Category Archives: TV/Film

Cranbrook Art Museum Installs Skate Ramp at Modern Skate Park in Royal Oak

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. – Cranbrook Art Museum just completed the installation of a new half-pipe skate ramp at Modern State Park in Royal Oak. Skaters are encouraged to use the ramp over the next few weeks and leave their mark, then the surface will be peeled away and it will become part of the Museum’s new exhibition, My Brain Is in My Inkstand: Drawing as Thinking and Process, which opens on November 16.

The exhibition examines the work of 22 artists from around the world as they show how the act of drawing impacts both artistic and scientific thinking. This project is directed by Chemi Rosado-Seijo, an artist whose History on Wheels project is an ongoing exploration of the correlation between skateboarding and artistic practice.

The ramp was built by Cranbrook Academy of Art graduate Mark Dineen (3D ’13) to Rosado-Seijo’s exact specifications, the dimensions of which refer to his own body measurements.

According to Rosado-Seijo, his skate-drawings bear individually determined traces of a region: the color of the earth, the dirt of the streets and the specific local skating techniques. The abstract marks of the skater’s wheels, deck and body seem random yet they are highly site-specific.

The ramp will be available for the public to use until Nov. 12 (regular Modern Skate admission hours and rates apply) – at which time the surface will be peeled away by Rosado-Seijo and installed at Cranbrook Art Museum. It will measure more than 25 feet in length.

Interactive and live performances are an integral part of My Brain Is in My Inkstand. Artist Tony Orrico will conduct a live public performance at Cranbrook Art Museum from Nov. 15-18, creating a drawing with his body that will remain in the Museum as part of the exhibition. Artist and composer Tristan Perich will also install a live Machine Drawing that uses mechanics and code to cumulatively etch markings across a Museum wall.

My Brain Is in My Inkstand: Drawing as Thinking and Process is organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Nina Samuel. Cranbrook Art Museum gratefully acknowleges the support of Modern Skate Park and its owner George Leichtweis.

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A conversation with the guys behind Corktown Cinema

corktown_cinema_logo

By Patrick Smith

It has been a hard, frustrating few years since The Burton Theatre in Detroit was forced to close its doors due to a dispute with its landlord. Since then we here at the Spine have been following the ups and downs of their quest to find a permanent home with the same anticipation and attachment as the rest of Detroit. Now it looks like our days of waiting may soon be over. But first you have to go vote for Corktown Cinema in the Hatch Detroit contest. Like right now, go vote on Facebook and at Hatch.com, then wait 24 hours and one minute and do it again. Repeat until August 29.

And you need to do this everyday because Corktown Cinema is proof that all the nice stuff you want to believe about Detroit is true.

During its too-brief run, The Burton was the sort of place people are talking about when they talk about the possibilities of Detroit. Too often all that bluster about the freedom and space to make what you want of the world just ends with Dutch people buying shitty houses, but the people behind the Burton actually took an old school and turned it into a really special place to watch movies. And then they showed incredible and unique films there. The Burton wasn’t just about having a movie theatre in Detroit that was like theatres in other cities, it was about having one that was better. Which is the idea after all, right?

Any confusion or frustration felt by fans of the former Burton, now Corktown is understandable. For a long time it looked like they had a spot in an exciting new complex in Corktown (hence the new name) but that development has hit some snags. It is understandable that people set themselves up for failure, or brace for expected disappointment. But the Corktown guys haven’t stopped working. Since the Burton closed, Brandon Walley joined Jeff Else as a part owner. Walley was the director of the Detroit Film Center and is a filmmaker himself, so he brings valuable knowledge and perspective to the operation.

This week both Else and Walley answered some questions for the Spine. Their edited answers are below.

Woodward Spine: The Hatch contest winner gets $50,000. What are you going to do with the money?

