Phog Walks Detroit

I have put out a Facebook invite for an incredible walk taking place in Detroit.
Bob Goldsmith of Detroit Tour Connections is hosting the two-hour tour.
The tour will be in the area of Cass Corridor…a richly interesting space, which will lead us to the Dally in the Alley festival.

Here’s the details of the walk, according to Bob:
“I think we should meet at the main branch of theDetroit Public Library. The address is 5201 Woodward. Let’s meet at the rear (west) entrance, which is on Cass. People can park on Cass, or on Kirby. “Midtown” is a pretty large area of Detroit that includes the Cass Corridor, Brush Park, the Detroit Medical Center, the large campus of WSU, and the Cultural Center area.

We’re mostly going to tour the Cultural Center area. Our two hour tour will include: Hecker mansion and other homes from the late 1800s; the DPL, DIA, Park-Shelton and Maccabees Bldgs from the 1920s; the Historical Museum; the Detroit Science Center; the Charles H. Wright Museum; the Scarab Club; the College for Creative Studies; and a few of the buildings on WSU’s campus.

The Dally has a website — http://www.dallyinthealley.com. It includes a map and directions … but the best bet is probably to mapquest 5201 Woodward if we are going to meet at the main branch of the Detroit Public Library. People can take I-75 north to Warren, and then take Warren west to Woodward or to Cass,
or they can just take Woodward from downtown Detroit to the Cultural Center area.”

We will meet initially at Phog Lounge at 9:45am. We will leave by 10am on our way to the Detroit Public Library. If you want to come, you must e-mail me at phoglounge@gmail.com or message me on Facebook (Tom Lucier). If you can drive…good…if you can’t, we still have room in some cars heading over. And you need your Passport to attend.

THIS SATURDAY!!! We already have over 20 people coming, so there will be tons of opportunities to make friends from Windsor along with the endless opportunities to meet your American reflections during the walk. I think it’s going to be an important first step in creating a very important community that is almost non-existent…the cross-border cultural community.

Personally, I feel that this is a KEY and CRUCIAL event for community leaders to be a part of, in order to initialize, strengthen, and solidify our relationships and understanding of our American brethren.
If you find yourself to be a leader here in Windsor, I really think it’s a good time to start thinking about sharing your strengths with people across the way, who know little or nothing about this community of artists, musicians, and doers.

MOVING to tomlucier.com – Change your bookmarks please (assuming you have one for me)

My blog is moving to tomlucier.com
It’s there now, but it is going to look funny for a bit.
The content will look fine, but the decorating will come slowly.
So please, join me over there, won’t you?
I will not be posting to this site any longer.

Find me at
tomlucier.com

Awesome NIMBY this week…Dennis K. Smith

picture-6Who’s Dennis K. Smith?
You might know already, but I didn’t have a clue.

Dennis is a painter, teacher, and quite simply…one of the most fantastic people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.

Not In My Backyard required another interview this week. February being Black History Month finds the city alive with events and shows highlighting the local black community and their history. With these events prevalent and in the greater-public eye, I stumbled across this event called Threads Through Time, presented by The Artists of Colour.
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It takes place at Mackenzie Hall and The Common Ground Galler (same building) from February 6th until the 17th. Friday the 6th is the date of the opening party. I am, without a doubt, going to this, and I’m bringing my father, his wife Eileen, and possibly some other family member.

This exhibit will be hosting WORLD-CLASS artifacts from the underground railroad. To be more specific, they are quilts that were used to signal to the holder of the quilt details about the underground railroad…ensuring safe passage to Canada.

Apart from these quilts, there will be several works of art from Dennis K. Smith, his daughter Nicole Talbot, and several other professional and amateur artists of colour. And having been into Dennis K. Smith’s studio, I can tell you the quality of work he is producing is phenomenal.

Trained in fine art, Smith’s painting are all about stories. His affinity for history, personal and otherwise, is infectious and unavoidable when experiencing his work. A certain piece that he’s done, which was unfinished at the time of our interview is a mural of famous local and Canadian people of colour. The first black doctor, lawyer, The Real McCoy, and his own father are all featured prominently in this piece. It’s gorgeous. A who’s who of pioneering black Windsorites and Canadians is a patchwork of pride unmatched in any other painting I’ve seen.

Sitting with Dennis in his studio (gorgeous teaching space, by the way), drinking a fresh cup of coffee that he brewed up for us, we made an instant connection and spoke about the black community, the Artists of Colour community, and the importance of these showcases.

Here’s a HUGE video of the conversation I had with Smith, in his studio. TO see some of his unfinished works, and studio space, skip to the last two minutes of the video.

In the meantime, have a listen to our show from yesterday by CLICKING THIS LINK.
Our show is, as usual, 30 minutes long.
Did I mention that Adam’s interview was stellar as well?
Enjoy.

Rare Crossover: CBC Radio 3’s Contest – Best Live Music Venue in Canada


Just click the above panel to go VOTE!

When I asked this group to go forth and let the country know how you feel about Phog Lounge…tell CBC Radio 3 and Searchlight that you love this place…you did, emphatically!

And we’re very thankful.
Here’s the tricky part.
That was just to get us nominated.

NOW, they have the voting taking place.
It’s been running (so we’re behind) and it will continue for a few weeks. Each person can vote every 24 hours.
You know how it is. I don’t quite agree with this method, but that’s how it is being tallied. It calls for great attention from voters. From you.

