Lofts of Merchants Row Downtown Detroit Loft Apartments Fri, 23 Sep 2016 13:15:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Detroit Cycle Pub Fri, 23 Sep 2016 13:15:56 +0000

Detroit Cycle Pub allows you to rent a mobile bar that you pedal around Detroit viewing the sites while drinking. They not only have beer but craft cocktails as well. The lucky residents of Lofts of Merchants Row were able to enjoy this for the August resident outing.

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The Lost American Art of Getting to Know your Neighbors Thu, 22 Sep 2016 04:39:43 +0000 One of the best resources that any apartment dweller has access to is their neighbors. Unfortunately, a combination of

  • rampant paranoia (“How do you know he isn’t a drug dealing Satanic Zika-infected rapist for ISIS?”),
  • screen-oriented living (“Why do I need to know my IRL neighbors when I have so many neighbors on Bakery Story?”), and
  • simple social awkwardness (“What if he laughs at me?!?”)

has rendered the once-rich American tradition of getting to know one’s neighbors almost completely a thing of the past. Here at the Lofts of Merchants Row, we regard that loss as a significant tragedy, and we’d like to make some small effort to help people address it.

Why Get to Know Your Neighbors?
So the first and most obvious question is why: why should you put forth the effort to get to know your neighbors? It turns out, there are a few good reasons.

  • The first is the most obvious: if something happens that you’re unprepared to handle — be it an unexpected lack of sugar or a genuine emergency — having someone nearby who has their own set of resources you can lean on is a huge benefit.
  • The second is clear as well: if you get to know your neighbors to the point that you’re comfortable hanging out with them, you have built-in friends.
  • Finally, you have the remarkably important but often ignored ability to rely on a well-known neighbor to do things like keep a spare key for you, or water your plants if you’re gone for a weekend.

How to Get to Know Your Neighbors
There’s a pretty simple set of steps you can take you get to know your neighbors, no matter how shy you are.

  • Smile. Smiling makes people feel more comfortable approaching you, and if you get in the habit of smiling your way through the building, you’ll start building trust with the neighbors long before you say or do anything active to reach out to them.
  • Introduce Yourself. You don’t have to do anything significant — just one day on the way by, in the elevator or in the hall, offer your name and ask them how they’re doing. Get their name, and make a note of it. That’s all!
  • Bring a Small Gift. A short while after you’ve introduced yourself, bring over a small gift — a batch of cookies is the classic, but fruit or flowers or almost any minor thing will do. Don’t ask for anything, accept anything they offer in return, and simply say it seemed like a neighborly thing to do — that’ll prime them for more getting-to-know-them activities in the future.
  • Ask Them for Something. Don’t make up an emergency or anything, but do totally knock on their door and humbly ask them if they can help you with something, be it the classic cup of sugar or helping you move a couch. It’s an odd psychological fact, but people who decide to help you (for no reward) will actually like you better for having been asked and then given you the assistance you want!
  • Invite them Over. Once you’ve gotten some help from a neighbor, you have the excuse you need to accomplish your ultimate goal: invite them over to your place (as a thank you, naturally) and hang out for a while. Have some pizza, play a few rounds of Apples to Apples, and swap stories. Do that a few times, and you just turned a stranger into a friend — and that’s what it’s all about.
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Do You Have the Apartment Insurance You Need? Sat, 17 Sep 2016 04:36:35 +0000 Most Americans aren’t really conscious that apartment insurance (a.k.a. renter’s insurance) is even a thing. Some estimates say that as many as half of all renters are un- or under-insured in terms of renter’s insurance. The likely reason that other half qualifies is that many landlords require apartment insurance in the lease agreement! So why is apartment insurance so important?

Because Our Insurance Doesn’t Cover Your Stuff
Yes, we have insurance that covers events like fire, vandalism, burglary, and so on — but our insurance covers our butts, not yours. If a fire costs us $1,200 in drywall but it costs you $4,500 in clothing and vintage comic books, our insurance pays us $1,200…and you nothing. (Exception: if we do something that causes your stuff to get destroyed, you’re covered by our liability insurance, but that’s an exceedingly rare circumstance.)

