Curbed Detroit, Historic Detroit and other preservationists are crying bloody murder over Toronto-based investment company Triple Properties’ plans to demolish the State Savings Bank in downtown Detroit for a parking garage. Wahh, wahhhh, wahhhhhhhh.
I can’t seem to find any personal contact for Triple Properties CEO Andreas Apostolopoulos, but perhaps a phone call or letter to Triple Properties telling them how important this building is to the city may have an effect. Better than nothing I suppose, and it’s an actionable response as opposed to just thrusting our dissatisfaction in to the Interwebs. Info below:
Triple Properties Inc.
174 Bartley Drive
Toronto, ON M4A 1E1
It’s no secret that Detroit is such an interesting conglomerate of energy– entrepreneurship, art, new media development and everything in between collide to create a doer landscape unlike any other place in America. Detroit is a playground for those hungry to build something. In no other American city do you get such a cocktail of opportunity and possibility like you do in Detroit. As a result, there are all kinds of exciting efforts that combine so many different pieces of the puzzle.
The ragtag band of talent that is Single Barrel Detroit are just one example of this kind of innovation. These folks combine the idea of exploration and discovering potential in Detroit through music. They film local bands with beautiful production quality in unique and inspiring locations as a way of showcasing not just the thriving local music scene, but as a window in to the fascinating nooks and crannies of Detroit. All in, it’s great filmmaking and a dynamic addition to the plot line that tells the fascinating story of Detroit. Check out some of their work below, and visit their site for a lot more content (nearly 20 bands in total).
In the post, I talk about Mark Covington over at Georgia Street Community Garden, Chazz Miller at Public Art Workz and DL! as a company developing new media that attempts to get people to live, work and play in the city. All of that conversation rolls up in to this package that once again tells a tale of opportunity in the city. Wanna do installation art? Great, we’ve got some artists you can probably collaborate with. Start a business? Perfect place for that. Create a sustainable wind farm? Plenty of space. Initiate a non-profit group? You get the point. What are you waiting for?
Shorpy, the blog dedicated to digitally displaying high quality reference images of photos from the Library of Congress research archive, posted some more old Detroit photos recently (here and here). Both photos captured the “City of Detroit III”– a steel-hulled passenger side wheeler ship built in 1911. It was the largest ship of its size and class to float the Great Lakes at the time and was built for $1.5 million ($34.9 million today). Outfitted with 21 parlors, 477 staterooms and well known for its comfort and style with fine cuisine and excellent service, the ship was truly a spectacle. For 40 years until 1950, the ship sailed between Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo taking newlyweds on their honeymoons with rides up to Niagara Falls. In its later years, many people boarded the ship for Sunday cruises up the St. Clair River. In 1956 the vessel sold for scrap after the D&C Navigation Company who owned it went out of business. The last surviving piece of the ship still resides in the Dossin Marine Museum on Belle Isle. And it isn’t just a little chunk of siding or a piece of one of the giant paddle wheels. Oh no. The entire “Gothic Room,” as it was called for its gothic architecture design, sits in the museum showing a piece of its original beauty. The Gothic Room was a smoking room constructed of imported English oak with stained windows throughout and is pictured above after being restored for the museum.
Hah. Surprise! Detroit is cool. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. But what’s really perplexing is that the AHA! moments that make me think to myself, shit, what a cool town! sort of happen a lot. At least every few days. Right, this is something you come to expect from someone that consistently writes about good things in Detroit. I remember moving back to Detroit and being almost overloaded with palpable coolness, and I would think to myself eventually this will fade away slightly, that is, some of sex appeal would wear off. But by God, nearly two years later I still feel like I am AHA’ing the shit out of so many days. Today it came via a website called Lemonade Detroit. Well, the website for a film called “Lemonade Detroit”– a film about the “disarming resilience of those who are moving Detroit beyond automobiles and into an era of entrepreneurism.” Ummm. Cool. So I read more, and more and more. I mean, holy crap. Lots of cool stuff. I think that “Lemonade” film is on to something though. The fading of the automobile and the rise of Detroit’s creative and entrepreneurial culture is fascinating. It just feels like there is a consistent energy building. Momentum is gaining. We are gaining traction. Something’s gonna happen people! There are too many things mixing together right now for us to not experience an explosion of sorts. The kind that will make us look back and fist pump.
