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.
"The boy insisted for months that he wanted to be a robot for Halloween. His sister was a robot when she was his age. We looked at various robot images on the computer and he was most intrigued by Robocop. After I showed him the trailer, there was no convincing him otherwise. He was going to be Robocop."
One week after his diagnosis, Wallshaker label founder and Detroit DJ/Producer Aaron-Carl Ragland has died
Aaron-Carl Ragland, known simply as "Aaron-Carl" to most, was a songwriter, remixer, producer, radio show host, record label founder and all-around character. The news of Ragland's death was first posted on his friend and fellow Detroit musician Piranha Head's Facebook page in a status update, saying simply: Just lost one of his best friends, Aaron-Carl, and my arms are far too short to box with GOD. One of the best Human beings in the WORLD is gone. I have no words. Music is Silence. Aaron-Carl himself posted this video just five days ago on his blog discussing his diagnosis and upcoming surgery after canceling his upcoming European tour. Factmag reports that Aaron-Carl is believed to have died shortly after or during essential lymph node surgery; it appears that he died overnight after beginning his first chemotherapy session. [more inside]
A series of three clips (plus a bonus) that detail how Detroit is morphing into the new hipster paradise. Highlights include a good description of Detroit's physical size, Knoxville's awe at the width of Telegraph, and a trip to Barry Gordy's house.
8bit Cities: Amsterdam - Austin - Berlin - Detroit - London - New York - Paris - San Francisco - Seattle - Washington, D.C.
The United States Social Forum (USSF) is being held in Detroit, MI, starting tomorrow, June 22nd-26th. Organizers are expecting as many as 20,000 people to attend. Could this meeting make Detroit a model for growth that can be propagated elsewhere?
Abandoned Detroit Public Schools "People tend to have a visceral reaction to the sight of books piled ten feet high and left to rot in a windowless warehouse or strewn about a classroom floor. They seem to have more sympathy for books than for the children who’ll never have the chance to use them. Half of Detroiters cannot even read. Unemployment is above 20 percent and our streets are filled with hopeless people. When I see schools left like this, I know exactly what waits for many of these kids. I see it every day on the streets." [more inside]
it was street art until the preservation team showed up... banksy drops a piece in a derelict factory site in detroit. a local grass-roots gallery removes it to their hq for safe keeping. people go nuts.
Less than 24 hours after it was opened, Detroit's $5M Bagley Avenue Pedestrian Bridge was vandalized. [more inside]
A mixtape a week for a year... Detroit Techno, Giorgio Moroder, Quebecois Disco, Kraftwerk, Bobby Orlando, Synth Pop and loads more.
Due to population decline, Detroit plans on bulldozing roughly a quarter of the 139-square-mile city into semi-rural farmland. It is a worst case scenario in America, but pales to the problem of Eastern Germany, where demographic collapse in some towns is so severe, urban-wolves and neo-Nazis are the new order of the day. The mayor of one town says: "You can't go into the forest without a knife anymore." [more inside]
On February 10, Rick Prelinger, founder of the Prelinger Archives, screened a collection of footage entitled Lost Landscapes of Detroit at the city's Museum of Contemporary Art. According to Mr. Prelinger, "a standing-room-only and vocal audience of Detroiters" saw the show. The film is now available in the Prelinger section of the Internet Archive.
Ice House Detroit is an architectural installation and social change project wherein photographer Gregory Holm and architect Matthew Radune have spent weeks spraying water on an empty Detroit home. [more inside]
China is the new Detroit. New car sales in the United States plunged more than 20 percent in 2009 to a 27-year low 10 million vehicles, less than the 12.23 million sold in China during January-November, making the Asian giant the world's largest car market for the first time. That marked a turning point in the global auto industry, which had been led by the Big Three Detroit companies since Ford Motor Co. began mass production in 1913, introducing the world's first conveyor belt system.
There isn't a single decent candidate running for office, the homeless guy struck by a car was more fortunate than the auto workers and if you want a grilled raccoon they sure have a deal for you: it's Detroit 2009, The Movie, the chronicle of a rough year from The Detroit News.
Son of a Nigerian banker caught with pants on fire leads to suspicion of Nigerians with trouser related problems
This last Christmas Day Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23 year old son of a prominent Nigerian banker attempted to bring down a trans-Atlantic Northwest Airlines flight with an explosive mixture containing PETN, a popular addition to amateur explosives. Then this Sunday a young Nigerian gentleman in intestinal distress caused caused the crew of his flight to alert authorities who detained and quickly released him.
The results of the recent National Assessment of Education Progress (NEAP) tests are in. Detroit students posted the worst math scores ever in the history of the test. [more inside]
Edmunds released data this month on the results of the Cash for Clunkers stimulus. Freakonomics blog commented. Now the Detroit News has offered a state-by-state analysis of how funds were used. Which state was most likely to trade an American car for another American car? You guessed it...
Last week in Detroit, where unemployment is close to 30%, one third of all households are in poverty, and whole neighborhoods have been abandoned, chaos ensued as an estimated 15,000 to 30,000 people lined up in the hopes of getting federal aid. 65,000 applications were taken for a new program that will fund only 3,500 people (via).
Tonight ends the 15th annual Woodward Dream Cruise, where tens of thousands of classic cars, muscle cars, hot rods, and more cruise Woodward Avenue in Southeast Michigan. [more inside]
Detroit is one of the most visually interesting cities in the world, however it is also one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented. Detroit Book of Love is a group of photographs illustrating what contemporary Detroit artists have been doing in regards to developing an understanding and appreciation for this complex and diverse city; from street portraits of the survivors, to the landscapes of wild new growth, to the industrial leftovers. As a group they show Detroit as it is, not what it should be or what it once was. [more inside]
Urban exploration has been featured here once or twice before, but Jim Griffioen's site photo-documenting his discoveries in and around Detroit deserves a look. Griffioen was recently interviewed [direct mp3 link] on the American Public Media radio program The Story. [more inside]