Friday, September 30, 2005

Detroit Film, The Passenger, Debuts Tuesday

On October 4, metro Detroiters have the opportunity to be among the first people in the country to view the new Detroit movie, The Passenger.

Image by Eric Livingstone, Helvetica.
Courtesy of Thought Collide.

The full-length feature film – which is about an artist caught between a lackluster 9-to-5 job and the fascinating world of Detroit’s underground – will be shown at Novi’s Emagine Theater on Tuesday night at 7 pm and again at 9 pm.

Written and directed by Jamie Sonderman, a Detroit-native with an intense passion for the city, The Passenger is Sonderman’s fifth film, and is the first full-length feature film of
Thought Collide, a conglomerate of creative Detroiters – actors, photographers, singers, producers, sound specialists, and more – that the screenwriter founded with Passenger-executive producer, Ed Gardiner.

The Passenger is the second film of the Mitten Movie Project, a mini film festival of sorts that brings films with Michigan-ties to the public through various formats, such as shorts, feature lengths, music videos, and documentaries.

Films that are part of the Mitten Project, which is presented by Thought Collide in association
with Emagine Theater, can be seen at 6:30 pm the first Tuesday of every month at the Novi movie theater.
Tickets to Tuesday's screening of The Passenger are $10 each.

For more information on The Passenger or The Mitten Movie Project, please visit
Thought Collide's website.

See you at the movies!

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Monday, September 26, 2005

Calling all Detroit Superstars!

Logo design by J. Banker Peart

Everyone needs a little prepping before a big night on the town, and the city of Detroit is no exception.

Join hundreds of volunteers on October 22 at
Detroit's Super Makeover, the first in a series of beautification efforts designed to spruce-up the D for the thousands of visitors that are set to converge in the Motor City this February.

Organizations such as the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions, Woodward Avenue Action Association, Tourism Economic Development Council, Eight Mile Boulevard Association, City of Detroit, Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, and many others have partnered-up to help spread the word about this event, and to provide volunteers with the necessary tools to complete the beautification efforts, which include: removing trash and graffiti; painting utility poles and boxes; and killing and removing weeds from city sidewalks.

So, instead of lying on your couch eating potato chips or spending a half a day aimlessly wandering around the mall, why not burn some calories, save yourself some money, and help Detroit in the process?

To register for the October 22 Super Makeover, which runs from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm, click here.

For more information on the Super Makeover or other Detroit-related events, please visit The World is Coming - Get in the Game.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Detroit says, "Let's Go Blue!"

Last night, the University of Michigan officially opened its Detroit-based center in Midtown.

The center - which will serve as an administrative hub for the more than 100 programs the university currently conducts in Detroit - contains offices, meeting space, and a small number of classrooms.

Some of the programs that will be coordinated at the new Detroit location include:

  • The School of Art and Design's Detroit Connections project, in which art and design students work with local elementary schools.

  • The School of Education and the School of Engineering's Hi-Ce program (Highly Interactive Classrooms/Curricula/Computing in Education) which utilizes the skills of psychologists, computer scientists, researchers and educators, along with middle school teachers and administrators within the Detroit Public Schools system, aims to examine and promote educational reform through things like learner-centered technologies and inquiry-based curricula.
  • The School of Public Health's Detroit Community-Academic Urban Research Center, which seeks to promote community-based, participatory research to better the health and quality of life for families on Detroit's east and west sides, while helping to further research related to inner-city public health policies.

  • The Taubman Center for Architecture + Urban Planning's Detroit Design Charette, which is an annual design project that matches architecture students up with guest designers to explore and create unique projects that focus on various sections of Detroit.

The university's new Detroit location is on the bottom level of Orchestra Hall, which is located at the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Woodward Avenue. Orchestra Hall is the home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, an internationally-acclaimed orchestra founded nearly a century ago in Detroit.

The University of Michigan was founded in 1817 in Detroit and moved to Ann Arbor in 1837.

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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Spotlight on: Garden Court

Albert Kahn is perhaps the greatest architect that this city has ever seen.

