Ignite is a high-energy evening bringing people who have an idea together to share stories and have fun. A 5 minute presentation is all you need to get your message out there. And it’s coming to Windsor…Phog to be more specific.
Allison Prieur is an inspired…fired-up gal in Windsor that is trying to cook something interesting up in this city…and I know it will be a huge success. We’re lucky to have someone like her in Windsor, making this kind of effort. We need to respond. We owe it to her. She put this list together, so you can participate. Beat that public-speaking-demon, or express a story you’ve been wanting to tell in a unique way for years. Here’s how.
What You Need:
A 5 minute presentation on a topic you are passionate about and 20 slides. The slides will advance automatically every 15 seconds. For ideas on why and how to do an Ignite presentation, check out this video by Scott Berkun (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRa1IPkBFbg).
It’s a great way to tell a story you’ve always wanted to tell. Have you gone on a trip that you think people would be interested in? Do you work on a project you wish people knew more about? Are you convinced that people would love your favourite game if they gave it a chance? Now you can talk to a captive audience.
Where & When?
Phog Lounge, 157 University Avenue West, Windsor
Wednesday, February 9, 2011 (during Global Ignite Week)
Doors open at 6:30 PM
Presentations begin at 8:00 PM
To Get Involved:
Send your idea and a blurb about yourself to Allison at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, January 17. We’ll let you know by Friday, January 21 if you’ve been selected to present. Then you’ll send your presentation slides in by Wednesday, February 2.
For More Information:
Contact Allison at email@example.com or check out the Ignite website (http://ignite.oreilly.com/) for videos, info and other cities doing Ignites.
Back in the winter, I went to Detroit with Jhoan and our awesome friend Frances.
While we were there, we had a mission. Eat at Cass Cafe, and go to The Burton Theatre.
I wrote about it on this blog already.
What I didn’t mention was the extraordinary experience we had when I begged the ladies to let me go to Bob’s Classic Kicks. Not only do they have ridiculously gorgeous throwback and vintage shoes, they have a blog with all of their stock listed (as it comes in)! I didn’t even know where it was, but when we drove by it I quickly made my case to the girls. They gave me the okay, so I turned around and found a spot.
When we approached the building, we noticed people standing out front. They were…standing.
We all looked in the side windows of the place when we noticed something that stopped us. Immediately. We weren’t going in. We were clearly not welcome. We couldn’t even get a look at all the shoes if we did go inside.
But the owner, I assume, appeared out of nowhere. “Come on in! You wanna come in? Come on!” He reminded me of how I chase down potential customers and regulars that pass by Phog. I always see unknowing people milling out front, looking at the show posters, wondering what’s inside. He clearly saw the same thing, and wanted us to go in, regardless of what was going on inside.
The following video shows what was happening inside.
I’m very happy we chose to go in, and not just because I scored a killer grey and navy pair of Air Force Ones.
For those of you wondering what the charm is about Detroit. This is part of it.
You can plan on buying shoes on a Sunday afternoon and walk in on an impromptu rap video being shot…and the DJ behind the turntables, that you never see in this video (off to the far left) has a fro-hawk that is BRIGHT RED. So slick.
There are TONS of videos, and a couple of interviews at the end of this blog post.
Skip the writing to see what we saw on our trip to Detroit on Saturday October 16th, 2009.
Thanks to David Ziriada and Joan who gave their time for FREE to give this tour, to what they hoped would be a large and eager group of Windsorites. Instead they got the small, tenaciously interested and focused group of the following people, to whom I am extremely grateful for making this experience and incredible one: Luke, Rino, Anastasia (sp?), Wilson, Sophia, and Matt.
David Ziriada and the other side of the Renaissance Center
To begin with, there were nine of us.
One of us was less than six weeks old.
But we were all wide-eyed, and in constant awe of the offerings of the City of Detroit.
Heading over to Detroit at 10am seems early to the people who ran late for our departure, and never made the trek.