Because You Have to Pay for What You Break
The flipside of the above: if you do something that breaks your neighbor’s stuff somehow, you’re going to be liable for it…and that can be as easy as having a toilet overflow and leak through the floor onto your downstairs neighbor’s walk-in closet, or having a guest slip in your apartment and break their ankle. Renter’s insurance covers you in cases like those as well.

Because Replacing Your Stuff is Expensive
Expert estimates put the typical contents of a one-bedroom apartment at a nationwide average of $13,000. Two bedrooms? $18,000. Are you ready to cover those costs if worst comes to worst? (ProTip: Make sure your apartment insurance uses a “replacement cost” or “replacement value” policy when determining how much it pays out. It’s pretty pointless to get a policy that pays you what you paid for something if that amount won’t get you another one of those things to put to use.)

Because Sometimes You Can’t Live in Your Apartment
Every once in a rare while, a disaster happens that renders your apartment temporarily unlivable. Say your upstairs neighbor’s kid’s science project ends up filling your apartment with chemical smoke that requires 48 hours to clear safely — either you have apartment insurance and it pays for you to live somewhere else for a few days, or you have to pay for it yourself.

But I Can’t Afford Another Monthly Bill!
Nonsense. Apartment insurance policies generally cost less than $1/day. If your budget is that tight, you didn’t pass the screening and didn’t get into an apartment in the first place. You can afford it — and you should. If you need a lower premium, you can take a higher deductible — but that’s only something you should consider if you actually have the amount of the deductible in the bank, with no intention to do anything else with it.


In short, apartment insurance is cheap, it’s incredibly useful, and you might just be legally required to have it in the first place…but even if you’re not required, you should.

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Belle Isle Park Fri, 16 Sep 2016 21:15:44 +0000

Belle Isle Park, is a 982-acre island park in the Detroit River, between the United States mainland and Canada. Owned by the City of Detroit, it is managed as a state park by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources through a 30-year lease initiated in 2013.[1] Belle Isle is the largest city-owned island park in the United States and is the third largest island in the Detroit River after Grosse Ile and Fighting Island. It is connected to mainland Detroit by the MacArthur Bridge.

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A New Twist on Touring Detroit: Bikes and Beverages! Tue, 13 Sep 2016 00:21:20 +0000 detroit-cycle-pub

A Pub Crawl is not an exceptional event for The Lofts of Merchants Row Residents.  We are in the heart of Downtown Detroit and surrounded by incredible pubs and eateries, so technically any night out or even your walk home from work, can turn into an impromptu Pub Crawl!

But every month The Lofts of Merchants Row hosts an event for residents to get together with one another and experience Downtown Detroit with neighbors and friends (which is probably why I count so many of my neighbors as friends!).

This month The Lofts of Merchants Row hired Detroit Cycle Pub, so that we could pedal our way to some of our favorite spots! “The Cycle Pub incorporates two favorite pastimes, bikes and beer! Appearing much like a trolley or cable car, [they] add a twist—riders provide the horsepower by pedaling this passenger ‘bike’ while enjoying the various sights and attractions of Detroit.”

The night started off at Exodos, the home of Rooftop Saturdays, where along with serving up a refreshing and rehydrating cocktail they also host Friday Night Live and Throw Back Wednesdays! Right in the heart of Greektown, this Downtown Detroit hotspot will get your heart pumping with their DJs dance and floor!

