Monday, December 17, 2012

Brainstorming Detroit - Detroit Music Museum Village

I have been waiting for inspiration for quite some time.  So my posts will be about my city, Detroit.

Queen Maker and I have been rediscovering our youth by visiting all our favorite places when we were dating.  Ours was a young love so transportation was an issue and so was money.  We quickly learned that the city offered  much and fun could be had with very little cash.

My love for Detroit is rekindled.

Today we went to the Detroit Historical Museum.  It's been over 30 years since I have been there. The museum was free.  It's Sunday so parking on the street is free.  Don't worry we made a donation.  The museum made me feel pride in my city.  So I was inspired to share an idea I have been kicking around in my head for a few years, just brainstorming here.


With such a rich history as innovators in multiple music genres, why doesn't Detroit capitalize on a very proud lineage with an attraction that I think would draw many fans from all over the world.  Detroit is known and remembered for so many things and here is yet another facet of greatness, its extraordinary musical history that has not been fully recognized or honored in any tangible, concrete way. Concrete meaning a building. It reminds me of a big family where the accomplishments of the eldest children are well documented with film and tons of pictures but by the time the youngest child comes along parents have little time or inclination to document the newbie’s every move, no matter how great. Detroit’s music history reminds me of that child.

Detroit still has an energized music scene.  Musicians here have learned to create a synergistic and cooperative community that survives by helping each other and by creating their own opportunities. By honoring the Detroit music scene and history, we may well help in the revitalization of the city. It may also remind us to direct our attention to the talent still here making music in Detroit.  With a new focus on showcasing Detroit’s music, it may rekindle a sense pride in the citizens of Detroit past and present, musicians and audience, because we were all active participants in this rich musical history.  


My idea is to create a historical music park, much like a Greenfield Village, probably on a smaller scale.  But now considering the scope of the history involved it might be quite a large park indeed.  I suggest moving the Motown’s Hitsville USA to this new park, Bakers Keyboard Lounge, and other great venues if they still exist or to re-create them.  The park would represent the different genres of music that Detroit was at the forefront or originators such as Techno, Punk, Jazz, Gospel, Rhythm and Blues from the “Black Bottom” era to Motown, Pop, Rock and Rap. 

I'm not sure where the location should be, maybe not directly downtown. The music park or village should be strategically placed to help revitalize yet another area of Detroit.  We’ll let the planners figure this one out. Also I know this would be a costly project, and I don't have the funds to make it happen, so I will leave it to someone with access to major bucks.  Okay, maybe we could just put up a very nice Detroit Music Museum. Not as costly.

But hey, I'm brainstorming.

Historically accurate buildings or “clubs” built representing each genre or era of music or combine some genres.  Museums where fans can view memorabilia, artifacts, stand in recording studios along with actual music clubs that would draw music lovers from all over the world into the city.  Remember CKLW, the radio station coming out of Windsor in the 60's and 70's?  I can still hear the jingle in my head. Annual festivals or events, music centers, historic re-creations, rock schools, even a speak easy (to represent the prohibition era), club nights where patrons could “hop from club to club” to experience a great night of music.  Let's throw a little Salsa in there as well. My Latin roots require me to mention it. We could also honor so many great musicians that still live in the city before it is too late. I'm not even going to try to name them all. If you are from Detroit you know the list is impressive.

By creating a historical park or music museum instead of an entertainment center, we show the rest of the world how "Detroiters" value and honor the Detroit music scene past and present. It will trigger tourism in yet another area that is Pure Michigan.  So many people around the world view our musical history with admiration and are already great fans.  

When I travel and mention my hometown of Detroit, reactions are swift and my hosts blurt out their first impression of what the word Detroit invokes. Most are very positive which helps remind me of Detroit’s positive historical significance.  I hear enthusiastic phrases like: “The Motor City!” “The Car Capital of the World!”  “Ford Country.”  “Detroit is a great sports town!” “Go Red Wings, or Tigers, or Lions, or Pistons!” “Motown! Hitsville, USA!”  These people live hundreds or thousands of miles from Detroit, but all spoke of Detroit as the great city that gave them cars, great sports, and fantastic music.

