April is Michigan Wine Month!

Future wine.. by Daylily18
Future wine.. by Daylily18

Governor Rick Snyder has declared April as “Michigan Wine Month” to honor Michigan’s wide selection of quality wines and the wine industry’s significant contribution to the economy. Sales of Michigan wine in the state rose more than 6 percent in 2012, while total wine sales increased just 1 percent. Michigan wine sales have outpaced total wine sales over the past 10 years, doubling Michigan wineries’ market share to 6.5 percent.

The Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council has added 11 new wineries to its roster over the last year — for a total of 101 wineries that support Michigan agriculture by using primarily Michigan grapes and other fruit for their wines. Michigan’s wineries welcome more than 1 million visitors to their tasting rooms each year, and Michigan’s wine and grape industries contribute more than $800 million to the state’s economy annually.

NAIAS 2013

NAIAS 2013

via Michigan in Pictures…

Snapshots from the 2013 North American International Auto Show aka NAIAS 2013 aka the Detroit Auto Show started yesterday for media & industry. The public show runs Saturday, January 19 through Saturday, January 26. Here are a few quick hits:

Get more NAIAS on Michigan in Pictures!

  • Chased by Tigers
    Permalink Gallery

    Detroit Tigers face the San Francisco Giants in the 2012 World Series

Detroit Tigers face the San Francisco Giants in the 2012 World Series

The Detroit Tigers Theme Song was written by Ernie Harwell and set to a scene from the movie TIGER TOWN (1983), starring Roy Scheider. Time for a rental or NetFlix maybe?

A few observations in the middle of a (so far) nightmarish Game 1:

Some twitters that we’re having fun following. Some are definitely off-color!

  • @Tigers is the official twitter of the Detroit Tigers and while they’re mostly an occasional play-by-play, they have a gem every so often, Detroit’s own Eminem is playing over the speakers at AT&T Park. Detroit already taking over in the Bay!
  • @roartigers aka Sam of Roar of the Tigers is a favorite of Absolute Michigan and a truly funny person. Die in an internet server fire, MLB. RT @MLB This is known as ‘maximum effort’ –
  • @HuffPostDetroit has some great tweets and a running battle with their San Francisco counterparts. Okay, Hunter Pence’s long arms didn’t get him any closer to hitting anything thrown at him @HuffPostSF
  • @JeffDaniels is of course that Jeff Daniels and a huge Tiger fan. All right I’m back. Oh, look. Zito not only hits like Mays, he’s throwing like Marichal. (The SF hurler’s game vs Warren Spahn in the ’62 series is judged one of the best ever
  • @PhilCokesBrain is definitely PG-13 but has some hilarious observations like The good news is we aren’t as worried about JV’s pitch count anymore.
  • @TerryFoster971 has some very cogent insight. Regarding Delmon Youn’s inexplicable failure to run he tweeted ok it looks like the Mr. October stuff is done. That was Mr. dumb dumb 
  • @Bob Wojnowski is the Detroit News lead sportswriter. Verlander gets the first-inning HR out of the way. We’ve seen it a few times and he usually gets stronger. But this is a crazy, cozy park.
  • @freepsports: For what it’s worth, in three of the four seasons the #Tigers won the #WorldSeries, they lost Game 1. #keepthefaith #Tigers2012
  • @StarEagle is Dave Hogg, photographer and frequent Absolute Michigan contributer.
Got more to add? Share it in the comments!


Pure Michigan Statewide Sing-along premiers

Rob Bliss & Jeff Barrett, creators of the fantastic Grand Rapids lip dub video premiered their Pure Michigan Statewide Sing-along at halftime of the Lions game on Sunday. It was filmed in 50 Michigan cities in 7 days. It’s a pretty cool travelogue of the Great Lakes State in under 4 minutes.

