Detroit’s Arenas

Detroit has been a hub of activity in the state of Michigan since the state was formed.  Like all big cities in the US, there are a lot of events that are constantly going on in Detroit.  Everyday there is some form of sporting event, conference, and concert. Detroit has an abundance of concert venues from The Detroit Opera House to the Fox Theatre.  The newest venue is the Little Caesars Arena that is the hockey stadium for the Red Wings and also doubles as an event center. Little Caesars has replaced the Joe Louis Arena for the home of the Red Wings and for a concert venue.

The Joe Louis Arena was built in 1979 and replaced the Detroit Olympia.  The Joe Louis Arena was the 2nd oldest hockey arena in the U.S. with only Madison Square Garden being older.  The Arena hosted many other things besides just hockey games. They hosted figure skating competitions, basketball games and tournaments, and concerts. In 1980, the Palace of Auburn was built and had taken over a lot of the concerts that the Joe Louis Arena used to hold.  

The Little Caesars Arena opened in September 2017.  It succeeded both the Joe Louis Arena and the Palace of Auburn Hills as the home of the Detroit Red Wings and the home of the Detroit Pistons.  Like both the Palace and the Joe Louis Arena, the Little Caesars arena is also a concert venue, and it is now the only of the three venues that hosts concerts as well.  The Arena has a capacity of 22,000 for concerts, 20,000 for basketball games, and 19,000 for hockey games. This is bigger than the Joe Louis Arena by about 1,000 seats.

As Detroit grows and the sports teams become more popular, the stadiums and arenas increase in size.  The transition from the Joe Louis Arena to the Little Caesars arena is a perfect example of this because not only is the Little Caesars Arena bigger than the Joe Louis Arena, it also has newer amenities and a newer look.

No Better Way To Spend My Thursday Night

Tonight, for the fourth year in a row, I’ll be sitting in a theatre watching an installment of The Hunger Games. After three years, it’s time to say goodbye. I still remember the first time that I went, seeing the first movie with my two best friends from high school. It was an amazing night, and happened to be one of my friends’ birthday, and we were all ecstatic – we’d all read the books, and this adaptation looked amazing.

Midnight movies have a special place in my heart. I think my first midnight movie was The Dark Knight, when I was 13 or 14 years old. My aunt took me and my cousin on a whim, and I ended up struggling to stay awake, since I had been up all day. But it was an exciting night – when Lieutenant Gordon came out of the back of the van, proving that he was alive, not dead, the entire theatre erupted in applause. A couple of years later, I saw both Twilight and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at midnight (I refused to choose between them – both guilty pleasures in my opinion) – theatres filled with hundreds of teen girls, all buzzing thirty minutes or an hour before the show, and I soaked it all in.

Now, I’m a bit older, and see more sophisticated things, read: Rocky Horror Picture Show, I still remember what it was like to be in high school, to be up at midnight, and to be part of a community that cares about something.

The tragedy of today, though, is that nothing really happens at midnight. Perhaps the midnight movie was more of a resurgence rather than just something I didn’t know about till I was older, but for movie executives, these nights are a way to make oodles of money. Which is kind of sad, because when I see Mockingjay at 11:15 tonight, I know, deep down, I shouldn’t be seeing it until midnight, and that the theatre I’m at has been showing Mockingjay since 7:30 earlier tonight. That hardly seems fair – the movie’s release date isn’t until 12:01 tonight, officially.

However, I will say that the extra movie times allow thousands of people to see the movie, when a lot of them would have been turned away had the theatre limited the release to only 12:01.

No matter what, midnight movies are something I love, and will always love. It’s one of the most unique ways you can see a movie, when going to a theatre is at an all time low.

So I challenge you, even if it’s not tonight with The Hunger Games, or in a month with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, to go see a midnight movie with your friends. Go to the State, go to Rave, go anywhere.

I honestly couldn’t think of a better way to spend my Thursday night. Can you?

To NaNoWriMo or Not To NaNoWriMo

The season of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is almost upon us. What is NaNoWriMo? It’s a non-profit organization that sets up an annual challenge where starting November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. And sadly, I will not be throwing my gauntlet into the ring.

I took part last year and looked forward to it every night – to get back to the story that was coming to life, film-like, on the computer screen in front of me. I explored the life of three children, growing up in post-Hiroshima Japan, one of the most realist stories I’ve written in quite a while. I found myself caring about these characters more and more, found myself wanting to hear their voices, their fears, to take part in their adventures rather then venture out into the greater world of Ann Arbor and classes and homework.

As senior year in the English and Creative Writing departments draws its cloak over me, I find myself writing so much already that I couldn’t possibly work on a 50,000-word novel right now. I admire all college-age Nano-ers who can find the balance between classes and this writing challenge. But, if Nano-ing is not in your near future, do not fret. It can often be a very brave thing to know your limits and know when to say ‘no.’ The good thing about Nano is that it’s like an annual holiday. It comes every year. If you’re not participating this year, then next year perhaps! No one even has to know if you participate or not. It’s like a secret with yourself. (Though, there is an incredible online community of Nano-ers who are available for support, for ideas, for writing gatherings, etc, for those who enjoy that kind of groupie-ness.)

