Tag Archives: Detroit

My Date with Elmore

2 Sep

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In 2005, I was the editor of “Style,” a Detroit lifestyle magazine. For our 20th anniversary issue, our staff picked 20 Detroit Stylemakers — people who imprinted their singular style on Motown.

Elmore Leonard was certainly a Stylemaker, and I wanted to interview him. I knew he lived in suburban Detroit so I reached out  the best way I could to this established writer. I wrote him a letter, but unfortunately I never received a  response. When I heard he loved flowers and was a master gardener, I had another idea. I sent him an orchid  via the local florist with my business card attached. He called and agreed to an interview and a photo session. It helped that the photographer, Glenn Triest, photographed him previously. He had one caveat — he asked if I would drive him to the photo session.

The following week, I was in Elmore’s house. He showed me the orchid,  his living room with a simple wood desk and  his notes — all on yellow legal paper written out in long hand.

He mentioned his upcoming research on German prisoners of war in the United States. I mentioned that Glenn’s family was from Germany, and that Glenn’s father had quite a story — leaving Germany as a teen, fighting in World War II, becoming a translator for the Nuremberg Trials and finding surviving family members.

Elmore was intrigued, and when we arrived at the photo shoot he was excited to speak to Glenn. Glenn prepared his studio like a movie set filming a crime scene. The mood was dark, the lights were dim and broken glass littered the floor. Elmore was in his element.

We all had the best time. I heard about Elmore entertaining Quentin Tarantino and Aerosmith and how Elmore has no idea what the ending of his stories are until he ends it!

Glenn mentioned that there will be a movie premiere about his father, Howard Triest, at Oakland University. The movie, “Journey to Justice” featured Howard’s historic footage shot in 1947, Glenn’s still photography and the plight of the Triest family fleeing Germany. “I’d love to see it,” said Elmore. “It’s a date,” I added.

The following week my husband and I picked up Elmore and his then wife at his home and went to Oakland University for the showing. Elmore was gracious, humble and, of course, interesting. A few people came up to him and asked for his autograph. He graciously signed it and gave good wishes to all the aspiring writers.

It was a special evening. When I heard about his death last week, I thought about my date with Elmore.

Many obits were written, but I especially liked Bill Shea’s tribute in Crain’s Detroit Business with this headline: “Crime Paid: Dickens of Detroit is gone, but legacy will continue to make a killing.”


Detroit 2 Nepal

3 Aug


There may not be a direct flight from Motown to Nepal, but there’s a strong connection. Thanks to the work of  Richard Keidan, M.D.

Dr. Richard Keidan first travelled to Nepal on vacation, and he became enamored with the people and the county. He observed that the Khotang District was cut off from roads and communication, without power, without waste management (toilets) and without clean drinking water and with very limited access to health care and educational opportunities.

After seeing the significant needs in this region and the amazing determination of the people,  he founded the D2N: Detroit2Nepal Foundation. Its mission is to improve public health, health care, and educational opportunities for children in this remote Himalayan district. The Foundation works directly with people in the village and the projects are initiated by the Nepalese.

According to Dr. Keidan, “This approach creates jobs for community members and also allows them to learn how to manage these projects.”

On Sunday, August 25 at the Birmingham Bike Festival, there will be a parade at 1 p.m. to raise funds for D2N and the Miracle Fund at Beaumont Children’s Hospital. Dr. Charles Main, Beaumont’s Chief of Pediatric Oncology will serve as the Grand Marshal. Dr. Main will be retiring after a 50-year medical career. The parade will also honor Alexandra Graham, a 16-year-old who lost her fight with bone cancer. The parade is titled Miles4Alex.

To donate funds, please visit the D2N website and to register for the parade go to www.crowdrise.com/miles4alex

Summer in the City

27 Jul


Summer in the City (SITC) is currently at Davison Elementary School in Detroit, thanks to my friend Judy Robinson. Judy is a retired Detroit Public School teacher, a Motown Savvy follower and someone who believes in giving back to the community. Judy worked with Summer in the City Co- Founder Ben Falik to bring the project to the school where she worked for 39 years.

SITC is a nonprofit that mobilizes volunteers to make a difference in Detroit. The volunteers are painting amazing murals to spruce up the 95-year-old school. This project lasts seven weeks and will welcome the students in the fall.

“These individuals (SITC) are providing such a wonderful service to Detroit kids and setting a great example of volunteerism and cooperation,” says Judy.

$2 Billion Bash

21 Jun


Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson thanked more than 700 people the other day by throwing  a party at the Palace. The event celebrated the innovative companies that helped diversify Oakland County, Michigan. The “Emerging Sector” companies generated a $2 billion investment in the county and created 42,000 jobs. The invitation-only event was a thank-you to all the growing and burgeoning businesses.

