Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Wilderness Downtown

I am new to Arcade Fire, but I see there is something I have been missing here.  Their sound is different yet so familiar- definitely an early '80's vibe is going on. I have not yet read up on them extensiveky so perhaps the music journalists will help me put words to it...in any case I am LOVING their new album, The Suburbs, and  this new interactive video, which asks for your childhood address and incorporates your childhood street into the montage, definitely addresses PLACE!.
The Wilderness Downtown

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Let's Save Michigan | PARK(ing) Day Sign-up

This is neat: PARK (ing) day!!!

According to letssavemichigan.org:

"PARK(ing) Day is a quirky, annual, worldwide event where folks use their creativity to transform metered city parking spots into temporary parks for the public good for an hour or two."

Tour De Troit: Biking in the Motor City

Register now for the Tour De Troit, Saturday September 25th.

From the registration page:

Event Details

The Tour de Troit, set for September 25, is a bike ride that explores some of the city’s historic areas, takes in many of its most breathtaking sights, and provides bicyclists a unique opportunity to legally “take over” the streets of Motown. Last year’s ride attracted 2,000 riders!
The Tour de Troit is offering riders two options. The first — and primary — will be a leisurely ride of 30 miles with police escort. The second option, new this year, is intended for extremely experienced cyclists. It is a metric century (62 miles) that will not include police escort. Both rides will be sweeper- and SAG-supported and will begin at 10 a.m. at Roosevelt Park, located at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and 14th Street.
After the ride, there is food, drink and music at Roosevelt Park in the shadow of the Michigan Central Station!

And in the evening head on over to St. Andrew Hall for Built to Spill.  Sounds like a  fun day.

Tour De Troit: Biking in the Motor City

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

PlaceTunes: Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs"

Arcade Fire's unsubtly titled album "The Suburbs," which garnered a respectable 8.6 on Pitchfork while also managing to snag the #1 Billboard slot it's first week out, addresses urban planning and place issues.

This post from the San Francisco Planning Urban Research Association provides some insightful analysis of the album's theme and commentary:

Images of suburban decay ring throughout the album,  as “all of the walls that they built in the ‘70s finally fall.”  The few redeeming qualities of growing up in the suburbs seem to be gone.  As Butler sings in the song “City With No Children,” all that remains is “a garden left for ruin by a millionaire inside of a private prison.”

The post also mentions other artists whose work has addressed suburbia in a cautionary manner: Rush, Modest Mouse, Dirty Projectors.

To which I would add Read Music/Speak Spanish (2002) by Desaparecidos, which contains songs entitled "Mall of America", "Man and Wife, the Former (Financial Planning)", and "Greater Omaha" with these lyrics:

Well, traffic's kind of bad
They're widening Easy Street
To fit more SUVs, they're planting baby trees to grow to shady peaks

Friday, August 20, 2010

Water, CA

Arguably, the disconnect between place and people that ails much of our society is contributed to in no small measure by our over-use of and addiction to technology (the very technology with which you are now reading this post).

Place-based multimedia tools, when done well, offer a potential countermeasure to this effect.  Web-based tools such as Water, CA, which skillfully infuses geography, history, culture, activism and art, can connect, inform, and inspire through integration of personal and journalistic narrative, photographic and artistic imagery, and the interactivity of the web.

Of course, nothing can so inspire as an actual physical encounter with a place.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Anna Clark, an inspired writer and social activist from Detroit who I admire immensely, recently countered NPR's list of five books to help you escape with her own list of seven books that incorporate place as a critical component on her book blog, Isak.

As I am writing this from Northern Michigan, I am psyched to see the NPR list includes Michael Felderspiel's Picturing Hemingway's Michigan from Wayne State University Press.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor returns to its farming roots by using hospital land to grow produce - AnnArbor.com

More urban farming! This time at a hospital: St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor.
From annarbor.com:

"St. Joe is in the midst of Phase 1 of a project to farm up to 30 acres of its campus. The hospital began planting produce — things like tomatoes and peppers — in April, and is beginning to harvest it for sale to staff, patients and the general public."

St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor returns to its farming roots by using hospital land to grow produce - AnnArbor.com

Image Source: annarbor.com