Trust rapper Danny Brown to bring the frenetic, incisive Detroit commentary on his new album, even if he’s decamped to Texas — though he’ll be back in town for Bruiser Thanksgiving on Wednesday. 

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We’ll be rounding up all the other events next week for Get Busy on our site, but otherwise we’ll be off for the holiday. We hope yours is wonderful. In the meantime, we’re looking at the latest in the casino workers strike, a former mayor’s new gig, Lansing secrets and theoretical trains. Keep reading for our interview with a favorite mural artist, and of course your regular culture and events roundups. <3 Team Detour 

Detroit in Five

Shh, don’t tell the taxpayers! Twenty-seven Michigan legislators — nearly one-fifth of all lawmakers in Lansing — have signed nondisclosure agreements with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), preventing them from sharing information about development deals seeking tax dollars. In the past two years, the state has used a special fund to provide almost $2 billion to large companies for developments. The agreements keep deals opaque, making it harder for the public to know the details of the proposals, even though in some cases, officials have to vote on approval the same day they become aware of them. Several lawmakers told the Detroit News they signed agreements to participate in the appropriations process, while also signaling a distaste for them because they admit it sows distrust in the process. The MEDC said the agreements are necessary to attract businesses to the state, who want much of the deal secured before it comes up for a vote. On the other hand, lawmakers did pass financial disclosure rules, though some critics say they don’t go far enough. (Detroit News, Bridge Michigan)

Picket (on)line: One month into Detroit’s first casino strike, workers are reminding gamblers to skip online betting until a deal is reached. The 24/7, in-person picket line is designed to hit the city’s three casinos in the pocketbook by keeping people away from the slots and card tables. But you can’t put a picket line around the internet, and online bets make up a growing portion of casino revenue. With cold weather hitting, workers are also asking for donations to help supplement their limited strike funds. (Outlier Media, WXYZ, Eater Detroit, CBS Detroit)

Hype train: Rail service connecting Chicago, Detroit and Toronto is inching closer, with details of the proposal ironed out but currently unfunded. The best part? Amtrak’s published plans have the train stopping at Michigan Central Station, before hopping under the river. (Amtrak, NBC Chicago, Detroit Historical Society)

Kwame takes Memphis: Former Detroit mayor and formerly incarcerated Kwame Kilpatrick is taking the reins of a prison reform nonprofit down in Memphis. Taking Action for Good announced Kilpatrick as executive director this week, with the organization’s founder calling him a “changed man.” Kilpatrick served seven years in prison for charges committed during his time in office including tax evasion, fraud and racketeering. His sentence was commuted by former president Donald Trump in 2021. (Commercial Appeal)

Best of the rest: 

  • Calls grow for a cease-fire in Gaza: City Councilmember Gabriela Santiago-Romero almost walked-on a resolution calling for one after a month of impassioned public comment in that chamber, but she says she will bring it back next week… (Amelia Benavides-Colón/​​Detroit Documenters)
  • Some people from the metro area who flew to Washington to participate in the March for Israel and ask for the release of hostages taken by Hamas said they did not get there after bus drivers reportedly walked off the job and refused to transport them from the airport… (Detroit News)
  • Property tax reform in Detroit is closer than ever. Next week, City Council will vote on a reform package put forward by the Coalition for Property Tax Justice that makes it easier to understand and appeal property tax increases, among other things… (Coalition for Property Tax Justice)
  • Artists are mounting an exhibit to protest DTE Energy’s financial influence in the local arts scene and negative impact on neighborhoods, tonight at the Swords into Plowshares Gallery… (Metro Times)
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SPOTLIGHT

Talking art with Sydney G. James

By SaMya Overall
Black woman with freckles wearing black-and-white D earrings and a red shirt depicting a Black person.
“Let Me Get Umm…”, the mural on The Turkey Grill on Woodward Avenue, was a collaboration between Sydney G. James and fellow Detroit artist Ijania Cortez. Photo credit: Lamar Landers, courtesy of Sydney G. James

Detroit artist Sydney G. James says she’s been an artist her whole life. 

A “Girl Raised in Detroit,” James earned her bachelor’s degree in fine arts at the College for Creative Studies in 2001 before moving to Los Angeles in 2004 to work as a visual artist in TV and filmmaking. 

We chatted with James to discuss her work, her purpose and the artists who inspire her.


Culture & Community

‘Black Panther’ costume exhibit, supermodel doc and more

By SaMya Overall
Mannequin with a red-and-black armor outfit holding a spear, next to another mannequin with a large bluish-grey cape and a brown skirt. They are on a white circular stage under a colorful ceiling.
The “Ruth E. Carter: Afrofuturism in Costume Design” exhibit at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History features more than 60 pieces from notable films, including Marvel’s “Black Panther.” Photo credit: Stinson Photography, courtesy of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Happy World Kindness Week! Be sure to hold the door or flash a smile at someone. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and my stomach is growling at the thought of mac and cheese, turkey, ham and rolls. 

Back in the present, we’ve got an underrated coffee shop up for guessing, plus two gallery shows worth a detour, a culturally relevant film to stream, some hamburger history and an artists’ protest.

This week’s spot is another coffee hotspot on Third Avenue in Midtown. Their bagels have the ideal cream-to-cheese ratio. 

Two people stand at a cluttered register next to a chalkboard with the menu, a chalkboard drawing of the world map and a board that reads “Your Coffee Story.”
Hint: This secret coffee shop is on Third Avenue in Midtown. Photo credit: SaMya Overall Credit: Photo credit: SaMya Overall

Do you know where this is? Email me at samya@outliermedia.org with the answer for a shoutout next week, or look out for it on our Instagram.

The Outlier Collective is rounding out 2023 with a member-exclusive happy hour at Spot Lite on Dec. 7! Join us for free drinks and light refreshments from 5:30-8 p.m. Bring a friend! Sign up on Eventbrite!


Get Busy

“Detroit Cantastoria Fest. Nov. 17th and 18th. Doors 7:30, showtime 8:00. St. Peter’s Church, 1950 Trumbull. $10-$20 suggested donation. Info: FlyingCardboardTheater.com.” Colorful collage flyer includes cutout letters and images.
See a historic form of street theater this weekend. Image credit: Via Flying Cardboard Theater Credit: Image credit: Via Flying Cardboard Theater

Pair this week’s Detroit events roundup with “Mrs. Officer” as a preview to a “vinyl tasting” that will pair an iconic Lil Wayne album with an opulent feast. If that’s a little too hearty, get festive at cozy holiday markets and the downtown tree lighting, embrace your inner kid at a Cantastoria extravaganza, taste prize-winning mole and find plenty of art and film to keep you busy all weekend long. 

See you out there!


Written by Aaron, Alex, Dan, Koby, Lynelle, Miriam, Noah, SaMya, Sarah and Kate, who’s never actually been to the tree lighting downtown — maybe this is the year?


Will the real (four-legged) Slim Shady please stand up SIT, STAY?

Kate (she/her) is passionate about journalism that involves Detroiters from the start and helps readers solve problems and find joy in their daily lives. Her favorite Detroit spot to watch the sunset, play soccer, watch the freighters go by and feel a little haunted is Historic Fort Wayne.