Brandon Walley: Corktown Cinema will become a reality. It has become a singular mission for Jeff and I. Winning Hatch Detroit will put us on the fast track to purchasing the building that will be a perfect fit for us in Corktown. Having our own space as oppose to renting, as was the case with Burton Theatre, will allow us to do everything Burton did but on steroids. So much more opportunity to have unique programming and events that aren’t offered in Detroit currently.
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Jeff Else: We will be using the $50,000 in conjunction with some private investment we have committed towards the purchasing of a building to house the cinema, and the expenses involved in adapting the space.
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WS: Why should people vote for you?
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BW: We are offering something that is singularly unique to Detroit right now. Anyone that lives in the city knows that going to see a movie usually means driving to the suburbs. But mainly, we will offer programming that isn’t even offered anywhere in Michigan. Major cities in the US have options for unique cinema, we’ll bring it to Detroit but also do it better than most. Basically, we’re all friends working towards the same goal… cinema not otherwise offered in Detroit. The mantra remains.
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JE: We think watching movies in a social setting (with a beer maybe) is an essential part of any vibrant community.  As anyone who lives in the city can tell you, far too often seeing a movie involves going to the suburbs.  There are only 4 functioning movie theatres in the city, most of them on the outskirts.  We think that’s tragic.  Also, we’ve proved that this idea works.  We were open for almost two years as the Burton Theatre, and developed a loyal following when we were forced to close due to a dispute with our landlord.  We have card-carrying members.. Detroit wants this.
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WS: What else you guys working on beyond this contest?
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JE: Well we’ve been working hard towards finding a suitable building for the cinema, which is a bit more challenging than just finding your average storefront, that’s really been our focus this year.  We kept up a fairly consistent pop-up schedule after the Burton closed, but we’re really trying hard to find a permanent home now.
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BW: Beyond my role as Program Director for Corktown, I’m lucky that I get the opportunity to program (when asked) for other organizations. I’m curating the next Mothlight Cinema here in Detroit, which is a really great outlet for avant garde cinema (bridging the gap until CC opens.) Programming at Nightingale Microcinema in Chicago this fall and continuing to be the regional programmer for Media City in Canada.
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Then, well I’m a filmmaker. Keep working. Hopefully my first feature, loosely based on the Detroit music scene, will be done by the end of the year.
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WS: It has been a while since you closed, what has been going on since then? Why the hold up?
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JE: Oh boy, so many things.  We had been working with some developers from New York for about a year and a half to be part of a big complex of independent retail, food etc.. they are doing in Corktown, but their development hit some snags and is sort of in limbo.  Earlier this year we were in a prolonged bidding war for a building that we ultimately lost.  So, you know, just mundane stuff, but we’ve been working hard all the while to make it happen, and there’s no stopping us.
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Interview with Director Paul Feig: Part II

Kick Me Book Cover | © Paul Feig

Kick Me Book Cover | © Paul Feig

By Jeffrey Buck

This is Part II of the interview with Michigan native Paul Feig. Be sure to read Part I if you have not already.

Jeffrey Buck: Did you watch a lot of movies as a kid?

Paul Feig: I definitely watched movies but I wasn’t a Quentin Tarantino where I saw every movie that was ever made, that kind of thing. I liked the movies that I liked. I was way into science fiction. My best friend, the one who drove out to California with me, Mike, he and I were way into SciFi so we would see every single science fiction movie that came out. And comedies, I would go see those. Woody Allen, [too.] I loved ‘What’s up Doc?’ When old black and white comedies would come on TV or be in the movie theaters I would always go and see those. But I didn’t like drama. I would try and do everything I could to not see any dramatic films until I got to college. At Wayne State, the first kind of dramatic film I saw and really fell in love with was this Francis Ford Coppola film called ‘The Conversation.’ And that’s the moment I was like maybe I do like dramas and [it] put me on the road to liking to do stuff that was both comedic and dramatic. Because it’s really the most honest way of storytelling. Anything that’s so dramatic with no laughs in it is almost as dishonest as a comedy where everything is funny and there’s no kind of heart to it because life is very much your laughing one minute, you’re crying the next, and something terrible happens and somebody tries to make a joke to try to pretend it’s not happening and cheer themselves up. And that’s the tone I like. The whole creative [thing] I do now is to try and create what’s the most honest, hopefully the most funniest thing but also what’s the most kind of emotionally honest thing, the kind of thing where you don’t go as an audience member , ‘Well that’s stupid’ or ‘That wouldn’t happen.’ Because that to me is when you fail as a filmmaker, [and] the audience doesn’t believe something; I think you’re kind of dead in the water. Continue reading

