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Reality TV pilot filmed at Troy's Airtime Trampoline & Game Park

A TV filming crew had a soft landing at Airtime Trampoline & Game Park last weekend for the filming of a new pilot series, Massive Amounts of Good, about creative do-gooders in the Midwest.

Click here for more details.

Forbes browses Glocal's online community forums

It takes a lot of time to sift through info-blasts worldwide. But now a start-up is helping to tailor your interests to your own backyard. 


"Launched in 2011, Detroit's  Glocal  offers users a tailored local experience via online community forums. It aims to counter a loss of connection with local community that many see as a negative effect of the global hyper-connectedness driven by social media. Techonomy spoke with Glocal President Lincoln Cavalieri about the importance of zooming in on what's happening in your own neck of the woods.

How does Glocal work?

It's a hyper-local community forum for over 150 cities around the world. Members of a local community create categories and forums, write articles,   post videos, and link to local deals, restaurants, events, and such. We also have classifieds, so you can sell your bike and your boat. The community defines what's important to it, and moderators make sure all content is appropriate."

More here

Is that England? No, it's Detroit!

The nationally-televised new PBS program, Genealogy Roadshow, made a stop in Detroit, and let's just say the producer liked what he saw.


"...Here's producer  Stuart Krasnow's  take on Motown:

"Having never been to Detroit, I did not know what to expect when arriving to shoot an episode for the new PBS series, Genealogy Roadshow. In a word…Wow!

"My first impression was how beautiful the architecture is, both old and new. The sun was shining, and the towers downtown were gleaming, and somewhere amidst the bad press and the images the media likes to show, I had forgotten that Detroit was on the water and that Canada was visible on the other side...

"The next morning, we shot on location in Indian Village. The estate we filmed at was magnificent. The neighborhood was filled with kids on bikes, skateboarders, people jogging or walking their dogs. No one complained about our large production imprint and everyone I met pretty much wanted us to let the world know how great Detroit is. No one I met seemed like they ever wanted to live anywhere else. I sent a photo to a friend and said 'guess where I am.' 'England???' my friend texted back, thinking I had snuck out of town. 'Nope, Detroit'.

"My friend texted back a single word answer: 'Wow!'"

More here.

Folk music gets new play in Michigan

Michigan was supposed to be just another stop on folklorist Alan Lomax's folk-music documentation road trip, but Lomax parked his car here for quite a while.


"Detroit is famous for its music, from the Motown hits of the 1960s to the cutting-edge punk of Iggy Pop to the rap of Eminem. Little known, though, is that Michigan was also fertile ground for folk music, brought to the region by immigrants in the early 20th century and played in the logging camps, mines and factory towns where they worked.

Legendary folklorist Alan Lomax discovered the music in 1938 when he visited the Midwest on his famous 10-year cross-country trek to document American folk music for the Library of Congress...

Lomax, son of famous musicologist John A. Lomax, spent three months in Michigan on his research, which also took him through Appalachia and the deep South. He drove through rural communities and recorded the work songs and folk tunes he heard on a large suitcase-sized disc recorder powered by his car's battery.

The trip was supposed to cover much of the Upper Midwest, but he found so much in Michigan that he made only a few recordings elsewhere in the region."

Building a better apple-picker

It's peak apple harvesting and cider mill season in Southeast Michigan, a Grand Rapids man thinks he's got a faster, more efficient way for Michigan fruitgrowers to pick their 30 million bushels of apples.


"The owner of Phil Brown Welding Corp. of Conklin has developed a self-propelled machine that replaces ladders with hydraulically operated picking platforms that crawl through an orchard while a vacuum system gently collects the apples and sends them directly into a bin, according to The Grand Rapids Press.

Not only is it safer for the pickers and the apples, the five pickers who work on the machine can gather 20 percent more apples, says Brown, a 66-year-old inventor who has been creating fruit-related machines at his shop since he was 18 years old."

