Category Archives: detroit

creature comfort.

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one of the many beautiful and curious creatures at the belle isle aquarium

The Belle Isle Aquarium was designed by famed Detroit architect, Albert Kahn, and opened in August, 1904. It is the oldest aquarium in the country and has served the Detroit community as a beloved attraction for generations. In 2005, the city of Detroit announced that the Aquarium was to be closed due to lean economic times for the city. The building remained closed to the public until the Belle Isle Conservancy reopened it on September 15, 2012. Since its reopening, the aquarium has exploded in popularity, evident by the attendance numbers that have soared over the course of the last decade. “Momentum” is truly the best term for what is happening in this historic building. A work-in-progress, the aquarium continues to grow and flourish as new exhibits and fish are added, tanks are restored, and history is preserved for generations to come.

“the universe is full of the lives of perfect creatures.”

-konstantin tsiokovsky 

on the water.

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beautiful and  enlightening experience

kayaking through detroit’s canals

that i never knew existed

with detroit river sports

then paddling into the detroit river

bounded on either side by the united states and canada

learning history and tales of

bootlegging, river islands, mansions, auto barons, inventors, and boatmen

finishing with a lovely relaxed dinner

canal side

at coriander kitchen and farm

fresh farm to table fare

all in the heart of the city.

“if there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”

-loren eiseley

finding dabls in detroit.

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i recently went with a group of colleagues/friends

to find the artist, dabls

working on his block in detroit

where we learned so much from him

an experience i’ll never forget

dabls’ installation-‘iron teaching rocks how to rust’ 

artist/storyteller dabls

uses materials as metaphors

to pass on his stories

of african and european art/cultures

open to everyone

he can be found working and sharing stories

on this abandoned block

that he has reclaimed

as his own and the community’s

most every day

dalbas mbad african bead museum

where each of his beads tells a story

dabls’ art has brought this house to life

 “Stories are able to help us to become more whole, to become Named.

And Naming is one of the impulses behind all art;

to give a name to the cosmos, we see despite all the chaos.”

-Madeleine L’Engle

The Kresge Foundation elected Dabls as “2022 Eminent Artist”

to recognize his accomplishments in the arts as well as his lifelong impact on Detroit’s culture.

to read his full story go to:

http://www.mbad.org/best-friends

or just stop by to see him.

happy accidental birthday, bumpy cake.

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A Beloved Treat, Born from a Happy Accident

German confectioner Fred Sanders Schmidt first opened up his confectionary in Chicago, but that venture was short-lived, as it was a casualty of the Great Fire in 1871. Sanders and his wife, Rosa landed in Detroit, where he reopened for business in 1875. Sanders Confectionery has been a Detroit institution ever since.

For its first few decades in business, the store was simply a good old-fashioned chocolate and candy shop, with most of the products handcrafted by Fred and Rosa. In 1912, Fred decided to begin selling baked goods to honor the passing of his father, who had been a prominent baker and business owner in Illinois. One of those items was a rich chocolate cake, first frosted with vanilla buttercream and finished with a glossy chocolate fudge ganache, a nod to Fred’s candy-making skills. During one recipe test, Fred began to run out of vanilla buttercream, and instead of frosting the cake in a thick layer as planned, he playfully piped the white frosting in several rails across the top of the cake, which created a bumpy surface under the fudge icing and made for an attractive cross-section. After recognizing that most Sanders customers always asked for “the cake with the bumps,” the name was changed from “Devil’s Food Buttercream Cake” to “Chocolate Bumpy Cake” and a dessert icon was born on April 27, 1913. 

side note: this is one of my favorite cakes and also the nickname given to me by the waiters i worked with years ago, who suggested that i should use the name ‘bumpy teacakes’ should i ever become a dancer, and the entire restaurant crew knew me by this name forever after.

“nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” 

-ralph waldo emerson

 

 

 

credits: sandersbakery.com

Like many happy culinary accidents, the newly fashioned cake with its unique look took off with customers. Initially called “Devil’s Food Buttercream Cake,” so many people simply asked for “the cake with the bumps” that Sanders changed the name to “Chocolate Bumpy Cake.”

Like many happy culinary accidents, the newly fashioned cake with its unique look took off with customers. Initially called “Devil’s Food Buttercream Cake,” so many people simply asked for “the cake with the bumps” that Sanders changed the name to “Chocolate Bumpy Cake.”

inside out and outside in.

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 entering the anna scripps whitcomb conservatory

designed by albert kahn and george mason in 1904

on belle isle, in detroit, michigan

you realize what an amazing vision of the world they had

“architecture is not such a knowledge form, but a form of knowledge.”

-bernard tschumi

 

detroit’s made another trip around the sun.

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detroit looks pretty good for being 320 years old

happy birthday.

 

“there are cities that get by on their good looks, offer climate and scenery, views of mountains or oceans, rockbound or with palm trees. and there are cities like detroit that have to work for a living.”

-*elmore leonard

 

*note – (elmore was a prolific american author/screenwriter who lived in the detroit area, where i grew up.

my father resembled elmore in his later years, was frequently mistaken for him,

and signed autographs upon request)

 

 

photo image: detroit river conservancy, detroit riverfront, michigan, usa

art house.

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the kinder created a new house for the fairies

after their old house broke apart

and they had nowhere to live.

after learning about detroit artist, tyree guyton,

they created the house in his artistic style

and placed it in the garden

where beautiful flowers were just beginning to bloom.

“life itself is an art form”

-tyree guyton (creator of the heidelberg project)

https://www.tyreeguyton.com/about

industry.

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This week marks the anniversary of the debut of Diego Rivera’s “Detroit Industry Murals” in 1933.
Rivera’s work is a monumental 27-panel mural at the Detroit Institute of Arts
that portrays the geological, technological, and human history of Detroit. 
I have visited these murals since I was a young child and I never fail to be amazed.

Explore what makes “Detroit Industry Murals” a masterpiece in this episode of Bank of America‘s “Masterpiece Moment.”

credits: detroit institute of arts, bank of america

open society.

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 powerful messages found everywhere

 

“in an open society, no idea can be above scrutiny, just as no people should be beneath dignity.”

-maajid nawaz

 

grand trunk pub, detroit, michigan, usa -2020

art is community.

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‘los trompos,’ (spanish for spinning tops)

a giant spinning top art installation,

visits detroit’s beacon park from mexico city

'Los Trompos.' - ABEL KLAINBAUM

the eight giant, colorful tops, designed by *héctor esrawe and ignacio cadena, are large enough for multiple people to sit or stand inside them, and visitors are welcome to take a spin. they were designed to facilitate play, celebrate culture, and bring people together to interact and connect. Los Trompos is an interactive piece that comes to life when people engage with it. the tops are based on the construction of the actual toy and reflect the work of mexican artisans, as well as mexican culture, art, and architecture. 

community comes together to dance in the park
so fun to be here
as all kinds of people stopped by
just to play and connect with each other. 

“simply enjoy life and the great pleasures that come with it.”

-karolina ku

credits: sonia kahleel, metro times

 * héctor esrawe is an industrial designer with a cross-disciplinary design atelier located in mexico city. ignacio cadena is the founder of cadena+asoc. concept design, a mexico-based interior design firm. the two often collaborate with each other, and together they won two interior design best of year awards in 2017