Posted by Sicilian Cowboy on Apr 8, 2011 4:11 pm

Got a family wedding in Birmingham, which is just north of Detroit. Evenings are taken, but Thur, Fri  are open.

Apart from the obvious troubles the city is having, what is worth seeing during a long weekend?


Re: Detroit

Posted by MLB on Apr 8, 2011 4:36 pm

Ang- if you have a car Greenfield Village is a don't miss. Birmingham is not far from Bloomfield. The site of the old Bachus Red Fox restaurant is on Telegraph Road. I know you know what happened there, no need to explain. Had you been there last week you could have caught Charlie Sheen at the Fox Theatre downtown. I know you're disappointed. But perhaps Eminem will be filming a commercial there.

If you feel like driving, head north on I 75 past Big Beaver Road and BNP Headquarters to the Bavarian Town of Frankenmuth for a chicken dinner. Closer to home, for a bit of Detroit as it was in my "heyday", on the East Side, Gratiot Avenue between 8 & 9 Mile Roads (Actually located in either Warren or Eastpoint )is the Italian Villa. It features a menu of good old Italian "comfort food'. It's decor and fare have changed little since the 1950's. It's a family place, but not a "Family" place.

Except for hockey, sports tickets are easy to get in Detroit. But you have to check locally.

The Ren Cen and the Fisher Building are worth a photo op. And the Institute of Arts ain't bad.

Detroit 187 starring mostly New York actors recently stopped filming. That was attracting "local tourists" for awhile.

If you have your passport, you can go to Canada. Check out the site of the proposed new "unnecessary" bridge.

Don't believe all that "Most dangerous city" crap and have fun, if you can.

Re: Detroit

Posted by Sicilian Cowboy on Apr 8, 2011 4:47 pm


I knew you would have something.......thanks.

We hadn't thought about bringing the passport....good catch.


Re: Detroit

Posted by MLB on Apr 8, 2011 7:43 pm

Additionally, if you do decide to experience the Italian Villa and "walk in my footsteps", on the way along Eight Mile Road (yes it exists) is the pawn shop on the TV Show "Hard Core Pawn " at Eight Mile Road and Van Dyke Avenue. The pawn shop is barely a half mile from my late parents' home. Van Dyke Avenue was the inspiration for Martha Reeves group "The Vandellas"*. Continuing east on 8 Mile to the end at Lakeshore Drive in the Village of Grosse Point is the former (mansion) home of Edsel Ford, now a museum. It gives a better indication of the plutocratic lifestyle than Fairlane. I don't know the hours of operation. But you need a tour ticket.
* The old Motown Studios is on West Grand Blvd. It is now a museum.

Re: Detroit (Thanks MLB)

Posted by Sicilian Cowboy on Apr 18, 2011 12:03 pm

Well, made it back from Motor City in one piece.

Actually, except for about three hours, all the time was spent in suburban Birmingham, or ferrying people back and forth to the airport. Birmingham is a nice town, with shopping dining and a great hotel, the Townsend, which I would recommend for anyone visiting the area.

We did get to see one spot of note........Andiamo's restaurant in Bloomfield (formerly "The Red Fox") where Jimmy Hoffa was supposedly meeting two mobsters who both turned up out of town at the time of the apointment.

The other local highlight was finding myself on a street called West Big Beaver Road, which you may recognize as the home of BNP Publishing. One of the pre-wedding parties was on Adams Road just to the west of POB HQ.

Unfortunately, Kristi was working from home that day, so we weren't able to get over to the office to say hello. We settled for a quick walking tour of Birmingham. Woodward Avenue (which takes you right into downtown Detoit) has a beautiful movie theater, similar to the one depicted in the movie "The Majestic". Birmingham is a nice town, with shopping dining and a great hotel, the Townsend, which I would recommend for anyone visiting the area. It's a good to spend the afternoon.

Downtown Detroit is like any other city, but we didn't get to walk around so much as we were there on a rainy Saturday midday.

On the subject of Coneys........Lafayette has better chili, American has better dogs.

The football stadium (Ford Field) and the baseball park (Comerica Park) are right next door to each other, and Cobo Expo Center (where Nancy Kerrigan got knee capped) and Joe Louis Arena are also adjacent to each other a few blocks away, near the riverfront.

