Friday, November 30, 2007

Detroit Activities Abound on December 1

December kicks off with a bang in Detroit with several major holiday activities scheduled for the first day of the month.

Things get going on Saturday, December 1 at 10 am with Detroit Synergy Group’s fourth annual SHOP Detroit, a half-day shopping extravaganza in Detroit’s downtown and New Center areas.

Click here for more information on this fun holiday tradition.

Then from 2 to 6 pm, the West Canfield Historic District in Detroit will offer tours of three historic Detroit homes as part of its “A Victorian Christmas” celebration. Tickets, available for purchase at 674 West Canfield, are $15 for adults and $7 for children. As part of Noel Night festivities (see below), two of the homes will remain open until 8 pm and may be toured between 6 and 8 pm for $10.

The biggest event on December 1, however, is Midtown’s 35th annual Noel Night. Running from 5 to 9:30 pm, this beloved local tradition celebrates a variety of holiday traditions and includes activities for all ages.

Highlights of the evening include:

  • Over 90 musical performances, including three-time Grammy winner-Tom Chapin and his daughters, Mosaic singers, Cass High School Marching Band and Thornetta Davis;
  • Annual College for Creative Studies Student and Alumni Art Sale;
  • Carriage rides and carolers;

  • Food and yuletide treats;
  • Community sing-along on Woodward Avenue;

  • Free admission to Midtown museums like the new Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), the Detroit Science Center, the Detroit Historical Museum, and the Charles Wright Museum of African American History;

  • Annual Ice Scraper Challenge at the DIA Plaza;

  • Living nativity scene at the Cathedral of Saint Paul;

  • On a Clear Winter’s Night planetarium show at Wayne State University Old Main.

Noel Night shuttles run continuously during the event, transporting festival-goers between 28 participating institutions.

Points of note along the route include:

Bureau of Urban Living: From 5 - 7, author Linda McLean will sign copies of her new book, The Heidelberg Project: A Street of Dreams. Or, drop into this urban grocery store between 7 and 9 pm and meet Stephen McGee, an Emmy award-winning local photographer. A collection of McGee’s breathtaking Detroit photographs will be on display.

International Institute’s Hall of Nations: Stop into this spot on Kirby for continuous holiday ethnic folk music.

Detroit Public Library: Photos with Santa, children’s holiday ornament make-and-take, children’s film, DPL Friends Used Book Sale and various musical acts.

Scarab Club: 94th annual Scarab Club Gold Medal Exhibition, basement blowout sale, cash bar, jambalaya dinners by Union Street ($12), plus cake and coffee to celebrate The Scarab Club’s 100th anniversary.

Plymouth United Church of Christ: Children’s make-and-take crafts, children’s holiday gift shop, photos with Santa, face painting, storytelling, poetry reading, make your own s’mores, singing from various choirs.

Public parking for Noel Night is available for $5 at WSU Parking Structure #6; WSU Lots #3, #23, and #35; the Cultural Center Lot between John R. and Brush, north of Farnsworth; and at Plymouth United Church of Christ, located at Warren and St. Antoine.

Click here for directions to Noel Night and a printable map of the University Cultural Center area of Midtown where Noel Night is held. Please click here for a schedule of events.

Noel Night sponsors include Masco, Target, Metrotimes, WDET, 100.3 WNIC, GreatStuff, the Inn on Ferry Street, Inland Press, Starbucks, HOUR Detroit, Trent Design, Compuware and Commuter Express.

Please call (313) 577-5088 or visit for more information.

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SHOP Detroit December 1

With only 26 days until Christmas, many metro Detroiters will be scrambling in the weeks ahead to finish their holiday shopping. The rest of us, however, will be relaxing in front of the fireplace, enjoying the holidays. What’s our secret? We're shopping early at SHOP Detroit.

Now in its fourth year, SHOP Detroit features more than 80 Downtown and New Center retailers, special discounts and promotions, free shuttle service between Compuware and the Fisher Building, a free one-day People Mover pass and entry into the "The Ultimate Night Out" giveaway, worth more than $500.