Bookies was the next stop.  On all the Home Openers (Red Wings, Lions, and Tigers…Alright, on any game day!), I am glad this bar is close to home! And my love for this ‘local’ is as endless as their Bottomless Happy Hour (every weekday except game days from 5 until 7 p.m.!)! Okay. Yes. There are lots of exclamation marks in that last sentence. That is totally representative of the great times, including New Years Eve, I have had at Bookies.  And on the days they don’t have a Bottomless Happy Hour for $12, they have $15 pitchers with 4 shots or a $16 bucket of Corona. Not to mention Ribeye Nachos (need I say more?!?!); a Tavern Burger with Apple Wood Bacon, Apple BBQ, Cheddar Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Onion Frizzles, & Pickles on a grilled Pretzel Bun that is served with French Fries; and a Rhubarb Crumble, with Warm Rhubarb topped with Brown Sugar Crumble, Vanilla Ice Cream, and drizzled with Caramel Sauce.  That last one just takes me home to the Yoop and my Mom’s kitchen. Who does that?! (Or, maybe the question should be, who doesn’t do that before or after a great game!)  You can ‘bet’ I’m at Bookies as often as possible.

The Lofts of Merchants Row Residents then pedaled their way on to the Rusted Crow, where you can get a cold beverage or a Brussels Sprout Salad, with Flash Fried Brussels Sprouts, with Red Onion, Michigan Cherries, shredded and Carrots with Chicken, Salmon, or Shrimp while enjoying Live Music almost any night of the week!

The night ended (as so many do when it is right next door!) at Downtown Louie’s Lounge! This local eatery and bar ‘ups the ante’ with ½ Off Selected Bottles of Wine on Wednesdays! It’s an excellent spot for a date or a private party (I hosted one there when my Big Brother came to town from Puerto Rico—and really, I think we all know it isn’t easy to impress either your Big Brother or someone who lives on a tropical island—but Downtown Louis’s did!). There isn’t anything I wouldn’t recommend on their menu: mostly because we pretty much ordered and loved everything! But I would definitely be sure to order their Cheese Plate, a Trio of rotating Artisanal Cheeses from around the world or their Jamon Serrano Board, with Chef’s Choice of the finest Old World-Style Cured Hams, both served with Traditional and Modern Accompaniments as either an appetizer or an after-drinks-and-dinner dish! And, because one of the best things about living in Downtown Detroit is keeping it local, it’s important to note that their delish dishes are locally sourced from local purveyors such as Fairway Packing and Wigley’s Meats & Produce in Eastern Market!

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Cheap Ways to Fancy Up your Loft Apartment Mon, 12 Sep 2016 04:30:17 +0000 What actually makes a space fancy? The list is actually surprisingly short — and easy to attain, if you know what you’re looking for. The most significant element is detail, but that detail has to be counterbalanced by simplicity. Then you have the Texture/Color/Material elements, intensity, vibrancy, and pop. Finally, you have coherence. Let’s talk in very brief about what those mean.

Detail and Simplicity
The biggest difference between the walls of your typical American apartment and the walls of an expensive French hôtel is the moulding. Your walls might have some crown moulding and some baseboard, but theirs have chair rail, panel moulding, wainscoting, picture moulding, and often more! But for all of the intricate moulding that is a classic part of fancy-looking walls, they tend to be extremely simple in other ways, painted a single uniform color, and with little on them other than the occasional torchère. That’s the balance to strike: detail in one regard, simplicity in all others.

Intensity, Vibrancy, and Pop
If you want a thing to look fancy, you have to give it at least one of these traits. Intensity means that the color or texture is rich and saturated, like chrome as opposed to stainless steel. Vibrancy means that the color or texture seems to have a life all its own, like the shimmery womble of a rippling velvet curtain. Pop means that the color or texture stands clearly out from the surroundings, like a streak of pink highlighter on a white page of paper.

This rule of fanciness simply means that if something looks out of place, it won’t ever look fancy — it will just look out of place, even if it follows all of the other principles.

