One year. One city. Endless opportunities.

Detroit, No Chaser...

So I'm posted up at a party the other night, celebrating Time's shiny new media effort here in Detroit, watching the best and brightest mingle and toast and congratulate themselves for daring to do this in the D…

…and all I can think about is how horribly wrong it can go...

Be for real: Detroit – at least the city proper, which birthed and reared me – doesn't usually go well with Big Media. The mixture can too often be a nasty brew of sensationalism and too-easy narratives, lazily or hastily sketched caricatures of an America in decline.

On the flip side, Detroiters usually don't appreciate the mix even when – nah, especially when — it hits home. Nobody likes looking bad (and we just know we're going to wind up looking bad), but few places have our capacity to resist criticism even when it's deadly accurate. If an entire town can harbor collective deep-seated insecurities, we've got ‘em. We rail against the portraits of us – as a city too poor, too drained, too far along in decline to ever bounce back – partially because many of us fear them to be true.

Still, it's one thing to recognize that it's tough to properly mix Big Media with the Motor City. And it's another thing to know that, no matter what you concoct, it'll almost always be tough for many of us to swallow.

But now, I've been asked to help tend bar.

And because I love this town – what we used to be, what we are, what we strive to become — I'm going to try my hand at it. So welcome to my blog.

I can't promise my special house blends will always go down smooth. But I'll do my best to add it all in, and that includes ingredients – voices, people, places from every quarter of this town – that don't always abound in the admixtures major media serves up.

Detroit is still a beautiful, diverse and magical place. We're not just an old Packard plant or a dilapidated train station or an O-fer football team. We're festivals and concerts, artwork and architecture (and the Red Wings!) -- and because I know this, I look forward to the days when what I offer does go down easy.

But Detroit is also a troubled city, a place where race and class divide, families struggle, industries crumble and bureaucrats steal. I know this, too – and so there will be days when there ain't much sweet.

Of course, much of the mix will fall somewhere in between. And whatever the blend, I'll always try to serve it straight up.

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  • 1

    hey there,

    please be somewhat kind about D-town.

    i've lived in Detroit for 36 years, but i had to move to San Antonio, Texas last year for work.

    i miss home....Ye Olde Tap Room, the Magic Stick, Noir Leather Fashion Shows, and National Coney Island's.

    San Antonio is so much better, economically, than Detroit. but nothing takes the place of home....

    these will be interesting reads......

    check out Pure Detroit for some Motor City inspiration....

    and don't forget to visit Leland CityClub....ask around, the locals know where it is

  • 2

    Thanks for coming to Detroit to do this project. I especially appreciate the part about choking on house blends. The realism within the city is what needs to be projected so I'm encouraged to read that you will not be sugarcoating your blog.
    Part of the international attraction to this city is what us citizens actually are going through. I call it "The Struggle". In some form that has always existed in Motown.
    So bring on the "Tough Love". There is never too much of that.
    If you want a unique story please check out a local cycling project I have been involved with for 5 years now. Its called Hope you are able to join us sometime.

    Andy Staub

  • 3

    What an exciting project! It would be cool to see a story on the gay community here in Detroit. People don't think of Detroit as a gay city, but where do you think Madonna learned how to vogue?

  • 4

    You are going to have a blast. Be sure to walk the river in the am and chat it up with the fishermen, Leland City Club is great...make it to 1515 Broadway for a show and chat with Chris the owner...he knows it all.....Dally in the Alley..Sugarman Rodriguez....NiagaraDetroit...I could go on and on.

    I will make one prediction: by the end of the year you will be madly in love with Detroit. Its the people. I blogged on this a year ago:

    Welcome- you will love this assignment and I look forward to reading your missives.
    Nancy Kotting

  • 5

    How did you decide to name your blog "detroit blog" when that is already in use by the most respected and well read of all detroit weblogs ?

    The guy even writes for Metro Times on a regular basis, is it actually possible that you overlooked his site when naming this one ? Gotta give you a hard time over that title.

    Other than that, welcome to the Paris of the Midwest....curious to see what you come up with after the "welcome to town" v.i.p. buzz is over. These are serious times in Detroit, and I believe that the only way to tell the story is first hand. So kudos for stepping up to the plate. Detroit needs this, and the rest of the United States needs to understand what is happening here.

