Blog: Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey

Model D managing editor Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey reports in this week from the publication's  Motor City headquarters on why Metro Detroit needs to rethink their relationship with the city and why summer is the perfect time to do it. She'll be giving metromode readers the skinny on what Detroit has to offer the region that you simply can't find anywhere else.

Clare was raised on the East Side of Detroit and schooled at Michigan State's J-School. She spent several years drinking sweet tea and eating boiled peanuts while working for various Southern newspapers, including The State in Columbia, S.C., and the Star-News in Wilmington, N.C. Lured by the call of coney dogs, Faygo and her family, she's now back home surrounded by pleasant peninsulas, working as a freelance writer and managing editor of Model D. She helped launch metromode in 2007. She's written about arts, pop culture, former Rustbelt cities, development, business, food, and once, not making this up, Cybill Shepherd's irritable bowels.


Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey - Most Recent Posts:

Post No. 5

I was at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit last night for an event, and had to return today to pick up something  I Ieft behind. So this morning I brought the kiddies and even on a dreary Wednesday morning we had a blast.

MOCAD, located a few blocks from the DIA on Woodward, has become the epicenter of cool happenings for the art school kids in the Cass Corridor, and those who want to still stay in touch with their inner art school kid. The MOCAD is the newest art museum in Detroit -- a year and a half old. Built in an old car dealership building, the space is raw, rough, open and inviting. The art ranges from eclectic to odd to exhilarating  -- this month it's all Detroit-based or Detroit-grown artists, plus a way cool exhibit on the condo project being made from old shipping containers -- a totally cool thing in an of itself.

Contemporary art too pretentious for you? MOCAD makes it accessible. Many of their events are tiered, so that those who can pay the big bucks have their time, but later for $10 or less you can come for a DJ or band that lasts until the wee hours.

Plus, back to the kiddies, they have way cool educational and interactive programming, usually on a Sunday, for the whole fam. June 15 the UFO Factory peeps entertain the wee ones:

"Join in for free drop-in workshop led by TIME STEREO artist Warn Defever as he leads a cacophonous symphony using thumb pianos. All materials provided."

Is there a more cool way to spend Father's Day? I think not.

Post No. 4

There's been some insinuation that Detroit no longer deserves its Hockeytown name -- which is trademarked, thank you. So back off crybaby Penguins!

Anyway, to see the crowds of Datsyuk-jersey-wearing masses downtown last night for the devastating Game 5, you'd have to say that's a bunch of hooey.

Everybody -- recent transplants from other cities (I met several), Canadians trekking over from Windsor, homeless guys my sister bought shots for at the Detroit Beer Co. patio, non-hockey fans, and die hard people with giant Red Wings logos painted on their bald heads and flag capes -- everybody was out, bar hopping, cheering for the Wings.

A friend who spent the evening at the closest thing to the Joe outside the Joe, Hockeytown Cafe, put it well: "Minus the loss and the weight of the work I put off to watch the game, I enjoyed the environment. A million people going crazy. I high-fived like 100 dudes I didn't know." That, my friends, is the way to watch a Stanley Cup victory. I remember hugging tons of strangers in 1997 outside the Old Shillelagh like it was yesterday. Alas, last night it was not to be relived. Maybe later this week we can try again?

P.S. We spotted Kid Rock paling around with one Mr. Chris Chelios at Cheli's Chili downtown just before game time. I took a totally crappy photo of them with my cell phone that I neglected to save, so I have no evidence of it. Sorry. However, gossipy hockey fans may want to read more about their friendship here:
OK, the dude from Scrubs, I see that. He's always throwing around Wings references. John Cusak, very cool. But Tony Danza? Who's the Boss meets Kid Rock? Bob Ritchie, if you are reading this, can you explain that?

Post No. 3

On Saturday, Eastern Market was jam packed. Wall-to-wall people, most toting wagons loaded with flowers. (Note, if you can wait a couple weeks, those $8 flats will be less than $6.)

