The region responsible for birthing life into the automobile industry has recently been deemed the Motorless city. What once boasted diverse filled summers swimming in festivals and events, celebrating everything from international ethnicities and the blues to the syrupy smooth sounds of the Motown era has been nicknamed the city of Death. Streets that once bellowed tunes, trumpets, bright lights and casino lined streets now lay in ruins of debris, busted dreams and broken spirits. Some say Detroit has flat-lined; Palladium Boot Co. begs to differ.
Underneath the gory, dark, drastically violent and poverty stricken images that have plagued television sets across the world, lies less than one million people who still call 'The D' home. The city feels like a forgotten one, with the most important asset being left behind: the people.Clad in black Baggy Canvas style Palladiums along with a few Detroit locals including entrepreneur Phil Cooley, Johnny Knoxville journeys through the city limits, soaking up the magic, beauty and humility of a city that was left for dead.
Detroit represents more than what Dateline showed. Sure, there's violence, high crime and unemployment but name one city where that's not the case. I'll wait. Exactly. As Johnny walks through the fragments and remains of the East Town Theater, which was converted into a rock venue in the late '70's, you can almost feel the guitar riff of MC5's guitarist Wayne Krammer or picture Alice Cooper and his top hat roaming the stage rocking out hit after hit. Detroit Lives doesn't feel like anything you've seen recently about Detroit or any other city for that matter. Its a living testimony of what happens when achieving the American Dream has nothing to do with race, violence, crime and poverty and focuses more on fostering opportunity, preserving a legacy and the possibility of hope within a community.
Ever wonder how to combat a drug epidemic? Take a page from the Heidelberg Project play book where creator Tyree Guyton took abandoned houses in the Ghetto, cleaned them up, injected color, toys, stuffed animals and resurrected it into an outside art gallery. In response to the lack of food in the city, one Detroiter took impoverished areas occupied by abandoned lots and harvested farms filled with produce that will find homes in local restaurants and on kitchen tables. The Russell Industrial Center, an old warehouse that has been converted into loft style spaces, are bringing artists from around the world into the city to hang out, set up shop and create life and art in Detroit. To shine positivity on a city the world sees drowning in a sea of hopelessness, Art Director Katie R. created North End Studio and filled it with lights, music and art as a means to give Generation Y and Z a creative outlet.
Detroit Lives took the hope, survival, possibility and spirit of a city and its current state of crisis and turned it upside down. A city that has for so long been misunderstood, ridiculed and stereotyped is a volume speaking spokesperson for its people. A savior in the form of large chain stores is not what Detroit needs. Its needs entrepreneurial spirits from people looking for a fresh start and a chance to empower, invest and build their own communities. A place where homes and property can be purchased for little, food can be grown locally and spaces rented for next to nothing feeds the imagination and opens the door to endless possibilities. End of Detroit? More like the beginning of a rebirth. Thanks Palladium.