I was recently made aware of a new book called Detroit Rock City: The Uncensored History of Five Decades of Rock, by author Steve Miller, coming out in April 2013.  Check out the Detroit Rock City page.  This is what I am talking about.  This is the type of historic documentation that needs to be done on a grand scale and in a very public way.

We have Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum. We have the Automotive Hall of Fame.  We have the Detroit Historical Museum, the Detroit Institute of Art, and other great historic villages and wonderful museums dotted all over the Metro Detroit area.  Belle Isle is a gem.  The river front revitalized.  We have new sports stadiums.  The theaters and music halls around the area have been renovated to their past glory.  They all send powerful messages that Detroit is still a great city and honor Detroit's accomplishment in art, culture, technology, and sports in a big way.  The one area that seems to be lacking is the historical significance of Detroit’s music scene, its originality and innovations, its artists, and their contributions to the pop culture of the United States and its influence on the world.

Some tourists make the pilgrimage to the little house on Grand Blvd to stand in the same studio where so many Motown greats have stood before, but I think we could give them more.  I believe we have so much more to offer.

Here is an opportunity to rekindle the pride we feel in Detroit’s contributions to music in a concrete way, to help revitalize the present Detroit music scene, bring in a new wave of tourism, and revitalize another area of Detroit.  Music is the universal language.  It unites people from different backgrounds, cultures, and race.  Detroit’s music history has its own voice, its own dialect and it should be heard again, loud and clear.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pressure is This

Yeah! Day 5 of the blogging challenge, 1/6th of the way to go before I finish the 30 challenge.  We Work for Cheese has graciously given us a list of topics for the full 30 days.  So grateful, since I've been tapped out for weeks and weeks and weeks.  Today is all about pressure.

Well it's 11:45pm and I have 15 minutes to get this blog done.  Hubby is in bed.  Stephen Corbert is on the telly.  And damn it, I want to eat something sweet.

I'm getting hot, because we haven't put the air conditioner in the window yet. Or maybe I'm getting hot because the menopause has gone from pause to full blown meno.

Or maybe its the glass of wine I just polished off. Yup, that must be it.

So the pressure is on to get this done in record time.  So off the top of my sweating head, I'll have to write something quick.  I feel the pressure to talk about pressure.

Pressure is putting the squeeze on. I used to do my best work in school when it was the eleventh hour.  The deadline was looming and I would have to pull an all nighter. My best work would come at 3am when I was sure an F was going to meet me in the morning.  A+ after A+ gave me the false impression that I worked best under pressure.

Continuous pressure is not a good thing.  Hell! Look at the time.  I've got 9 minutes left.

Anyhoo. I once took a health test on a medical website.  It asked me all sorts of questions to gauge how my daily actions affected on my overall health.  The conclusion?  It stated, "You are VERY HARD on your  body."  So the pressure is on. If I don't change soon, I'll be feeling the pressure under ground.

Oh no, I'm brain dead. Can't think of anything else and I only have four minutes left.  The only thing I can think of is totally inappropriate. The pressure I like is the pressure of my another human being leaning or lying near me. I sigh and feel the stress slip away.

Remember the squeeze is on and I'm going to go to bed and leave this pressure for a more pleasurable pressure, a quick squeeze.

Done.  Hands thrown in the air.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Viewpoint on Spiders

Day 5 of the 30 day blog challenge inspired by We Work for Cheese.  

Spiders are lucky.  They are very lucky.  My mother told me that.   Never kill a spider, they bring good luck.

A creature that deals in silk must have good taste.

A creature that makes such a beautiful geometric pattern in web design has to be a mathematical genius and artist.

A creature that can get rid of other pests can't be all bad.

A creature that eats its mate after sex is a heroine we can all get behind.

