Wednesday, March 21, 2012


The day before my grandmother was buried, my father called from the funeral home where he was keeping her body company in between visitations. "You should see the light," he said. A honeyed afternoon glow was casting quite a spell on the baby blue casket, and on the prematurely blooming trees outside our house during a very early Detroit spring. Because he didn't have his own camera with him, and the sun would be down by the time we found a way to get to him, I began walking through the house with my own camera, thinking: this is my grandmother's last sunset above ground.

Argusta Sloan was perhaps the biggest fan of Detroit Ho. Our last few conversations together were filled with recollections of that summer. I was lucky, she reminded me, to have friends who would come such a long way just to spend time together. The idea of that period was warming to her, and I thought back to the afternoons in the backyard when she held court among my friends, making speeches as people chewed on chicken wings while sitting on wooden stumps, fending off our begging dogs.

When I went to Detroit last week for my grandmother's funeral, I fell more deeply in love with my family and with the city they call home. Like afternoon light, it's something difficult to capture, something you have to see for yourself.

So consider it: Detroit, 2012. Bring your unedited poetry manuscripts and your quarter-done dissertations. Bring your cameras and your age-old recipes and your work clothes.

There are a couple of rooms that still need transforming. A garden that wants to live again. Book clubs to start, film screenings to be had. The queer friendly San Francisco tarot card deck needs reshuffling. And lots of good meals from Eastern Market are yet to be toasted with a Bells brewery beer in hand, in honor of a woman whose presence at the table will not soon be forgotten.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

One Year Anniversary

It has been one year since The First Annual Seminole Street Artist's Colony and Exhibition made its way to Motown. Detroit Ho! introduced us to initiative, literary readings and art exhibitions, to generosity, to ourselves, to change, to new and old friends, to home and community gardening, growlers of beer, to the dynamic application of ideas in the realm of landscape architecture, poetry hip hop and art, to the olive guy, to DIA Fridays, Eastern Market Saturdays, Avalon Bakery everydays, the US Social Forum and the Allied Media Conference with its puppetry and dancing, to the most gorgeous gay pride parade of all time, to saying hello to strangers, to the man rollerblading the wrong way down Jefferson Avenue braiding his way like a reckless ballerina gracefully among oncoming cars, to soul food, to big explosive soul love, moments of heartache, to the beauty of dreaming, and to so much more. Who knows what future projects that such a powerful summer will lead to in the future.

While certainty remains of collaborative work in the future, the "First Annual" project has officially closed. If you've found your way to this web address and aren't super familiar with the motor city, I encourage you to look back at our time together, in the hopes that you'll start looking for articles about D-town or even choose to make a trip yourself. Feel free to offer us some feedback, or otherwise keep in touch.

Thank you, Detroit, for an amazing experience! I cannot more highly suggest that EVERYONE click on this last link and let the students at the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences wish our farewell for us. Please keep your eye and heart out for this incredible land of hope, strength, progress, innovation and renaissance! These kids are trying to raise funds to make another music video in the future, so keep an eye out for ways to help.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Detroit Ho Ho Ho's

A 'Best Of' list from this holiday season...

Best Place my dad got a leather jacket for $35: Regeneration New and Used Clothes

Best Uhaul Parking Lot in which to read ArtForum magazine in the backseat of a beat-up Nissan with my cousin Travis: 7 mile and Van Dyke.

Best Sunset: Jefferson Avenue, New Year's Eve

Best Inadvertent Sign of Hope for a Colored Girl on a Winter's Day when the Rainbow's Not Enuf:

Best Day to Visit My Maternal Grandmother's House in Order to Collect Seeds from the Trees Uncle Bernie Planted: New Year's Day.

Best New Fashion Trend My Dad is Trying to Spark: Ski Suits when There isn't a Slope in Sight.

Best 40 Ounces of Beer My Great Aunt Cora Chugged: Trader Joe's 2010 Vintage Ale

Best Shot My Mom Took through the Dirty Windshield:

Best Lemon-Lavender Elixer with Brick Oven Baked Veggie Chili and Pear/Gorgonzola Pizza: Motor City Brew Works

Best Place to Buy Small, Home-Brewed Bottles of Perfume Oil Scented to Resemble Designer Brands: The Dollar Store on Mt. Elliot and Jefferson

Best Artichoke Fritters with Potato-Garlic Spread: Pegasus

Best Cappuccino my Dad Has Had Since Paris: Astoria Pastry Shop in Greektown

Best Siracha Chicken Wings to Eat with Some Daily $1 Beer Specials: Cass Cafe

Best Moment of Bonding with My Sister: Fishing the Pork Skin out of the Trash

Best Chicken-Potato Pocket and Artichoke Focaccia with Kombucha on the side: Avalon Bakery

Best Theatre at which to have Black Swan inflicted upon You: The Main Art in Royal Oak

**Thank you to my cousin Suzanne for coming up with the phrase: Detroit ho ho ho...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter Daydreaming... on a Monday

This morning I heard yet another reference to "youth" radio on KCRW, and it gave me some ideas. I was a huge fan of radio in Detroit over the summer (they even play my favorite show of all time, "The Treatment" with Elvis Mitchell on Saturdays!! Who cares if it's at 5am) and it seems that a Detroit-centered program like The Craig Fahle Show could be a good outlet for a project with oh, say, some journalism students at a local community college. I just so happen to have a niece who is studying journalism at a community college in Detroit and according to a text message from her mother this morning, "YES" she would be interested in doing some kind of project this summer. I'll double check with her when I visit Detroit for Christmas.

But why stop with Craig? I have lovely memories of interning at the Leonard Lopate Show at WNYC in New York a million years ago, and shows like RadioLab were making miracles just down the hall. Which is to say, radio is a reasonably accessible medium, right? Does anybody have contacts at This American Life

A good friend of mine and former NYU teacher, Judith Sloan (no relation) has done some gorgeous radio pieces that come to mind... I am going to start channelling radio waves at yoga class this winter. Unless that's dangerous.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Detroit Ho Wants to Know...

It's about time to think about summer plans. So, would you-- could you-- come to Detroit? If so, what would you do? Who are you?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Nap Time, and Other Announcements

Detroit Ho! is currently napping. But check out my friend Valyntina's blog in the meantime... This October, Detroit Ho! curated Back Room Live! Three of the many beautious Cave Canem poets who read this summer at our "Honeymoon in Detroit" reading are featured: Nandi Comer, Aricka Foreman and Tommye Blount.