powerful messages found everywhere
“in an open society, no idea can be above scrutiny, just as no people should be beneath dignity.”
grand trunk pub, detroit, michigan, usa -2020
a family afternoon spent
practicing karate skills, self defense, getting a good workout
socially distant, outside, under a very hot sun
at beacon park, in detroit
lots of sweat, lots of water, lots of fun
“karate is a form of martial arts in which people who have had years and years of training can,
using only their hands and feet, make some of the worst movies in the history of the world.”
As small budgets and bureaucracy leave playgrounds and parks uncared for in Detroit, a group of twenty-five volunteers known as the Detroit Mower Gang is taking matters into their own hands.
This past weekend, volunteer lawnmowers competed for a championship belt awarded to the person who cuts the most grass during their 12-hour Motown Mowdown. They kicked off at Hammerberg Playfield, an un-owned park on Detroit’s west side, tackling the overgrown lawn, repairing swing sets for the neighborhood before splitting up to cleanup 10 other abandoned playgrounds in the city.
“No one owns this particular park, it just fell through the cracks,” said Tom Nardone, 50, of Birmingham, who started the Detroit Mower Gang in 2009. “We just try to keep it alive. … Without a group, you couldn’t mow this park with a mower in a couple of days.”
A decade ago, Nardone bought a lawn tractor off Craigslist and took it to a park on Interstate 75 and Eight Mile Road. He started a Facebook group to find others who could join the project and eventually, it turned into a mower gang, he said. “When the city was getting close to filing for bankruptcy there were more than 300 parks in Detroit and the city said it could only care for 72.”
Last year, the founders formed a nonprofit called Enemies of Debris and also host trash fishing, where the same group pulls trash out of the Detroit River. The group said there have been fewer lots scouted each year because the city is catching up to them. “We hope they put us out of business,” Nardone said laughing. “We could start a bowling league or something.”
“i like the grass roots people the most.”
credits: optimist daily, detroitnews.com – sarah rahal, max ortiz – photo
way back in the day (1964)
I was six and 3/4, not yet seven
my sister and best friend and i
spent much of our entire summer
‘working’ for free for our friend’s teenage sister
who had plans to go to see the beatles
at olympia arena
when they landed in detroit.
we were recruited by her
to spend our time creating
‘the world’s longest gum wrapper chain’
that she planned to present with her fan club
to the beatles at the concert.
she funded our gum and provided us each with a cigar box
and we sat in the yard for hours upon hours
just talking and laughing
and listening to music on her transistor radio
and creating the chain
until we’d get called home.
we never questioned the project
as were we caught up
in the whirlwind of her excitement
when the time came
she went to the show and presented the chain
later regaling us with the stories and craziness of the concert
and suddenly it was over
our summer of working for free had ended
and I looked forward to my own concerts ahead
wondering who I could recruit to make my paper chains.
credits: ‘The Beatles’ Patrick Julian – Beyond Olympia Stadium, Pinterest, felt magnet
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.
“simply enjoy life and the great pleasures that come with it.”
* 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
we came in empty handed and left with quite a colorful array of characters
such a fun day
spent in southwest detroit
shopping at the ‘honeybee market’
with our spanish teachers
for the pinatas
(one of my favorite things)
to take back to school
for our cinco de mayo celebrations.
“the celebration… you cannot practice it or anything.
it’s a moment when the excitement of your goal
makes you react to the moment.”