But I will ask anyway.
Please vote for us on the cbcradio3.com website.
There’s a an ad panel (usually on the bottom left) that says, “Vote Now For Your Favourite Music Venue” with a Searchlight logo on it too. It’s black with yellow lettering. Click on that, find Phog Lounge in the list, and simply click our name and click the vote button at the bottom.

The more you do this, the more realistic the chances are of us winning.
WE’RE VERY FAR BEHIND. Here’s the timeline:
Wednesday, January 28: Searchlight long list announced and voting begins at http://www.cbcradio3.com
Tuesday, February 3: Top 50 will be announced
Wednesday, February 11: Top 20 will be announced
Wednesday, February 18: Top 10 will be announced
Wednesday, February 25: Final winner will be announced

You see, when you made your voices heard earlier, you shocked the CBC Radio 3 people. Shocked them. And now they’re telling me to tell you, THIS is what counts. You want to see Phog win this thing from the cliche behemoths that are always mentioned in live music? Vote now. Vote often.
Maybe I’ll try reminding you without being annoying.

Thanks again.

Winners get to SAY they are the best live music venue in Canada, which is pretty outstanding , a live concert will be presented by CBC Radio 3 in the winning venue, a Sirius satellite radio plus subscription gets installed, CBC Radio 3 clothing, etc for staff along with the hardware – a winning plaque and trophy – are delivered.
Please make this happen.

You can’t do that.

picture-41I just read something nice.
It simply proved something I thought true, but that I was told is impossible.
You see, being at Phog, it’s not uncommon to wax futuristic and wonder what the world might hold for us (or vice versa).
When the topic got to cars, and how we’re making vehicles in Windsor that few consumers want anymore, even the artists (lefties) at the bar were nagging, “Well, what the hell can they do to them? Huh? Nothing!”
“Well guys, what if Windsor was a city that decided they didn’t like the status quo. What if people ditched their cookie-cutter cars for older cars, the ones they used to make with steel…and had them retro-fit with eco-friendly parts, making them not only road-safe, but more environmental than ever…maybe even making them electrical? Imagine what the streets would LOOK like! You wouldn’t look out of a window and see what EVERY North American sees. You’d see something unique! And it would all be in part to the engineering and manufacturing prowess in this city!”
Bucky, a local enviro-guy, brilliant guy, was the actual person who hatched this idea some weeks and weeks earlier. I loved his idea. Preserving the past, but doing one better and making something new and refreshing to the eye while blowing a kiss to Mother Nature at the same time.
The people at the bar, most times I reintroduce Bucky’s idea for the sake of dreaming, almost always get out of sorts and try to think of all the ways this idea can’t work.
As a matter of habit, this is how my community OFTEN approaches new ideas and concepts about absolutely anything. They think of all the ways it can’t work before they think of all the ways it can. I can’t be sure, but I wonder if they are just talking themselves out of participating if it ever DOES happen.
This frustration has guided me to some new groups of folks who foster and develop new ideas. Thanks to you, you know who you are…

But back to this article I read at the beginning of this post.
HERE’S THE LINK TO IT.
Apparently, there is a company in the US who is way ahead of us, and WAY ahead of the naysayers I lock eyes and wits with almost every shift.

They take gas guzzlers, and make them more acceptable vehicles. Old, new, whatever.
The working class in Windsor could do this in their sleep. I wish the creative spirit drove someone to these lengths. I don’t feel it’s my obligation to “find” the right people and get them fired up to start a company doing this, because SO MANY people in this city could do this work. It would be wonderful if they’d just emerge on their own, and shock this motor city under their own volition, like the company currently doing so in the United States.

I really never listen to anyone who tells me, “You can’t do that,” anymore.

I’ll Buy That For A Dollar!

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I remember that quote from the horny, disgusting man in the TV commercials in the RoboCop movie.

However, the things selling for a dollar in Detroit (where RoboCop was set, ironically) are HOMES! WTF?!

Our friends at Broken City Lab have the video proof on their site, and you NEED to watch it if you don’t believe.
CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO!
Un-f-ing-believable.

What do YOU think the land (houses) could be used for besides a neighbourhood?
Love to hear some constructive concepts here.
It’s an amazing opportunity to re-vision what a city COULD be. Detroit could be ground zero for the re-imagining of the basic idea of a city.
How amazing is that?! What an opportunity!!

Local food, local business, and how you can get mad.

picture-54It was a breath of fresh air to read Rino’s recent post about local support, and how frustrating it can be when it’s being used as a buzzword instead of a genuine way of doing business.

He also started a new blog for his business, Black Kettle Bistro, which he’s using as a soapbox for all things related to the business, and community in general. You should be checking it out anyway.

It’s tough a a business to do truly local business without some sort of infrastructure of locality being fostered by other business owners. Yes, there’s a paradox. Chicken or the egg.

Rino sounds like he’s more than willing to investigate where we can spend our money, as business owners, in the local economy, keeping our money here, avoiding the chains, rewarding our neighbours’ efforts to keep money within the community. We need more of this.

I encourage you to click on the link in the first sentence of this post to read Rino’s rant about local food, and the hypocrisy of myopic “buy local cars” sentiments by people who couldn’t find a local business in a phone book.

I know that the point is to be positive and move forward…but often, from the ground-level (the business-owner point of view) the awakening often begins from a spark of anger, feeling disrespected and forgotten. The concentration of that vitriol toward education of others, and varied business practice is the best we can do for now, without a strong, convenient local-business (food particularly) infrastructure.