Tag Archives: detroit

R.I.P.


fordirelifesake6FORDIRELIFESAKE: 10/31/99 -12/28/09

This band was a gem.  A diamond in the rough, something for young detroiters to be proud of. Something my friends and I grew up on.  They reminded touring bands who came to town just how to play.  They battled through tough line-up changes and scheduling difficulties for sooo long and all we have to remember them by is this.  Tonight.

 

Jack White sets the record straight.

Some could say Jack White’s trip to stardom has been rough, coming up as a lone blues player in Detroit isn’t exactly easy.  In 2006 a man that has proved too cool for Hollywood moved from his hometown in Michigan to Nashville, Tennessee.  He has made a few stark comments about the city in the past, including the most-recent being in the June 2008 issue of Rolling Stone, where he cites the local music community as being “super-negative”, also saying “I couldn’t breathe in that scene”.  I really don’t blame the guy for moving, everyone needs a change of scenery sometimes.

Amidst any controversy surrounding these statements and out of respect for Detroit and its people, Jack White felt the need to clear a few things up.  This morning The Detroit Free Press published a few words from White, including a poem written entirely about the city:

The following poem is the Detroit from my mind. The Detroit that is in my heart. The home that encapsulates and envelops those who are truly blessed with the experience of living within its boundaries:

I have driven slow, three miles an hour or so, through Highland Park, Heidelberg, and the Cass Corridor. I’ve hopped on the Michigan, and transferred to the Woodward, and heard the good word blaring from an a.m. radio. I love the worn-through tracks of trolley trains breaking through their concrete vaults, As I ride the Fort Street or the Baker, just making my way home.

I sneak through an iron gate, and fish rock bass out of the strait, watching the mail boat with its tugboat gait, hauling words I’ll never know. The water letter carrier, bringing prose to lonely sailors, treading the big lakes with their trailers, floats in blue green chopping waters, above long-lost sunken failures, awaiting exhumation iron whalers, holding gold we’ll never know.

I’ve slid on Belle Isle, and rowed inside of it for miles. Seeing white deer running alongside While I glide, in a canoe. I’ve walked down Caniff holding a glass Atlas root beer bottle in my hands And I’ve entered closets of coney islands early in the morning too. I’ve taken malt from Stroh’s and Sanders, felt the black powder of abandoned embers, And smelled the sawdust from wood cut to rehabilitate the fallen edifice. I’ve walked to the rhythm of mariachis, down junctions and back alleys, Breathing fresh-baked fumes of culture nurtured of the Latin and the Middle East. I’ve fallen down on public ice, and skated in my own delight, and slid again on metal crutches into trafficked avenues.

Three motors moved us forward, Leaving smaller engines to wither, the aluminum, and torpedo, Monuments to unclaimed dreaming. Foundry’s piston tempest captured, Forward pushing workers raptured, Frescoed families strife fractured, Encased by factory’s glass ceiling.

Detroit, you hold what one’s been seeking, Holding off the coward-armies weakling, Always rising from the ashes not returning to the earth.

I so love your heart that burns That in your people’s body yearns To perpetuate, and permeate, the lonely dream that does encapsulate, Your spirit, that God insulates, With courageous dream’s concern.

– JACK WHITE

Can you feel it?!

After seeing Al Gore endorse Obama the other night I was a bit dizzy.  The ‘hope’ campaign had finally made its debut in Michigan and I was standing front-row center when they took the stage.  Actually no, if I remember correctly we had nosebleed seats and it was a bit hard to hear.  Though given the unusual ant-sized perspective we had I was happy to at least recognize each politician before they reached the podium.

To understand the personal significance of Monday night’s rally we’ll have to go back in time a bit… not far back but about six months.  So Christmas had long passed and the new year had arrived, and I now had a brand-spanking new hard-drive to fill (thanks Santa!).  This is when I began to download heaps and heaps of new media, which I highly recommend doing.  I had my own place with my own computer, and I paid for the Internet, so why not?  I managed to download just about every political documentary that was floating around on the pirate bay.  I started running out of video content to discover and in some cases my searches began bringing up the same results… so I switched media.  This is when I discovered the art of the audio book.  GENIOUS!

