The Oscars are over, and I can’t help but think about the focus of “Searching for Sugar Man,” Sixto Rodriguez. His is a story of a Detroiter that in some broad ways is so very Detroit. How so? Many times, we work away here, going about our day and don’t realize the large impact we have. There are all kinds of rumors that people spread about our demise (which aren’t true). And, as someone who deals with those from other countries on a pretty regular basis, I can tell you the world’s talking about us.
With that in mind, you don’t have to go searching for some stories about Detroit. Here’s ten links that make your weekly Detroit reading list. Sit back, enjoy!
Remaking Detroit: Can creative companies save as American city on the brink?
Fast Company CoCreate: When Ralph Watson, the Executive Creative Director at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, told his wife in 2011 that he’d been asked to move from New York to Detroit to head up the advertising company’s new office to rebrand Chevrolet, her reaction was immediate and to the point. “There’s no $#&*%&# way,” he recalls her telling him.
Detroit’s Mariners’ Church helped sailors, guided escaped slaves to freedom
Detroit News: The procedure was designed to look as ordinary as possible. In the years before the Emancipation Proclamation, a wagon full of what looked to be free black laborers would on occasion pull up to Mariners’ Church at its old location on Woodward Avenue close to the Detroit River. The group would dismount and start carrying goods back and forth from the wagon into the church sub-basement.
Forgotten Detroit rocker Sixto Rodriguez resurrected in recent film. But he’s huge in South Africa!
Los Angeles Magazine: In the late 1960’s, a second-generation Mexican day laborer named Sixto Díaz Rodriguez, who was busking around the anonymous taverns and dives was discovered by record company talent scouts. He released two non-selling albums, Cold Fact (1970) and Coming From Reality (1971), before he was dropped by his label and, ostensibly, dropped off the face of the earth. Rumors of his demise were ugly: He set himself on fire. He died in prison. He OD’d on drugs. He blew his brains out onstage. They were also wholly inaccurate.
Quantifying Downtown Detroit’s Comeback
The Atlantic Cities: When people talk about the resurgence of urban America — the shift of people, jobs and commerce back to downtowns and center cities — they’re usually talking about a narrow group of elite cities like New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Boston, and San Francisco. That’s why a report released this week on the transformation of downtown Detroit is so interesting. It documents the ongoing regeneration of a decent sized swath of the city’s urban core.
Video: Watch Eminem-produced ‘Detroit Rubber’ series’ fourth episode that reveals new business
MLive: A new episode of an Eminem-produced web series called “Detroit Rubber” is out and it profiles a new business in Metro Detroit. The series profiles the adventures of Detroit area businessmen Rick Williams and Roland Coit, co-owners of the Burn Rubber sneaker store in downtown Royal Oak. This new episode, the fourth in the “Detroit Rubber” series, shows a big business move Williams and Coit made to broaden their horizons.
‘Need For Speed’ to be filmed in Detroit
Detroit CBS Local: A movie based on a popular racing video game will be filming in Detroit. The Michigan Film office has announced that the DreamWorks Studios’ film “Need for Speed” has been approved for a tax incentive from the state. It was awarded an incentive of $1,370,852 on $4,993,623 of projected in-state expenditures.
There’s a reason for all the hype about Corktown
Visit Detroit: Corktown has been in the news a lot lately as one of the most up-and-coming neighborhoods in the country, let alone the Detroit region. It’s a place that is on the rebound and has a definite sense of identity and community. Sure, it’s part of Detroit, but much like the storied neighborhoods in New York or Chicago, Corktown has an identity of its own.
Plans call for Pure Michigan to be big, too
Bridge Magazine: Now in its seventh year, Pure Michigan has been called one of the best tourism promotion campaigns of all time. What could managers of the campaign possibly do for an encore? The short answer: Super-size Pure Michigan. Michigan’s new five-year Tourism Strategic Plan calls for doubling state spending on Pure Michigan, expanding the campaign in Canada and making inroads in Europe and Asia.
Pulte family cleans up Detroit to ‘fight blight’
Fox 2: In order to clean up the city, support the tear down of blighted buildings and make neighborhoods look more inviting, Detroit has teamed up with a nonprofit company. Mayor Dave Bing recently announced the city’s new partnership with a private nonprofit company, the Detroit Blight Authority. Recycling 80 percent of the material removed, working with utility companies to negotiate wide spread and applying free market principles are just a few of the concepts behind the Detroit Blight Authority.
Michigan is “doing an incredible job” of battling back from the housing market collapse
Macomb Daily: Home prices and sales should continue to rebound in metro Detroit this year, according to David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders. Crowe told local builders that the Detroit area’s “affordability index” is nearly off the charts. The latest figures show that a family with a median income could afford 85 percent of the homes that recently sold in the area. “That’s a number that we have pretty much never seen before,” Crowe told a gathering of the Association of Southeast Michigan Home Builders. Michigan is “doing an incredible job” of battling back from the housing market collapse of 2008-10, he said, as the number of so-called seriously delinquent homes has fallen from 11 percent of the state’s housing stock in 2009 to just over 5 percent today.