Friday, October 24, 2008

grey day

while most of you are lamenting the cold grey days.. i'm actually super excited. they allow for very even exposures. and interesting muted colors. thursday night was filled with pre-birthday celebrations, and lots of dancing to love is a battlefield, and discussions about the collective conscious.

Anyways, I love shooting on grey days.. i've tried shooting in the rain.. but i always worry too much about my equipment. Lucky enough i live in Detroit and i get about 4 months of grey weather.

Fact: i have shot two full bodies of work in the winter (the original Detroit ruins; four-ish years of 35 mm, and the midwestern rural abandonment series: Detroit, Iowa, Missouri shot on 127mm film using a vintage yashica). I don't love running around with my hands frozen changing rolls, of film. I love not spending my summer in a darkroom.

This was a grey day wandering around some new buildings on Rosa Parks. This place had been a functioning car scrap yard until about a month before i shot this. Walls were already knocked down and it had suffered from some fire damage. The floors were caving in, this is on the second level and i was walking along the rafters, and support beams. i can't get ove the trees through the foggy window.

Across the street on the same day i shot this

it was another abandoned car shop. as i was standing reading a bunch of old letters i had found, a section of this building collapsed, right above where i took this photograph. My body ran for the door. i havn't been back since. Take note of the christmas theme. It runs throughout my photographs of abandonments, there is a reason i will get to another day.

I don't know why those flicks are messed up.. ugh. anyways.. tonight you should go to the grand opening of the book caddy, a fee block party on washington ave.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

blue velvet

I often forget about the city that lives with in my city, Hamtramack. The small community is nested a little north of where i normally run around town, but i was drawn there on a shoot for a metro times article. Wednesday nights are usually bumping at the new coffee house THC (trowbridge coffee house). The boys from the cycle/4th horizon keep the crowd moving while Mike Petrack and his lady friend serve up tasty drinks. Tonight they had free champagne for ladies, and Kristen makes a delicious raspberry chocolate martini. (Although you'll have to coax it out of her). The Bar/coffee spot is really beautiful comfortable and has a diverse crowd.

My friend Andi and I ventured down the street (3 doors) to the infamous Belmont, where we hard there was a rumor of Karaoke... we were treated to a group of people singing, and getting rowdy, blue velvet, and white wedding, and psycokiller were in rotation, and this boy even coaxed me up to do a duet. Adam is in a band called the Dead Bodies, he is gearing up to release Dead Bodies 3.0, www. He is also a classically trained pianist, but he told me karaoke makes him nervous. Tonight was pure goodness...

Random quote about Detroit:

"if you sifted all Detroit in a wire basket the beaten solid core of dregs couldn't be better gathered" -Jack Kerouac from "On the Road"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


A friend challenged me to a photo game.. he asked me to photograph something that inspires me, and then he will do the same back. He lives in cali, so we will see how this works.

Today i chose knobs, the knobs in my bathtub, i could have photographed all the knobs and switches in my house... i will, this is a start. The reason these are interesting to me is because after living here for two months i still can't figure them out. I constanly turn them the wrong way and the water gets too cold, or hot. It made me think of displacement, anytime you are moving often and constantly adapting. The same idea applies to switches, i sometimes turn on the fan instead of the light. I wonder how long it will take.

Cold weather set in today, I turned on my heat for the first time, i chickened out and drove to work. It is sinking in my skin. I rode my bike to the Russell Industrial Center for the Model D Speaker series on transportation. The topic is placing light rail and arterial rapid transit through out the city, along with 400 miles of bike lanes. Hertel is a very passionate speaker about light rail he feels we are very close. However when a speaker on bike lanes begins by laughing about the lack of traffic along Michigan Ave. he looses credibility in my book. Over all i really appreciate Model D putting on these events. There was a large diverse crowd gathered, and some very good connections were made.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Courageous Dream's Concern

To counter Rodriguez pessimistic take on Detroit, and to stay in the music arena. Here is another famous Detroiters' ode to the "D". Written by Jack White from the White Stripes, and the Racounteurs.

'Courageous Dream's Concern,' by Jack White

I have driven slow,
three miles an hour or so,
through Highland Park, Heidelberg, and the
Cass Corridor.
I've hopped on the Michigan,
and transferred to the Woodward,
and heard the good word blaring from an
a.m. radio.
I love the worn-through tracks of trolley
trains breaking through their
concrete vaults,
As I ride the Fort Street or the Baker,
just making my way home.

I sneak through an iron gate, and fish
rock bass out of the strait,
watching the mail boat with
its tugboat gait,
hauling words I'll never know.
The water letter carrier,
bringing prose to lonely sailors,
treading the big lakes with their trailers,
floats in blue green chopping waters,
above long-lost sunken failures,
awaiting exhumation iron whalers,
holding gold we'll never know.

I've slid on Belle Isle,
and rowed inside of it for miles.
Seeing white deer running alongside
While I glide, in a canoe.
I've walked down Caniff holding a glass
Atlas root beer bottle in my hands
And I've entered closets of coney islands
early in the morning too.
I've taken malt from Stroh's and Sanders,
felt the black powder of abandoned
And smelled the sawdust from wood cut
to rehabilitate the fallen edifice.
I've walked to the rhythm of mariachis,
down junctions and back alleys,
Breathing fresh-baked fumes of culture
nurtured of the Latin and the
Middle East.
I've fallen down on public ice,
and skated in my own delight,
and slid again on metal crutches
into trafficked avenues.