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Interview with Director Paul Feig: Part I

Paul Feig |  © Paul Feig

Paul Feig | © Paul Feig

By Jeffrey Buck

Thirty years ago Paul Feig took off west in his Mustang with one goal: to make it as an actor in Hollywood. Thirty years later, the successful actor, writer and director, continues to make people laugh while remembering his humble roots back in the Midwest.

The Woodward Spine had the chance to speak with the highly successful director of 2011’s critically acclaimed hit ‘Bridesmaids’ and the upcoming film ‘The Heat’ (opening in theaters June 28th) about his life in Michigan and his journey to break into show business.

Jeffrey Buck: How often did you and your family visit Detroit?

Paul Feig: The only time we really went to downtown Detroit was to go to Greektown like everybody else in the world.  We didn’t spend too much time downtown. My dad, while I was growing up…actually not when I was growing up, before they had me, even before he met my mom owned his first store, a pawn shop. It was down in Cass Corridor.  He was in like the roughest part of Detroit. When he got out of there and moved his business to the East Side he was always kind of hesitant to go back down to Detroit. So consequently, we never went down there that much except to go to Greektown. But the irony was when I went back to Michigan, on a book tour a number of years ago, I was suddenly like gosh I never used to hang out in downtown Detroit, this time I just want to hang out down there this whole time. And I did and it was a lot of fun discovering Detroit and finding the fun places, cool restaurants and just kind of seeing it again. I used to go down to the Fisher Theatre too and we had a cottage in Canada. Right outside of Windsor. So we drove through Detroit a lot.  So we were only going through it and by it. But yeah never really spent too much time downtown, which was unfortunate. Continue reading

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Labor Day Weekend Fun

By Jeffrey Buck

Looking for something fun to do this Labor Day Weekend? Look no further, here is a handful of ideas to get you outside and enjoying the long weekend! Leave a comment below if you have any other suggestions for readers looking for some fun.

  1. Detroit Jazz Festival– Several downtown Detroit blocks will be taken over this weekend for the 33rd annual Detroit Jazz Festival. 100 acts will perform on five stages over the four day jam session. Music is not the only thing visitors will enjoy with offerings such as educational activities for both children & adults and fireworks.
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    Dates: Friday, Aug. 31 through Monday, Sept. 3. Hours: Fri. 4-11 p.m. | Sat. & Sun. 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. | Mon. Noon to 8:30 p.m. Admission: FREE
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  2. Ford Arts, Beats & Eats – Downtown Royal Oak will once again be rocking as Ford Arts, Beats & Eats celebrates its 15th year. Visitors this year have choices to make as more than 200 artists perform on ten stages and several local restaurants dish out some fantastic cuisine. Oh and don’t forget to stoll around and taken in all of the art!
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    Dates: Friday, Aug. 31 through Monday, Sept. 3. Hours: Fri. to Sun. 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. | Mon. 11:00 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission: Fri: Free until 5 p.m., $5 after | Sat. to Mon. $3 until 5 p.m., $5 after
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  3. Tigers Home Stand – In what could be one of the most important series of the entire season, the division leading Chicago White Sox travel to Comerica Park this weekend to take on the Detroit Tigers. Sunday’s day game time was recently changed to 8:06 p.m. because it was selected as ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball game.
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    Dates & Times: Friday, August 31 @ 7:05 p.m. | Saturday, Sept 1 @ 7:05 p.m. | Sunday, Sept. 2 @ 8:06 p.m. Admission: Varies, visit tigers.com
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  4. Michigan Renaissance Festival – It’s that time of the year again! You can go as you are or you can dress up in your best Renaissance outfit. Throw tomatoes, watch full contact jousting or bite into a big juicy turkey leg. There are games, food and music for all ages!
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    Dates: Open Weekends & Labor Day, Plus Friday Sept. 14 Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. | Rain or shine Admission: Varies, Adults: $20.95 | Child: $11.95
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  5. Great Lakes State Fair -The Suburban Collection Showplace plays host to a tradition that’s been absent from the state. Moving north and taking on a different name Michigan agriculture will be the center of attention once again at this weekends Great Lakes State Fair. There will be Michigan made products on display, livestock & agriculture areas, beer gardens and much more.
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    Dates: Friday, August, 31 through Monday, September 3. Hours: Varies, Fri. – Sun. 8 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.| Mon. 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: Varies, Adults $6-$25 | Children $5-$20
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Mario Batali dishes on Pure Michigan