Anyone with a day job realizes that this is enough time to wake, shower, feed kids, milk a cow, and be early for departure.
The follow-up walks we’ll be doing will begin at the same time, for those who, if ever in your entire lives, become motivated to DO SOMETHING.
Stopping first at the Wayne County Building, we wriggled down nearby streets, near St. Andrew’s Hall, Jacoby’s (possibly Detroit’s oldest surviving business), Chapoton House, Greektown, St. Mary’s Church, The Detroit Cornice and Slate Building, and much more.
We visited the tourist centre, which is fairly new, on Woodward Avenue. There, we found locally produced gift-shop-type stuff like pins, t-shirts, jewelery, books, and more. I bought a Mayor Coleman Young pin, ironically, as he was one of the worst things for the City of Detroit, in my humble opinion. I also picked up some Detroit Trivia cards from the Detroit Historical Society. Awesome.
We looked at the plethora of art installations in most of the abandoned buildings (and some of the inhabited ones) on our walk back to where we parked. Seeing the streetscapes from angles I normally don’t see was incredible. Let me be clear here. There’s almost NOBODY walking around downtown Detroit on Saturday morning/afternoon. Maybe it’s the college football. But I was able to stand in an urban jungle, with relative silence (aside from a passing bus or The People Mover) and look onto the city as if it were a postcard. Nothing moving. Non one cutting into my photos. If you look at the photo set on Flickr, you’ll be amazed at how FEW people appear in my images.
Having this “I Am Legend” feeling at times allowed me to look around and feel like less of a nosy tourist. I was awestruck at the diversity of building sizes, shapes, colours, and heights like I’ve never been before. Detroit, simply put, is beautiful. And I shared this feeling with many of the other explorers. The most people we saw was inside of The Sweetwater Tavern, where we had lunch. It’s 100 feet from the Wayne County Building. The other place we saw people was at the Campus Martius area. The new, trumped-up, art-adorned section of downtown.
When we went to our second location, we simply drove up Woodward Avenue, with the Fox Theater passing by us on our left hand side, until we passed the big condominiums on the right hand side. Alfred Street. Turned right into that neighbourhood, and parked.
Jaw-dropping levels of architecture in the form of homes built by Civil War benefactors. The most wonderful, restored homes were standing next door to burned out husks. This is Brush Park. This dichotomy is a recurring theme in Detroit. Wherever you find something pleasing to the eye, you’re bound to find something crushing to the soul nearby. When reading the plaque for the Chapoton House in downtown, it took me a full two minutes to realize that a homeless person was sleeping in the doorway, clear as day.
I think there’s something attractive to us, humans, in opportunity…in seeing something on its way to betterment. When we see desolation, we cringe. When we see affluence, we also, in many cases, cringe. But beauty under fire, beauty defying the odds is one of the most sating things we can experience. And I think that Detroit holds a grand attraction for that reason, right now. Brush Park used to be full of destroyed buildings. They’re all gone. knocked down, but for a few that are either newly ruined or being held over for improvement. Looking south through this neighbourhood, I see nothing for several hundred yards standing between myself and Ford Field. It looks more like a hockey arena in the Lasalle than a major American sports franchise’s home field. Even the namesake artwork on the roof of this multi-million-dollar space has the dichotomy I speak of. The logo looks like it was made of cake, and left out over the summer to get rained on, lose its colour, and eventually fade into something unrecognizable.
To wrap up, I’ll add that we drove through Pole Town. A seemingly derogatory name for the old Polish neighbourhood of Detroit. It is easily one of the most desolate, bombed out places I’ve ever seen. You know the Evolution of Man image of the ape growing into Hobo Habilis and so on and so on until it’s a human? Imagine that same progression except as a de-evolution of a building. Some have no paint. Then no windows. Then they’re a little charred. Then they’re half falling over. Then there’s no roof. And eventually you’re seeing homes burnt to a crisp, laying down hopeless while a high school (so covered in graffiti we thought it was abandoned) holds a football practice across the street from it. I began wondering how this would effect my psyche if I was exposed to this level of decay less than 100 feet from my high school in the abundance that these neighbourhood kids have to experience.