Breaking News: In the Detroit City Futbol League, Woodbridge clenched the league championship after edging out a 2-1 victory over New Center last night. The squad looked good on the pitch, getting through the rain and slippery field to pull out a victory and taking the crown as league champion for the inaugyral season in the DCFL. Quite an accolade after all. See the final standings here.
Even at 9am this morning, the streets and an occasional bar were fairly crowded in Detroit. Yeah, the Social Forum is in town and it’s had quite a positive effect already if only for the increase in people walking around and exploring the city. Inside Park Bar this morning at 10am, however, it was less a crowd in town for the Social Forum and more a hungry pack of eager soccer fans catching Team USA play Algeria. With the World Cup being played in South Africa, kickoff time of 10am was a little earlier than usual (note: this would bear no effect on sales of well whisky shots throughout the course of the morning). A fairly decent throng of Detroiters crowded around the bar and in nearby booths to take up all seats on the floor. Jerseys and team scarves were present, even a couple business suits in the bunch. As Landon Donavan popped in the winning goal for USA with 2 minutes left to play in regulation, chants and cheers erupted from all corners of the bar. The Park Bar prides itself on covering the World Cup action extensively, so if you’re in to watching the games with an exciting crowd, this is your spot. After the win today against Algeria, Team USA advances. Meanwhile, Detroit’s own soccer league (that actually plays their games on the World Cup turf from when the tournament was here in ’94) is pushing along with Corktown still leading the standings with Downtown, Cass Corridor and Woodbridge trailing in second through fourth respectively. To catch a little bit of the action, make sure to go to the league-wide championship tournament– The Copa Detroit– on July 31st out at Fort Wayne.
Detroit appeared again today in the New York Times with a story about the importance of land re-structuring and organization as we move the city forward. The article teetered between uncertainty and shots of casual optimism, but it expounds on the fact repeatedly that so many organizations and groups within the city of Detroit are behind the city. The Detroit Declaration got mention as did CDAD’s Revitalization Framework as being one of many initiatives that are behind that progression. It urges the importance of a plan, something that Bing’s office has claimed to be churning up. So get up, clap your hands, cheer on Team USA in the World Cup and start pushing for some action out of Bing’s office. Gotta keep this train a movin’!
Kathy Leisen’s “The Lot” is shaping up to be quite the spectacle with weekly productions that provide an interesting window in to Detroit’s bursting creative community. Located at 3013 Cochrane, one block west of Trumbull and near Motor City Casino, Leisen’s outdoor public art space plays host to musicians, painters, chefs and artists of every other kind. What results is a mish-mash of typically inspiring acts, pieces, performances, songs and about everything else you can imagine arranged under a weekly theme. This week’s show “The Golden Casket of Earthly Marvels: Bulging the Question” takes place on May 22 from 6-10pm. Any clues as to what the golden casket could potentially be is left to guesswork, BUT, there will be the launch of an unmanned hot air balloon made solely from biodegradeable materials. Yep. David Prince, the fella behind such a contraption, is described on The Lot’s website as being “a sculptor, explorer, lumberjack, amateur scientist, community advocate, and inventor, creating artworks in a wide variety of materials and media.” Shweet. A sleu of other Detroit big-hitters are involved in this week’s show– Scott Hocking, The PowerHouse Duo and a bunch of others. See it al this weekend.
The infamous and ridiculously anonymous Banksy has created quite a name for himself around the world as a guerrilla artist. Most of his work revolves around the use of stencils, but the pieces themselves speak to a higher purpose and image. He has become well known over the years for meticulously guarding his identity as nobody really knows who he is. In 2005 he painted nine images on the Israeli West Bank barrier, one being a ladder going up and over the wall and a child digging through the wall. He has done “installations” secretly in many of the world’s most prominent museums– the Tate Modern in London, the MoMA in New York, etc– dressed as a British pensioner and placing his own works on the wall with name plaque and explanation. So, this Banksy guy is pretty crafty. And yes, he has made his way to Detroit. Recently he has done four pieces around town, three of which have been removed already. One in Midtown, one in Warren, another in an unknown location and probably the most popular one at the Packard plant. Interestingly enough, the folks over at 555 Gallery are preserving the Packard Plant piece by ripping out the chunk of wall that it was painted on. No word on when it will be on display, but either way, kind of an interesting attempt at preservation. Keep your eyes peeled for more stuff, and check out all of Banksy’s work on his site.