennis Maitland, in which he documents himself hanging out in some vertigo-inducing locations. [more inside]
Emotions ran high (video) as city and state leaders met to work out a deal to address Detroit's looming budget crisis. The threat of state imposition of an emergency financial manager has some residents fearful of the ulterior motives of state officials: [more inside]
NEO Scavenger is a hex-based, turn-based scavenging/survival/mystery RPG. Dig through abandoned buildings! Punch a looter to death! Get eaten by a Dogman! Contract cholera! Die of cholera! Flash-based browser game, under active development; the current demo lets you explore the landscape and play with the game's mechanics at length. [more inside]
The local rate of self-defense killings now stands 2,200 percent above the national average in Detroit.
The billionaire became inmate No. 12-981.
Matty Moroun is a Detroit businessman and the owner of Centra Inc, the holding company which controls the Ambassador Bridge -
a the only privately managed U.S. / Canada Border crossing, and the #1 busiest North American border crossing.
He was sent to jail early yesterday for defying a judge's ruling that he comply with a court order compelling him to complete his company's portion of The Gateway project, a joint construction project he agreed to in 2008 designed to ease border traffic. Instead of working on the ramps to ease congestion, his crews built built a roadway that took traffic past the company's lucrative duty-free store and fuel pumps, and that kept thousands of trucks bound for expressways lined up on surface streets in the area. [more inside]
Matty Moroun is a Detroit businessman and the owner of Centra Inc, the holding company which controls the Ambassador Bridge -
Ye olde rock and roll time machine, part two: recently found photos of a Stooges performance at a suburban Detroit high school from 1970.
The sign-holders are a minority among the [Detroit's] vagrants and homeless. They're the handful with enough drive and dedication to spend hours standing in one place, making a sales pitch. They could probably succeed at a real job somewhere with such determination. But who's going to hire a depressed guy with three teeth, a felony record and a drinking problem? So sign-holding becomes their career. And it's a demanding one. They have to be sellers of something that's not a product, isn't a service, and has little benefit for the customer other than perhaps inner satisfaction. They have to sell their misery. And though almost none of them have actual jobs, make no mistake — this is hard work. Here are the stories they tell.
WDET- Detroit Public Radio: "Detroit and Berlin are iconic cities; symbols of cultural and economic domination, as well as of collapse, and (potential) rebirth. Detroit and Berlin have ideological similarities that go far beyond industrial power. As beacons of culture, Detroit and Berlin have both been on the cutting edge of arts activities. Berlin is a crossroads of European film, art, music and food; Detroit is a center of African-American culture, with global credibility in jazz, techno, and emerging cultural expressions." Audio Preview. [more inside]
Journalist and Detroit techno historian, Dan Sicko passed away Sunday, August 28th from a rare form of eye cancer. [more inside]
Is this the answer? We've had our share of photo montages of Detroit... What to do with those empty houses? Mitch might have a viable idea here.
Stéphane Missier alias Charles le Brigand (and/or Carlito Brigante) is a Brooklyn-based urban photographer and filmmaker. "From the Bronx to Brooklyn, I capture the real New York, the one I like to call 'RottenbutBeautiful'." Flickr Sets. [more inside]
The Human Services Department in Detroit awarded a $1.2 million no-bid contract to a nonprofit named Clark & Associates. The Department then used $210,000 of the money to buy high end office furniture. [more inside]
Woodward Avenue through the years. A historical photo gallery of Detroit's Main Street.
DetroitTechno.org presents a documentary (1 2 3) about the history and politics of techno with a focus on the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, now called Movement, from its inception in 2000 until the most recent one in 2010. [more inside]
Yes, there are grocery stores in Detroit. The myth of a city without supermarkets is hard to kill, even faced with the evidence above. Ultimately, that myth perseveres because the mainstream media and its audience is steeped in a suburban mentality where the only grocery stores that really seem to count are those large, big-box chain stores that are the only option in so many communities these days, largely because they have put locally-owned and independent stores like the ones you find in Detroit out of business. [more inside]
If you like meaty filthy 60s-70s rock by sometimes severely ripped blokes &b.b.b.babes — like I know I do — then bite on these two crispy mix streams and the extensive opinionated textual japery and idolatry from Brit musician, musicologist, Julian Cope that accompanies them. This man writes books on music. Why is he giving it away? [more inside]
DJ Assault (born Craig De Sean Adams, aka Craig Diamonds "The Street Narrator") is a Detroit-based music producer, who was part of a movement to bring ghetto-tech, aka booty house, from the urban streets of Detroit to the suburban club circuit. With his Jefferson Ave. label, he's bringing it directly to you, via the internet, for free. Four albums, 22 EPs, 11 DJ mixes, and three bonus collections of rap and "accelerated funk", all streaming and downloadable. [Warning: most music is NSFW or those sensitive to repetitive, crude lyrics]
Midwest label Suburban Sprawl puts out a CD of X-Mas music every winter. They've collected the last eight years of them here. Highlights include The High Strung, The Hard Lessons, and the common lament, "Santa Just Crashed Into My House and He's Drunk as Fuck."
Dirtbombs' drummer Ben Blackwell has created a map of Detroit of labels offering "vinyl releases throughout all eras". He also has a blog and participated in the SXSW panel "How to Make Money With Vinyl" (mp3) as an employee of Third Man Records.
Detroit's Greatest Hits (That Should Have Been) Here we've compiled our very own Top 40 list of Detroit songs or albums that were overlooked or undervalued — which naturally includes, to a lesser extent, the overlooked or undervalued artists who created them. These are songs that not only give up the goose bumps, or teach us something that we didn't already know, but records that hook us and make us want to share them.