We ended our tour in the Heidelberg Project.
I’ll leave it at that. Those who know about it can simply nod their heads. Those who have not been there…well, it’s tough to describe. Use the link above to see what I mean. It was like entering another world. From the dying Pole Town to the bizarre, fun, playful but oft disturbing Heidelberg Project.
If you didn’t come, I think you may have missed out, once again, on one of the most enriching experiences I’ve had in Windsor/Detroit in my entire life.
You need to SHOW UP.
Speaking of Show Up, here’s my two newest interviews for my podcast by the same name.
The domed roof of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
So our walk happened.
It was based in the cultural center of Detroit, around the Detroit Institute of Arts, The Detroit Public Library, The Scarab Club, WDET 101.9 FM, Wayne State University, and the like.
I’ll link HERE TO THE PHOTOS of the walk. There’s a bunch, and they’re on Flickr.
I’ll put a link at the bottom of the page also.
Detroit Public Library, Second Floor, Panorama
We went forth on September 12th, 2009, and emerged into the U.S. with less than half of the official respondents to the Facebook group. 18 of us eventually got to our meeting place (Phog Lounge) and managed to get to Detroit. E-mails were sent to me while the group was waiting to travel explaining that hang-overs, lethargy, and scheduling conflicts were preventing some from attending.
Thank goodness we had enough drivers show up for the ones who were still too intoxicated from the night before to drive.
When we met Bob Goldsmith at the back entrance to the Detroit Public Library, we really didn’t know what we were going to be seeing. “Midtown” is a new place for us. Cass Corridor is a place we hear horror stories about from the saltier folks we know. Bob changed all that.
We started by visiting the Detroit Public Library’s innards, which were stunning and ornate beyond our expectations. I’ll post photos. From there we headed through a series of places previously undiscovered by the group including The African American Museum of History, The College of Creative Studies, The Detroit Science Center, Detroit Medical Center, neighbourhoods frozen in time (like Ferry Street, Canfield Ave.), Avalon Bakery, Cass Cafe, The Bronx Bar, and more.
Canfield Street. Frozen in time with old homes and cobblestone streets
We finished our illusion-shattering trip, which started at 11:15am, with a visit to Dally In The Alley, around 2pm. This festival takes place on and around a little block of Cass Corridor right near Bronx Bar. It travels, like water, into the most convenient caveats, into the alleys around the area in question.
We know how big the Detroit suburbs are, and how the general public of those spaces USE Detroit-proper as a playground to be left desolate each evening. But even with that truth, there are people LIVING and making LIFE happen in Detroit. Many of them make sure they attend Dally In The Alley.
I bumped into a few of them..friends of Phog. It was great to see some familiar Detroit faces. They were proud of their city, and they knew about our walk, and they were eager to know what the group thought. Most of us could only shake our heads, shrug, and make faces to show we were impressed.
I wound up buying two woodblock prints from Kevin O’Rourke (Crown Vic Productions)
and I’m absolutely thrilled with them in my possession rather than displayed in that alley.
This was another one of those events that was made exclusively by the people who went on the walk. The participators. That title should be said as if you’re announcing a comic book hero…PARTICIPATORS! Not enough is said about the people who choose to be a part of something. To show up. To make memories. To make connections. To be a part of the thing that makes the NEXT thing.
Thank you to David Ziriada who made the walk happen. And thank you to Bob Goldsmith who ran the tour. Mostly, I am thankful for the people who walked. You know who you are.
By the way, we have booked another walk, which will be free. This walk was a WHOPPING $10 U.S….hahaha…which was easily worth every red cent. The next walk will be dependent only on how many drivers we can secure, as it will be a drive/walk Walk. It is scheduled for Saturday, October 17th. Want in? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org