Day 174: Rock City

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June 22, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra

How well do you know the big city nearest to you?  If you’re like me, and the nearest major city is Detroit, the answer is probably not all that well.  Detroit is sort of a mysterious place.  Not because the town itself is uniquely shady or has lots to hide, but more because of all the background noise and static crowding the headlines and broadcasts which seem to love spreading a sort of dichotomy about the city – that Detroit is either a smoldering wreck or a pheonix rising from the ashes to fly again.  If either of these prophecies were 100% true, after so many years of hearing them, we’d surely have seen some evidence of change in one direction or the other, wouldn’t we?  I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between, and I think today’s project is going to do something apparently unique by exploring just what is up with the D.

DETROPIA is an independent documentary about the real Detroit.  Focusing on real Detroiters going through life in the Motor City, the film wants to unturn a lot of stones that the media has been quick pass over, and maybe discover something extraordinary underneath.

The story of Detroit is the story of all of us. The city and this country are both at a crossroads. Which way will we go? The story of this epic city and its struggles can act as a springboard for a productive conversation so many of us want to have.

Whether you’re a Michigander or not, you’ve doubtlessly heard something about Detroit, and if you’re not a Michigander, it’s almost certainly been negative (local news does it’s best to highlight every positive morsel it can, sometimes giving the impression of desperately searching for gems in a field of coal).  One way or another, there’s a lot that Detroit can teach us all, and it’s worth paying attention to, even if from a distance.  DETROPIA is about Detroit, by Detroit, but it’s not just for Detroit – it’s a way to tune out the noise and distractions of headline sensationalism and polarized press coverage – a way to see this city from ground-level, where the people work, play, learn and live.  It’s a project worth paying attention to, and one that I’m proud to support.  I hope you’ll join me in doing so before June 28.


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