|Pixies live in Detroit|
I grew up 30 minutes south of the Motor City, but haven't spent much time there since leaving Michigan. I've followed the recent news stories with curiosity; the urban decay captured in glossy photo essays, the vicious city politics, the spread of urban farming, and the tales of an artistic resurgence. When I've heard talk of Detroit's comeback, I'll admit to feeling skeptical. If you're from Michigan, you know that the problems in Detroit are not new - it's been a rough, hard place for a long time.
My quick visit was like peering through the car window while passing by a place you used to know. I caught only glimpses, but they were telling.
|Inside the Fox Theater|
I am old enough now to appreciate a rock show held in an elegant place. And the Pixies more than lived up to the historic stage.
|Pixies at the Fox Theater. Detroit, April 2011.|
We celebrated after at Grand Trunk Pub with some fancy microbrews, and then went slightly less fancy with coney fries and dogs at Lafayette Coney Island. It was late - we reached Lafayette by 2AM - but each spot was cozy and dense with activity. Outside the pub, groups of smokers congregated and packs of twentysomethings teetered by, dressed in their Friday night best.
|Lafayette Coney Island at 2am.|
I snapped this shot just before we left and a cook, watching me, smiled. "Good photo," he said.
Who knows if a transformation will take place in Detroit yet, or what it will look like if it does. I read somewhere recently that the city could be viewed as a "blank canvas" for young artists looking to make an impression. At the time, the remark irritated me. How can a place that holds sentimental value for so many be viewed as blank? Detroit is still a rough, hard place, but there are people there who sell drinks in tuxedos, who serve up microbrews and slap together coney dogs, who become engaged in crowded late night restaurants. Those were the images I saw, bright and vivid. The city ain't blank.