January 2011: I am preparing for my first real visit to Detroit, the city of my birth. I am a Californian, where I have been since age one when my parents packed me into a car to seek fame and fortune in LA. It is strange to be defined by something unknown but when asked if I am a "native" Californian, I answer, "No, I was born in Detroit." It seems time to investigate what that means. So I have come "home" on my birthday to photograph Detroit.

This blog is part of an accompanying journal about the project.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Back in Detroit

In Detroit already for 4 1/2 days. So busy I haven't yet posted.

On the first afternoon, last Thursday 12 May after a very early morning flight into unseasonably hot and muggy Detroit, a visit to Belle Isle at dusk seemed the thing to do. I was far from alone in that thought.

On the drive toward the western point: scenes seemingly sprung from Seurat's Grande Jatte. Electric green lawn descending down past the ducks and geese to the river. As the sun lowers, the dual points of Detroit downtown and Windsor, Canada narrow the straight in a lovely gray silhouette.

I drive the Island twice at least, stopping to watch the families headed over the bridge to picnic at the end of the day, then on a known section of the circular drive where are parked rows of cars with trunks open and groups of teens lounging in/leaning against each, their gaze more inward to the other cars than perhaps to the view, reminiscent of my youth cruising Hollywood Boulevard (never telling my parents) with girlfriends in the yellow convertible GTO.

The weather has now turned what I thought was unseaonably cold and rainy and yet all of this is Detroit in May. Notwithstanding, the streets now busier, tulips even in front of the more sketchier home, and on the weekend both at the Eastern Market with its annual flower day/weekend and at the confluence of the annual Hoedown, the largest free country music festival in the nation, and the Tigers at home, a diverse and fun crowd on the streets. More to come...

Just discovered, from last September's Detroit Free Press, a magical series on Belle Isle, its beauty and its concerns and those who are fighting against invasive species while inviting even greater exploration of the wonders of this park, larger than NYC's Central Park:

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