The Point
OK, so let’s look at a few ways to use these rules to fancy up your loft apartment without spending a huge wad of cash:

  • Add an intensely-colored throw rug that goes with (but doesn’t match) the existing décor.
  • Ditto with a variety of throw pillows. (ProTip: Cram 24-inch pillows into 22-inch pillowcases to give them an overstuffed, truly luxurious appearance. Seriously!)
  • Pick up fancy but abused picture frames at the second hand shops and refashion them with a metallic or other vibrant spray paint.
  • Add color splashes to any room by buying 12″x12″ foam blocks and covering them with a bright fabric, then arrange them in a pleasing setup on or along one wall.
  • Spray paint all of the cupboard and cabinet handles and drawer pulls in your kitchen the same bright color that you put somewhere on the countertop (say, in the form of a plastic cutting board or a painted backsplash.)
  • Put a few identical, tall/narrow mirrors side-by-side on a wall opposite the largest window in the room.

The Flipside: Disguising the Un-Fancy
Disguising the necessary but obviously banal objects that defancify your

  • Arrange your TV amid a cluster of large, framed objects on the wall behind it.
  • If you have something in your room that is glaringly unfancy, consider hiding it behind a shoji screen or a similar device that can be properly fancied according to the principles above.
  • Clutter is the opposite of fancy (too much detail, not enough vibrancy or pop). Don’t let it get in the way.

All told, once you understand the why of how fanciness is communicated, the how almost creates itself. And once you’ve finished your space, you’ll find that your new home really tickles your fancy.

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Interior Design Trends for Fall and Winter 2016 Wed, 07 Sep 2016 04:21:13 +0000 The summer is ending, and you know what that means: it’s time the forward-thinking to look a few months ahead and start getting  their interior design ready for their winter décor. So we talked to a few experts, and came up with some suggestions for the interior decorator in your residence to stay in style for the next several months. Let’s just right in!

A Return to Nature
As more and more of our lives become driven by brightly-colored pixels on tiny chrome or black plastic rectangles, there’s a strong drive to find (make!) some space for nature in our personal environment. Interior color schemes this fall and winter will veer toward rust, almond, copper, dusty pink, and of course pumpkin — strong, earthy colors that evoke the woods. Similarly, textures can be counted on to return to nature: rattan, wood grain, cork, wool, and raw or barely-worked stone are on the next couple seasons’ agendas.

What’s Old is New Again
Along those same lines, the more rustic and earthy vintage pieces (or vintage look-alike pieces) are going to be en flique this next half-year — but with a twist. In keeping with the ongoing resurgence of the remix culture, you can expect to see those older elements recreated and reinterpreted with unexpected modern elements, like an antique walnut table with built-in USB charging ports. That’s the future of interior design for you!

Upholstery is In
This interior design trend started with the sudden resurgence of the upholstered headboard a few months ago, and it’s not going to stop in the next few months. You can expect upholstered (almost anything here)s to be trendy at least until the hot season returns. Keep the themes about texture in mind when choosing your upholstering material, though: fibrous, natural materials like (can’t believe this) burlap and even twine are being used to upholster those things you don’t have to actually touch. For things you would prefer to be comfortable on or next to, run with comfort first and hit the trend by choosing the right colors, perhaps with a naturalistic pattern.

Nooks Are For People, Not Stuff
The smaller areas you’re probably currently devoted to storing your can’t-get-rid-ables are getting repurposed this season — into secluded sanctuaries that you can use to retreat from the hustle and bustle, and particularly the digital distractions. Get a couple of custom cushions, a handful of warm-toned paint colors, and a wrought iron shelf to hold a few of your favorite books, and transform your favorite cranny into a reading space that the outside world will never find you hiding in.


That’s it for our interior design trends update — if a trend you’re currently enjoying isn’t affected by the new guidelines here, don’t stress: that just means you’re going to remain trendy for a while longer yet. And of course the two most important rules (the ones that never go out of style) are these:

  • Whatever you decide to do with your space, make it your own, and
  • Have fun!
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PSA: Clutter Makes You Stupid (Literally) Fri, 02 Sep 2016 21:37:25 +0000 Clutter. It’s one of those things you either live with, or work constantly to keep under control. (Or you hire a maid (possibly alongside an au pair), but that’s a bill few of us care to tackle.) If you choose “live with,” though, you should be well aware of the costs. You might feel like you’re saving yourself time and hassle…but it’s just not the case, and besides that, it’s literally making you stupid.