Check out the finished video below and also don’t miss the behind the scenes blog from

Michigan Made Movie: The Giant Mechanical Man

Giant Mechanical Man Premiere by Sachyn
Giant Mechanical Man Premiere by Sachyn

In Michigan-made ‘Giant Mechanical Man’ rolls into theaters Sam Logan Khaleghi writes that Lee Kirk (screenwriter of “Pants on Fire”) makes his directorial debut with “The Giant Mechanical Man.” The film stars Jenna Fischer (The Office) who is also the producer, Chris Messina (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) and Topher Grace (That 70s Show) and was shot entirely on location in Michigan:

Although the film takes place in a fictional metropolis, metro-Detroit citizens will notice famous landmarks and bearings throughout the downtown area as well as Southfield, Ferndale, and Royal Oak.

…According to the Michigan Film Office, the project spent $625,000, which absorbed directly into the local economy; an incentive of $248,849 was awarded, while 54 Michiganders took on jobs on the project and an additional 243 individuals worked as background extras.

Click through to the article to hear Sam’s interview with the director, check out this Freep article on the film and watch the trailer below:

  • Ernie the Play
    Permalink Gallery

    “Ernie” play about Ernie Harwell opens for second season

“Ernie” play about Ernie Harwell opens for second season

ernie harwell by mlephotos
ernie harwell by mlephotos

Mitch Albom has an interesting column on his play “Ernie” and Harwell’s broadcasting style that re-opens for its second season at the City Theatre in Detroit. Mitch wrote the play at legendary Detroit Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell’s request, and last year the play was able to donate $30,000 to Harwell’s favorite charities. Mitch’s column begins:

There’s a scene in the play “Ernie” in which the actor playing Ernie Harwell re-enacts the way he broadcast minor-league baseball games in the 1940s, when there was no money to send him on the road.

“We stayed in the studio and waited for the play-by-play ticker to come through,” he says, taking a strip of ticker tape and reading it. “Johnson, B-1-0. That meant Johnson took ball one, outside. Of course that’s pretty dry, so we’d have to embellish it.”

He then demonstrates his embellishment: “There’s a high loping curveball, way outside, Johnson looks at it, doesn’t move his bat, and it’s ball one!”

When asked what he did if the ticker-tape machine broke, Ernie replies that sometimes he’d make up a distraction, like a dog running on the field. And he’d have that dog racing back and forth, eluding escape, until the machine was fixed.

Of course, when the ballplayers came home, their wives would ask, “What happened to that poor dog?” And they’d say, “What dog?”

Read on for more and visit Ernie at Olympia Entertainment for more on the play and to order tickets. Harwell passed away two years ago tomorrow. You can read more about him on Michigan in Pictures and here’s a great interview that Albom did with Harwell at the Fox Theatre in 2009 that will probably make you tear up.

DLECTRICITY, a new illuminated art festival for Detroit

DLECTRICITY is a new nighttime, outdoor contemporary art festival that will invite emerging and established artists, performers, lighting designers, and architects to make site-specific installations of light, sound, performance and projection along the Woodward corridor. The inaugural DLECTRICITY will take place Friday, October 5, 2012 (7-midnight) and Saturday, October 6 (5 – 2 AM).

Artists will be utilizing various mediums that fuse sci-fi technology & Victorian spectacle on a grand scale. In addition to commissioning 6-8 major art installations, organizers have issued an open call for entry from which they will select up to 25 projects to transform Midtown Detroit into an illuminated urban spectacle. The Freep reports:

“We want to offer multiple experiences,” said Marc Schwartz, cofounder of Art Detroit Now, an advocacy group that dreamed up the idea and has partnered with economic development nonprofit Midtown Detroit Inc., which is acting as producer. “You’ll be able to drive, but we also hope for people to walk and be able to just come upon work in some intimate spaces.”

…A half-dozen artists with national and international reputations already have been signed up, including Jacco Olivier from the Netherlands, Evan Roth of Paris and the Detroit-based team of Annica Cuppetelli and Christobal Mendoza.

The name for the event was inspired by Detroit’s very own Electric Park which was located on the site of what is now Gabriel Richard Park. From 1906 until 1928, Detroit Electric Park served as a major attraction, beginning as a trolley park and later expanding into an amusement park with the development of electrification.

The Empowerment Plan making wearable sleeping bags

For many, the reaction upon seeing a homeless person is to let the eyes slide past and slip by. One Detroit designer chose instead to look, think and ultimately design a game-changing garment. It all started in industrial design professor Stephen Schock’s new design activism class at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. Detroit has over 20,000 homeless people living on the streets, prompting Schock to challenge his students to do something about the issue.

