DIY Detroit w/ Red Bull Creation 2014.

Detroit, through rose Colored Glasses. Photo courtesy of the NY TIMES. click for artcile.Detroit is a post post-apocalyptic city.   Described that way by the recent cover article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Detroit is finally on the mend.   Read the New York Times piece by Ben Austen here:  DETROIT / NYT.   For many, The City of Detroit is an urban waste land.  139 square miles of blight and danger and ruin porn. Once upon a time, Detroit was considered a great city.  Detroit was considered a world center for manufacturing and industry about 50 years ago, but the city has seen a steady decline since the race riots in 1967.  2/3's of Detroit's population has fled.  The third that stayed...less than 700,000 as tough as nails. 

Click 4 Pix:  DIY DETROIT

In Wall Street vernacular, Detroit is experiencing a "dead cat bounce". can't get any worse, it can't fall any lower.   Dan Gilbert and his Rock family of companies (Quicken Loans, Bedrock Real Estate, Detroit Venture Partners etc.) is leading the charge downtown.  Gilbert and his affiliates have brought 12,500 workers downtown and controls over 8 million Sq Ft of real estate.   Gilbert may be the biggest and highest profile believer in the resurgence of Detroit, but there are others. 

For a growing number of residents and visitors, Detroit has become a living and working laboratory. A giant experiment.   Very low barriers to entry have allowed a cadre of bright, young and idealistic folks to thrive.   Artists, inventors, hackers, creators and makers are carving out a niche in the city.  Detroit has developed a small but growing DIY (Do It Yourself) community.   On the surface they look like any other group of urban hipsters...wild outfits, crazy facial hair, elaborate tatoos, "fixie" bikes, gobs of coffee.  But in Detroit they are pioneers. They are forging the future of the region.  They are literally taking the scraps that others have left behind and creating a world with no rules.  

Red Bull Creation 2014 in Detroit. Click for infoEnter Red Bull Creation 2014 hosted in Detroit. In it's 4th year #rbcreation staged a 72 hour creative competition that requires teams to innovate around a secret topic.   RED BULL CREATION (click for info) gathered 7 teams composed of some of the best "makers" in the country.   Using Detroit's RECYCLE HERE as a work space,  the teams of 4 were given their topic "reinventing the wheel" along with a slew of power tools, a small budget and 3 days to create.   They came up with some incredible fabrications. The $10,000 in prize money didn't hurt either.

The inventions were displayed at Detroit's Eastern Market on Saturday.  The Eastern market itself has been serving Detroit since 1891.   Taking top prize at RED BULL CREATION was the Maker Twins from Phoenix.  Their moving garden, The GROW CYCLE was called a "veggie vending machine" by one of the twins.  The maker twins built a ferris wheel of produce that employed an app to call up the desired product.   The people's choice award went to Detroit's own i3 for their ROBO CROP, a robotic scarecrow.

It's very cool to see Detroit get up off the canvas, dust itself off and reinvent the wheel.  Dan Gilbert may be leading the way...but plenty of smaller, not so well funded and less hyped groups are building momentum.   In true Detroit style...the DIY movement is making its mark.

Bottom line.  Detroit is on the upswing for the first time in over 40 years.  Pockets of the City are actually thriving.  Detroit still has a long way to go...but as the t-shirts say...Detroit Hustles Harder.

Click for pix:  DIY DETROIT

Detroit's own i3 won the People's Choice Award. click 4 pix.The Maker Twins from phoenix took 1st prize with Grow Cycle. Click for pix.DETROIT HUSTLES HARDER. Click for pix.


Aspen Media Powerhouse

The City of Aspen will soon be putting out a request for proposals (RFP) for the old Powerhouse Building along the Roaring Fork River next to Rio Grande Park.  The Powerhouse Building is the former home of The Aspen Art Museum which will be moving into their new $50 million crib in the center of town.

For a few years now AspenSpin has been looking for causes to be FOR.   We want to be IN FAVOR of something...and we think Aspen Media Powerhouse (AMP) is a great idea.   At this point...Aspen Media Powerhouse is just that an idea.   The video posted below was created by Grassroots TV, the first community owned T.V. station in the U.S.A.   Grassroots has been promoting free speech since 1971.

So check out the video...AMP is still in the "running it up the flagpole mode".  If you like the idea...get involved.   I have been assured that GRASSROOTS TV will be ready to go when the call for RFP's goes out. The AMP is still an idea that is work in progress.   It's not too early to lend your support and to build buzz for the AMP.



Until the Snow Flies.


The 5Point Plan is working.

AspenSpin traveled beyond the traffic circle last night to experience the 5Point Film Festival in Carbondale for the first time.  5Point is in it's 7th year and all I can say is's all grown up and....WOW, why have I been missing this?  A standing room only crowd at the Carbondale Rec Center (CRC) was INSPIRED by an entire slate of tremendous  films covering a vast array of subjects and by the many film makers and athletes in the house.