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By Jeffrey Buck

World-famous chef Mario Batali is a part-time Michigander and loves to cook with ingredients and produce grown in our great state. He shared his tips and recipes with Pure Michigan this year and gave a list of his top must-see destinations in the state this summer. Take advantage of his vast knowledge this Labor Day with one of his three recommendations!

  1. Piadina with Michigan Cherries, Bologna & Raclette – A piadina is a type of traditional flatbread found in Italy that is stuffed with every conceivable filling. The dough is easy to make and once lightly grilled is layered with raclette, bologna and topped with fresh Pure Michigan cherries. Quick and delicious!
  2. Michigan Walleye in Prosciutto with Pesto Fregola – So delicious, with crisp, salty, porky prosciutto enveloping the fresh Michigan Walleye. Refrigerating the fish before cooking it helps make its “shirt” of prosciutto adhere. Nutty, flavorful fregola tossed with pesto adds another dimension to this flavorful Walleye recipe.
  3. Beef Braciole “Pinwheel-style” – All the lusty flavors of braciole wrapped up in a butterflied tenderloin with Italian Caciocavallo, Bella Fortuna Restaurant’s sliced Artisanal salami and Michigan dried cherries–the results are spectacular. This dish is so good it’s sure to become a family-favorite recipe.

And be sure to visit Mario’s must-see destinations in northern Michigan!

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Joel Landy tells his side of the Corktown Cinema fight

This is a response, from Joel Landy owner of the former Burton International School, to Patrick Smith’s Explaining the Corktown Cinema Internet Fight published August 14, 2012. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Woodward Spine. 

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I, Joel Landy, the Big Bad Landlord, created the idea of hosting a theater in the Burton School. I named it, designed the theater and its operation, borrowed and spent more than $80,000 and many hours renovating all of its features including the pool table in the boys’ room. The Corktown guys rented the Burton Theatre , bought a popcorn machine, installed some used projectors, started renting movies and organized and operated their creative project. There was no “dispute with the landlord” as they have stated. They moved out at 2 a.m. under their own free will with no notice to avoid paying three-month-overdue separately-metered electric bills and the payment, or arrangements thereof for a security deposit that had never been paid. The rent never changed, it only went down as I subsidized the operation.

After 20 comments in one week from people thinking the Burton Theatre was closed—and having asked the Corktown Cinema guys to discontinue using the theater’s name—I contacted Facebook. After a short investigation, Facebook determined the former tenant was still using the theater’s name on their page and turned the page over to us. After a couple quick postings to let people know the Burton Theatre was still open, I unpublished the page and shut it down. I look forward to the day when the Burton Theatre, the Corktown Cinema, and the DFT will be working together and cross-promoting various activities.

Thank You,

Joel Landy

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