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MotorCity Gumball Rally, A Two Day Custom and Exotic Car Rally This Weekend

 

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DETROIT, Michigan – The MotorCity Gumball Rally will be launching its two day event starting tomorrow morning Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 and ending Sunday evening, August 24th. The rally boasts a roster of 100 custom and high end cars from all over the country competing in a timed road rally on a secret route starting in Detroit, navigating its way to Chicago, Illinois and ending back in Campus Martius, Detroit for an arrival ceremony. Checkpoints and challenges will be sprinkled into the route making the rally both a physically and mentally demanding competition. Participants will be competing for cash and prizes with a portion of proceeds going to Reach Out Worldwide charity and toy donations going to Toys for Tots Foundation.

On Saturday, August 23rd at 8:00 AM, Monroe Street facing Greektown Casino and Hotel will be closed down to make room for the official rally cars to line up and be launched into the start of the event. Spectators and fans of the rally are invited to come see all the race cars warm up before they take off for the two day journey. Detroit Police escorts will assist the parading line of cars through the local streets of Detroit before releasing them onto the highway.

Once on the highway, teams will use an interactive mobile phone driving app to obtain clues leading them to various checkpoints. Ideal driving times between checkpoints will be based on local posted driving speeds to ensure safety of the drivers and others on the roads. Drivers and their navigators will have to use any skills they may have along with general knowledge to navigate the route efficiently. Once they arrive at a checkpoint, a physical challenge will have to be completed before they are able to return back to driving. Eventually, all teams will make their way to downtown Chicago for the night where dinner, a VIP style party and luxury hotel stay await. The next morning all teams and their cars will converge and be released to once again navigate a secret route with timed checkpoints.

Sunday evening, August 24th at 6:00 PM, the rally will come to an end as cars make their final destination to Campus Martius in the heart of downtown Detroit. The general public is encouraged to join the festivities and come greet the drivers as they arrive back home for the finishing party. This family-friendly event will host an array of activities for guests of all ages and interests. Local graffiti artists will be onsite creating works of art in real time for an art competition. A live DJ will be spinning tracks to set the mood and a special musical performance by up and coming artist JSR is slated to take place. Food and drink vendors will also be on site for good eats while the Red Bull Wing Team energizes the crowd. A special auction with a chance to win exclusive prizes will take place for charity. All car enthusiasts are encouraged to bring out their rides to enter a car show with prizes awarded to the winners in various categories.

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MotorCity Rally Club, LLC is a not for profit club created by local car enthusiasts and staffed by volunteers. The MotorCity Gumball is the Midwest’s premier luxury automotive and lifestyle rally touring both local areas and expanding beyond to explore new roads and sites across the country. A portion of proceeds from this year’s rally will be donated in honor of the late Paul Walker to his charity, Reach Out Worldwide. A toy drive will also be held in which all participating teams and those entering the arrival party car show will donate new, unused toys for children through the Toys for Tots foundation of southeast Michigan.

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Chicago Transplant BoostUp Joins Detroit’s M@dison Block Technology Hub

DETROIT – Saving money toward your goals just became a whole lot easier thanks to a new tech start-up based in downtown Detroit’s M@dison Block.  BoostUp helps people save for life’s big purchases such as a car, home, wedding or trip.

Originally launched in Chicago in 2010 as Motozuma, Founder and CEO John Morgan moved the company to Detroit’s M@dison Building in August 2013 to take advantage of the opportunities in its growing tech corridor. Since that time, BoostUp has expanded its services and more than doubled in size.

“Everyone could use some help saving money, which is what led me to create BoostUp,” Morgan said. “We are excited to be a part of the M@dison Block tech community and to help our users’ save toward their goals.”

BoostUp is a social saving platform that enables consumers to save up and get monetary “boosts” toward life’s big purchases like a car, home, wedding or trip. Users can save their own money toward their goal, receive contributions from family and friends, and be rewarded with savings boosts from brands that want their business. For example, Hyundai will add a savings boost of up to $500 for BoostUp users when purchasing a Hyundai vehicle.

In addition to BoostUp’s partnership with Hyundai, the company has partnerships in 31 states with 142 car dealerships specializing in a wide variety of brands. BoostUp will soon be announcing major partnerships in the wedding, home and vacation industries.

BoostUp recently secured a $1 million round of funding, led by Detroit Venture Partners (DVP).  Other investors include Cornerstone Opportunity Partners, angel investor Patrick Sullivan, and IncWell. As part of IncWell’s investment, Tom LaSorda, former CEO of Chrysler, has signed on as a BoostUp advisor.

“BoostUp represents a fresh approach for both consumers and advertisers,” said Josh Linkner, managing partner and CEO of DVP. “Consumers can systematically save for life’s biggest purchases while brands and retailers can build customer relationships early in the buying process.  It is a win for both, and the company’s success will be a win for Detroit.”