The market itself is an experience, but if you haven't seen the Shed 2 remodel you should drop in. It keeps the feel of the old shed but it's just ... nicer. Kudos to the nonprofit Eastern Market Corp. for their efforts -- it's paid off.

While there, a couple of out-of-towners asked for a breakfast place recommendation. There's no shortage: Russell Street Deli, of course, is a classic, but can get crowded. The greasy spoon yumminess of Farmer's Market is big, cheap and tasty. Butchers Inn, however, might be my current top pick. Slightly off the beaten path on Winder, it's got atmosphere and great food. My mom always gets the French Toast in Grand Marnier Batter. Everything on the menu is fresh and awesome — Avalon Bread, Michigan maple syrup ... Hmmm ... maybe we've got a Model D story there -- Eastern Market Eats. Stay tuned, readers!

Of course, my favorite breakfast at the market is always: Buy an apple. Eat it. And who hasn't made a morning meal out of the free samples? C'mon, you know you do it.

Post No. 2

A note to my one comment maker: Summer is short, but I think we pack more into ours in Michigan than anyone did down South, where the oppressive heat keeps a lot of folks inside sipping iced tea/sugar water. Of course, down there if it snowed every kid in town built a snowman and reveled in it. So it goes.

So to kick summer off right, you've got to get downtown this weekend for a truly one-of-a-kind event:
The Red Bull Air Race. What's the deal with these races? I don't know! But they look totally cool and do you really need an excuse to get outside when the weather is this good? I haven't scoped out my personal vantage point, but last I looked there were still tickets -- and they were cheap -- on the Windsor side. Detroit's stands are all sold out, but surely there's some spot to catch the action.

A friend sent me this picture from the 15th floor of the Ren Cen (thanks Jen Andrews!) which looked mighty cool. She says the test runs looked awesome. I could hear them buzzing as they took of from City Airport this week. I'm not into motor sports, really, but I don't think that's a requirement for this event.

Seriously these planes don't just fly anywhere. We're only one of two stops in the country -- so get out and enjoy it folks.

The other thing you should do this weekend is go to Eastern Market -- I'll be there Saturday getting my fruit and veg on, and I'll dish more on the market Monday. Have a great weekend, all.

Post No. 1

I know everyone's got their eyes glued to the Pistons/Wings these days, but should summer actually arrive, there's nowhere better to be than the city. It seems like every weekend I spend away from Detroit there's always something I regret missing, and usually it's free.

And I stress the free price tag. There's nary a weekend where you can't find a free concert in Detroit — from the Rockin' on the Riverfront series (Pat Benatar June 27!) to Fourth Fridays with Ford at the Campus Martius Park (only one degree between you and Kevin Bacon July 25), and then straight through to Dally in the Alley in September. And don't forget River Days in July. Concert of Colors in July. The list goes on.

My personal favorite, Cityfest (or the festival formerly known as Tastefest) is held in the New Center Fourth of July week, and it is the best, hands down, for quality and quantity of music. I've seen Yo La Tengo, Blanche, Common, and the Wailers. This year, there's De La Soul, Calexico, George Clinton, the Dirty Dozen Band and local darlings Zoos of Berlin. It's also the best for quantity and quality of food and drink. Some of the city's best restaurants are represented, and in addition to the usual festival swill, there's a nice patio set up with actual bartenders and quality beer courtesy of the Town Pump.

Festival of the Arts coming up in early June is a very close second, for sheer variety and kid-friendliness. The festival takes over the area around the DIA and Wayne State, and it's perfect for taking the kiddies b/c they have loads of free child fare -- including a giant sand castle and a wonderland of activities that no festival can rival. It's like a whole pre-school-year of crafts wrapped into one afternoon. And the music and entertainment is the most eclectic around --  I've seen French rap before, flamenco dancers, and this year there's a South African vocalist, Colombian singer, Spanish performance art and a Chinese-influenced band.

So after the playoffs, or instead of if the Wings and Pistons play like they did tonight -- take a gander at these lineups and make a date in Detroit. There's a ton going on this summer, and you don't want to miss out.