Gorgeous nerdy textiles

Detroit's Cyberoptix make hundreds of beautiful, nerdy textiles: linen library due-date scarves (also available as silk ties); bandana print neckties; chemical warfare ties; civil defense med-kit scarves; notebook-paper silk pocket squares (also scarves) and felted wool neckties -- all made to order in a wide variety of colors! Read the rest

Incredible Science Machine team seeks Rube Goldberg record with chain reaction gizmo


Chain reaction artists and domino builders have collaborated to create what they hope will go on record as the largest chain reaction in history. Read the rest

WATCH: Drone-eye view of a Detroit hotel demolition

Detroit's historic Park Avenue Hotel was demolished on July 11, and YouTuber TheGadgetGuy1 caught all the action via drone. Read the rest

Detroit News documents the decimation of one city block


Over the holiday weekend, The Detroit News published a remarkable analysis of what happened in Detroit's foreclosure meltdown. One block on Greensboro Street saw 33 of 38 homes go into mortgage or tax foreclosure in the last ten years. Read the rest

WATCH: Detroit ruin porn in reverse - David Whitney Building

The Detroit News has an uplifting story about the David Whitney Building, newly renovated in time for its centennial celebration. Think reverse ruin porn. Read the rest

NZ's National Party sued by Eminem for copyright infringement

The National Party was instrumental in passing the harsh "strict liability" NZ copyright laws that offer no relief from liability, even for people who buy licenses that turn out to have been offered in error -- as appears to be the case in the National Party campaign ad that used Lose Yourself for bed music. Read the rest

SF predicting the present: novel anticipated Detroit water crisis

Paul Di Filippo describes Ben Parzybok's new novel, Sherwood Nation: "The book is obviously as headline-friendly as the Ferguson riots, inequality debates, Occupy protests and climate change reports; but there's also a Joseph Conrad-Grahame Greene-Shakespeare style concern with the nature of power, the roles that are thrust upon us, and the limits of friendship and love." Read the rest

Michigan's Penguicon will focus on crypto and privacy this year

Scott sez, "Privacy and security has been a huge problem since the Snowden revelations, and midwest SF/open source software convention Penguicon [ed: near Detroit!] wants to be part of the solution. With Guest of Honor Eva Galperin from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Cory Doctorow returning as Guest Emeritus, much of their tech track is focused on finding answers to the recent privacy problems highlighted by Snowden. Pre-registration tickets are available until April 1st. Programming was just announced." (Thanks, Scott!) Read the rest

Historic "mixfilm" in Detroit this weekend

Archivist Rick Prelinger sez, "I'm bringing a new archival 'mixfilm' on Detroit's rich history to the beautifully restored, vintage-1927 Detroit Film Theatre this weekend. This is the fourth of my Detroit compilations, and it's packed with new footage (especially home movies shot by Detroiters themselves) that's never before been publicly screened. It's a fully participatory show, meaning that viewers (hopefully you) are invited to identify places, people and events, ask questions, and converse with one another as the film unreels. And it's anything but nostalgic -- rather than lamenting what's gone, it aims to contribute to the ongoing, spirited discussion about Detroit's future, and encourage people to talk with one another."

Events: Detroit Film Theatre — The Detroit Institute of Arts Auxiliary (Thanks, Rick!) Read the rest

Riding around Detroit's derelict Packard plant on a homemade dirt-bike

A reader writes, "In late October, we shot some video in Detroit's abandoned Packard plant. The reasons included, to test a motorcycle I built, and also to practice flying our drone. This is not a closed course, and not a professional rider. We were just looking to have some fun. Please enjoy."

Exploring Detroit's Packard plant on a dirt bike Read the rest

Free houses for writers

Writeahouse is a Detroit-based charity that trains people in carpentry and related trades by having them renovate houses, then gives the houses to writers (novelists, journalists, poets), encouraging them to relocate to Detroit. Applications open in spring 2014. Writers are given a house that is 80 percent renovated, and are responsible for finishing the work and paying insurance and taxes. After two years, they are given the deed to the house, with the stipulation that if they sell the house within five years, Writeahouse gets the right to buy it back at an independently appraised value.