    We are the "canary in the coal mine".

    Everybody else visited, and you came to take a serious look.

    Welcome to Detroit.

    • 5.1

      Hey D-Funk,

      This guy's a suburbanite, not from out of town. Click on his name up top to read his bio.

  • 7

    Welcome to Detroit--thanks for helping tell our story!

    You will be very happy to know that the Arts and Culture scene her in Detroit is like none other. And people in SE Michigan treasure it immensely. Back in August, almost $5 million dollars was raised online in single a DAY to support Arts and Culture!

    Check it out:

  • 8

    Well this begs the question even more eh - Never heard of ?

    I would like to think it is an oversight, and not a cynical ploy to cop on detroitblogs popularity.

  • 9

    I was pleased to hear that Time/CNN was undertaking this project in Detroit. Living all my life in the Detroit Metro area (4 years in Grand Rapids - but who's counting), has spoiled me. The people in Detroit are unlike any in the country -- yes, they are feisty, but they are also the most giving and caring people I've ever been around. They will give what they don't have, to help someone who has less. They are tough, hard working and they never give up. As you may be able to tell from my name, I drive a truck -- 48 states -- and am on the road about 48 weeks out of the year. I get to see people all over this country and have never come across a city whose people can hold a candle to Metro Detroiters. I was discussing with my best friend -- also a Detroiter, also a truck driver -- where we should live when we put down roots -- some places are cheaper, some places are cleaner, some places are warmer, some have mountains, oceans etc... but there is no place like Detroit. If any city in this country can come out of the place where Detroit is right now -- Detroit can -- with hard work, perseverance and that pure 'Detroit Hustle' that you don't see anywhere else in the USA! I will be following your stories as I travel around this country proudly displaying my olde english D's on the sides of my truck.

  • 10

    D.D., I am looking forward to your analysis of this complex metroplex. I've always said that the big reason for the unfair image trashing of the D comes from those in media with a desire to quickly make a name for themselves in the news industry. You have already traveled well, made a name for yourself. I think we can trust a fair and balance critique from you over the next several months. I do not think most of us, living here, are afraid of the truth. I think most of us are just tired of being picked on unfairly. I say, tell it like it is, and let the chips fall where they may. Do not leave out the poverty pimps, the anti-school busing biggots (who built whole careers on projecting fear in the suburbs), or the local media with the "bleed it leads" mentality (who cannot wait to present the ugliest stories on the front page and at 5 pm, esp when we have company in town). And, while you are at it, maybe you can figure out what is going on with these young men wearing their pants around their knees, smoking cigarettes at gas stations, throwing trash out their windows, fire bombing ex-girlfriend's homes, daylight gun battles at service stations. In the end, if the analysis is good -- great. And, if the it is not so good, that will be great too -- we'll know what to do to make things better. What we want is a critical, fair and balance mirror of ourselves. And I think you can give us a good look at ourselves. Gor for it.

  • 11

    Welcome Back to Detroit,

    I hope you are able to avoid some of the desperate acts of the so-called "artistic and creative class",. They will attempt to manipulate and use you for personal gain. They will stage events, they will use everything to gain your attention... They will display vulgar and bizarre statements on walls,cardboard. These things are not creative but simply capitalistic, seeking only there 15 minutes of fame. We are not just grit and grim. If you look closely and deeply you will find what makes Detroit. You will find small shinning lights in some of the darkest spots. Lights that have been shinning for decades.... with not just hope for change, but creating it for themselves, one lot, one block, one person at a time.

    A simple but powerful change in how we Detroiter's treat each other, how we as a community treat and see each other.

    So Shine your lights on us, and you will find ours shinning back ! The good , the bad and the ones that truly have created change .


  • 12

    I guess most of the readers didn't see that you are from Detroit. Anyway, I know that you will be brutually honest at times, giving us the tough love we need; that's the way you roll. And I look forward to your honesty and vivid writing that will cut yet challenge us and the world to see our complexities and the potential we have to rise. Great job on the inaugural blog, Darrell.