The Many Ways that Clutter Eats Your Brain

  • It consumes your visual processing power: whether you consciously realize it or not, your brain is constantly devoting a small part of its capacity to every single object in your visual field. So a visual field that is mostly empty frees up your processing power for the task at hand, and a cluttered field of vision slows down your ability to visually recognize even familiar items.
  • It consumes your executive function: just like your brain has a limited amount of visual processing power, so you also have a limited amount of decision-making ability. And just like clutter consumes visual ‘brain cycles,’ it also crops up in your decision-making process as well, because your brain has to actively decide what around you is relevant to the decision you’re currently making — and every irrelevant thing it has to discard eats away that the executive function it takes to make that decision. (As an added bonus, low executive function makes you feel tired and irritable.)
  • It causes stress: we all know stress reduces your IQ, and clutter causes stress in a number of ways. Emotional stress (“I should clean up more,”) powerlessness (“I can’t find the XYZ,”) financial stress (“Guess I’ll have to buy a new one,”), and procedural stress (“I want to do X, but I can’t do X until I do Y and Z,”) are just a few obvious examples.
  • It impairs your memory and imagination: it turns out that both the ability to remember and the ability to visually imagine are dependent on the brain’s visual processing power, because both use the same part of the brain to create the images you remember and/or visualize.

So, let’s talk about what causes clutter in the first place, in the hopes that knowing why clutter exists can help us build a plan for decluttering and getting rid of the stupid.

Why Does Clutter Happen?
There are three basic causes of clutter:

  • Organizational or procedural errors,
  • Exigent circumstances, or
  • Psychological barriers.

Organizational or Procedural Errors
These are essentially “things you are doing that enable clutter.” The most common examples are:

  • Acquiring things you have no consistent place for,
  • Storing things in a way that makes them annoying to get our and/or put away,
  • Using stuff as a ‘visual reminder’ of things to do, or
  • Organizing your stuff in a system that isn’t easy for you to use.

To fight clutter, you need to operate under a fairly simple set of rules. First, everything should be put away such that there’s a direct relationship between how easy it is to access and how often it’s used (or, for emergency equipment, how urgent the emergency it’s intended for will generally be). Second, everything should be put away in a container that is clearly labeled, and those containers should be organized in a way that makes intuitive sense to everyone living with you. Finally, don’t buy anything unless you know before you swipe your card where you’re going to put it.

Exigent Circumstances
This line is very simple — it boils down to “you’re too busy to keep up with the housework,” whether that means you’re actually super-busy or it means that for whatever reason (irresponsible roommates and children are the big ones), the housework is growing at a superhuman rate. Unfortunately, the solution is to change your circumstances, which isn’t always easy.

Psychological Barriers
There are lots of reasons why you might decide to keep your clutter despite knowing it’s bad for you. Maybe you’re sentimental, and you just can’t ditch your son’s baby clothes. Maybe you’re an aspirational hoarder, with a room full of garage-sale kitchen appliances you intend to use the day you finally start making all those recipes you download online. You might even thrive on the crises your clutter causes in your life.  Whatever the reason, getting past the psychology isn’t something we can address in this article, so you’ll have to do some research of your own.


Stop the clutter. Stop the stupid. You have the power!

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Jazz It Up in Detroit on Labor Day Weekend! Thu, 01 Sep 2016 00:30:47 +0000 Jazz Fest 2016 Blog Pic

While there are competing versions of its nascence, one story of how Labor Day came into being is that Matthew Maguire—a machinist and Secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in New Jersey—proposed the holiday in 1882 and that it was first celebrated at a picnic in 1882.

Almost exactly 100 years later, Robert McCabe founded an International Jazz Festival in Detroit—a city known for both its manufacturing industry and its musical innovation—for the purpose of providing “all segments of the population with world-class entertainment.”