To participate, head to Compuware (meet in the Atrium) at Campus Martius Park between 10 am and 5 pm on Saturday, December 1. Once there, you will be given a SHOP Detroit map/directory of participating stores with coupons, and, shortly after, will be off on your own Detroit shopping extravaganza!

Parking is available in the Compuware Parking Deck (validated with purchase from Compuware retailers). Or, take advantage of two free hours of parking at meters and city-owned parking garages during December courtesy of the city of Detroit.

So, don’t procrastinate on your holiday shopping another year -- participate in SHOP Detroit this Saturday, December 1.

Visit Detroit Synergy on the Web
for more information.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cintron, Bookies team up to help Battered Women

Headed to Young, Hot Detroit at the MGM Casino this evening? Stop off at Bookies Tavern afterward for drink specials, good music and a good cause.

At 9 pm, energy drink-
Cintron kicks off a 5-hour-long holiday fundraiser for Angels for Christmas, a 501(c)(3) organization for battered women.

According to the
National Organization for Women, every day four women in the U.S. die from domestic violence, the euphemism for murders and assaults by husbands and boyfriends. The number of women who have been murdered by intimate partners is greater than the number of soldiers killed in the Vietnam War. Women are 10 times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner. And young women, women who are separated, divorced or single, low-income women and African-American women have disproportionately higher incidences of assault and rape.

There's no cover for the event, and dress is casual. The cool part of this fundraiser is that Cintron will match all donations made. Donations are fully tax-deductible, of course.

So have some fun at a local Detroit nightspot and spread some joy this holiday season: Stop by Bookies Tavern after 9 tonight for Cintron cocktail specials, music from DJ Waldo, and most importantly, to help women in need.

About Cintron

Cintron's energy drinks are special for two reasons: they taste great and have quality ingredients. Unlike its major competitors, Cintron appeals to today's health-conscious consumers with drinks free of high fructose corn syrup.

Along with its four flavors of Liquid Energy Drinks -- Pineapple Passion, Tropical Azul, Citrus Mango and Sugar-Free Citrus Mango -- Cintron recently launched five varieties of green tea: Pomegranate, Mango, Guava Passion Fruit, Original and Diet.

Cintron is available at select Detroit locations, including Harbortown Market on Jefferson Avenue and Mazen Foods on Gratiot.

About Bookies
Bookies Tavern has been rocking Washington Boulevard since 2003. Click here for Girl in the D's full take on this out-of-the-way spot located just blocks from Woodward Avenue (map here).

There's plenty of street parking for Bookies along Washington Boulevard and Grand River, or pay a small fee and park inside the Trolley Plaza garage just across Grand River. People Mover-users: the Times Square station is located one block west of the Bookies' entrance.

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Movin' the D Forward: Round II

Back in July, I was part of a 2-hour panel program at Wayne State University called "Movin' the D Forward". It was a candid two-hour event about the 1967 uprising and its impact on under-40-year-olds in metro Detroit 40 years later.

Sponsored by Wayne State, WWJ, WDET, The Michigan Chronicle and The Detroit News, my five colleagues and I sat in front of a packed audience at the Spencer Patrich auditorium at WSU, talking about how the uprising has affected us and discussing strategies that would help our region move past the strong emotions related to this period of local history.

I mention this today because on Tuesday, December 4, Wayne State, WWJ, WDET, The Detroit News and the Michigan Chronicle are putting on another Movin' the D Forward event -- this time focused on No Child Left Behind (NCLB), a highly-controversial federal law related to educational legislation. It was passed in 2001 and signed into law in 2002.

What is NCLB? Wikipedia says the law "reauthorized a number of federal programs aiming to improve the performance of U.S. primary and secondary schools by increasing the standards of accountability for states, school districts and schools, as well as providing parents more flexibility in choosing which schools their children will attend."

