Saturday, September 4, 2010

Urban Pioneers Start a Revolution

Our client and good friend Dave Mancini, owner of Supino's Pizzeria in the Eastern Market, just celebrated his second successful year by hosting a big cookout at the Farnsworth Farm on the near east side of Detroit. If this party is any indication, Detroit might not just recover, it's gonna start a revolution. The steampunk pioneers are circling the wagons and looking to make a new model settlement on the rugged, high speed global frontier. In the middle of this untamed community garden, local urban farmers, businessmen and artists, grandpas and babies, diehard city dwellers and curious suburbanites stood in line for Dave's grilled pizzas (eyes wide when they saw the sophisticated toppings: tuscan pulled pork, just cut basil, fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers, etc.). Motor City Brew flowed continuously in the bayou heat and kids zipped over and under adults and on top of a giant log jungle gym. The party was a buzzing hive of new ideas. Creative collaborations are being planned and executed under our noses. It was a joyous display of creative talent, including those new to the D and the prodigal children from places like New York and Amsterdam. Detroit is a giant magnet and they come for the spectacle and find themselves staying. Music wafted from the experimental art gallery/theater/performance space squatting in the abandoned building across from the garden. Lo and behold there was my 11 year-old Wyatt on electric guitar playing with the big boys. Actually, this is a whole block (and then some) of experimental gallery/theater performance space. There's the west end anchor; full-blown farm of urban farmers Kinga and Andrew, growing and raising their children on years of city harvests before anyone else had the cahones to do it. The menagerie home of gardener/artist/chef/animal lover Molly Motor a few doors down who might be cooking, tiling or tilling at any given moment. Murals on houses and small gardens have sprung up down and around the corner. Sprouted and nurtured, Farnsworth is a living, growing community. When Richard Florida (Carnegie Professor and author of the highly acclaimed Rise of the Creative Class) talks about what makes today's cities successful, these are the sorts of people and places making it happen. I know that Detroit has been at the bottom of this list and that I sound like Pollyanna predicting yet another renaissance for Detroit, but if you had been at this party and talked to these people, you'd be as energized (and sleepless) as me. Look for more happenings like this, check out If you wanna know what's else is going on, head down to the Eastern Market on Saturdays, check the bulletin boards at places like Supino's Pizzeria and Avalon Bakery. Or hey, come by and see me…well if you can catch me that is….o.k. well then call.

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