Thus, it seems incredibly apt that not only does it fall on the same weekend, the history and mission of the Detroit Jazz Festival—to “perpetuate Detroit’s significant jazz legacy through educational and collaborative opportunities accessible to all”—is in harmony with the history and purpose of Labor Day—to celebrate the “social and economic achievements of American Workers.” In short, both bring people of all classes together to celebrate collaboration.

Jazz, considered “one of America’s original art forms,” itself emerged by the bringing together of African American and European American musical traditions—essentially the collaboration of both form and performer.

In fact, jazz is the product of collaboration and interaction on many levels: the creator (or composer), the artists (or performers), and the audience. It is an art that is innovative at its core.

And all of this speaks to the site of the International Jazz Festival, Detroit, which is home to creative innovators who look to produce something of value—not just to themselves, but for the community.

Jazz, the music and the performer, seeks to form connections—but, again like the hardworking and driven residents of Detroit, it is also willing to break with tradition to do so. And that—making alterations and improvements to an existing product or way of doing something, thinking outside the box and not being afraid to take a risk that has a reward for the inventor, worker, and consumer—is the very definition of innovation.

It is taking the past into the present with an eye to the future.

Play It Again Sam: The ‘Past’ of Jazz in Detroit

Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Pearl Bailey, and Count Basie were regular acts in the Paradise Valley clubs during the Jazz Age.  Local musicians who got their start in the ballrooms that lined Woodward and Jefferson Avenues added their talents to and influenced the works of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. They achieved international fame, and put Detroit on the ‘Jazz Map’ right alongside New Orleans, Chicago, and St. Louis. In the 1920’s, jazz musicians from New York relocated to Detroit to be a part of our city’s jazz scene.

One of those local musicians was Milt ‘Bags’ Jackson. The Detroit Institute of Arts hosted the city’s “first official jazz ‘concerts’” in the 1940s, and while playing there, Bags was ‘discovered’ by Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and co-author of the book Before Motown: A History of Jazz in Detroit, 1920-1960, Lars Bjorn told Found Michigan that “In the 1940s, Detroit and Philly were actually the main feeders of jazz talent in New York,” Lars says. “And players who had established themselves as top players in Detroit could just go join the elite in New York City.”

The Present: ‘Jazzing it Up’ in Detroit Now

361 days of the year (because the other four, you should be at Jazz Fest!), you can capture the past and the present of Detroit and jazz at Baker’s Keyboard Lounge. “The World’s Oldest Jazz Club” (a title recognized  by the International Association of Jazz Educators) began featuring pianists in the 1930s from its location on what may possibly be Detroit’s most famous landmark (Eight Mile). The club still draws internationally acclaimed jazz artists who perform at the ‘city border,’ but in recent years, this once infamous boundary line has become not only permeable, but has returned to its original status of being the northern border of ‘the place to be.’

And in the present, it’s not just businesses that are moving back Downtown today, or moving to Downtown today (Moosejaw, Nike, Kit + Ace, John Varvatos). It’s the people who ‘play’ here: at Detroit Lions, Tigers, and Red Wings games; at great new restaurants (Wahlburgers, Calexico, and soon Shake Shack), at concerts (Kenny Chesney, Beyoncé, George Clinton); along the Detroit Riverfront, and—yep, you guessed it—at Jazz Fest.

It’s the people who work here: who want to be able to walk to work, to meet up with friends after work at their favorite ‘Happy Hour’ hangout, and to ‘do brunch’ a block from their house with friends and family. And it’s people like me—who don’t work here, but are willing to make a long commute out of the city in order to be where we want to live—where we are continuously energized by the enthusiasm of the people who visit our neighborhood and work near us. Where we can hear the sounds of the city—from the parades to the music festivals. And where we can surround ourselves with the beauty of an architecturally rich, historically important, and still growing city.