    Rhonda J. Smith

  • 13

    Unfortunately, I had to leave Michigan for work just over a year ago. Michigan has always been my home for as long as I can remember.

    I finally realized my dream of finishing college, and starting my master's degree only to realize that there are no jobs! I worked part time as a nanny for the very wealthy, and got tired of it.

    I finally decided that I had no choice but to leave. I left my family, friends, and everything dear to me because I had to choose between paying my rent and feeding myself, or staying and applying for welfare. I made money here and there by dumpster diving at nice stores for goods, but that just wasn't cutting it anymore. I even had more competition at the dumpster!

    I will always love Michigan, and hope to return one day. Arizona will never be my home! I will always be a Michigander at heart. I love the four seasons, and the endless beauty that Michigan offers. Michigan is filled with boundless beauty, too bad we don't have the opportunities to match. People from Detroit are strong, and will prevail one day. I think everyone needs to hang in there, stay strong, and help one another in our great times of need.

    I will be back soon...

  • 14

    Great to see your byline back in town, where I know it'll add value, Darrell.

    You're a no-hesitation RSS feed addition because these house blends are sure to be as tasty, bracing, educational and provocative as -- dare I say? -- your legendary Buckwhylin' column.

    Looking forward to strong mixes, straight up.

  • 15

    Hey Mr. Dawsey it's Sharryn Harvey, your old student at WSU. Fitting I would find you ranting and raving about The D :)

    I agree I cringe everytime I see a headline having to do with Detroit. I almost blew this blog off until I saw you wrote it. LOL I'm in Oklahoma now and it's funny how they have the same problems here but when I say I'm from Detroit, everyone reacts like "WHOOOAAA it's definitely not THAT bad!" WTF?

    Anyway, hit me up sometime at We have to catch up! Take care!

  • 16

    Hi Darrell

    As an outsider (and blogger) living in New Zealand, I admit that I am one of those who have posted sensationalist material on Detroit.

    However, despite the hyperbole that exists across the internet on Detroit, particularly around the house prices and abandoned buildings, I firmly believe that most want to see some sort of inspirational renaissance of this city.

    That's why I will be following this Time project closely.

    Just a couple of quick suggestions/requests: firstly, can you provide a more obvious link on the home page detailing why this project has been undertaken and, secondly, any chance of details/pictures of the house that Time purchased in Detroit for this asignment, as well as some details of those who will be living in it?

    Thank you

  • 17

    It was a great city, and could reclaim it's former greatness. but, the powers that be have to change, REALLY change. I remember when Mr. Young was mayor, I went to the city hall for assessment records. For three days in a row, there was practically nobody there. And it was like this more often than not! I hopped over the counter and looked some stuff up myself, and the next thing I knew, I was helping a couple of other people who were surprised that there was someone behind the counter! During working hours, during the week! Wearing a shirt and a tie! Great management style, huh? Fish rot from the head down!

  • 18

    [...] This chap placed an observative post today on Darrell Dawsey's inaugural post for the Time Detroit Blog - The …Here’s a quick excerptGauge yourself on how many cravings you can get past with without rushing to the nearest pack and lighting a smoke. Smokers are always troubled with of doing something wrong. It becomes stronger until it almost becomes a wall. You will invariably click on the Yes option a good number of times at the beginning. Smokers like you will go through the same ordeal and you have to emerge as the winner. There will come a time when a final alternative will pop up, perhaps after only a few weeks, depending on your level of commitment No, and please dont ask again. And nobodys fooling anyone when they attest to each other how sweet and good the taste of cigarette is. But pretty soon, as you regularly exercise your willpower and build up resistance (just like a normal workout session!), you will get more confident and picking no matter how the withdrawal may [...] [...]

  • 19

    iPhone 4s Armbands...

    [...]Darrell Dawsey's inaugural post for the Time Detroit Blog - The Detroit Blog -[...]...

  • 20

    [...] since we all love a Detroit party, I want all my fellow NFL Lions fans to check out detroit.blogs.time and tell me what you think about[...]

  • 21

    check over here

    Darrell Dawsey’s inaugural post for the Time Detroit Blog - The Detroit Blog -

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