Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Detroit Rocks!

Mike, the inimitable Davecat, and myself went on a little field trip today... into the heart of downtown Detroit, on a photo-gathering mission for use on another Vulne Pro project that we will be unveiling in the next few weeks- the same one Mike posted about, the one connected to the pic of the flying Hummer.
Our first stop was John King Books, the largest used bookstore in Michigan (750,000 titles), which entirely fills four floors plus the basement of a 1912 glove factory. We also visited the Guardian Building, one of the most insanely beautiful art deco structures ever built, filled with incredibly ornate details and workmanship. Our thanks to the incredible concierge, Christopher, who took the time to give us a grand and informative tour. We rode the People Mover, also known as Coleman Young's Folly, after the former mayor of Detroit who ruled with an iron hand and apparently had a thing for building his own full-size train set. Actually, it is a fun little monorail... even if extremely limited in range- and a great moving platform for photography. We went through the weird concrete bowels of the Renaissance Center, now GM world Headquarters, an interesting if rather soul-crushing 70s corporate design. We had a blast, in other words... and I wondered, as I often do, why it is, exactly, that Detroit seems to have such a bad rep in most places?
Sure, Detroit isn't as big as Chicago or New York, not as sheek as L.A., or as hip as Seattle. But we have a lot of things going for us here, a lot of beauty and interest, a lot of cool stuff that has not been seen around the country... not just the obvious stuff that has been beaten to death by our own PR people (The auto industry, Motown, etc.) When was the last time you saw the History Channel come to Detroit to do a special on the many excellent examples of art deco architecture Detroit has? Detroit grew from a fairly small city in 1900 to the fourth-largest metropolis in America by 1930... and as the people and industry flowed in, so did the money, and boy, did they use it to build some cool stuff. There's also the fact that Detroit sits on an international border. Right across the river, spanned by the Ambassador Bridge and the Windsor Tunnel, stands the city of Windsor, Ontario. It is one of the only places in America where you have to drive south to get to Canada... and it's kind of cool to look across the Detroit River and see into another country, little more than a stone's throw away.
All of these grand buildings, this unique location, this historical importance... all has been overshadowed for years in the media by the tired old saws of the Detroit riots, white flight, murder capital, etc. Why? I'm sure none of the other cities in the country are free from crime, strife, or political incompetence... at least, for every problem you hear about, you hear three or four good things. How about giving the Motor City a fair shake? Something more than setting a cheeseball flick like Robocop here... but filming it in Dallas.
This new project... we hope... will address this imbalance. It is a comedy, a slice-of-life drama, a SF romp... set in Detroit. The real Detroit... warts, beauty, and all.
More to Come...

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