Detour is best served with a cup of coffee, but you’ll want popcorn for an article about Detroit’s lack of late-night dining options, and then for the pointed response to the supposed lack of nuance about the restaurant industry. We’re not wading into the fray, but we have no Coney complaints.
Our Get Busy section is jam-packed with weekend events, whether you’re looking for comedy, food, dance or film. First, get up to speed on the news, from a scandal at Michigan State University to a parade charade in Hamtramck. Plus, get to know a few of the boys in rouge on our favorite soccer team. <3 Team Detour
Detroit in Five
Strike! At the auto plant: With the United Auto Workers (UAW) contract set to expire at midnight, plans for strikes across the Big Three are fast-changing. Key issues on the bargaining table include pay increases, better benefits and an end to wage tiers. With concerns swirling about the potential damage to the U.S. economy if a strike is called, some of the approximately 146,000 UAW members have expressed frustration at the lack of respect from employers and the conflict of having pride in their work while feeling undervalued. “Never forget that when our labor isn’t valued, we have the power to withhold it,” UAW President Shawn Fain said Friday. “The cost of a strike might be high, but the cost of doing nothing is much higher.” (Detroit Free Press, Reuters, Workday Magazine, Labor Notes)
➡️ Dig deeper: Want more context? We recently chatted with a labor archivist to discuss the history of strikes in Detroit and what current union leaders can learn from methods of the past. (Outlier Media)
Parade charade: Hamtramck Mayor Amer Ghalib and Councilmembers Mohammed Alsomiri and Khalil Refai objected to being placed in front of the Hamtramck Queer Alliance at the city’s recent Labor Day parade. Ghalib said he was concerned the placement would “make us look, in front of the community, like we are leading the queer group with the flags flying behind us.” To “avoid that kind of optics,” the mayor and councilmembers rode a car at the front rather than walk in the parade. This follows the council banning Pride flags and others on city property earlier this year, a move met by protests from LGBTQ+ residents. While the actions of Hamtramck’s council and mayor have faced loud opposition, they’ve also gained support from former national security advisor Michael Flynn, who met with the mayor and members of metro Detroit’s Muslim community the day after the parade in hopes of forming a broad conservative coalition. (Hamtramck Review, Guardian, Michigan Advance, Freep)
Survivor speaks out: Michigan State University (MSU) suspended head football coach Mel Tucker without pay after USA Today revealed sexual harassment allegations against him on Sunday. In a Title IX complaint filed with the university, prominent rape survivor and activist Brenda Tracy accused him of making sexual comments and masturbating over the phone without her consent in 2022. Tracy worked closely with Tucker and the football team to educate athletes about sexual violence. Tucker has since denied any misconduct. Tucker is the second-highest-paid college football coach in the country with a $95 million contract over 10 years. MSU’s internal investigation is still underway and Tracy’s lawyer said Tuesday she was complying with the process, only going public after her identity was leaked. (USA Today, MLive)
Green means clean: Detroit Councilmember Scott Benson has once again taken up the issue of food safety by asking Detroit restaurant owners to voluntarily enter into an inspection placard program (paywalled). Participating restaurants will receive regular inspections from the Detroit Health Department, and those who pass (or correct violations) will get a green sign to display to customers. City Council voted down a food safety ordinance last year after resistance from restaurant owners, but the pilot program is independent of the council and is not a legislative action. (Crain’s Detroit Business, WDIV, Michigan Chronicle)
➡️ Make the grade: Restaurant owners can sign up for the pilot. The program runs from October 2023 through March 2024.
Classroom climate: The day may be coming when a hot school day in Detroit isn’t necessarily a short one. Ten more district schools will have A/C by next summer, part of $80 million in planned cooling upgrades to the city’s aging schoolhouses. In other news, Detroit’s reading scores ticked up this year, but district leaders will have their work cut out for them if enrollment — and the corresponding state funding — continue to decline. (Outlier, Michigan Advance, Chalkbeat Detroit)
Made here: Let’s check in on some shake-ups for businesses and community organizations. The Room Project, a beloved New Center writers’ space, is closing its doors in November after five years. Allied Media Projects is ending the Allied Media Conference after more than two decades to concentrate on the Love Building in Core City. The Cave of Adullam Transformational Training Academy has moved into new digs in a renovated charter school to meet demand for its programs that teach life skills and martial arts to boys — it has a waiting list of 800 (paywalled). And a food and beer hall, bridal salon, waxing studio, gelato shop, fitness studio and hair salon are now open or coming soon at The Platform’s properties in New Center and Midtown. (Metro Times, The Yunion, Freep, DBusiness Magazine)
Best of the rest:
- Tepfirah Rushdan, co-director of Keep Growing Detroit and co-founder of Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund, named city’s first-ever director of urban agriculture…
- With ongoing community input, Joe Louis Greenway route likely to change in Southwest to avoid Fort Street traffic…
- Detroit’s Downpayment Assistance Program offers grants up to $25,000, could help low-income buyers navigate tricky mortgage landscape…
- Dearborn pilot program with $1 SMART Flex rides works a lot like subsidized ride-hailing for “last mile” trips as SMART expands routes, adds stops in Oakland County…
- Giant Midtown development The Mid gets a three-year extension on tax credits (paywalled) from 13 years ago to complete half of one building — it hasn’t broken ground yet…
(Outlier, BridgeDetroit, Detroit News, Freep, Crain’s)
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How Detroit City FC turned players into Detroiters
By Sarah Alvarez
Detroit City FC defender Matt Lewis says soccer culture in Detroit feels different than in other cities where he’s played.
