The Detroit Weekly Reading List: Oz Edition

Grand River Creative Corridor Art

Watching “Oz, The Great and Terrible,” I was heartened by the reaction of applause after the movie (rare nowadays), and the good numbers about the first week for the Michigan-made movie. There’s also a lesson in there.

Grand River Creative Corridor ArtThe Wizard needed to save Oz? It turned out to be a pretty average guy who was willing to believe in himself. And I guess that’s what the turnaround of Detroit is going to be made of. Made up of a bunch of us regular guys and gals who despite dysfunction and constant threat of turmoil, band together to make it happen. After all, until we believe, no one else will.

So here’s your sixteen links that make up your reading list for this week. And the picture included? It’s just some awesomeness from the Grand River Creative Corridor over on the westside. Enjoy!

A private boom amid Detroit’s public blight

New York Times: Private industry is blooming here, even as the city’s finances have descended into wreckage. In late 2011, Rachel Lutz opened a clothing shop, the Peacock Room, which proved so successful that she opened another one, Emerald, last fall. Shel Kimen, who had worked in advertising in New York, is negotiating to build a boutique hotel and community space. Big companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield have moved thousands of workers into downtown Detroit in recent years. A Whole Foods grocery, this city’s first, is scheduled to open in June.

Southwest Detroit group raises $6.4M to keep city streetlights burning

The Detroit News: A business association took it upon itself to raise the millions needed to repair and maintain streetlights on a busy stretch of West Vernor after learning the area wasn’t on the city’s five-year plan for repairs. Now, five years later, the Southwest Detroit Business Association has raised more than $6.4 million — about 94 percent of the money needed to keep the lights burning along a 2.3 mile stretch from Woodmere to Clark.

Top 10 cities to be a moviemaker: 2013

Moviemaker: To put ourselves in the shoes of new moviemakers (or even old ones looking for a change), we asked ourselves, “What is the description of an ideal moviemaking city?” After some semantical debate, here’s what we came up with: An affordable, intellectually vibrant community that gives tax incentives for in-city or in-state production, and which offers moviemakers access both to equipment and groundbreaking film screenings. If you’re looking for a unique city atmosphere—one that offers both beautiful lakefronts and picturesque landscapes, as well as urban environments that range from ultra-modern to dystopian—then film in Detroit. “The history of the town also makes it a fabulous location for a period film, and the blue-collar character of the city can provide interesting drama,” says writer-producer Clark McMillan (Prayer Life). “The very fabric of the city is woven in creativity.”

Tragedy of Kilpatrick is the waste

Detroit News: Everyone at the table knew the clock was ticking on Kilpatrick. The lurid text messages between he and Christine Beatty were opening door after door into his sordid dealings, and that brought an awkwardness to the session. No one asked about his troubles, and he didn’t mention them. What he did do was warm to the immediate task. Within just a few minutes he was in command of the meeting, tossing out suggestions, outlining plans, shaping a vision that charged the room with energy. It was nuts. We all knew that Kilpatrick wouldn’t be around to bring any of this to fruition, and yet he had us believing. That ability to sell an idea, to sell Kwame Kilpatrick, really, never failed to amaze me.

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.

Battling blight in Detroit

National Review: The most innovative answers are coming from community leaders such as James Hill-Harris and his partners at Detroit’s Blight Authority, a new private-public partnership founded on free-market principles. Such efforts from the private, artistic, and charitable sectors are succeeding where Detroit’s government has long failed.

5 big winners and losers if Detroit gets fixed

Forbes: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder decided to name a financial overseer for the city of Detroit, whose operations are nothing less than a mess. In doing so, Snyder ended a political debate that has raged for months, and opened the door to a semblance of order in the troubled city. You might think there would only be winners in such a situation, but there are losers, too. Here’s list of who benefits and who doesn’t if Detroit actually gets fixed.

Local ‘Oz’ extras forge bond that outlasts filming

Detroit Free Press: Early in the filming of “Oz the Great and Powerful,” the Winkies and the Munchkins discovered they had a lot in common.” Production on “Oz the Great and Powerful” started in Pontiac in July 2011 and stuck around for the rest of that year. The movie, directed by metro Detroit hometown hero Sam Raimi, brought about 683 jobs and $105 million in spending to the state. When the Disney 3D movie opens audiences will get to see the biggest example ever of what can be made in Michigan cinematically.

Automation Alley invests $100,000 in Orion tech firm

Technology Report with Matt Roush: Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association, has made a $100,000 investment through the Automation Alley Pre-Seed Fund in Buz FM Inc., an Orion Township-based Internet and software company specializing in social media, digital marketing and advertising technologies. develops and hosts Internet-based services and products that provide advertising and promotion through its platform.

Developer wants to transform Detroit firehouse into hotel

CBS Detroit: A swanky new hotel could be coming to a very unique location in downtown Detroit. Southfield developer Walter Cohen wants to turn the five-story historic firehouse at Washington and Larned, near Cobo Center, into a boutique hotel for business and upscale leisure travelers.

Wayne State anthropology students work to preserve Pontiac’s Oak Hill Cemetery

Oakland Press: Dr. Teddi Setzer is working for the dead. The Wayne State University anthropology lecturer is teaching a class that’s doing preservation work at the historic Oak Hill Cemetery this semester. “I saw it as kind of an opportunity to help the city and continue the work,” Setzer said.

Motown’s Funk Brothers to get Walk of Fame star in Hollywood

Detroit Free Press: Recognition hasn’t always come quickly to the Funk Brothers.  So it was with securing one of the best-known honors in showbiz: a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The much-fabled, long-neglected Motown studio band is set to be immortalized in the sidewalk near Hollywood and Vine, with a ceremony that’s expected to include surviving Funks Joe Messina, Eddie Willis and Jack Ashford.

GM’s RenCen headquarters going dark(er) at night for the birds

Autoblog: Detroit is located smack in the middle of a migratory bird flight path, and General Motors’ Renaissance Center (a group of seven interconnected skyscrapers anchored with a 73-story hotel) poses a large obstacle to the flyers. To help the birds complete their travel unimpeded, General Motors has encouraged its employees to turn off their office lights at night during the spring and fall migrations.

Toronto director focusing efforts on Zug Island documentary film

CBS Local: An international documentary film maker is focusing his lens on Zug Island. It’s about the infamous Windsor Hum and with a new movie Adam Makarenko hopes he can shed some light on the noise problem coming from Zug Island. It’s the secrecy that surrounds Zug Island that inspired Makarenko to take on this subject.

Ann Arbor startup plans to build autonomous flying robots Danny Ellis started the University of Michigan’s Autonomous Aerial Vehicles Team in 2009 with one objective: to build a robot light enough to fly, smart enough to do it independently, and competitive enough to take first place at the International Aerial Robotics Competition. This past August, the U-M team met that objective when its design outperformed robots from 20 other universities from around the world.

Macomb-OU INCubator gets DARPA grant

Advisor & Source: The technology sector in Macomb County and the rest of the tri-county area received a shot in the arm recently when the Macomb-OU Incubator was awarded a $776,000 in grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. selected the incubator last month to administer the federal matching dollars, which are awarded to support research and development, spur new job creation and assist business innovation.

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9 comments on “The Detroit Weekly Reading List: Oz Edition

  1. Really, JA Staes? You link to Brian McCollum's Funk Brothers story posted March 5 in a California paper rather than his March 1 original in the Freep?

    . . . At the Detroit Regional News hub, really?

  2. Hey Alan.. it generally is our preference to link to the original when we can find it. But we are all human. Thanks for the find!

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