Grown in Detroit

Detroit is a city that has been reviving itself for decades, as new generations bring new life to the city. With the city’s growth has also come growth in urban agriculture, as people are turning vacant lots into fertile land. Some call it the greening of a gray city.

The documentary film Grown in Detroit focuses on a group of students at Detroit’s Ferguson Academy for Young Women, a high school for pregnant teens, as they work in the school's urban garden and learn how to grow nutritious food for their children. One of only three schools in the country for this population, the curriculum focuses on helping these teens care for themselves and their children, and uses urban farming as a means to teach them.

The students featured in Grown in Detroit are at first underwhelmed by the amount of physical labor required for farming. The teen moms eventually realize that they can profit from the food they are growing, as well as provide nutritious food for their children and themselves, all stemming from the fruits of their labor. It’s a beautiful film that places an eye on this unique opportunity happening for these girls -- right here in Detroit.

In addition to being available on DVD at AADL, the film is also available for instant online streaming to logged-in AADL cardholders here! You can also watch it on the Grown in Detroit website, where you pay whatever denomination you want in order to view it.

The Detroit Jazz Festival is this weekend: Aug 31st - Sept 3rd

Spend this Labor Day weekend at the FREE 33rd annual Detroit Jazz Festival. Chill out in Detroit's Hart Plaza with big names such as Sonny Rollins, Wynton Marsalis, Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, and many others. Also, learn about Detroit's jazz history and meet the artists in the jazz talk tent.

An inexpensive shuttle bus service traveling from Ypsilanti to the Hart Plaza area will be offered through Eastern Michigan University all weekend; more information can be found on WEMU's website.

SUNDAY EVENT CANCELLED - The Future Of Urban Agriculture In Detroit With City Planner Kathryn Lynch Underwood

Due to family illness, the Sunday April 15, 2012: 3:00 pm event at Malletts Creek Branch with Kathryn Lynch Underwood has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Brian Leigh Dunnigan, Associate Director Of The Clements Library, Discusses Urban Agriculture in Detroit, Part I: The History Of Agricultural Land Use

Sunday March 18, 2012: 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm -- Malletts Creek Branch: Program Room AB

Join us for a fascinating look at early Detroit history when AADL and the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor welcome Brian Leigh Dunnigan, Associate Director and Curator of Maps at the William L. Clements Library.

Brian will discuss Detroit as an agricultural settlement from its founding in 1701 into the 19th century, when the growing city largely consumed the original French-pattern farms along the Michigan side of the Detroit River.

Brian has written numerous books and articles on the history of the Straits of Mackinac, the Niagara River region, and the early Great Lakes.

Detroit 1-8-7 on DVD

In the crime drama Detroit 1-8-7, an Inner-city homicide unit is led by Michael Imperioli as Detective Louis Fitch. He and his top-notch colleagues investigate homicides in Detroit. The show is more character driven than police procedural, and the acting is great.

A fun fact about this show, is that it was filmed where it’s set. The pilot was shot in Atlanta, but the remainder of the series was filmed on location in Detroit. The series originally ran on ABC from September 21, 2010 to March 20, 2011 and has since been cancelled.

The show was intended to be a mockumentary, but it switched gears after the Detroit Police Department cancelled all real-life documentary ride-alongs after a controvercial shooting while another documentary was being filmed. Even after editing, bits of the mockumentary are still evident in Detroit 1-8-7’s pilot episode.

If you’re looking for another cop show, because perhaps, like me, you can’t get enough police dramas, then give Detroit 1-8-7 a try. But be warned that it’s no Wire or Homicide: Life on the Street.

The Thunderdrome: Unearthing a Gem in Detroit

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Let's time travel. It's 1969 and we're in Dorais Park, Detroit, near E. Eight Mile and Mound Road. Construction has just been completed on a brand new velodrome -- a cycling venue consisting of a steeply banked, concrete oval loop, 250 meters long -- in anticipation of the U.S. National Track Championships held there later that year. This Championship and the many that follow are bright spots in a declining neighborhood. For the next 20 years, the city maintains this bastion of bike racing against urban devastation, marked here by the closure of the Chrysler assembly plant across the street.

Eventually, the Dorais Park Velodrome is abandoned by the city and handed over to the elements. Illegal car races are sometimes held here, accelerating the cracking of the concrete that was only designed to sustain bicycles, while bushes, grasses, and trees split apart the fissures. Two decades of neglect take their toll.

