Posts tagged "detroit"

Cityporn. (This goes for the video as well)

Cityporn. (This goes for the video as well)


America has an amazing … six [cities]: New York City, Los Angeles (which contains Hollywood, palm trees, and little else), San Francisco (famous landmarks include (depending on genre) the Golden Gate bridge and a gay club, or the Golden Gate bridge and Star Fleet Headquarters), Detroit (as the urban hellhole of choice), Las Vegas (which is home to casinos and Elvis Impersonators) and Chicago (usually in gangster movies). Washington DC exists but consists solely of the White House, the Capitol, the Lincoln and Washington Memorials, and the Pentagon; it’s not actually a city. Outside the cities, there’s one generic Midwestern small town where everyone is white, middle-class, conservative, religious, honest, and full of common sense, if a little naive; one generic small Southern town where everyone is gossipy, racist, insular and even more conservative and religious than the folks in the Midwest town; and one small generic Western town where everyone is a taciturn, weatherbeaten cowboy. On rare occasions, spies will allude to the CIA headquarters in Langley, but are unlikely to mention that it is an actual town in Virginia.

douglasmartini:

Black Milk- “Deadly Medley (featuring Elzhi and Royce da 5’9”)”

Just as I rave over San Francisco’s psych/garage scene, Detroit has had my favorite rap scene over the past four or five years. Royce da 5’9” is one of my all-time favorite rappers, Elzhi is one of the best technical MCs on Earth, and Black Milk sounds better than ever. The latter also made the beat, which is so good that it makes me want to quit producing forever and take up crocheting.

Yeah, cosign all of this. The song fucking bangs. The video’s some Detroit cityporn as well.


In Detroit, entire skyscrapers stand abandoned. One of those, the David Whitney Building, looms like a ghost a few blocks away from downtown’s Comerica Park, visible from almost anywhere within the stadium. But onstage, luminary Jay-Z sounds a rare note of optimism: “I know you’ve been through a lot, but Detroit has heart, and it will be back.”

It’s anyone’s guess how much of the vast, whiter-than-I-expected crowd Thursday night actually lives around here. Outside the park, a guy in line tries to convince anyone who will listen that Grand Rapids is the city of the future, that it’ll be bigger than Detroit in 10 years. Before the show starts, the highway traffic into the city is at a complete standstill, as guys selling bootleg T-shirts wander between the cars. Once you get out of the stadium/casino sector, downtown is a grisly, apocalyptic sight. But Detroit does have at least one thing going for it: The most popular rapper in the world calls the city home.

Tom Breihan, “Detroit Rap City:Jay-Z and Eminem Kick-Start A Hometown Recovery,” The Village Voice, September 8, 2010

Detroit is one of those American cities I find endlessly fascinating. Breihan hints at why.


Detroit’s streets are grand, sweeping boulevards lined by liquor stores, outlets of the iconic local hot dog stand Coney Island, and decaying abandoned buildings. An automotive Venice, its concrete canals are mostly deserted — the vehicles lost in the vast thoroughfares. Even the city’s centerpiece, General Motors’ gleaming Renaissance Center, seems to hulk defensively over the river, bunkered down awaiting better times. This is the city Obie Trice claims to reign over, though even he acknowledges it is more by default than design: “The white boy stepped down / So I will accept the crown,” he explains on “Cry Now.”
That’s what I said about Detroit when I reviewed Obie Trice’s Second Round’s On Me for Stylus.

Eminem - Beautiful (Relapse, 2009)

I never liked “Beautiful” when it came out, probably because it came at the tail end of an awful comeback album that I didn’t spend a lot of time listening to, and because it shared a name with a terrible Christina Aguilera song. But then, I didn’t realize it had a cityporn-tastic video, complete with absolutely gorgeous shots of the ruins of Detroit. 

Detroit is fascinating for its brokenness and its resilience, and Em uses the former to prove the presence of the latter here. Many of the shots are in Michigan Central Station, one of my favorite buildings in the United States. It’s a glorious, Beaux-arts structure that hasn’t been used for much since the last Amtrak train pulled out of it in 1988. Since then, part of one of the Transformers movies was shot there, to make use of the station’s decaying grandeur. It lies just outside of downtown, and in any other city would be a brilliant centerpiece. But in Detroit? Well, it keeps the rats dry, I guess.


mer-et-soleil:

Exterior of Main Lobby, Michigan Central Station, Detroit; photo Sean Hemmerle, March 2008

I love Michigan Central Station, as I’ve said before. If I ever made a list of my favorite buildings — which I’ve thought about doing before and only have not because there are so many different reasons to like a building, and I’d soon expand the viable set to an unmanageable size — it would easily make it. Let’s see, you’d have the Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, the Space Needle (Seattle), the Chrysler Building (New York), the Dancing House (Prague), the Renaissance Center (Detroit), the Burj al Arab Hotel… um, what else? For slightly less obvious picks, there’s the Seattle Public Library, and I have an inordinate fondness for the Albert Street Uniting Church in Brisbane. The US Capitol, but that’s mostly for personal reasons. Sydney Opera House and Centrepoint Tower. Sagrada Família in Barcelona, of course, and St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Federation Square, Melbourne. Some Soviet stuff; Moscow State University is pretty cool. Oriental Pearl Tower and the World Financial Center in Shanghai are great, and even better is the CCTV Headquarters in Beijing. Tribune Tower in Chicago. Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, of course. Oh, and Lloyd’s building in London. Nebraska State Capitol (Lincoln). American Radiator Building (New York). Flatiron Building (New York). Transamerica Center (San Francisco). Robey House (Chicago). And while reminding myself of some things, I came across the fantastic Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower in Tokyo and City of Capitals in Moscow.
This can get out of hand really quickly, as you can see. Maybe I just need to start http://fuckyeahawesomebuildings.tumblr.com or something.

mer-et-soleil:

Exterior of Main Lobby, Michigan Central Station, Detroit; photo Sean Hemmerle, March 2008

I love Michigan Central Station, as I’ve said before. If I ever made a list of my favorite buildings — which I’ve thought about doing before and only have not because there are so many different reasons to like a building, and I’d soon expand the viable set to an unmanageable size — it would easily make it. Let’s see, you’d have the Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, the Space Needle (Seattle), the Chrysler Building (New York), the Dancing House (Prague), the Renaissance Center (Detroit), the Burj al Arab Hotel… um, what else? For slightly less obvious picks, there’s the Seattle Public Library, and I have an inordinate fondness for the Albert Street Uniting Church in Brisbane. The US Capitol, but that’s mostly for personal reasons. Sydney Opera House and Centrepoint Tower. Sagrada Família in Barcelona, of course, and St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Federation Square, Melbourne. Some Soviet stuff; Moscow State University is pretty cool. Oriental Pearl Tower and the World Financial Center in Shanghai are great, and even better is the CCTV Headquarters in Beijing. Tribune Tower in Chicago. Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, of course. Oh, and Lloyd’s building in London. Nebraska State Capitol (Lincoln). American Radiator Building (New York). Flatiron Building (New York). Transamerica Center (San Francisco). Robey House (Chicago). And while reminding myself of some things, I came across the fantastic Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower in Tokyo and City of Capitals in Moscow.

This can get out of hand really quickly, as you can see. Maybe I just need to start http://fuckyeahawesomebuildings.tumblr.com or something.


I love this commercial so much.


The Awl: What's Really Pornographic? The Point of Documenting Detroit


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