The Roaring Twenties in Detroit: A City in the Black—and Purple

Kevin’s recent illustrated humor post on Detroit’s Museum Yard Sale, about the proposed selling of the city’s more valuable art pieces, reminded me of the last time I visited the Detroit Institute of Arts about 10 years ago (I live in New York so have an excuse for not visiting there more often). My husband, author Warren Berger, and I were there on a scouting mission. Warren was checking out locations for scenes in his novel THE PURPLES, which chronicles/imagines the rise and fall of the young rumrunner Purple Gang in 1920s Detroit. [Nota bene: The novel started life as a great screenplay drafted by Kevin, Brian d’Arcy James, and Warren all sparked by—in a nod to My Media Diary’s theme—a massive family research file of news clippings compiled by Kevin. A key figure in their Purple Gang story is Harry F. Kelly (photo below), a relative of mine, Brian, and Kevin’s… Read More…

Museum Yard Sale? Detroit’s Deficit & Denial

 ”How much for the Picasso with the grumpy old lady?” “$4 million.” “Would you take two?” “Umm.  Let me ask my wife.” The painting reminds me so much of an estate sale my wife and I dropped in on in Bloomfield Hills.  It was a fabulous house with riches galore–all at marked down prices.  The Coach handbags, for example, were only $250 for crying out loud. And there, in the dining room, in the corner glaring at us vultures, was the owner.  I’m not sure where her husband was.  We concocted all kinds of scenarios involving some Ponzi-schemer now in prison and his better-half needing to pay the legal expenses.  But she was bitter and her wine glass was re-filled twice before we left the place. Yesterday, a Michigan State Senate committee passed a bill that would protect the Detroit Institute of Arts fabulous collection from being sold to help… Read More…

Oscar Shorts: Worth the Trip to See “Asad”

See the trailer or click on the link below. http://www.imdb.com/rg/s/4/title/tt2136747/#lb-vi2136908569 It was always enough of a challenge for me to see the five nominated films for Best Picture.  The Oscars like their films all delivered around Christmas and just dribbling out into theatres slowly  until the nominations then hoping for the big bump in attendance once the nominees are announced.  Now there are 9-10 nominees, depending on their initial votes, so it makes it that much harder to catch them all before the end of February.  (The show used to be at the end of March, but the Golden Globes, Director’s Guild, Joe’s Bar and Grill Favorites, combined to steal much of the Oscar thunder so they cut a month off my window.) Oddly enough, they haven’t expanded the Best Director nominees, keeping them at five.  Thus, Argo, is the latest favorite–not necessarily because it’s the best (which I won’t… Read More…