There has been recent backlash from ignoramuses who think that NaNoWriMo is meant for people to write 50,000 word first-drafts and send it to agents on Dec. 1. This is by no means the purpose of NaNoWriMo. It’s a challenge, a chance to push yourself to write the story that has been cooped in your head, no matter how bad or hyperbolic or boring or flouncy or cheesy or cliche or wonderful the writing. It’s a chance for you to get in touch with your creativity stores, to think through your own beliefs and opinions about society, and project them onto characters who are forced to make decisions and heck, maybe even fight a few ninjas or two. I can’t imagine criticizing anything that encourages storytelling. No matter if you have written a Pulitzer or if you write car manuals, everyone deserves the chance to participate in this challenge.

If you’re lucky, you’ll walk away from NaNo with a “The End” as your words numbered 49,999 and 50,000. But, don’t think of this as “your end.” This is just a draft. The real writing, the revision, hasn’t even begun. And if you want, it doesn’t have to begin. You can write it and on December 1, come out from your writing cave and return to normal life. But, if you believe in your novel, you can make it stronger and keep working on it. To quote Da Vinci, “art is never finished, only abandoned.” But, something abandoned, doesn’t have to stay abandoned. Nor does it only have to be worked on during the month of November. That means that my story, about the three Japanese children, need not fear! I plan to pick it up again and continue the adventuring…just maybe after college settles down.

From one Nano-er to the next, I give this bit of advice to all of you brave writers who I will be living vicariously through this November:

Don’t delete anything. Even if you can’t stand to look at it, just highlight it in black and keep writing. (It creates this cool “blackout poetry” feel to your piece.)

If possible, log in the words while you have the time.  Try and get ahead in the first few days, which will give you flexibility as life and reality catches up to you later on in November.

-Make sure to give yourself breaks. Get up, take a walk, go to a museum, do yoga, paint your toenails, learn how to do headstands. Shake up your brainwaves so the ideas have room to breathe.

-Back up your work. Press Save a lot, become best friends with flash drives. Also, you can save to that whimsical of all things, the all-hailed Cloud.

Take risks. No one else has to see this writing if you don’t want them to. Be daring. Be silly. Add a dragon or two. Write scandalously. Mix the two and include the most scandalous of dragons.

Let yourself be surprised. 

To all my friends who are Nano-ing this year, I wave flags of encouragement and wish you happy writing and delicious snacks that don’t sticky up your fingers so much that prevent you from typing and I hope that you find yourself on the other side of the month, pleasantly surprised with the strength and courage and productivity that you achieved in just 30 autumnal days.

Write on, folks, write on!

That Time I Danced Thriller

So I was in a talent show. I know, shocking, right? I actually participated in art this time! I mean, that’s a very loose definition of art, but I did it, so that’s all that matters, right?

Here’s the skinny (seriously, why don’t people talk like this anymore, it’s so freaking cool): I’m in InterVarsity Undergrad, or IVU, a club/Christian group on campus. Our leader/staff worker/patron of silliness Jess was speaking at the weekly meeting of Asian InterVarsity, or AIV, one of IV’s chapters on campus, so naturally IVU had to attend. I mean, it wasn’t mandatory or anything, but you get the idea.

I don’t know if there’s any history behind it or anything, but AIV typically has a post-AIV thing that they do each week, and of course the week Jess was speaking they were having a talent show.

Now, I vaguely knew about this but I didn’t really know until my good friend Stefany emailed me (and everyone else in IVU) and informed us that AIV really really really wanted us to participate. The email was sent out Wednesday night. Thursday night IVU met for our weekly meeting. Friday night was the talent show.

As you can probably already tell, our “talent” was not very talent-y…and that’s being nice.

But I mean, we had a plan of action, so that counts for something, right? We were gonna use our talent of silliness as our actual talent, and by that I mean we were going to wing it the whole way.

We decided on opening with a game of “Raptor Tag,” which seems pretty self explanatory but I’ll explain anyways. You go around, hopping around like a raptor and with your arms close to your chest because “I have a big head and little arms!!!“ You try to tag other peoples’ arms without extending yours because you;re a raptor obviously, and when you lose both arms you’re out. It’s kinda like ninja meets tag meets playing raptor. In any case, we were gonna start with a mock game of that to confuse our audience. And then, once we’re all dead, Dean would give a raptor-y cry of victory, and as the beginning notes of “Thriller” sounded over the speakers he’d raise us from the dead, raptor zombies here to change the world and get funky.

This, in theory, sounds wonderful – we were gonna learn an easy, 20-30 second dance to “Thriller” and it was going to be flawless.

We had about an hour Thursday night and Friday night to learn and practice our dance. So I’m sure you can predict how utterly flawless we all were.

In reality, I was a beat ahead of everyone else, forgot the moves and couldn’t shimmy to save my life.

But the thing was, it didn’t matter. I was giggling, next to me my friend Hannah was red-faced and smiling, and the whole auditorium in front of us whooped and cheered when they heard the first beats of the iconic song. They didn’t care that we were off beat and could never live up to the perfection of Michael Jackson’s dancing, just like we didn’t care that the slam poetry section ended up being “We’re All In This Together.”