About BoostUp

BoostUp is the first-of-its-kind social saving platform that enables consumers to save up and get monetary “boosts” toward life’s big purchases like a car, home, wedding or trip. BoostUp users can save their own money toward their goal, receive contributions from family and friends, and be rewarded with savings boosts from brands that want their business. Life’s expensive. Get a Boost. For more information visit www.BoostUp.com.

About Detroit Venture Partners (DVP)

Detroit Venture Partners is a venture capital firm that invests in seed and early-stage technology companies with a strong emphasis on Detroit-based start-ups. It provides hands-on coaching, mentorship, support, and resources to help drive growth and success. The firm was founded in 2010 by Josh Linkner, Dan Gilbert and Brian Hermelin. To date, DVP has invested in 22 companies. For more information, visit DetroitVenturePartners.com

About M@dison Block

The M@dison Block, located in downtown Detroit, is quickly becoming one of the hottest high-tech entrepreneurial corridors in the nation. The technology spans four blocks and includes more than 40 tech companies. This area has become the epicenter for entrepreneurship in the region.

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Fashion Friday: Baked Goods

By Stephanie Saviola

Baked Goods

Check out the items by clicking the photos below:


For me, shopping and cooking go hand-in-hand. There’s a certain level of appreciation that goes along with creating food, not unlike picking the right outfit or being inspired by seeing a designers new line. They’re merely different forms of art. Continue reading

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Fashion Friday: Inspiration

By Stephanie Saviola

Vintage Re-creation

Check out the items by clicking the photos below:

SPACE

This past weekend I went to a vintage bazaar at Chicago’s Congress Theatre with fellow spine writer, Ms. Bloom. While I left empty handed, I took away tons of inspiration and ideas. We found racks of fun, vintage cocktail dresses in vibrant colors and sequins and a plethora of fur coats—hopefully faux. Above is a collection of re-created looks from the bazaar. One of the great things about living in an urban environment is that there are so many places to get inspiration from (i.e. the bazaar, the markets, and the boutiques). And between that and magazines and countless blogs, just when I think I’ve seen it all, I’ll walk down the street and see someone wearing something in a unique way and I get a new spark of creativity. The collection below is some items on my fall wish list. Stress on the wish part of that, as in “in my dreams!”

Fall Wish List

Check out the items by clicking the photos below:

SPACE

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The revolution will be televised

By Mike Fossano

It didn’t take long for the Pistons’ 2010-11 season to fall into near lockstep with last year’s dismal output. There is one major difference, however—this year’s squad cannot lean on the injury crutch like they did last year.

This season has been pockmarked by a handful of events that could be read like Seinfeld episodes. It started with “The Determination Era,” then progressed to “The Tayshaun Feud,” “The Losing Streaks,” “The Unresolved Sale” and “The Rip Benching.”

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any more pathetic, the events that transpired Friday indicated how wayward this franchise really is.

“The Mutiny”

I’m sure that Friday morning arrived just as any other normal one for Kuester, who’s  21-38 team was in Philadelphia to take on the 76ers later. By the end of the morning shootaround, it was as clear to him as it was to everybody else that something had been brewing within his team.

Only seven players showed up for the practice after what is being called a “player protest” of the coach. Kuester dodged many of the questions that were lobbed his way following the practice, which is something that has dogged him all season long.

By refusing to deal with the issues plaguing his team head on, he allowed them to fester through the media and create a toxic locker room. One of the most common complaints from players has been his inability to communicate with them, which is evidenced by the awkward “he-said/she-said” banter during “The Rip Benching.”

Hamilton performed well after he was inexplicably asked to start Feb. 5 at Milwaukee after rotting on the end of the bench for 13 straight games. His subsequent re-benching was the final straw for the players, who had discussed taking a stand against their coach over a week ago, according to Terry Foster of the Detroit News.

At the same time, however, these players are getting paid millions of dollars to be professionals, show up and play a game. For these players to be pulling this stunt in Detroit, with our sour economy on team that’s nearly 20 games below .500 is ridiculous.

Not long after the debacle in Philly, word leaked out through Yahoo! Sports that Hamilton scolded his coach during an expletive-laden tirade just prior to his benching. Assistant coaches were stunned by the outburst, and younger players would later privately confide that they wished they had the courage to step up to Hamilton.

Looking at it through an objective lens, you’d be hard-pressed to disagree with the crux of Hamilton’s argument, which questioned Kuester’s viability as an NBA head coach. The results, or lack thereof, during the supposed offensive mastermind behind the 2008-09 Cleveland Cavaliers speak for themselves. However, Hamilton’s course of action was juvenile and displayed a grossly skewed sense of reality.

Prior to his arrival in Detroit, Hamilton was considered a talented, but one-dimensional shooting guard. Paired with Chauncey Billups, the duo helped to spearhead the Pistons from mediocrity to world championship-caliber basketball for much of the 2000s—even when their defensive deficiencies were exposed once Ben Wallace departed for Chicago.

