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  • Once-controversial Diego Rivera murals now national landmark

    Oh, the irony — initially criticized as Marxist propaganda when Mexican muralist Diego Rivera painted them for the Detroit Institute of Arts in the early 1930s, Detroit Industry has now been designated as a a national landmark. The announcement was made Wednesday, according to the Detroit News by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis as part of National Park Week. The designation does not change the ownership status of the murals or grant any new protections or rights, leaving its place among the rest of the DIA’s art in possible bankruptcy negotiations in question. The work is considered the best of Rivera’s work in the United States (another mural Rivera had done in New York was destroyed by orders of Nelson Rockefeller). Rivera himself regarded Detroit Industries paintings as his finest work. In the midst of the McCarthy era, the DIA posted this sign outside the court: Rivera’s politics and his publicity seeking are detestable. But let’s get the record straight on what he did here. He came from Mexico to Detroit, thought our mass production industries and our technology wonderful and very exciting, painted them as one of the great achievements of the twentieth century. This came […]

    The post Once-controversial Diego Rivera murals now national landmark appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit area code 313 may be phased out

    Hey, everybody from the 313, start thinking of new numbers to rally around– the longstanding Detroit area code may be phased out. Our friends over at the Detroit News report that pending a revised estimate next week, the North American Numbering Plan Administration will stop handing out 313 telephone prefixes on new phone numbers. Detroiters with existing cell phone lines would be able to keep their current area codes, while those with land lines would change. via Detroit News: The venerable 313 will ultimately become overtaxed. Even as Detroit’s population has fallen, cellphone usage has accelerated like one of those smoldering SRT Vipers that Dodge has been bolting together at Conner Avenue Assembly — which is, of course, comfortably within the confines of 313. … When the first five dozen area codes were assigned nearly 70 years ago, says NANPA’s Tom Foley, “that was expected basically to last forever.” Instead, somebody invented fax machines, and then somebody else came up with cellphones, and lots of somebody elses decided to give them to 10-year-olds, and meantime the population grew to 300 million. Now every telephone carrier is required to submit twice-yearly forecasts of its needs in each area code, factoring in […]

    The post Detroit area code 313 may be phased out appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council

    Unfortunately, we were unable to attend last night’s Neighborhood Advisory Council, which, in case you were unaware, is a 16-member board established to weigh in on the new Red Wings arena near downtown. About three dozen residents and property owners cast ballots by the 8 p.m. deadline on Wednesday inside the Block at Cass Park, The Detroit News reports. It’s the culmination of a handful of community meetings which began weeks ago. Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda Lopez facilitated the meetings, but emphasized at previous meetings that it’s up to the community to conduct business. According to the News, the 12 candidates selected include: Michael Boettcher, Richard Etue, Jason Gapa, Francis Grunow, Steve Guether, Paul Hughes, Ray Litt, Warner Doyle McBryde, Karen McLeod, Delphia Simmons, Melissa Thomas and Anthony Zander. Joel Landy, a land owner in the area, lost his bid. The City Council appointed four candidates last month. As we reported in this week’s issue, the Neighborhood Advisory Committee was negotiated after Olympia Development of Michigan, Detroit Red Wing’s owner Mike Ilitch’s real estate arm, balked on a proposed community benefits agreement.  The committee is charged with the task of offering input on the arena’s design, parking security and more.

    The post Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag

    The Magic Bag in Ferndale will host James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets on Thursday, May 28, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. A press release reads, “James McMurtry recently signed with the bourgeoning Los Angeles record label Complicated Game. The legendary songwriter will enter the studio later this month to start working on his first album in six years. “I’ve got a new batch of songs, organic and with no added sulfites, aged in oak for several years,” he says. “Francois Moret at Complicated Game seems to like these songs and (producer) C.C. Adcock thinks he can turn them into a record. Good times fixing to roll.” Label head Moret agrees. “In March 2013, when C.C. Adcock told me we were going to see James McMurtry at the Continental Club in Austin, I expected to see a good show,” he says, “but what I saw left me mesmerized! I immediately knew I wanted to sign him. As a European, it is an amazing opportunity to work with one of the most talented American singer-songwriters.” Evidence: McMurtry’s Just Us Kids (2008) and Childish Things (2005). The former earned his highest Billboard 200 chart position in nearly two decades and notched […]

    The post James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit

    The Dead Kennedys, still with local boy Klaus Flouride in the ranks, will play St. Andrew’s Hall on Tuesday, June 24. Alongside Flouride and fellow original members East Bay Ray and DH Peligro, the current lineup includes singer Ron “Skip” Greer, taking the place of Jello Biafra. Downtown Brown will open that show, which starts at 7 p.m., with tickets priced $20-$25. Give Klaus a hero’s hometown welcome. Just over a week before that, strangely enough, Jello Biafra & the Guantanamo School of Medicine will play at the Magic Stick. It’s a weird coincidence, but one that DK fans should be happy to embrace. That show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $17-$19. Local hardcore vets Negative Approach play before Jello, with the Crashdollz opening the show. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Planet Ant presents A Steady Rain

