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The Neighborhood

"What Are You Doing?"

On Tuesday this week while I was teaching, I received a torrent of texts from a neighborhood text chain. The text chain is typically used for neighborhood safety, letting people know if your house was broken into, or if something suspicious is happening, or if you hear gunfire on your block. I find it useful even though I don’t know everyone on it, and I think having it is important. I have certain questions about who is on the chain and who is not, and what that might mean, but I will put that aside for a moment. The texts that were coming through detailed a robbery on Tuesday afternoon. Most of the folks on the chain seem to be highly aware of who is responsible for most theft in the neighborhood, so the question was asked: why can’t the police catch these guys? They’ve stolen thousands of dollars worth of items from my neighbors, including (insanely) someone’s entire security system.

Interview with Liza Bielby about the Porous Borders Festival

Interview with Liza Bielby about the Porous Borders Festival

I sat down this week to chat with my neighbor Liza Bielby about the Porous Borders Festival happening next weekend around the Detroit and Hamtramck border. Liza is part of The Hinterlands, the group responsible for organizing the festival. Read what she has to say, visit the website, and come out to the festival. [Shameless plug] I'm hosting an event called The Breakdown on Saturday May 16th at 8 pm, where anyone with a story to tell, talent to showcase, song to sing, fruit to juggle is invited to perform when the spirit moves them. 

Art and "Narratives of Blight"

Art and "Narratives of Blight"

A few months back I attended a panel discussion at the N’namdi Gallery entitled “Psychological Gentrification and the Arts”. As George N’namdi, who coined the term “psychological gentrification” explained, gentrification in Detroit operates differently than in many other cities because it’s not as if long time residents are being pushed out in droves by rent prices across the city (although in the case of Midtown, this might be a fair assessment). 

Interview with DWEJ's Sabionne Agee

Interview with DWEJ's Sabionne Agee

Hello all! This week I interviewed Sabionne Agee about her work on the next Write A House renovation. Ms. Agee is apprenticing with Zac Cruse of Zac Cruse Construction. The company did a brilliant job on the first Write A House (I should know, because I live in it) and is now beginning to work alongside Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice on the next writer's residence with Sabionne on board. I asked Sabionne a few questions about her life in Detroit and how she came to construction work as a woman in Detroit.

Get to Know the Neighborhood: Aladdin Bakery and Sweet

Get to Know the Neighborhood: Aladdin Bakery and Sweet

Venturing to Hamtramck guarantees an immersion into cultural diversity.  This diversity best expresses itself in the authenticity and variety of ethnic food.  Recently, I had the pleasure of enjoying Bengali cuisine at Aladdin’s Bakery and Sweets.  The gentle reader should know at the outset that this was my first encounter with Bengali cuisine, although I am familiar with Indian food, which is similar.  Also, I am vegetarian which restricted my sampling to the vegetable dishes on the menu.

Get To Know the Neighborhood: Café 192

Get To Know the Neighborhood: Café 192

In a world where Starbucks dominates the systematic, over-priced energizing of Western civilization, and coffee has become the “guzzle-down-burn-your-tongue-and-keep-on-chugging” beverage for congested traffic commutes and stale office meetings, the good ole’ days of writers’ corners in rustic, Hemingway-style cafés seem to be an increasingly endangered species. Indeed, such places may be altogether extinct if it were not for the continuous streamline of urban development trending all over the country’s oldest and most historically enriched cities, sprouting alcoves of quaint little cafés right alongside the bustling city streets.

Get to Know The Neighborhood: Author Steve Hughes

Get to Know The Neighborhood: Author Steve Hughes

Steve Hughes is one very interesting humanoid. He has been listening to stories with acuteness for years, producing small publications of 1,000 copies or fewer of self-published work using words and images called Zines. Stupor is his Zine, which is unique because each issue has a different subject matter.