Although the German-born Kahn is most often recognized for his commercial structures - such as the Maccabees Building in Midtown, the Belle Isle Aquarium, and the Fisher Building in New Center - his residential works are equally astounding.

Today's post, which is about Garden Court, looks at one such example of Kahn's residential work.

Built in 1915 for J. Harrington Walker - whose famous distillery, Hiram Walker and Sons, was established across the river in 1858 - the Garden Court was one of Detroit's first luxury apartment buildings.

Located on the southeast corner of Jefferson Avenue and Joseph Campau, the Garden Court's exterior is composed of limestone and red brick. The building is an H-shape design, and is part of Detroit's Rivertown district.

Originally built with 32 units, some of which encompassed more than 4,000-square-feet, the residences inside the nine-story Garden Court were designed with Detroit's urban elite in mind.

With features like servant's quarters, European-style bath tubs, and crystal doorknobs, it is not surprising that the Garden Court served as a permanent dwelling for many prominent Detroiters, including Hazen Pingree, who served as Detroit's Mayor from 1890 to 1897, and Michigan Governor from 1897 to 1900.

- - -
In June, 2005, the Farbman Group announced plans to convert the apartments at the Garden Court into condominium units.

Ranging in size from approximately 800- to 3400-square-feet, the 65 units at the Court - which were created when some of the original units were split up - contain many of the fixtures and characteristics of the original interiors.

Original french doors and decorative wall moldings adorn the hallways of the Garden Court

These original fixtures - which include hardwood floors, built-in closet shelves, bay windows that run the entire height of the building, and other items - help maintain the vintage elements of the Classic Revival-style building, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Buildings in 1985.

Details like the leaded-glass shutters pictured above abound in the Garden Court units

Along with preserving many of its classic characteristics, however, Farbman reportedly put $12 million of renovations into the ninety-year-old structure, which now contain new plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling systems.

One of the Garden Court's newly decorated model units

In addition, all of the newly-converted units have brand-new, standard features like marble countertops and appliances for the kitchen, and ceramic tile and pedestal sinks for the bathrooms. All units also contain natural fireplaces.

The chandelier in the GC lobby

Building amenities at the Garden Court include 24-hour security; private, gated parking; and, evening valet service. A fitness facility for residents is being planned.

Prices for units in the Garden Court start at $130,000 and run upwards of $400,000; condominium association fees are extra, and are based upon the size and location of each unit.

The Garden Court is located at 2900 East Jefferson in downtown Detroit and is represented by Esquire Properties. For more information, please call 313.580.2200.

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Monday, September 12, 2005

Experience Oktoberfest, Detroit-style

Just because we aren't in Munich doesn't mean we can't celebrate Oktoberfest.

Karras Bros. Tavern is the last stop on the Detoberfest Pub Crawl

Members of
Detroit Synergy - the pro-active, Detroit-based non-profit - will be doing just that this Saturday night, and you're invited!

For a mere $20, you can be a part of Detoberfest, a Detroit-style salute to the beginning of Oktoberfest, and the theme behind Detroit Synergy's sixth semi-annual pub crawl.

Although the D's version of Oktoberfest will be on a much smaller scale than Munich's annual festival - which is, by the way, the world's largest fair with attendance numbers over six million each year - Detoberfest gives metro Detroiters the opportunity to partake in the German tradition, while also getting to know some of Detroit's great out-of-the-way breweries.

Plus, it's a wonderful way to ensure that organizations like Detroit Synergy are able to continue doing positive things in the city of Detroit.

Detoberfest, which is being held on September 17th, begins at 5 o'clock. Pub-crawlers will meet up at
Andrew's on the Corner, located on Joseph Campau near Franklin Street, for registration.

Once the formalities are over, event attendees will take a bus over to the Midtown gem, Traffic Jam & Snug, where they will begin their tour of select Detroit breweries.