    The Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck will present a police drama called A Steady Rain May 2 through 24. Planet Ant veterans Ryan Carlson and York Griffith will star in the play, written by House of Cards and Mad Men co-writer Keith Huff. Tickets ($10-$20) are on sale now at According to the press release, “A Steady Rain by Keith Huff focuses on Joey and Denny, best friends since kindergarten and partners on the police force whose loyalty to each other is tested by domestic affairs, violence and the rough streets of Chicago. Joey helps Denny with his family and Denny helps Joey stay off the bottle. But when a routine disturbance call takes a turn for the worse their loyalty is put to the ultimate test.First produced at Chicago Dramatists, A Steady Rain appeared on Broadway featuring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig. The Planet Ant production of A Steady Rain is directed by York Griffith featuring Ryan Carlson and Andy Huff. This marks the return of two of Planet Ant’s founding members. Carlson and Griffith. Griffith has served as the theatre’s Artistic Director where he directed the critically-acclaimed productions The Adding Machine and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? […]

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Fall Arts Issue

Designing Detroit

Expectations and revelations from the inaugural Detroit Design Week

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Mind the Gap aims to connect Detroit's in-between spaces

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Street art is the name of the game in the alley at the TAP Gallery

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notebook doodles come alive via Whimsical Wheatpaste

Clayson: As a Spartan it makes me proud to hear Michigan State was so accommodating, but geography and place is one of the coolest things about the festival because we didn't plan any of these events — we're actually calling them "happenings" — we just provided a platform and place for them to occur and connected them to resources as well as potential team members and volunteers. Really we're just ensuring the caliber of these happenings are worthy of a design festival that we hope will help Detroit's creative community self-identify. 

MT: What are three or four of these "happenings" that we definitely shouldn't miss?

Anderson: One that strikes me is a group that calls itself D's Creatures. The lead on the project, William Tyrrell, works for the parade company and went to CCS; some of the other team members are teachers. They're custom building these huge creatures, and the production will culminate with an unveiling at a fashion show on a Saturday. They incorporate technology and found materials to bring it to life. That'll be at the Quark Gallery at 6166 Woodward, in the old Dalgiesh dealership. Wayne State and TechTown loaned the space, and they've had free rein of the space to build out these creatures. I also think the design battles will be really exciting. Live music, art and design will unfold and fly around before your eyes. 

Kirouac: I think that rapper and DJ Nick Speed is presenting one of the most exciting happenings. He'd been attending our info sessions and we'd been thinking about the perfect venue for him to present his Nick Speed Orchestra (featuring rappers, DJs and techno artists the likes of Phat Kat, Stretch Money, Mad Mike Banks, Jon Dixon, DJ Sicari, Cecilia Sharpe, Boldy James along with a live string section). We learned that Black Star, a duo comprised of rap icons Mos Def and Talib Kweli, were going to be in town at St. Andrew's on Wednesday, the festival's kickoff. So we kind of pushed Nick Speed into the Shelter that same night. It's great to put our stars on the stage in the same building as these international stars in their genre. 

Clayson: And I really like the "Mind the Gap" competition. It was one of the very first ideas to come through the door and it's proved to be one of the most ambitious proposals. It's like a parallel tract outreach effort to engage the community in coming up with creative solutions for in-between spaces. So the Detroit Design Festival put a call out, Mind the Gap answered the call, and called out from that platform for more specific engagement in the community. 

MT: "In-between spaces"? What exactly are you talking about?

Clayson: In-between spaces are those often overlooked transitional spaces like alleyways, those diagonal paths you see cutting through vacant land, underutilized streets and parks. They're fascinating spaces that add context and fabric to the city. They're highly unique, but might not be appreciated. They need some attention and it looks like they're going to get just the right kind. 

MT: Before the announcement of the fest, you announced a class of creatives-in-residents — these sort of artful entrepreneurs — providing an incubation hub at the Center. The festival is big news. What's next? 

Clayson: Well, we're trying to find a way to use the momentum from the design festival to continue those engagement activities where, both live and online, these creative practitioners can be exposed to each other and to new markets. That's really our pipeline for how we're identifying the next level of talent that could be connected to our next project, a TechTown project, or our resident program. And it's a fair process. More so than us just tapping our respective immediate peer networks.

MT: Considering the breadth and scope of this inaugural design throwdown, what should success look like? Not for the DC3 but for the people who attend?

Clayson: Well, we'll have old-school metrics such as number of people who attend, happenings proposed and happenings that were produced. But I think the intangible, hard-to-track piece can't be measured for another two years, when we can then look at what design conversations are happening in Detroit as a socio-economic engine driving positive change. And I'm not talking about getting attention from the arts writers at The New York Times — nothing against them — but from the business writers in the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.

The Detroit Design Fest kick-off party happens from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, at New Center Park, 2990 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit. An afterparty with Nick Speed Orchestra is planned at the Shelter. See for more info. 

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