WRITEAHOUSE.ORG (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

Monster portraits made from candy mosaics: TOTALLY SWEET!

Eric writes, "I am Eric Millikin and I am an experimental artist from Detroit who has created a series of portraits of monsters, each built out of Halloween candy. I call this series 'Totally Sweet.' So far, this series includes everything from classic monsters like The Bride of Frankenstein to modern killers from slasher movies. And I've been taking requests; one of my favorites has been Gort, the alien killer robot from the 1950s sci-fi classic, 'The Day the Earth Stood Still.'" Read the rest

Fake cops robbing Detroiters turn out to be real cops

They did it in uniform. Amy Lange with Fox 2 News Detroit:

A Good Samaritan snapped photos of what appeared to be two men impersonating police officers involved in a pistol-whipping and robbery outside a Citgo gas station on Detroit's east side on July 21. Once Fox 2 aired those photos, an even more disturbing picture developed. ... Now under arrest are two police sergeants, a 47-year-old officer and 20-year veteran.

Don't worry, everything will be ok, they have a Robocop statue. Read the rest

Short video about Detroit makerspace

I enjoyed Dark Rye's video about I3's Nicholas Britsky and the maker movement in Detroit. Dark Rye's entire Detroit issue is excellent. Read the rest

Travel guide to Detroit written by seventh-gen locals: "Belle Isle to 8 Mile"

Rick Prelinger sez, "I'm not a Detroiter, but I've been visiting from time to time since the 1980s, and I hope you will too. It's really unfortunate that most of what we see and hear about it amounts to repetition of the same old cliches -- deindustrialization, poverty, ruins, hipsters, cheap houses. But Detroit's much more than that. It's one of America's most fascinating cities, and if you want to see its unique combination of long-term residents, mostly African American, with rock-hard faith in their city, and new Detroiters aspiring to build Utopia, you better get on a plane soon.

"And when you go, bring Belle Isle to 8 Mile. I just got my own copy, written by three siblings who are seventh-generation Detroiters. It's full of hundreds of city landmarks, eating places and arts spaces, but it's more than the ordinary hip insider travel guide. I see it as testimony to places and businesses that have survived years of adversity and disrespect, as well as an incredibly deep guide to the new Detroit, which is an uncommonly exciting city. Excellent, inspiring read."

Belle Isle to 8 Mile: An Insider's Guide to Detroit (Thanks, Rick!) Read the rest

Kathe Koja's "Under the Poppy": farewell stage performances in Detroit this April

Kathe Koja's brilliant novel Under the Poppy -- a dark, romantic, swirling wartime intrigue -- was adapted for stage in her hometown of Detroit.

Theatre Bizarre: Stupendous yearly Halloween ball in Detroit

The coolest thing that I saw at the Detroit Maker Faire in 2011 was John Dunivant's Theatre Bizarre. John (right) is an immensely talented artist who creates stages, costumes, artwork, carnival attractions, signs, and everything else that goes into an amazing yearly Halloween show held at the abandoned Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit. I was blown away by John's sideshow culture creations (see my photos here), and when I talked to John, I was impressed by his deep knowledge of monster artists, such as Basil Gogos, whose work is an inspiration. It costs about $250,000 to produce this one-night event, and if you anywhere near Detroit, I highly recommend attending. Here are the details:

John Dunivant, the man behind Theatre Bizarre -- the legendary underground Halloween masquerade -- will once again hold Detroit’s most elite partygoers in his thrall using the seductive force of his latest creation -- The Summoning.

For the first decade of the 21st century, Theatre Bizarre broke the laws of man and nature. On one night each year, a dark carnival came to life in the shadow of the now abandoned Michigan State Fairgrounds in one of the Motor City’s most dangerous neighborhoods. The lucky few who were able to get tickets for the annual event were treated to a show unlike any other, at a place that could only exist in a city that has better things to do than enforce zoning laws. Complete with ferris wheel, a roller coaster and a half-dozen stages, Theatre Bizarre was an immersive, decadent, pyrotechnic marvel until it became too large for even Detroit to ignore.

Read the rest

More posts