Usually, I don’t try to make grand statements about Art in my blog posts, but tonight, I’d like to try. That night, I realized something. Art is about community, about ideas being exchanged between people in a creative way. And that talent show I was in was all about community. By the end of the night, when I complimented Zander on his terrific HSM dancing, he graciously accepted and said to me and my friends “You guys should come more often.” That invitation, that acceptance of us even though we were outsiders, made me feel as though I had just built a community of my own. It made me feel that art, in it’s silliest, wildest, least choreographed, most unpredictable form, brought us together that night to soulfully sing “We’re All In This Together.”

Because we are. We really, really are.

SUPPART

There is art and then THERE IS ART.

Notorious for proclaiming every damn thing in my life can be art, I am going to continue to cast my art-golf-umbrella on everyone who reads this: art is everywhere, everything is aesthetic in some manner, and sometimes everything sucks (or is so good) that aesthetics are all I can talk about without wanting to performance art myself into a plane and never come back.

Now 2 days ago I stopped writing my thesis and left the honors program (http://queerumich.com/post/75508370570/the-queer-art-of-quitting) and I’ve never felt better. However, it’s been interesting to see how people react to my news. From “TAYLOR?!? REALLY??!?!” to “I support and think that this decision will make you happy.” I appreciate both sentiments–it’s fun seeing what people do when I throw their world axis off just a smidge, and when I can surprise them. (boom.)

In the wake of all of this, I’ve received so much support and love. I’ve never felt more comfortable with a decision or more proud of myself, and it’s all because my community stepped up and validated, affirmed, and actively supported me. A community that I thought I had a solid grasp of who was in it, but, then again, I myself was surprised.

Come a month ago, while still writing my thesis, the most support I got was from my books, my tears, and “dreams . . . drugs . . . waking nightmares, alcohol and cock and endless balls” (a little Ginsberg goes a long way, no?). I’m not trying to call anyone out but the support I got while in the thesis process was no where near the level of support I have now. This got me thinking.

Support is an art form.

About a year or so ago I got in the habit of saying “I approve” at everything I wanted to affirm. Quickly, I realized that very few people need a white cisgender man to give approval–it’s weird, it’s unaffirming, and it’s just a little much, in my opinion. So I reflected on what I meant by “I approve,” and I came to the conclusion that I meant, “I support.” I support verbally, physically, emotionally, mentally; if I say, “I support _____,” you have my permission to use me and my resources to the fullest extent because I care, I support, and I want to validate and affirm you and your endeavors.

What I’m not so eloquently getting at is: support needs to be known.

Support isn’t some canvas on which I am painted. I need support to be painted on me. Covered in it, filled with it, not born from it. Support can’t be implied or unspoken because all it looks like is somebody somewhere following you or looking at you or sending some good vibes, which, don’t get me wrong, is wonderful, but isn’t really how I use or mean “support.”

Support is an action, a verb–to support. It necessitates motion from bodies and minds and hearts. It is not a watercolor. It is spoken word, it is slam poetry, it moves oceans and causes storms. I need support that will rock me to my foundation.

What stopping the thesis process has taught me is how to really support someone. I’ve learned this from those who’ve pretended and from those who’ve succeeded in supporting me. And today, perhaps, I can call myself an artist supported by fellow artists (friends, family, peers, acquaintances, coworkers, facebook strangers, grindr peeps, and people eluding my words)–with a general mission to support and affirm and validate.

Community and V for Vendetta: My First Viewing

So I’ve had a busy few days, mostly because of my procrastination, but luckily I got everything done pretty early tonight.

Unluckily, I almost forgot about my blog post. I’ve had a topic in mind for the past few days, but I’ve been working on an English assignment due tomorrow, so I’ve been avoiding the actual writing part. So here I am, sitting in the South Lounge at Markley, writing my post at the last minute.

I was going to talk about fall and how pretty the trees are, and although that is my new favorite thing to talk about since this is my first “real” fall (Houston, where I’m from, really doesn’t have a fall), my friend suggested a new topic as I rushed to get my laptop.

I’m in the south lounge because I’m about to watch V for Vendetta with some girls from my hall. I know about this movie, I’ve seen the clip of a speech from it as well as analyzed it, but I’ve never actually gotten the chance to watch it, nor do I really know what it’s exactly about.

I’m honestly a bit ashamed to say this, since I claim to be such a movie buff (seriously, if you don’t remember an actor’s name, I’m the one to ask). But that also means I get a unique experience. Not knowing much about this movie, I’m going to see it with an open mind, and with my friends, something I probably wouldn’t get if I was watching it alone in my dorm.

However, that also means I don’t have much to say about it. So as the movie is about to start, I am talking with my friends, just enjoying the community we have here, and wondering what I’ll think after I see it. But I’m also thankful – I really love getting to know everyone, and I feel like this is the way movies are meant to be seen, with friends, in a community.

Hopefully I’ll enjoy it. I think I will, seeing as it’s considered such a classic. Only time will tell. So as this night comes to a close, I have only one more thing to say:

Remember, Remember the 5th of November.