This New York Times article entitled Altering Clothes, and Lives, With Design explains that The Empowerment Plan is a humanitarian project based in the city of Detroit that centers around a coat that is self-heated, waterproof, and transforms into a sleeping bag at night.

The coats are made by homeless women who have been paid to learn and to produce the coats for those living on the streets. The focus is on the system to create jobs for those that desire them and coats for those that need them at no cost. The importance is not with the product but with the people…

One of his students, Veronika Scott, a native of Detroit and then a junior, quickly focused on the homeless population and began researching her project at the Neighborhood Service Organization, a community development center. “I noticed that there were people sleeping outside of shelters even when they could have been inside,” she said, adding that she quickly learned that many actually prefer the street because of pride, privacy issues or an array of mental health problems.

“There are many reasons why people are homeless, but I could see one thing all of them needed: warmth,” she said.

Ms. Scott, now 22, soon came up with the idea to design a coat that could double as a sleeping bag.

“I am now known as the ‘Crazy Coat Lady,’ ” said Ms. Scott, who began her research by asking a group of 30 homeless men at the shelter for advice on designing it. “At first they were angry because I turned off their TV, but then they started talking to me,” she said.

Read on for more and definitely visit the Empowerment Plan and learn more about this great project. Now here’s a video from a couple of years ago from Mitch Albom’s great Heart of Detroit series.

The Heart of Detroit: Cheryl Valentine

I like to see the metamorphosis of the students. When they come in knowing a little and leave knowing a lot, that’s why I do it.
~Detroit School of Arts teacher Cheryl Valentine

The Heart of Detroit is a weekly feature by Mitch Albom that airs on Local 4 News (Detroit) at 5 p.m. and then on The goal is to share inspiring stories of metro Detroiters who step up to help make their community a better place to live. Viewers will follow Mitch through documentary-style videos as he profiles unsung local heroes who spend countless hours sacrificing to make others less hungry, less troubled, less impoverished or just a little happier.

In the latest episode, Albom profiles aptly named DPS teacher  Cheryl Valentine – enjoy and catch the latest on the Heart of Detroit YouTube channel.


See Detroit Rockers Sponge at the Emerald Theatre

One of the items in our Michigan’s 175th Birthday Bash Giveaway is a pair of tickets to see Sponge! Just sign up for our email list if you’re not already on it in the blue box at the bottom of the page!

Detroit’s beloved rock sons – Sponge – will offer fans a rare treat when they perform their break through hit CD “Rotting Piñata” for the first time ever in its entirety – and in CD track order at Mt. Clemens’ Emerald Theatre on Saturday, January 28.

Before Kid Rock became synonymous with Detroit ROCK, Sponge dominated MTV and national radio with their hits “Plowed” and “Molly/16 Candles,” culled from the band’s electrifying debut CD “Rotting Piñata.” The CD went Gold, securing Sponge’s place in Detroit’s music history books.

Sponge went on to release 6 CDs, garnering additional hits including “Wax Ecstatic” and “Have You Seen Mary.” The unforgettable performances by charismatic lead singer Vinnie Dombroski have earned Sponge a reputation as a “not to be missed” live act, and you have a chance to do exactly that in a couple of special upcomg live shows.

Admission for Sponge’s Emerald Theatre show (located at 31 N. Walnut St.) is $15 in advance ($18 day of the show), and are available now at the venue’s box office and Ticketmaster. A stellar line up of Michigan rock bands will open for Sponge, most notably Amy Gore and Her Valentines.

After the Emerald Theatre performance, Sponge will perform an intimate SECOND (and possibly THIRD) show inside the Emerald Theatre’s Rock Room, playing hits from the band’s entire music catalog. Admission for these shows is by donation with 100% of proceeds benefitting local Susan A. Komen 3- Day walking team “Trekking for Ta-Tas.”

For more information on the shows, please contact the venue at 586-913-1921 or visit their website. More information on Sponge is available at We’ll close with Sponge performing “Molly/16 Candles” on the Conan O’Brien Show in 1996.

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