For DCFC, he says “the community built the team, the community’s grown the team, and the community continues to support the team. There’s a lot more pressure in that as a player.”
We often hold pro athletes to the unrealistic standard of representing a team hometown they barely know. How invested can players be in any city when it’s just a stop along their career path?
☕ Meet and chat with the Outlier staff at Coffee Thursday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. today at The Commons! We get to hear what issues you need covered in Detroit, and if you’re one of the first 20 readers there, you get a free coffee or tea. Free.
⛈️ Join Allied Media Projects today for its “Building an Environmentally Just Detroit” community panel discussing the escalating climate crisis in Detroit. This intergenerational coalition of organizers will follow a call from Detroit activist Charity Mahouna Hicks to “wage love” by sharing fellowship, strategies, healing and visions for the future. Free.
🧑🍳 Experience ancestral cooking and oral storytelling at The Speak Easy Detroit’s Family Dinner, today at Lagerhaus No. 5 in Eastern Market. The intimate dinner party starts with a lesson on food indigeneity, sustainability, community and heritage, then will serve up a five-course meal from chefs Mariya Russell, LaMara Davidson, Max Hardy and Nik R. Cole. $85.
🎉 For a more relaxed party in the same vein from The Speak Easy, check out part two — a family heritage-inspired cookout in the North End on Sunday. $35+ for admission.
🤣 Get ready to laugh your [redacted] off at the Motor City Comedy Festival today through Sunday at Detroit House of Comedy and other venues. Guests can watch comedians from around the world, including Hans Kim, Jeremiah Watkins, Mary Lynn Rajskub and Mateen Stewart. Have your own bits to work on or trying to break into the industry? Free workshops are part of the fest. $25+.
🎞️ Southeast Michigan Refugee Collaborative is hosting its first ever Refugee Film Festival with three screenings tonight, Saturday and Sunday at the Detroit Film Theatre and College for Creative Studies. The festival hopes to bring films about perseverance and the contributions of refugees to the big screen, with directors on hand to talk about their work (with Outlier’s own Malak Silmi moderating tonight’s talk). Free.
🎶 The Arab American National Museum hosts music and arts festival JAM3A on Saturday and Sunday with a Friday night kickoff party. The fest celebrates talent and identity from the Arab world and its diaspora, with film screenings, a dance workshop and thoughtful panels. Free.
🏇🏽 Hold your horses! Join Magnolia Stables and Ride Along Detroit this Saturday at Bailey Park for an afternoon of fun with food, face painting, demonstrations, horseback riding and more! Free; accepting donations.
💃🏽 On Saturday, performers and public participants are invited to tap into their senses and interact with the space around them as they experience “concrète”, an outdoor dance performance by Biba Bell, Christopher Woolfolk and Shannon White, with music by Matthew Daher. Meet at the Matéria Gallery in Core City. Pay what you can.
🅿️ Join Detroiters for Parking Reform on Saturday for a walking tour of the surface parking lots that used to be buildings in the District Detroit area. Meet at Cass Park and end the walk at Temple Bar for drinks and reflections on potential collective action to support affordable housing and sustainable urban amenities. Free; donations welcomed.
Summer ending means that spooky season is beginning. On Saturday, FrankenFest heads to Historic Fort Wayne for a day of monster-inspired art, an illusionist and paranormal conversations with Haunted Mitten Podcast and Southern Michigan ParaNormals. Free outdoor artists’ market; $5 for attractions and panels.
📚 If you want to get the kids out of the house for a bit this weekend, head over to Southwest Detroit cafe The Squeeze Station on Saturday for a book-reading picnic. Free; donations appreciated.
🖼️ Detroit Month of Design is well underway and the calendar of events is well loaded. You can watch automotive designers duke it out in ink and pencil at the Middlecott Sketchbattle on Thursday. If you want to learn more about the industry, check out The Business of Graphic Arts virtual discussion on Saturday, before heading to party with this year’s BLKOUT Walls muralists at its end-of-fest block party. Eager for even more? In the next few days, check out the East Ferry Warren: United by Dreams & Design tour and panel or a “Streets for People” global tactical urbanism event. Free.
Written by Aaron, Alex, Koby, Lynelle, Malak, Miriam, Noah, SaMya, Sarah and Kate, who’s remembering that time Stephen Colbert interviewed Eminem on a Monroe public access show.