The brain-child of Julie Kennedy and Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, 5Point Film Festival has matured into a fantastic community celebration of cinematic excellence and adventure story telling.  5Point's mission is  "to inspire adventure of all kinds, to connect generations through shared experience, to engage passion with a conscience, and to educate through film".  Based on my first-time at 5Point in beautiful Car-bon-de-lay, it's clear that the 5Point crew deserve a hearty MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!

Click 4 pix:  5Point Spin Pix 

SRO at the 7th Annual 5 Point Film Fest. Click for Pix.5Point is clearly more than just the films.  It's about community.  You hear that a lot.  Last night I felt it. I felt a very strong, positive, palpable vibe immediately upon entering the festival grounds.  It was as if anything could happen...and...on screen it did.  It may have been pouring rain outside...but... it's always sunny inside the CRC during the 5 Point Film Fest.  5point is an entire weekend in Carbondale  filled with films, film makers, special add-on events, parties, bike rides, volunteer opportunities etc etc. Many of the events are free and open to the public.   You could've cut the spirit of positivity and camaraderie in that room with a knife. It was a multi-generational affair and the stoke was real.

I did not realize previously...but there are actually 5 Points which are the guiding principals of the festival, hence the name.  The 5 points are displayed prominently through-out.  RESPECT, COMMITMENT, HUMILITY, PURPOSE and PASSION.  

Click: 5 POINT to learn more and to sign up for next year.

Some of the films rolled during the EPIC Saturday Night program hosted by Chris Davenport had special significance to me personally.  While I enjoyed all the presentations, 4 of the movies inspired me and reminded me to take action, move forward, follow my dreams and continue in my attempt to live every day to the fullest.  The 4 films that impacted me most were:

Slomo himself made the scene. Click 4 pix.SLOMO:  Slomo is a 16 minute film by Joshua Izenberg. Slomo is Dr. John Kitchin, 69 a former Doc who lives a minimalistic life pursuing his passion...roller blading (mostly in slow motion and on one leg) along the boardwalk in Pacific Beach, San Diego.   Slomo loves to skate...that's it and he does it with a huge smile on his face every single day.  Ironically for me...I had met Slomo previously in SD. He's a well known character along the beach, a true beach cruiser. I thought he was just another street guy.  Learning the back-story about his previous career as a neurologist completed the virtuous circle for me.  Slomo does what he wants...and he's as happy as a man can be.

Slomo himself attended the screening.  Click to watch:  SLOMO

I AM RED:  Local photographer, film maker and athlete Pete McBride's 4 minute film documents the "hardest working" and "most endangered" river in America...the mighty Colorado.  Maybe you've seen Pete's previous books and film efforts about the Colorado River (Chasing Water).  His work has inspired me to take action in my own life.  The story of "the Grand River's" trials and tribulations and it's failure to flow to the ocean in recent years has made me more aware of our fragile environment and it has inspired me to become more of a conservationist in every day life.  Thanks PETE!!  

McBride was in attendance at 5Point and shared the awesome news that The Colorado's flow in Mexico has actually improved this year...a huge positive.   Click to learn more about I AM RED

Prizefighter Heather "The Heat" Hardy & her trainer Devon Cormack. Click 4 pix.THE HEAT:  Heather "The Heat" Hardy is not your average Mom from Brooklyn.   She's a BIG time prize fighter who is currently 9-0.  Her strength and determination in the ring is a metaphor for her Brooklyn neighborhood's struggle to survive in the after-math of Hurricane Sandy.  I had a brief meeting with Heather "The Heat" and her trainer Devon Cormack in the audience.   She's one part Melanie Griffith in Working Girl and one part Jake LaMotta, the Raging Bull.  She admitted on-stage that "beating everybody up" is her passion.   

Click THE HEAT to see more.

DUCT TAPE SURFING. Pascale lost the use of her legs in a car wreck.  She has never let full paraplegia stop her.   After her accident, she loved to watch her sons surfing in S. Australia. Tyron Swan, a surfing friend her sons had a brain-storm to make Pascale's ultimate dream come true.  Swan  duct-taped Pascale to his back and took her out in the ocean for surf sessions.  "Tando" surf with an extra 40kg on his back appears to be no problem and Pascale's joy is inspirational.

Click to watch Mark Tipple's 4 minute flick  DUCT TAPE SURFING

Huge night at 5Point Film.  AspenSpin loves movies, we love popcorn and Carbondale is super-cool too.  Sign us up for next year at 5 Point.

Click for pix.  5POINT SPIN PIX

3 first class adventurers. Dav, Mike D. and Pete McBride. click 4 pix Folksinger and activist Katie Lee showed her film Damnation. Click 4 pix



Happy Earth Day

Mad Respect 4 Mother Earth.   We must all work together to sustain her glory.