Downtown has some really great architecture, prime examples being the Fox Theater Building (there are four or five really classic theaters in the area), as well as the Guardian Building, the Penobscot Building, the Cadillac Tower, the imposing four-pronged Cadillac Place (formerly the GM Building), the Buhl Building, the Detroit  Times/ Free Press Building, the United Artists Building and the Book Tower. Sadly, the last few, and many other buildings in the main downtown area, were vacant, facing uncertain futures.

The firms of Wirt Roland, Daniel Burnham, McKim Mead and White and Albert Kahn have a variety of large and small buildings in the city. We weren't able to stay for an arcitectural tour (rain, wind and a tight wedding schedule were limiting factors), but I'd be willing to bet it rivals the Chicago Loop Architectural tour.

More modern towers include Comerica Tower (One Detroit Center) and the buildings at the Renaissance Center, which is literally and figuratively walled off from the rest of the city. The city has three casinos (four if you count the one across the river in Canada), one of which (MGM Grand) was kind enough to provide me with profit enough to pay for the rental car for the four days and lunch for four at the Coney places.

Re: Detroit

Posted by Tommy Young on Apr 18, 2011 12:39 pm

I went to the Chrysler museum last summer.  Very, very cool stuff in there.

Toliet humor alert:  Big Beaver road is exit 69.

Re: Detroit

Posted by MLB on Apr 18, 2011 1:18 pm

Ang- glad you enjoyed your little sojourn to my ancestral homeland. Sounds like some classically unpredictable southern Michigan weather put a damper on some of the proceedings. I guess just as long as the wedding didn't go off without a hitch, all's well that ends well. My sister called this am and tells me it's snowing there right now.

Re: Spring in Michigan

Posted by Sicilian Cowboy on Apr 18, 2011 2:17 pm

It was snowing when we left the hotel to ride to the airport to go home.

About twenty minutes of light snow......just to top off the weekend.
Wedding was very interesting................a Jewish writer/producer marrying a Kashmiri talent agent.
A henna ceremony, a fancy rehersal dinner, and then all told, three hours of ceremonies and another six hours of partying.

A lot of movie industry people there, including actors named J. Segel, S. Rogen and J. Hill, except this time they kept their clothes on (i.e., the Vanity Fair shoot). Jack Black was out of the country and couldn't make it, although a nephew deftly pocketed his place card.

My main complaint was: doesn't the groom know any FEMALE stars? (for the record Mila Kunis, Elizabeth Moss, Kristen Bell, and upcoming, Emma Blunt, have appeared in his films, but only his guy pals showed.)

Now, when we do the ballpark tour in Motor City, I know what I need to put on the itinerary.


Re: Detroit

Posted by MLB on Apr 18, 2011 2:55 pm

Ang- after reading the "credits", I gotta ask! What earned you a place card with that group? Have you been holding out on the forum folk?

Re: Detroit

Posted by Sicilian Cowboy on Apr 18, 2011 4:09 pm

We were but two people among 300. But due to circumstances, there was very little of "Are you with the bride or the groom?" going on.

This is the groom in the center, between Judd Apatow, the Executive Producer and Nick Stoller, the director on the movie "Get Him to the Greek". He is my wife's cousin's son.....just a toddler when we got married.

A small bio....after attending a New England college and sending faxes to Norm MacDonald for his SNL News segment, Rod went on to be a part of Troma Industries, the Toxic Avenger outfit.

Then he moved onto the Letterman staff, writing and doing out of town skits, eventually becoming (at age 25, dammit!) the head writer. He left Letterman and worked on some TV shows, "Undeclared" "Let Me Help You" and "Committed" and after a network cancellation he moved to Century Village and wrote a best selling book entitled "Early Bird", which detailed his  "retirement" at age 28.

(I can remember the conversation at one Thanksgiving dinner....."Where's Rodney?" "Oh, he moved in with a retired woman in Century Village for a few months".)

He then moved on to writing and he either wrote or screen-doctored several movies (most of which have to remain nameless, but if you know those names, you've seen them) , mostly with Judd Apatow. He met his wife (agent for Jack Black) at the "Sarah Marshall" premiere, coincidentally, introduced to her by his own parents, who had been speaking with her when he walked by. Her parents reside in Troy.

He then became executive producer on "Forgetting Sarah Marshal" and producer on "....Greek". He's currently (the last 6 weeks, and again after the honeymoon) working on a movie filming in Ann Arbor called "Five Year Engagement", starring Segel and Blunt. So, Ann Arbor residents, keep a close eye out.