The Art of the Audio Book:

It never really occurred to me how listening to a book could actually be so enjoyable but audio books really make the act of absorbing a book painless and the material easier to comprehend.  This is the case with Barack Obama‘s audio translation of The Audacity of Hope in which Barack himself passionately narrates the story behind his grassroots Illinois Senate campaign, then actually leads listeners into Washington to hear stories about meeting President Bush for the first time, candid conversations in congress, and hundreds of new observations.  This audio book is a breath of fresh air.  Also note that if you listened to this for just one hour each day it wouldn’t take even a week to finish!

Enlighten yourself.  Change your Perpective.  Try something New.

If you’re reaally feeling risky you might try putting in a copy of Al Gore‘s newest, punchy and thought-provoking audio book: The Assault on Reason narrated by Will Patton.  The material might seem a little dry at first (after all it was written by Al Gore) BUT, and this is a huge but… the conclusion that is eventually reached stands as an accurate depiction of our current state of politics.  Its a bit disturbing.  Focusing mostly on media, former presidential candidate Al Gore expresses a sincere outrage to a nation that is described as being continuously misled and ruled through fear.  He details all the lines that were crossed by Bush’s administration leading up to the unnecessary war in Iraq.  Gore also brashly devotes an entire chapter of this book to the explanation of all the ways in which Americans are ruled through the television media.  Finally!  The book also covers the importance of net neutrality and its link to democracy.

These audio books have made a huge impact on the way I choose to follow politics in 2008.  They give concrete proof to the sad fact that presidential campaigns, wars, and entire ideologies are now being sold to the American people by our government.  We are beginning to lose our highest form of democracy to the age of government marketing strategies and a way-too-highly concentrated media.

So Monday night was special -I knew it would come eventually but to actually be there to witness Gore publicly endorse Obama was kind of magical.  Watching ant-sized Obama preach about carrying his grassroots campaign until November and hearing his strong reach for younger generations gives this country hope that we can break from the disguised lies, and from the sound bytes.  I don’t want to comment too much on the next election, but wow it almost feels like something is upon us.  Maybe you’re in the dark and don’t see it.  You will.  American Revolutions always seem to happen at a decades end, so here’s to 2008.

P.S. if you’re interested in a copy of either audio book I mentioned e-mail me and I’ll send you a free copy.

ALL THE WORLDS A GALLERY: turning thoughts into action

There’s actually a lot happening in Detroit.. besides the city’s efforts to rebuild the economy, there’s been a strong surge in detroits industrial areas from artists working to preserve art, and bring artists together. The canvas we’re given in detroit is historically meant for art; what’s left to do with an old abandoned industrial building besides make it beautiful again. The overpasses and fences, blank billboards, abanoned cars, abandoned buildings, the empty lots, unused storefronts, makeshift signs, cracked sidewalks… all canvases just screaming one message that nobody has heard. Our city is just waiting to be renewed and if our taxes aren’t enough to cover the damages on these properties then we must SPEAK UP and ACT OUT. Let me also say this: I do not condone ANY form of vandalism or destruction of property. That is not the intention, what drives me is the idea of bringing a new aethetic to a corner or a community in the tradition of public art, this is something meant to inspire and send a positive messages.

here’s a few good resources I found for artists, detroit locals, activists, students, whoever:
guerilla gardening effort
chicago based “Just Seeds” artist coop
russell industrial center directory
a call for art: SPEAK OUT
UFO factory
rebel art
banksy
the art of the prank
urban 75 activism
detroit street art on flickr
how-to guide to screenprinting (.pdf) by team 8
handmade detroit DIY blog
Jhon Clark, detroit activist and white print detroit press
detroit map – sites of interest
freeway signs
cement detroit
the heidelberg project
ann arbor’s online activist network
think detroit
open directory: culture jamming
detroit ruins map (downtown)
fabulous ruins of detroit
forgotten blues & jazz locations in detroit
culture jamming
bomit worldwide sticker distribution
urban wallpaper
free stencil fonts (stencil revolution)
free stencil graphics (justice design)
media access toolkit

confessions of a generic magazine

Hope that keeps you busy for a while!