“36 Hours in Detroit” is a tiny travelogue in the May 5th issue of the New York Times. Even with the mildly condescending tone (“struggling city”, “the recovery that Detroit is now attempting“, etc.) they did a pretty decent job of pointing out some of Detroit’s finest hot spots… especially Slows. Seriously… if you live within 300 miles of Detroit, stop what you’re doing, get in your car and drive to Slows. You won’t be sorry.
Despite their best efforts to cover some of the high points of a trip to Detroit, though, the NYT left out a few not-to-be-missed spots. Don’t forget Avalon Bread for the absolute BEST organic baked goods this side of heaven. Right next door, you’ll find Goodwell’s Natural Foods where you can get a mind-blowing Kale salad made by Zen Buddhist monks in Hamtramck (Detroit’s own Polish/German district). Then grab your delicious grub and head out to Belle Isle, the largest island city park in America and occasional home to the Detroit Grand Prix.
Detroit… it’s not just for Eminem any more.
With all the out-of-town haters out there, it may be difficult to believe that Detroit is quickly becoming an arts mecca. Large, affordable spaces are drawing artists from all over the globe faster than the promise of free boxed wine and cheese cubes.
In much the same way that Detroit has always been a musical incubator – from Motown to Techno to Kid Rock – we are fast becoming the place for young talent (now that it costs upwards of $100k a month to live in a likely rat-infested closet in SOHO).
Art X Detroit is a celebration of the wide spectrum of art and artists that now make their home in the D Some are lifelong residents. Others were drawn here from all over the globe. Art X, sponsored by the Kresge Foundation, showcases the recipients of their recent fellowships in disciplines that cover everything from the written word to visual and performance art (and every combination thereof). It’s a multi-venue, days-long tribute to the work created here at the hard, leathery core of The Great Recession.
The image above is from a video of Chido Johnson’s “Wire Car Cruise” performed in front off the Detroit Institute of Arts. It combines the traditions of the artist’s native Zimbabwe and the local tradition of cruising up and down Woodward in your best rolling hunk of Detroit Steel.
Art X Detroit began on the 6th and runs through the weekend in venues all over Detroit.
Okay… so this isn’t the second best Super Bowl ad ever, but, it does (like our other recent Super Bowl ad post) feature everybody’s favorite Detroiter, Eminem… and in the closing shot you see Brisk Iced Tea’s Artists’ Series of can designs. Among them (just left of center) is a design by famous graffiti artist and former Detroiter, Tristan Eaton – a man who still holds the banner high for the D.
It seems like Super Bowl week is hometown pride week for Detroit.
… by the way, Detroit is awesome.
We love Detroit. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. We love Detroit.
Today, metromode, an e-publication focused on business in Southeast Michigan, featured a story on Brand Labs.
That’s right. As part of their ongoing series of Q & As with local, successful CEOs and founders, metromode spent some time with Kevin Harman and Dane Downer (our founders) in an effort to expose the secrets of our success. (Spoiler alert: We possess the Sorcerer’s Stone and that tiki necklace from the Hawaiian episodes of The Brady Bunch.)
Anyhoo, we’re grateful to metromode and Jon Zemke for the article and we suggest that you go read it right away to find out if the tiki necklace makes us lose the big surfing contest.
(Photo by Dave Lewinski)
This Sunday, October 3, Brand labs will introduce the Audiosonic Identiglyph to the world in the most glamorous way possible: a free breakfast/concert/record giveaway at a diner in downtown Detroit that may or may not have toilet paper in the bathrooms. That’s how we roll.
We’ll be there all day (from 8am to 2pm) but the real action starts around 11am when FAWN (shown here) takes the stage for three sets of Sunday morning, wake-you-up rock and roll. We’re buying breakfast and handing out FREE copies of the single and the Audiosonic Identiglyph (on vinyl)! There is literally no reason not to attend… unless you hate being cool.
The TED conferences have established a reputation for gathering big thinkers to share big thoughts about big things, so when they came to Detroit, we figured we’d better join in.
Right now, our vice-president (and Creative Director) Dane Downer, is at the full-day conference being held at the Detroit Institute of Arts – a true local gem. He sent us this picture earlier, showing a break in the proceedings, with attendees gathered outside to check out the Chevy Volt.
We’re expecting Dane to return to work tomorrow at least 7% smarter and with some sort of free tote bag.
What you see here is one in a series of ten commemorative pins to be given away at the Audiosonic Identiglyph release party to be held at the Steak Hut in Detroit, this Sunday, October 3. They’re packaged in a blind assortment, so you won’t know what you’re getting for the three and a half seconds that it takes you to open the package! (FUN!)
These are limited in supply and will be handed out on a first-come, first served basis at the breakfast-time event. The free copies of the Audiosonic Identiglyph, on the other hand, are plentiful, so we should have enough for every single person in attendance.
… and if we don’t that means that we waaaaaay over-invited, but even then, there’s plenty of free hash browns!
… unless we waaaaaaay over-invited.
Detroit gets a lot of flack and a good amount of it is well deserved, and yet, it’s a truly wonderful place. That’s a difficult dichotomy to express to an outsider, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Detroit is a mess, but it’s also a glorious playground. If you are an artist, an entrepreneur, a pioneer of any type, Detroit is calling you.
Brand Labs is in a northern suburb, about 20 minutes outside of Detroit, but make no mistake, Detroit is the “Mother Country”. It’s where we go for the Red Wings, the Tigers… even the Lions. Each year, we line Woodward Avenue, ten people deep, to watch the Thanksgiving Day parade make its march to Campus Martius. There is a big, Old-English-style “D” tattooed on the heart of every southeast Michigander… but try to explain it to an outsider.
Well, a series of videos that’s been making the rounds in the last week does a pretty fine job of it. We present part one below, but they’re all worth a look. (Make special note of Bethany Shorb – owner of Cyberoptix Tie Lab, who created our exclusive design.):