In addition to Traffic Jam, the evening's agenda - which is complete with taste-tests at each stop - includes visits to four other great Detroit haunts, including Motor City Brewing Works and Winery; the Detroit Beer Company; and, a return to Joseph Campau, where crawlers have a chance to experience the select ales and lagers of neighboring establishments, Atwater Block Brewery and Karras Bros. Tavern.

The event itself concludes at 11 pm, but attendees are invited to hang out on the rooftop deck of Karras Bros. to finish off their night with the sounds of DJ On-rotation, who will play until 2 am.

Detoberfest tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door, and include a t-shirt, bus transportation, and drink specials. Don't care for beer? No need to worry - wine and liquor will also be available at each spot on the route.

Pub crawl registration begins at 5 pm and ends promptly at 5:30 pm, so don't miss the bus (literally). Attendees must be 21 or over to partake in this event.

Detoberfest is being put on by Detroit Synergy, a 501(c)(3) organization, and
The World is Coming, Get in the Game, a public information campaign designed to spread awareness about all things Detroit.

For more information on Detoberfest, please visit this page on Detroit Synergy's website.
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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Detroiters lend a hand to hurricane victims

From the local Big Boy restaurants that collected canned goods last weekend, to WDIV's college football ticket auction, Detroit residents and local businesses continue coming up with new and unique ways to help lessen the devastation caused by hurricane Katrina.

Watching the local nightly news and reading Detroit-area publications each day, I am awe-struck at the number of initiatives that Detroiters have come up with to help their fellow Americans deal with the havoc caused by Katrina.

Since there are so many initiatives going on right now in Detroit, it would be nearly impossible to mention them all in this post. However, here are a few:

WDIV's Rescue 4 Hurricaid campaign: Together with the American Red Cross, WDIV's campaign aims to provide a central location for Detroiters to make monetary contributions to aid the victims. Local 4 anchor Lila Lazarus has also been canvassing businesses and collecting monetary donations for the victims, as well. The campaign has brought in more than $800,000 so far.

- Operation Love is a benefit put on by the Detroit branch of the NAACP. Set for September 18, the fundraiser will feature local acts like Black Bottom Collective and The Contours. Tickets are $25 a piece and 100% of the proceeds will go to hurricane victims in the metro Detroit area.

- Last weekend's Summer Street Fest was turned into a volunteer sign-up event for Detroiters willing to open their homes to displaced Gulf Coast residents. The effort was coordinated by Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and the
United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

- The Detroit Public Schools have offered to re-open up to 20 closed buildings to offer housing and education to those affected by the hurricane.

Over 350 Detroit Edison workers have traveled to regions of the Gulf Coast to help restore power to the affected areas.

Wayne State University has offered free tuition and room and board for displaced college students.

- The Detroit Lions raised more than $50,000 and purchased a number of goods with the money, which will be sent to the victims.

- Agave Restaurant on Woodward in Detroit will host a fundraiser on Tuesday, September 13, with free food and local entertainment. The event's cover charge is a donation, with 100% of the proceeds going to relief efforts of the American Red Cross.

- UniverSoul Circus, set to begin performing a two-week run at Detroit's Chene Park this weekend, began collecting non-perishable goods for hurricane victims today. All donees will receive $15 center and side tickets to the shows on September 17.

- Detroit's City Airport is being used as a processing center for donated goods, where hundreds of people have volunteered their time to help sort out the goods, which will then be distributed to victims in the Detroit area.

- Greater Grace Temple in Detroit spent the Labor Day weekend collecting non-perishable goods, which it then transported - in trucks rented by the church - to sister parishes in Alabama.

Bill Ford, Chairman and CEO of Ford Motor Company, offered 165 vehicles to help the efforts in the South, which can be used "as long as they are needed," according to Ford.

- Five Detroit radio stations and three Detroit television stations have signed on to use broadcast time between 6 am and 9 am on September 9 as a means of raising money for the Red Cross Katrina relief efforts. The project,
Michigan Gives/Michigan Cares was put together by Governor Granholm, the Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters, and the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. In total, 215 stations across the state will participate in Friday's effort.

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