"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]
Can Detroit be saved? Its future is in their hands . Meet Detroit city council president Monica Conyers, whose children are chauffered to the pricey Cranbrook Schools in suburban Bloomfield Hills daily by on-duty cops, and who recerntly publicly rebuked a white Teamsters official for daring to speak the name of President Obama during a meeting. She also wasn't interested in the estimated 16,000 jobs that would be created by the proposed Cobo Hall expansion because most of those jobs would be filled by people who "don't look like her." [more inside]
100 Abandoned Houses. A photo essay from Detroit-based photographer Kevin Bauman.
Detroit's Beatiful, Horrible Decline: Photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre's work in Motor City. More photography capturing abandoned properties in Detroit. (Previously, and more previously)
"Ah, the mythical $100 home. We hear about these low-priced “opportunities” in down-on-their-luck cities like Detroit, Baltimore and Cleveland, but we never meet anyone who has taken the plunge. Understandable really, for if they were actually worth anything then they would cost real money, right? Who would do such a preposterous thing?" Amongst others, artists who have hope for the future and money to invest. [more inside]
Man found dead [warning, graphic] in the former Detroit Public Schools Book Depository. [more inside]
"The city is so cash-strapped that firefighters have to purchase their own toilet paper and cleaning supplies. Their aging bunker gear is coated in carbon, 'making them the equivalent of walking matchsticks.' The firehouses' brass poles have been removed and sold off by the city." - The City Where the Sirens Never Sleep by Matt Labash.
Death were a proto-punk trio of black Jehovah's Witnesses based out of Detroit back in 1974. They were almost signed to Columbia, but bailed on the label when Columbia wanted them to change their name. Instead, they self-released a 7" which is now quite a collector's item, influenced as it was by, “Iggy and Stooges, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper and The Who”. But the story doesn't end there. Recently, Bobby Hackney, whose father played in Death along with two of his uncles, learned of the band and, lo and behold, his dad found the master tapes for their unreleased full-length in his attic. Is a new chapter in punk rock history about to be written?
The Scene. Detroit. Channel 62. One of the hottest TV shows in Detroit between 1975 and 1987. "Here for us with The Scene, you got to see people you knew from school or there was a chance you'd run into them at the mall." "It had a lot of impact on me as far as being a deejay and being exposed to music that I wouldn't ordinarily be exposed to." "I got two left feet; I'd just make a fool out of myself. And you'd have some people down there that would do that, but the energy was - you didn't care." [Previously on MeFi.]
"This is a building where our deeply-troubled public school system once stored its supplies, and then one day apparently walked away from it all, allowing everything to go to waste...All that's left is an overwhelming sense of knowledge unlearned and untapped potential." (Via Making Light.)
You'd think news of a Creem Magazine retrospective book would be greeted with cries of glee. You'd be wrong. Occasional staff shutterbug Bob Matheu licensed rights to use the name of the beloved, iconoclastic Detroit rock zine years after it ceased to be relevant, but despite occasional "Creem is back" announcements, only produced a website. [more inside]
How to dance at a rave. People dancing to house music. The Detroit Jit vs. Chicago Juke. The history of the Detroit Jit on popular dance show The Scene from the 80's. 80's legends the Funkateers doing their thing to Wordy Rappinghood. Compare them to the New York City Breakers. [more inside]
Though there are many who bemoan the current state of Detroit, one man is trying to make a difference- Smiley, the Hip Hop Clown. Artist DeMarcus Hughes assumes the persona of Smiley, producing his own brand of hip-hop and taking his message whereever it can help. Want to see him in action? Here's Smiley's MySpace page, with videos and music.
It's been 40 years since the 1967 Detroit riot. The Detroit News remembers. Where we stand, four decades after that fateful summer. Extensive coverage including galleries, video, audio, and articles.
Pedicabs are a common sight all over. In the pedicab business, there can be success, personal enlightment, and failure. Pedicabs come in countless styles. This style is sleek and modern, and this man is trying to bring them to Detroit (warning, only the sparse main page is finished). Here is the mandatory YouTube video.
The city of Detroit is in a bad way. House are cheaper than cars. The city's neighborhoods are in decay. Families are leaving. Even "revived" areas are struggling. Entire portions of the city are starting to revert to prarie and ruins. Can the city be saved or is it time to give up on the Arsenal of Democracy?
What is Philadelphia's trajectory in 2007? Seven cities are compared: Philadelphia, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Detroit and Pittsburgh.
Photography of the unexpected and neglected architecture. Romain Meffre and Yves Marchand travel the world photographing "singular and surprising buildings of all domains," mostly 19th and 20th century urban and industrial architecture. Don't miss the photos of Detroit (under Projects), or more of Marchand's stunning work at his personal site.
Detroit's Tiger Stadium is for sale. A final walk-through opportunity takes place Monday, December 18, only for pre-approved corporate bidders. But it won't be re-purposed into condos. My childhood heroes played there, less than a mile from my house, as well as one of the best ever to play the game. After a long history of baseball on Michigan Trumbull (click the "More Photos" icon), the Tigers took their game to a new stadium in 1999.
Oakland has hyphie, Atlanta has crunk. Detroit has The Jit (more, more). Beginning in Detroit as the Jitterbug back in the '20s, the dance grew up through Detroit's Black Bottom, and was adopted by gangs like the Erroll Flynns into a battle dance with the rise of hip hop (similar to pop-locking or breaking). Similar dances have sprung up elsewhere (Chicken Noodle Soup in Harlem, B-More Club in Baltimore, Toe Wop in NY, Footwork in Chicago), but Detroit is still the best. There's even a movie in the works.
Motor City Rock 1980-1990 A great archive of Detroit's most overlooked and ignoble musical era. Highlights include Bittersweet Alley, The Trash Brats, Vertical Pillows, The Dick the Bruiser Band, and many more. Great to listen to while you read the relauched (and vaguely sad) Creem.
Michigan National Guard Gets a Hummer Apparently, even the Michigan National Guard can't protect their vehicles from thieves in Detroit...
Please, allow me to introduce you to Detroit Techno. Artist Derrick May once described it as "George Clinton and Kraftwerk stuck in an elevator." Despite being virtually unknown in the United States, this genre has achieved global popularity. Noteworthy artists include Carl Craig, Sean Deason, Stacey Pullen, Jeff Mills, Underground Resistance, DJ Assault, Moodymann, and Kevin Saunderson (among others). From May 27th-29th the city of Detroit will launch a huge electronic music festival . It isn't something you see everyday in the U.S., so check it out. Here are some o t h e r links.
Battle Cry, the youth arm of the Christian Reconstructionist (also called Dominionist) movement, is holding a rally in Philadelphia this weekend. They've already had events in San Francisco & Detroit. Create your own Battle Plan or just chat with other soldiers in God's Army. But not everyone is happy about it.