September 16, 2010



Canon EOS 7D | Canon 35mm f/1.4 | Natural Light
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It's funny the way things are interconnected.

For example, this photo is connected to the The Jones Family post. The Jones are a family of artists. When I spoke with them, they said they would have a booth at the upcoming Dally in the Alley open-air art festival.

I didn't see the Jones family, but looking for them put me into contact with Allison, the young woman pictured above.

Allison is a musician and a member of one of the bands that played at the Dally. We talked about the interconnectedness of the independent Detroit music scene. Talking to Allison and later watching The Juliets perform made me realize that there is some great music being made in Detroit. In fact, in the course of that conversation I even learned that one of my favorite songs was done by another Detroit band that Allison was connected to.

I'm a huge fan of the FX series Rescue Me, and the Detroit-based Von Bondies are the band behind the show's awesome theme song "C'mon C'mon". Rescue Me is set in Brooklyn. That's probably why I imagined the band that did the theme song was also from Brooklyn. Nope. It was a Detroit connect all the way.

Which all this interconnectedness, it occurred to me to ask Allison if she knew the person in one of my early and most favorite photos from TPOD,  Student | Rocker.  I pulled the photo up on my iPod, showed it to Allison and she immediately responded,

"Yea, that's Molly."

There is a definite interconnectedness in Detroit. I've long said that if you stand in any one place in the city for more than a hour, you'll happen across everyone you have ever known. There especially seems to be an increased level of connectivity amongst the artistic crowd. And it also seems that the artistic class is at the vanguard of this city's resurgence.

That artistic-class resurgence was recently profiled in a documentary sponsored by Palladium Boots. The documentary, hosted by Johnny Knoxville of all people, details how entrepreneurial and artistically-minded people are coming to Detroit to execute their vision (Allison moved to Detroit's Cass Corridor from the outlying, lake-dotted, almost rural suburb of Waterford, Michigan).

I posted the video to my page on Facebook and got some peculiar responses. One of my black, expatriate Detroiter friends was somewhat disturbed by what she characterized as an invasion of white outsiders and the possible cultural, financial and physical dislocation that results from people with resources moving into low-income communities.

I found a couple of points of contention with her view. First, I don't have any problems with "outsiders". If you come to Detroit and are contributing to it's vitality, you are a Detroiter. Period.

Second, if well-to-do black people don't like well-to-do white people gentrifying Detroit, move your well-to-do black ass to the city.

My good friend Tracy made an observation about gentrification that I thought was poignant. She said, "they are mad at the white people when they leave and mad when they come back."

That said, there's nothing that says gentrification has to be undertaken exclusively by white people. But some level of gentrification by some kind of people is needed, and that gentrification is the unavoidable byproduct of revitalization. Detroit can't just be full of poor people forever.

Plus, not all of the people moving here are moving here with bags of cash. Some of them are people of modest resources and lofty ambition. Also, not everyone here with lofty ambitions is from outside of the city.

Regarding those outsiders who are moving to the city, I would hope that people with historical roots in the city would welcome anyone who comes here and has something to contribute. Because ultimately, everyone in this city has a fate that is interconnected.

[View the ongoing project and meet more of: The People of Detroit ]


michaellacombe said...

Interesting. I watched that Knoxville video the night you posted it. I meant to comment, but it was VERY LATE and I went to bed. I never got back around to it, so I never saw the comments. Anyway, I found that video very encouraging, and I like Tracy's comment that you highlighted here.

I wish I knew of all these festivals you've been going to, but I've been of modest means anyway lately (understatement), so who knows if I'd have even been able to make it?

In regard to the picture, I have two things.
1. I like her eyes. I like the color, as well as the fortunate catch light.
2. I like how you wrote the title in the bokeh. lol

Finally, Nikon is about to come out with a new 35mm f/1.4, so nananana boo boo to you and your Canon lens. lol

mallit18 said...

"Second, if well-to-do black people don't like well-to-do white people gentrifying Detroit, move your well-to-do black ass to the city"

Love it! So friggin true, couldn't have said it better.