I attended the event representing Beaumont Health System. Since it was at the Palace, the home of the Detroit Pistons, James “Buddha” Edwards attended. He is a former Pistons. I am in the photo on the right with my friend, Marcia Auster (left). Marcia attended the event with her husband, Barry Auster, M.D., of Oakland Aesthetic Dermatology in Farmington Hills. Dr. Auster is president of the Oakland County Medical Society.

Italian-Mexican Fare at El Barzon

16 Jun


Nestled on a residential street in Detroit, El Barzon serves authentic Italian and Mexican dishes.

In the summertime, there is outdoor seating with a lovely waterfall (shown). Indoors there is white tablecloth dining, but all guests are greeted with salsa and chips upon arrival.  Dining at El Barzon is a unique experience — it’s an urban setting with a cosmopolitan flair. The food is delicious, and the portions are large. You will not be disappointed!

Perfect Sun Hat

13 Jun

UnknownI might have found the perfect sun hat. It’s cute, packable and provides sun protection. It’s called the bucket with a hide-away neck-flap. I purchased it at Dunham’s in metro Detroit. To my delight, it’s from a Motown-based company — Broner Hat & Glove. This fourth-generation family business began in Detroit and is now located in Auburn Hills. Check out their catalog for more sun hats that will keep you cool and sunburn free.

Here are some other fun sun hats!Unknown-1765412-20130314061136-broner-womens-spring-awakening-sun-shading-hat

Antiques Roadshow Visits Motown

2 Jun

photo Antiques Roadshow kicked off their 2013 season with a taping in Detroit on Saturday, June 1. Although I was not at the taping, I was fortunate to be invited to a behind-the-scenes preview at the Townsend Hotel a few days before the show hosted by U.S. Trust. U.S. Trust thanked my friend, Lois Shaevsky who is on the Board of Trustees at Detroit Public Television for her community work at the luncheon. More than 50 people were treated to a lecture “The State of Jewelry Today” discussing the trends, values and styles. The keynote speaker was Kate Waterhouse (shown, left), a PBS Antiques Roadshow Appraiser and Director of Jewelry, Heritage Auctions. Carolyn Ashleigh (shown, right) is a Heritage consultant in Birmingham. So what’s trending now in the jewelry? According to Waterhouse, watch collections are very popular among the young twenty and thirty-somethings. But the best takeaway was that jewelry rarely loses its intrinsic value. She showed a strand of natural pearls that went up for auction in 2004 and sold for $21,500. A similar pieces sold for $218,00 in 2011. Each guest received the book “The Collector’s Handbook,” by James Halperin, Gregory J. Rohan and with Mark Pendergast. I can’t wait to see the value of some Motown treasures on the upcoming Antiques Roadshow from Detroit!

Bring a Lunch, Play a Bunch

24 May

photo Bring a Lunch, Play a Bunch is the name of the Playworks Detroit healthy living campaign.  Playworks provides physical activity in Detroit area schools. This non-profit fundraises to place a recess coach in the school for the entire year. To get in the game, donate your lunch money. Whether it’s for one day or one week, children will benefit. Donors will receive a lunch bag with tips for healthy eating. The campaign runs until May 31st.  At Campus Martius on June 4th, Playworks and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing will host lunch and recess for Detroit kids. To register, go to http://www.playworks.org/make-recess-count/play/detroit/2013-bring-lunch-play-bunch-campaign

Or call, 313-879-4934.

Detroit Designer: Dominic Pangborn

4 May

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Dominic Pangborn designs are dynamic, bold and original. Wear a scarf or a necktie, and you will be stopped on the street with compliments from strangers — even in New York. I know because I have a few scarves. Dominic is a talented and passionate Detroit designer with an international flair. The swirl of colors or geometric patterns are dazzling. You’ll find his designs at the Detroit Metro Airport and now in the Michigan Design Center in Troy, which is open to the public. In his latest interview on Fox2, he says he will expand his accessories and home products. His personal journey as a Korean adoptee is just as fascinating as his artistry.

An Eye For Style

29 Apr


Jewelry designers Cathy Schwartz (right) and Beth Banker recently held a trunk show at Tender in downtown Birmingham. The two business partners and friends met several years ago in New York when Banker noticed that Schwartz had a fabulous handbag. “She has an eye for style,” said Banker. The two combined their talents and created CatherineBeth Jewelry. Banker and Schwartz both describe their collection as “edgy and sophisticated.” The collection incorporates precious and semi- precious jewels, metal, brass, wood and leather. Vintage pieces add to the eclectic look.  They sell their line at private sales and boutiques. Just recently Schwartz moved back home to Birmingham. “I’m happy to be home; it’s a great place to raise children,” said Schwartz.


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