From an offensive standpoint, Hamilton’s game fell off a cliff once Billups was shipped to Denver for Allen Iverson (in retrospect, and perhaps at the time, a trade that should’ve never happened, but I digress…). Even with a rookie head coach in Michael Curry and a transitional roster, Hamilton signed the Pistons’ three-year, $34M extension offer immediately following the trade. Since then, Hamilton has been given space to develop into a relative malcontent with zero repercussions for his detrimental behavior and lack of production—other than reasonable requests for him to come off the bench.

“The Takeover”

It’s time for Joe Dumars to show some culpability for this disaster as well. When things were great, Dumars was easy to find and had a much stronger media presence. Nowadays, the only time you see him is when the in-game camera picks him out from the depths of his shadowy suite.

Firing Kuester right now would continue what has been an awful run of Piston players running coaches out of town, but it’s likely an inevitable end to this relationship. As he rightfully received credit for culling the pieces to their 2004 championship run, he deserves criticism for a string of questionable free agent signings and draft picks since then.

Dumars needs to regain control of the team by either working behind the scenes to dissolve infighting, or by taking the reins from Kuester as head coach himself. If neither happen, Piston fans can expect this turbulent period to continue.

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City, cars shine for 2011 Chicago Auto Show

By Mike Fossano

Last Wednesday’s media preview of the 2011 Chicago Auto Show was not only my first time experiencing an auto show preview, but also attending any show outside of Detroit. I came out of it with a new understanding of the business side of the show, along with several ideas on how to improve Detroit’s North American International Auto Show.

Let me first start by saying that all of us Detroiters need to get over the fact that we’re not Chicago, nor will we ever be. Yes, downtown Detroit is on the come-up and is much better now than it was a few years ago. However, the reality is that Wild West-style banditry still exists in the heart of the city—even during periods of heightened security.

It’s no secret that many of the beautifully refurbished downtown hotels are now wracked with vacancies (54.8% occupancy rate for 2010). The hotels cannot sustain from sports and entertainment events alone, they need a thriving convention stream. It’s simple, really—conventions draw people from out of town who will not only stay at hotels, but also spend their money at nearby restaurants, attractions and casinos. The more people that are out and about, the safer the area becomes—provided of course that a police presence is maintained.

The glaring chink in the armor is our beloved Cobo Center. One quick sweep through Chicago’s palatial McCormick Place exposes Cobo for what it is—dirty, bleak and very outdated.

Have you ever tried to explain to somebody how to navigate through the rat’s nest that is the Cobo/Joe Louis Arena corridor? Half of the battle is trying to find a spot to park, but the fun part is the two-mile trek, which may take patrons up a flight of stairs—only to go back down and through a series of twisty, creepy skyways over the Lodge/Jefferson spaghetti bowl.

Our hotel was located in the River North area of Chicago, closer to Navy Pier than the Magnificent Mile, but there were plenty of things to do within walking distance—even with a -20 windchill.

We were shuttled from the hotel to McCormick Place for the 8 a.m. MAMA/Chicago Auto Show Breakfast, which featured a keynote address from Jim Farley, Ford Motor Company’s group vice president, global marketing, sales and service. After his speech, we made our way to the exhibition hall in anticipation of the preview, which featured press conferences from Chevrolet, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Acura, Dodge, RAM, Suzuki and Shelby Cars–many of whom revealed new models.

Take one step into the lobby of McCormick Place and you’ll realize not just the deficiencies of Cobo, but also how dire the immediate need is for an upgrade. Beyond the fact that it’s a newer facility, McCormick is bright, expansive and has a ton of amenities that make it a super attractive option for conventions.

The most striking difference between the two facilities (other than a lack-of the musty, stale hot dog-stench that permeates Cobo) is the amount of floor space. The nation’s largest convention center, McCormick is roughly triple the size of Cobo (2.7M sq. ft. to 600,000 sq. ft.)–a rather obscene and unfair comparison. Nonetheless, automakers have more than enough room in their booths to comfortably spread their wares, and visitors likewise can amble about without feeling too cramped.

At the moment, Cobo clocks in last position in terms of exhibition space among four of the nation’s top auto shows behind Chicago, New York (760,000 sq. ft.) and Los Angeles (720,000 sq. ft.), and is outside of the 20-largest convention centers nationally.

A renovation and expansion of Cobo that utilizes its proximity to the Renaissance Center would not only enhance large shows such as the NAIAS, but it would make Detroit a major player in the convention circuit. Subsequent trade shows and conventions at the venue could generate tens of thousands of jobs and have a huge economic impact for Michigan.

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Wayne State’s Ian Larkin Dunk

By Jeffrey Buck

Mike is off to Chicago with his dad this week to take in the Chicago Auto Show and hopefully come back with some words on how different the event was from the NAIAS here in Detroit. With that said, he texted me the other night to tell me our WSU Warriors made it on the ESPN Top 10 list. I was a little shocked at first but I have been following them a bit this year and know they are having a really good year.

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