Jazz music has many of the same elements of ‘family.’ Even musicians who don’t perform together regularly are like distant kin, who can jump in and join the ‘conversation’ during a performance.  The ‘present’ of jazz and Jazz Fest is also a family affair. Along with being able to gain an appreciation for incredible music and our city, there are children’s activities for entire families, including the simple fun of playing in the sand at Campus Martius Park. And the Detroit jazz scene itself is home to family histories in jazz music: like Elvin, Hank, and Thad Jones who grew up in Detroit, playing together. Drummer Elvin influenced the sound of the John Coltrane Quartet. Hank, who played the piano, hooked up with Charlie Parker. And Thad joined the Count Basie orchestra as a trumpeter.

The Future: Celebrating Community & Collaboration in the City

What could speak to the future so much as reaching out to and including the youth of today and the stars of tomorrow in the festival? In early August, the Dirty Dog Jazz Café hosted the Detroit Jazz Fest Youth Vocal Competition Finals, where performers under the age of 18 competed to take the stage at this year’s Jazz Fest. The event included special guest Roberta Gambarini. Be sure to catch the winners, rising stars Atiya Whitehead and Jack Williams III, with the Wayne State University Big Band, on Saturday afternoon. They’ll be performing alongside a lineup of Detroit natives, new artists, and legends who are all adding their voice and talent to the legacy—the future—of jazz.

Some of the highlights of the festival include:

Friday night, George Benson takes the stage from 9 until 10:15 p.m.

The Soul Rebels perform on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Sunday at 2 p.m. be sure to catch United States Air Force Airmen of Note.

Created in 1950 “to continue the tradition of Major Glenn Miller’s Army Air Corps dance band, the Airmen of Note honors those who have served, inspires American citizens to heightened patriotism and service, and positively impacts the global community on behalf of the U.S. Air Force and the United States. The excellence demonstrated by these Airmen musicians is a reflection of the excellence displayed by Airmen stationed around the globe. Each member is proud to represent all Airmen, whose selfless service and sacrifices ensure the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of the United States of America.”

Which brings us back to the fact that jazz, like the Jazz Festival, and the Labor Day celebration of the people—those who make innovation possible, those who bring the future into our present—Detroit is inclusive.

Did you know that before she met her legendary second husband, Alice Coltrane was one of many women from Detroit who made a name for herself as a jazz musician—traveling from Detroit to Paris to New York on her musical chops as pianist, composer and jazz harpist?

And the music itself speaks to Detroit’s future success.

But that success isn’t the only reason I call Detroit home.

Jazz relies heavily on improvisation: taking an inspired moment and pursuing it into the great unknown, composing the music as they go and transforming it into something which the other musicians can connect with. Improvisation is made up of the ‘call’ of the inspired initiator and the ‘response’ of the other musicians, and Detroiters are known for finding unique situations and turning them into incredible opportunities—opportunity not just for themselves, but for others…

It is this collaboration, this community, which in jazz has its roots in the New Orleans’ communities it arose from, that inspires me.

Jazz also incorporates syncopation, which the OED defines as “The action of beginning a note on a normally unaccented part of the bar and sustaining it into the normally accented part….” Basically, it means accentuating the offbeat. And Detroit is a city where the conventional route to success is not the only, or even the most common, route—and people who hear a different beat can march onward to success. Detroiters are willing to look at the ‘unaccented’ aspects of life, take unconventional perspectives on them, and then improvise upon them to create something beautiful.

It is the offbeat, the not following of the beaten path but finding new avenues of opportunities just outside my door that I love about my city.

The structure of jazz is complex, more complex than many other forms of music. And so is the structure of our city. In a good way. It is a place where complex signifies ‘taking on deeper meaning,’ having layers of history, and not being easily encapsulated by any single idea. And Detroiters themselves are complex: they are entrepreneurs who are also philanthropists, they are believers who are willing to ask hard questions, they are aware of their history and willing to take risks. They work hard and they play hard (though it isn’t hard to find ways to play in a city where there is always so much going on!).