Panelists for "Movin' the D Forward: No Child Left Behind" will discuss the creation of NCLB, the impact it has had on Detroit area schools, and give parents advice on helping to improve classrooms. Panelists include:

Casandra Ulbrich, Member, Michigan State Board of Education
Tonya Allen, Vice President, Programs, Skillman Foundation
Carlos Lopez, Ph.D., Deputy Superintendent, Oak Park Schools
Nathaniel Adams II, Assistant Superintendent, Detroit Public Schools
A representative from the Detroit Parent Network

If you're free next Tuesday from 9 to 11 am, I highly recommend attending this event. It will be a power-packed two hours, guaranteed. Admission is free, but advance registration is required. Register now and get free parking at Structure #1 (located across Palmer from the Law School). Continental breakfast will be served at 8:30.

The Spencer Patrich Auditorium is located at 471 West Palmer on Wayne State's campus in Midtown.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Young, hot Detroit

If you haven't been to the new $800 million MGM Grand Casino in Detroit yet, I've got the perfect opportunity for you to check it out. This Thursday, November 29, New Far East Side Development is hosting Young, Hot Detroit at MGM's Ignite Lounge.

What's Young, Hot Detroit, you ask? Your chance to cross cultural and industry lines and meet people from all around Detroit and metro Detroit. And who's a young, hot Detroiter? New Far East Side describes this person as "the driven individual who knows that their possibility and worth is limitless. Every age, race, creed and color. Successful or on the path to success. Enjoys the finer things in life. Socially Savvy. Highly Motivated. A nightlife connoisseur."

Along with hobnobbing with a mishmash of 20- to 50-year-olds, Young, Hot Detroit attendees have the opportunity to scope out Detroit's hottest new casino and win giveaways and goodies. Admission is free, as is valet.

The event is open to the public and runs from 5 to 9 pm. A toast to Detroit happens at 7 sharp.

About New Far East Side Development
New Far East Side Development Company LLC was formed in 2004 in response to an RFP issued by the city of Detroit to redevelop 1200 acres in the City’s Far Eastside.

A partnership between U-SNAP-BAC and Phoenix Group, two local developers, and CityView and Kimball Hill Homes, two national developers, the team has entered into a Master Developer Agreement with the city of Detroit to master plan 1200 acres and develop 700 on Detroit’s Far Eastside.

The city of Detroit has identified the development of the Far East Side as a priority project and has committed $13.8 million for infrastructure costs in Fox Creek, the name given to the first 140 acres of the 700 acre area being developed.

Fox Creek will be located on Detroit’s Far Eastside, roughly between Kercheval, Eastlawn, Jefferson Avenue and Alter Road (the red area on the above map).

The current development plan calls for the sale of 658 home sites for the development of for-sale single-family, condominium, duplex and multi-family building homes.

For more information on this exciting residential development project, contact New Far East Side Development Company at (313) 331-4784.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

DIA reopens after $158 million renovation

While I had a wonderful time traveling to two separate weddings this month and visiting my in laws in New York for Thanksgiving, I have to admit that it's always great to be home. Especially when major things, like the re-opening of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), are going on around town.

DIA Interior, Image by Scotter

Closed since May 28, 2007, the DIA reopened its doors on Friday, November 23 after a six-and-a-half year, $158 million building renovation and expansion to present its world-class collection in a totally new light.

The result is the new DIA: 60,000 works. 5,000 objects. And one grand experience.

Aside from adding another 58,000 square feet to the museum and the new granite facade on the North and South Wings, the massive overhaul also brings infrastructure upgrades, increased gallery space, expanded visitor amenities, an improved museum traffic pattern, and a more visitor-friendly experience. For example, now, instead of grouping objects strictly by time period or style, many galleries are arranged according to the stories the objects have to tell. Galleries also explore themes that resonate with each visitor’s personal experiences, such as spirituality, travel, and the cycles of life.

