Wednesday, July 30, 2008

letting the random happen...

Volunteered/got paid overtime at Ingenuity Fest. Didn't have a whole lot of cash on me, but I got to walk around for free and people-watch. A lot of the exhibits weren't really my thing, but I did get a decent falafel sandwich, hang out time with a good friend, and the chance to watch the uncanny xela perform and Mifune kick out the jams with Poetic Republic.

Took my "Great Toledo Roadtrip" the past couple days for a work conference thing. ended up learning some good stuff, hanging out with my lovely coworkers and meeting new people and fellow Clevelanders.

Monday night, three of us drove up to Detroit to sight-see and see what would happen. I had never been there before so I was looking forward to seeing a new city and it's not every day that I get outside the borders of my fair state. We talked in passing about trying to find Motown, and ended up doing so almost completely by accident.

We drove through downtown, past the casinos, stadiums, and auto company headquarters, and then further out. It reminded me of Cleveland in the sense that you could see what it once was, and now wasn't.

But this is where it got interesting. We stopped at a Burger King to use the restroom, and while there were some interesting characters hanging out in front, the thing that really raised the red flag was that there wasn't really a counter, just a window covered in incredibly thick and tinted bulletproof glass. I have never seen that before in my life, and was more stunned than scared, and despite having some familiarity with some of the more dicey neighborhoods in Cleveland, definitely did not feel tough enough for Detroit.

Realizing that this wasn't a good thing, we got out of there as fast as we could, turned down a sidestreet and suddenly we're on Berry Gordy Jr Boulevard and we see the sign for Motown to our left. They were closing up for the night, but the guys there talked to us a little bit and told us about the golden years, and I took pictures of us before we continued on. I have to say, I got shivers actually seeing the place itself for the very first time.

We kept driving and further down we saw this building that was painted all over and covered with bits of mirror that made it glitter in the sun. When I stopped to take pictures, we saw two guys outside doing the same kind of art to an old house and stopped to see what the story was. The one building is home to an African bead shop and when the roof gets fixed, they'll be opening a museum of African art and such. The other is just a giant art installation taking a vacant building and making something amazing.

he was talking about how he wanted to bring back a sense of pride into the community and had started this by having classes on african history and festivals in the summer. there was one guy who did most of the art and this guy does a lot of this after he gets off of work for the postal service. when we were driving back toward downtown, we were talking about how it's too bad that no one isn't doing anything like this in cleveland.

The sidewalks in front were painted with the scripts of different african languages and then there was an area in the back with all these sculptures and found objects and a stage used for when they have festivals. I was just soaking in the experience of it all and shooting pictures of everything in sight... signage and soul food restaurants and graffiti and murals.

We got chicago-style pizza in Greektown, watched the Indians beat the Tigers, and drove back to Toledo. For some reason since that night, I've had crazy adrenaline and haven't been able to sleep since.

And I want to go back.

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