It is the hardworking people I call my neighbors who inspire me to not ‘just do it, but to do more.

Jazz requires musicians to interact with one another; to play off of and accentuate the difference in what each is playing; to build relationships with one another and the audience. They take a melody, discover the offbeat notes, honor solos, and use their individual talents to build a beautiful harmony.

And at this Labor Day Weekend’s International Jazz Fest in Detroit, you will discover that this—taking the melody of our past, discovering unique opportunities, appreciating one another’s perspectives, and building the future of our city together—is what Detroit is all about.

And by being part of its present, you might discover not only a love of jazz, but a desire to be a part of its history, its present, and its future.

I would be glad and honored to call you my neighbor.

You can find the full Jazz Fest Lineup and Schedule here.

And you will find me, my friends, and my neighbors having a great time in the city where we live, work, and play….

And, of course, thank you the Partners and Sponsors who make Jazz Fest possible!

Quicken Loans

DTE Energy

Mack Avenue Records



Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe


Oakland University

Cliff Bell’s

And many more wonderful supporters!


Photo Credit: The Knight Foundation

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How to Get Rid of Your Stuff (Without Craigslist) Sun, 28 Aug 2016 07:05:36 +0000 Everyone naturally collects stuff as life goes by — but when you’ve reached the point where you have to get rid of a bunch of stuff all at once, living in a downtown apartment can suddenly become a real problem. You can’t get a permit for a ‘yard’ sale without a yard, and there’s no community garage sales around downtown that we’ve found either. Of course everyone and their brother will suggest eBay or Craigslist or something, but we want to explore some old-school options for you today.

Before There Was Craigslist
Believe it or not, people faced this problem long before Craigslist was invented — and they solved the problem exactly like you might expect: they used the local newspaper. Want ads can be purchased cheap (sometimes papers still have a free want-ad day, though none in print around Detroit do that we’re aware of), and while the circulation doesn’t begin to touch that of Craigslist or OfferUp or what have you, the clientele generally is more upscale.

Become a Vendor for a Day
One of the more unusual tacks you can take is to sign up for a stall at a flea market for a day — depending on what you have to sell and when you sign up, you can get a stall for as little as $30, though prices are generally closer to $70. You do have to get all your stuff tagged, moved, and set up, but if it’s actually worth something, a day at the flea market can move more than a weekend of yard saleing.

Swap Meet Louie
Similarly, if you can hold off until the next time the Detroit Swap Meet goes down (the next one as of right now is in January 2017 — information here — so start preparing now!) On the upside, however, stall prices peak out at $35/day, so if you can manage to keep your stuff organized until then, you can ditch everything at once and walk home with a decent wad of cash besides.

Ask About Consignment
If what you need to get rid of is something fairly significant, or something with collector value, you might profit most by finding a local shop that will put it on consignment for you. There are shops downtown that would love to put up an old NEO*GEO system with a copy of Sengoku or 8-Man, for example. You just have to be persistent about calling and asking. The good part about this is that someone else is doing the holding and the selling — the bad part is that you’re only collecting a portion of the value.

Going Once, Going Twice…
eBay might have taken the Internet by storm with its online auction platform, but a good part of its success is the ‘auction’ part. If you have some items that are worth some money, especially if you can prove it with a provenance or a clip of yourself on Antique Roadshow, taking them to a real-life auction can be quite lucrative. It’s a gamble, but if the item looks good and has genuine value, you can often get more at a live auction than any Internet site would allow.

Get Pwned
…err, that should say pawned. A pawn shop might net you even less than a consignment option, and the selection of things they’ll accept can be pretty limited. The advantage is that you can get rid of the items you want to get rid of on the spot for cash-in-hand. It’s the most limited option by far, but it’s also the fastest and the least effort.


See? You don’t need the Internet to get rid of your stuff, and you don’t need a yard, either. There are all kinds of options for apartment dwellers, even in downtown Detroit, to make space and cash at the same time. Good luck!

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