Welcome to 2010. A group of renegade urban landscapers, known as The Mower Gang, take their lawn care equipment to Dorais Park, unearth the velodrome, and begin rehabbing the battered beauty. It's renamed The Thunderdrome, an homage to the post-apocalyptic Mad Max film series from the '80s, and a race is staged for two-wheeled vehicles that October.

As race organizer Ben Wojdyla writes, "the Thunderdrome wouldn't be limited to just bicycles. We wanted higher speeds and more excitement. We wanted loony subcultures, weirdos, a scene, a spectacle—something people could get excited about. So in addition to traditional fixed-gear road bicycles, geared bikes and mountain bikes, we also invited racers on mopeds, scooters and pit bikes". The Fall race is a success, drawing hundreds of spectators and racers and spawning the demand for a Spring race, which will take place this Saturday, April 30, at noon. Detroit reinvention and DIY spirit charge headlong into the future of the city.

The latest issue of Bicycling Magazine, with holdings at all AADL locations, has an article on the Thunderdrome, as does the October 2010 issue of Popular Mechanics. Check out the Thunderdrome's website for more details on the race.velorace3velorace3

Still Young After All These Years

Neil Young takes the stage at Fox Theater in Detroit on Wednesday, May 4, as part of his eleven city solo tour, Twisted Road. Playing acoustic and electric guitars, pump organ, piano, and (of course) harmonica, the folk-rock legend is likely to play a mix of his greatest hits, like "My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)", "Tell Me Why", and "Cinnamon Girl" along with a strong helping of songs from his 2010 Grammy award winning release, Le Noise, produced by Daniel Lanois. Young won Best Rock Song for "Angry World", his second ever Grammy in a career spanning more than four decades.

Later this year, Neil Young will rejoin Stephen Stills and other members of short-lived '60s band, Buffalo Springfield, for a reunion tour that will make stops in California before headlining the multi-day music and arts festival, Bonnaroo, in Tennessee. Looks like it's going to be a great year for Neil Young fans.

The AADL music collection includes dozens of albums that span Young's impressive career. If you're new to his music, this writer recommends starting with Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, Harvest, and On the Beach.

Check Out a Museum Adventure Pass!

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Looking for some indoor fun this winter? Come to any of our branches and check out a Museum Adventure Pass! There are over 30 museums you can visit, and the passes admit 2 or 4 depending on where you're headed. A new participant this year is the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, where you can explore the exhibitions of contemporary art in a renovated auto dealership. MOCAD also offers public programs including lectures, musical performances, films, literary readings and educational activities for children.

Author Susan Messer "Grand River and Joy"

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With good reason the University of Michigan's Honors Program in the College of Literature and Science selected Grand River and Joy as its required reading book this past summer for incoming Honors students.

Join us downtown at 7pm Thursday, November 4th as Susan Messer discusses her latest book, a finely written novel about events surrounding the riots in Detroit during the late 1960s. The story encapsulates important volatile issues like race, class and economic inequality that remain relevant in today's world.

If you would like to explore the topic further, try Violence in the Model City by Sidney Fine
and The Detroit Riot of 1967 by Hubert Locke.

Made in Michigan Writers Series

Have you heard of the Made in Michigan Writers Series? Published by Wayne State University Press, the series features Michigan authors in the fiction, non-fiction, short story and poetry genres.

The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit, by Michael Zadoorian
Short fiction stories about characters living in and around Detroit, surviving the odds.

Eden Springs, by Laura Kasischke
Using historical sources, a novella about the House of David religious colony that was based in Benton Harbor, Michigan in the early 20th century.

As If We Were Prey: Stories, by Michael Delp
Darkly humorous yet touching collection of short stories about men in a small northern Michigan town.

Birth of a Notion; Or, The Half Ain't Never Been Told: A Narrative Account with Entertaining Passages of the State of Minstrelsy & of America & the True Relation Thereof (From the Ha Ha Dark Side)
by Bill Harris
Using prose and poetry, Harris studies preconceived notions of “blackness” in nineteenth century American culture to the early twentieth century, investigating sources of lasting stereotypes and racist imagery.

An American Map: Essays, by Anne-Marie Oomen
Northern Michigan native Anne-Marie Oomen’s contemplative and inspirational essays from her travels across America.

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