Monday, June 4, 2012

I'll Do the Driving Thank You

Day 4 of the 30 day challenge inspired by We Work for Cheese.  The topic - behind the wheel.  I have to admit this is one place I don't really like to be, behind the wheel. Oh, who am I kidding?  Move over, I'll drive.

Behind the Wheel

My wheel is a monster of a wheel.  It's huge and hard to handle.  I like to think of myself as Jack Sparrow at the helm of the Black Pearl in a storm.  If only I had that lovely little compass that would point directly at the thing I wanted the most.  That would be most helpful.

I'm steering a lot of things over here.  I don't really like to be behind the wheel, but at the same time I really don't like anyone else touching the steering wheel either.  I drive because I am a lousy passenger.  I steer our business. I steer the finances. People look to me for the answers.  Everyone happily gives me control of the wheel. They assure me how well I do it, but really they just want to avoid the responsibility and only enjoy the ride when its carefree.

But I like the control.  I get to control my destiny. No one to blame but myself.  And I don't plan on any blame landing on me.  So I'm a good driver.  I'm a safe driver.   Admittedly sometimes too safe.   I am the captain of my ship and I decide where to steer her.  If only I could make myself go wild sometime and let that wheel spin.  Let it fly and see what direction, what new course we will follow.  But that takes guts.  I would feel safer if I had a magic compass in my possession.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Finding Our Song

The 30-day challenge is under way.  Day 3 is "They played our song." And We Work for Cheese is the inspiration.  I missed yesterday - roadblocks. But I hope no more roadblocks will get in my way for the next 27 days.

Finding Our Song

I have known my husband for 39 years, since the age of 15.  You would think that during all that time that we would have found "our song."  But no, I am still searching.

When we were dating back in the 70's, there were a lot of songs that could have been ours.  I listened to a lot of Motown and old blues, while my future husband was into jazz.  While we were dating, he was educating me on the best jazz musicians on the planet.  Beyond the vast library of jazz, we loved all types of music. We loved Frank Zappa, Chicago, Power of Tower, Blood Sweat and Tears and Queen. When we graduated in 1977, we were well acquainted with every song on the top 100 list. The variety and scope was immense.  I loved dancing to the disco.  The punk movement was happening.  So much music to pick from, but never did we say, "That is our song."

I have this fantasy, that I will sing a song to my husband on our 40th anniversary.  Although not a wedding anniversary, we've been married 25 years, we still celebrate the day he asked me to be his queen.  To me it will be in the lyrics, the message that the song conveys, the one that will say exactly what it means to be his girl, his wife, his lover, his life and how he has fulfilled my life.  I will find that song.  I have found inspiration in so many.  But the one I sing to him will be the one.  It will become "our song."  So its has to be perfect.  Perfect to last the rest of our lives.

Literally Road Blocks

Well my 30 day blogging challenge proposed by We Work for Cheese has been thwarted on my second day.  By roadblocks.  Many, many roadblocks.  How appropriate. What can you do?  Really.

On my way to write my second blog in so many days, I was filled with anticipation to get to my computer and type my brilliant thoughts "down on paper" so to speak.

I was happily driving my mom from my sister's when up in front of me was a roadblock of fire engines and police cars.   The road was closed because of an overturned truck and we were re-routed through a neighborhood full of dead ends and cul-de-sacs. What a tangled web those old urban planners did weave.

When we were close to reaching our destination, home, my mom in her sweetest asking voice, wondered if I was busy the rest of the afternoon.  OH-Oh.  That's means "Honey, I want you to be my slave and grant me every wish and drive me where ever I want to go.  And oh yes, buy me lunch too."  Sorry, blog.  Another "roadblock" was placed in my path and this was a formidable one in the shape of a four foot ten, red-haired, 82 year old hobbit woman with expert guilting skills insisting on elevensies.

I am always willing to accommodate my lovely mother and have learned the great skill of patience from her. We shuffle slowly through the five stores we shopped. Lunch was an hour long affair since she eats very slowly and carefully. We stopped at two garage sales and she picked up every item on every table and scrutinized each item carefully like a forensics expert looking for the tiniest evidence of DNA.