More here

Eleven Michigan residents make Forbes 400 list of richest Americans

Michigan's fortunes are turning for the better, with 11 of its residents among the very fortunate.


"The combined wealth of theForbes'  2013 ranking of the richest people in America is $2 trillion, up from $1.7 trillion in 2012 and the highest ever, due in part to the strength of both the U.S. stock and real estate markets.   The average net worth of a Forbes 400 member is a staggering $5 billion, the highest to date, up from $4.2 billion last year...

The top three industries are:
  • Investments – 96
  • Technology – 48
  • Food and Beverage – 29 "

See the full list here

It Follows to film around metro Detroit this fall

The leaves are starting to fall, but filming is still on the rise in Metro Detroit.


"...This project, set in Michigan, will film this fall in Detroit and surrounding communities including Sterling Heights, Royal Oak, and Clawson.

Writer/director David Robert Mitchell, a Michigan native, set the script in his home state to highlight locations throughout Southeast Michigan...

Mitchell's debut feature,  The Myth of the American Sleepover, filmed in metro Detroit. The film went on to screen at Cannes and SXSW and be distributed by IFC.   In addition to strong critical reviews, the project was listed as one of the top five films of the year on Ebert Presents at the Movies."

More here. MichiganFilmOffice.org.

Henry Ford Community College's biotechnology program receives $100,000 grant

The brains are getting behind technology at the atomic and molecular levels.


"HFCC established its Biotechnology Program in 2009. The program prepares students for jobs in the growing industries of the biotechnology field. This grant will allow HFCC's Biotechnology Program to implement nanotechnology and microsystems training, thereby providing students with additional career opportunities and additional pathways into high-skills careers.  

"Many HFCC students are also considered 'non-traditional' because they are attending college for re-training after having lost their jobs due to the current economic climate in Michigan. This grant provides these students with additional skills that would allow them to return to the workforce and support the growth of nanotechnology-based industries in the region," said Dr. Jolie Stepaniak, HFCC's Biotechnology Program director."

More here.

Dearborn's Arab American National Museum to sponsor culinary tours of Eastern Market

This fall, grab a taste of Middle Eastern cuisine (and its ingredients) at Detroit's Eastern Market. 


"The YallaEat! Culinary Walking Tours kick off Tuesday and will be held on selected Tuesdays and Saturdays in September and October. "Yalla" means "let's go" in Arabic.

Organizers say the goal of the free, guided tours is to share the story of Arab Americans in the Detroit area. Participants will visit Middle Eastern businesses that are family-run and founded by immigrants — while snagging some free samples and shopping."

More here

LevelEleven founder tells Forbes why he keeps his start-up in Detroit

Detroit start-up LevelEleven, which could conceivably have gone anywhere else but Detroit, has stayed rooted in the area. Here's why.


"By the time my company LevelEleven launched last fall after being incubated within Pleasant Ridge’s ePrize, I had already planned our business strategy and next steps. And it never crossed my mind to move out of Detroit to build LevelEleven in a more obvious startup market. Why? In part, because this is home. But Detroit also has many characteristics that make it a great place to launch a technology startup."

More here.

Pure Michigan travel campaign takes national honors

Not only is Michigan's Pure Michigan travel campaign continuing to reap top national awards, but visitor numbers and spending are climbing year-over-year.


"We are expanding the reach of Pure Michigan to new travelers here in the United States and beyond, and it is an honor to have the campaign continue to be recognized in this way by our peers," said George Zimmermann, Vice President of Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan   Economic Development Corporation.   "In 2012, visitors spent more on leisure travel in Michigan than in any year in our state's history."

… Last year, Pure Michigan's advertising campaign brought a record 3.8 million out-of-state visitors to Michigan, according to a study by Longwoods International.   These visitors spent $1.1 billion at Michigan businesses, generating $79 million in state tax revenue."

More here.