Visitors will now find more ways to personally connect with the art, since the DIA’s renowned collection is presented in historical, social, political or spiritual contexts. Improved labels, new tours, hands-on activities, and high-tech interpretive devices add to this. When checking out the new DIA, visitors will also find an expansive new CafĂ© DIA, more seating in the galleries, a larger museum shop, and improved way-finding and visitor information.

I've only been back in town for a few days, so I haven't made it over to the museum yet. But thanks to some great local posting (check here, here, here and here) by fellow bloggers-Scotter and -Mollika* at Metroblogging Detroit, I am tided over until I can make it to the new DIA for myself.

The Detroit Institute of Arts was founded in 1885 and is recognized as one of the country’s premier art museums. The museum’s approximately 60,000 works of art comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from prehistory through the 21st century. From the first Van Gogh to enter a U.S. museum (Self-Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera’s world-renowned Detroit Industry murals, the DIA’s collection reveals the scope and depth of human experience, imagination, and emotion. For more information, please click here.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ford Field to host first 100% Carbon Free NFL Game

The annual Thanksgiving Day Lions game is always a special one in Detroit.

But this year, it'll be even more so. That's because Thursday's 68th Thanksgiving Day game at Ford Field will be the first 100% carbon neutral game in NFL history.

Through everyday operations, every organization contributes to carbon dioxide emissions. With the assistance of Carbon Credit Environmental Services (CCES) of Detroit, though, Ford Field will offset 1,866,000 pounds of Green House Gases (GHG) and CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions. In other words, 100% of its Carbon Footprint.

The calculations for this event include all CO2 emissions from electricity, gas and water used at Ford Field on game day, plus emissions resulting from car and air travel by fans and the opposing team.

To offset the emissions, CCES planted 150,000 trees, which serve as a carbon sink. Each tree planted will absorb the GHG and CO2 emissions and clean the air in our global environment.

Located in Detroit's Tech Town area, CCES has over 30 years of environmental experience and is proud to provide GHG and CO2 reduction programs. Other CCES programs include solar power, wind energy and methane recovery. Please visit CCES on the Web for more information.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Happy birthday, Faygo!

On Monday, Detroit beverage company-Faygo celebrated a major milestone: its 100th birthday. Happy birthday, Faygo!

What's Faygo?

If you're from Detroit, you need no intro to Faygo -- you grew up with the company's unique carbonated beverages and, if you're old enough, may even remember the 'Faygo Kid' commercials of the 1950s.

Didn't grow up in the D? Here's a little backgrounder on the beloved local company that gave us gems like Rock & Rye and Redpop; pioneered the one-way bottle; and is responsible for introducing the word 'pop' into Midwest vernacular (now we just need to figure out where 'tennis shoes' came from).

On November 4, 1907 immigrant bakers Ben and Perry Feigenson created Feigenson Brothers Bottling Works in Detroit, Michigan. The brothers cut the company name to Faygo in the 1920s because Feigenson Brothers Bottling Works was too long to print on bottles. Ben and Perry sold their cake-inspired products first by horse and buggy, and later purchased a truck for door-to-door selling.

In 1937, they further amped-up production of Faygo when they moved into a large facility on Gratiot Avenue in Detroit. Although Faygo was purchased by National Beverage Group of Fort Lauderdale in 1987, the Gratiot Avenue location still serves as Faygo's bottling plant and headquarters today.

Faygo in the Millenium

For the past year, Faygo has commemorated its 100th birthday with a variety of fun activities and contests. Participants of the "What's Your Recipe?" competition were asked to submit recipes that used Faygo as the main ingredient, and the "Create a Flavor" contest invited consumers to submit an idea for a new Faygo flavor, and design a matching label. Winning "What's Your Recipe" dishes can be found in Faygo's Centennial Recipe Book, for sale for $9.95 on Faygo's website, while the top "Create a Flavor" entry can be found on store shelves as Faygo's newest flavor, Centennial Soda.

Visit Faygo's website for more history, a full listing of Faygo products, and to find out where Faygo is available near you.

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