Finally on my way to her home, another roadblock, more fire engines and police cars that blocked the divided highway I was driving.  Through the neighborhood again, but this time on one way streets.  The accident earlier that day at least gave you an opportunity to turn left or right.  We were all doomed to go in the same direction causing massive back-ups no matter which way I turned to get away from it all.

Hours later, when I finally drag my butt into my own home, my roadblock is a mental and a physical block.  My head is pounding and my leg is throbbing.  I can't think.  I can't move.  Pain relief isn't coming no matter how many 200mg of whatever it is I'm taking.  My leg takes hours to calm down and finally I can go to bed.

Sometimes there is no roadblock for pain.

There are always roadblocks to overcome.  Roadblocks seem to appear every time you make a real commitment as though the mere mention of such commitment and resolve triggers the fates to mess with you just for fun. I was blocked thoroughly.

All I can hear in my head is a quote paraphrased from Wizard of Oz: "As coroner I must aver, I thoroughly examined her, And she's not only merely blocked, she's really most sincerely blocked."

Friday, June 1, 2012

Life is Good with Cheese

30-day challenge, a reason to live, a reason to blog.  Thanks to We Work for Cheese for the challenge and the daily assignments.  If I make it, I'll be very, very, surprised.  Now, day One.

Cheese - both wonderful and if you think about it a little disgusting
Cheesers - my favorite pretend swear word
Cheezy - tacky chic

Favorite cheeses - extra sharp cheddar, provolone, baby swiss, spiced havarti, mozzarella, feta, ricotta, smoked anything, parmigiana, edam, colby, muenster, gouda, cottage, tillamook, on and on.

Only one piece of cheese - no such thing.

Melted cheese - awesome.  Melted cheese with a slight crusty edge - heaven on earth.

Don't really want to be a wife of a cheese maker, and a candlestick maker sounds like a bore, but a baker, I would be a wildly happy woman, a very happy fat woman. Pastries - yum.

My daddy's daily breakfast - a chunk of cheese, a chuck of bread, and espresso coffee.

One of the best talents of the earthly creature called the human being is its ability to create, transform, and reconstruct in such variety and infinite artistry is its very sustenance - food.

Blessed are the cheese makers.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

God I Love My Family

My mom, that lover of life, who gives her beloved dog away to a man who needed the companionship, and instead got herself a rooster, correction got two roosters.  She coos and strokes them as though they were puppies.

My sister who is downstairs cleaning the floor under the rooster, the one that brought a big bag of baking soda and vinegar, the one who donned her own makeshift hazmat suit, complete with gloves, mask, and wading boots, and keeps saying gross over and over again and finding great humor in it too.

My sister and her young daughter that spent two whole days and nights in airports trying to get to Florida on stand-by, both exhibiting such fortitude and cheerfulness in the face of adversity when the odds were monumentally against them, and finally realizing it to be futile, came home to only try again two days later and getting through.  

My brother whose car was stolen and four weeks later his new car was stolen.  The one that continues to try and works harder and harder than any man I know.  The one that gets slapped down but always rises like a phoenix and starts again.

My sister that can find so many paths and alternatives.  The one that is a secretary, a facilitator, a coach, a therapist, a caretaker, and working mother. The one that can patch and keep her family's life together with invisible duck tape. The one that can juggle so many balls that it amazes me that she hasn't gone nuts.

No matter what life throws at them, they never take it personally.  Life is what it is.  No reason to get too worked up over it.  They live life with grace, humor, and an inner strength that I truly admire. They taught me so many lessons on how to live my life and I love them for it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Can't Stay. Just Have a Few Moments to Say, "Hey Blog."

I have visited my blog page many times the past months and just sigh.  I can visit but can't stay.  My life has been so full these past months. Not really complaining, just stating a fact.  It seems non-stop at times. And when I do get a few minutes, or lucky me, an afternoon or evening free, I vegetate.  I do absolutely nothing.

There is a lot of relief and joy in nothing.
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