Superhero movie to begin filming in Metro Detroit in early 2014, create over 400 jobs

Next winter, be on the watch for caped crusaders in town! With the assistance of the Michigan Film Office, Warner Bros. Pictures is bringing a pair of superpowers together.


"The film, from director Zack Snyder, brings together the two greatest Super Heroes of all time—Superman and Batman—for the first time on the big screen.     Production on the new film is expected to begin in metro Detroit and throughout Michigan sometime in the first quarter of 2014.   Snyder is co-writing the story with David S. Goyer, who is writing the screenplay.   Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder are producing the film, which will star Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane.

...The production is expected to hire 406 Michigan workers, with a full time equivalent of 426 jobs, plus an additional 6,000 man/days of extra work.   The production anticipates using approximately 500 local Michigan vendors during the course of production and spending $5.1 million on local hotels, as well as an additional $3.5 million in out-of-town cast and crew per diem payments that will be spent in the local economy but which fall outside of the incentive program."

And in other news, a new video game project, Blood of the Werewolf, is afoot.


"Blood of the Werewolf  is a side scrolling platform video game for the Xbox PlayStation, Nintendo and PC platforms. The project will be entirely produced and developed by Farmington Hills-based Scientifically Proven Entertainment at Studio Center in Farmington Hills.   It follows the story of a werewolf named Selena as she journeys through a land of classic monsters to avenge the death of her husband and save her kidnapped child."

More here.

For a dyed-in-the-wool country experience, visit the Sheep and Wool Festival

A chef-turned shepherd opens her northern Macomb County sheep farm to the public every fall. This year, the Sheep and Wool Festival is on Sept. 28-29.


"Yvonne once worked as a chef in some of Detroit’s toniest restaurants, but her satisfaction with that life trickled away. A meeting with a charming part-time farmer at a local market set her on a different path. "Peter still jokes that I was his best client until he married me," Yvonne says with a laugh. Today, the couple tends to a flock that includes 60 Corriedale, Colored Corriedale, Jacob and Moorit sheep and to Sheep Stuff, a cottage industry that turns wool into throws, sweaters and other products.

During the festival, visitors learn about shepherding and traditional crafts, such as carding, natural wool dying, spinning and knitting. Sheep shearing, border collie demos, and workshops in beekeeping, broom making and other skills round out the offerings.

More here.

Local girl's videos make the Gawker.com hit list

A young girl's videos are catching the national eye.


"Nobody on Vine amuses me more consistently than a 12-year-old girl from Birmingham, Michigan, who goes by the name Lillian Powers. She started posting her absurd, awkward-funny 6-second videos on June 11. In the time since, she has posted 95. I assume this is something of a summer-vacation project. It's been time well spent.

Powers' bio reads (in a Disney-esque font):

I'm 12 years young. Going into 7th grade. I just have fun with my Vines.

Yep. My favorite feature of hers is the "random shoutout," in which she yells in a public space and catches the surprise reaction those within view."

More here.

Will Silicon Valley influence mean a new car culture for U.S. automakers?

Reuters takes a balanced look under the hood of the automakers' adoption of new communications technologies in cars.


"Detroit automakers General Motors Co (GM.N) and  Ford  Motor Co (F.N), trying to shake off decades of insularity, are looking to California's Silicon Valley and beyond for innovative ideas and technology that could disrupt and even transform the car  business.

Yet neither company appears to know what such a transformation would look like, nor are they close to commercializing a new product or process that longtime Valley venture capitalists would consider game-changing...

Several broad trends are compelling the outreach from southeast Michigan to northern California, a somewhat surprising move for an industry that historically has eschewed ideas from outside. One is the ongoing integration of smartphones and apps into automobiles, known colloquially as the "connected car." Another is the realization that both consumer tastes and cutting-edge technologies are evolving at a rapid pace — typically over months, compared with the auto industry's traditional five-year design and  engineering  cycle."

More here.
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