Three motors moved us forward,
Leaving smaller engines to wither,
the aluminum, and torpedo,
Monuments to unclaimed dreaming.
Foundry's piston tempest captured,
Forward pushing workers raptured,
Frescoed families strife fractured,
Encased by factory's glass ceiling.
Detroit, you hold what one's been seeking,
Holding off the coward-armies weakling,
Always rising from the ashes
not returning to the earth.
I so love your heart that burns
That in your people's body yearns
To perpetuate,
and permeate,
the lonely dream that does encapsulate,
Your spirit, that God insulates,
With courageous dream's concern.

This is a photograph of my friend Kat, backstage at the Cut Copy show at the Magic Stick. To say the least i know the cut copy boys enjoyed their stay in Detroit. I know we will always be fond of our little Aussies.

Today was not very exciting.. i spent most of it wrestling with technology, and getting paper-cuts on my eyes, going over research about these thoughts
Would it be possible, if michigan adopted a creative economy, to turn Detroit into one of the most desiriable places to live on the planet? What is a Creative Economy and could it us out of our financial crisis? I believe the answer to both of these questions is yes.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This, Our beloved polis

This sunday finds me sitting at the Woodbridge pub listening to Rodriguez. He grew up in detroit, and according to off the record his music is inspiring revolutionaries around the globe. so detroit. get inspired.

here is a letter he wrote for Off the Record.
This is a walk through Detroit. But be protected. Our history reads: Not so peaceful. As you take this tour, be sure you stay with the Living. And should you find yourself, a snowflake in an ocean of Darkness, be secure. The Force is with you.
Taking a ride on the bus, might be one quick approach. Especially a crosstown, like the Dexter. These buses don’t run on a regular schedule but once you take this ride, the cultural diversity will become clear and obvious.
At the waterfront stands the Renaissance Center, now owned by General Motors. This is the company that is crying poverty. This is the biggest building in Detroit. Before this it was owned by Ford (Motor Company).
Go to the City County Building and you will be confronted with the security measures that are being taken there. This is a city under siege.
Visit the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, flanked by the Wayne County Jail. It is in the vicinity of one of three magnificent casino skyscrapers newly built to continue to drain this impoverished, undereducated, politically-abused population.
This is a city of victims. Everyone I know and everyone I have met have told me their stories of rip offs, of theft, of violence and of urban mayhem. And I am a musician. They confide in me like others might confide in a priest.
Stop in at 36th District Court. Be witness to the sociology there. The Courthouse sits next to Ford Field (NFL) and Comerica Park (MLB), reflected in the strobe lights of the Fox Theatre and Hockeytown Cafe (NHL). Once there, betwen Woodward and Griswold, pass by what is known as, Urine Street. The stench of it will almost knock a person down.
As a person is en route to a place called Capitol Park, you will find an area adorned by ten dead trees, with a statue of the first governor of Michigan. Governor Mason. His head swarmed with pigeon shit. This is not far from historic Campus Martius where a monument stands to commemorate so many who sacrificed so much in the Civil War.
This, Our beloved polis. - Rodriguez

these are the lyrics to his song sugar man which is on repeat right now...
Won't ya hurry
Coz I'm tired of these scenes
For a blue coin
Won't ya bring back
All those colours to my dreams
Silver majik ships, you carry
Jumpers, coke, sweet MaryJane
Met a false friend
On a lonely, dusty road
Lost my heart
When I found it
It had turned to dead, black coal
Silver majik ships, you carry
Jumpers, coke, sweet MaryJane
You're the answer
That makes my questions disappear
Coz I'm weary
Of these double games I hear
Won't ya hurry
Coz I'm tired of these scenes
For a blue coin
Won't ya bring back
All those colours to my dreams
Silver majik ships, you carry
Jumpers, coke, sweet MaryJane
Met a false friend
On a lonely, dusty road
Lost my heart
When I found it
It had turned to dead, black coal
Silver majik ships, you carry
Jumpers, coke, sweet MaryJane
You're the answer
That makes my questions disappear

Dj Mehdi off of Ed Banger Records played a show a the magic stick on friday, he was off to nyc to record a new album.

people tried to tear the stage down, they were so pumped. the rest of the mehdi pics are going to be on metromix detroits site.

we ended the night in Camillo Pardo's Studio

we all painted, here is Camillo

ernie guerra AKA erno the inferno, part of tour detroit, the cycle, 323 east and so on

house party pointing at the white house

saturday everyone came out to the new dance party at cpop, this is ara

these are people making out

this is hodge

this is the reason you have a filter.. in case your drunk best friend drops your camera. this is me also having a serious heart attack in the basement of cpop... oh dear.

and this is what i did with my sunday, wandered around the secret garden... i used to come here every sunday, with a group of graffiti artists, they would paint and i would shoot. Every room is a memory. we came here untill the drama that is graffiti caught up with us, and the building became a battle ground. revisiting it today was nice.... on a pilar on the roof it still says "what up vanezzy." the rest of these will be on

good night.