Detroit – The Phoenix

 Meet Misha and Melian- the Musicians. 

Basically the History of  Motown  begins with Berry Gordy, Jr. and a small house in Detroit that he christened, Hitsville USA (now home to Motown Historical Museum). As we know from what the  data shows us – the story continues as Motown evolves into a major entertainment enterprise that was among the most diverse and influential in the world. This new sound evolved by tracing the rise of a new ghetto, solidified by changes in the urban economy and labor market and growing racial and class segregation. Motown’s creativity stemmed from all of these forces which gave cause for  uproar of unmentionable  fuel for  passion, creativity and invention in a new sound. .

In the most basic way Motown Madness chronicles the Motor City sound by incorporating  themes that include the demise of the City of Detroit and the racial tensions that were at play at the time of the initial successes in the music industry,followed by the city that still raced into decline, through to where Detroit is now, and hopefully to what type of Phoenix Detroit will become.

  I thought the only key fortelling  such a monumental task that could be transported to the performing arts arena  was  to bring outside characters into the story to  interpret some of the body language and indirect action  evident in all the historic photos. After a lot of thought   I choose two foreign musicians who come to Detroit for the first time..to experience the Motown sound.   –  more to chronicle the image in terms of poetic movement .

The setting is timeless –  . The obvious venue to locate music is with a musician,  at a show. Chances are, ninety percent of any rock show audience are also musicians, The couple affords a link for  excitement and creative adventures – and finally realizing in the end by coming to learn about the Motown sound.. they learn something about themselves 

Living through the  sociological background of the 1900 growth  to the 1967 Detroit riots begins with the rapid industrialization.  At that time the city was dominated by some many labor union works. –  As the suburbs thrived- the part of the city where my family had their homestead,.    I remember feeling the city was already fiercely divided by race and devastated by the exodus of industries. I remember  viewing  urban neighborhoods, where white working-class homeowners mobilized to prevent integration as blacks tried to move out of the crumbling and overcrowded inner city. As I experienced this muted casualty  at that time I had no idea that by weaving together the history of workplaces, unions, civil rights groups, political organizations, and real estate agencies.  the end result would dominate a new Detroit.

The latest news from Detroit brings me to near tears.  Detroit an American city; can’t feed its own citizens. People are hungry in the genuine sense, not the phony liberal inflated numbers sense. Detroit doesn’t even have a single major chain supermarket. People are forced to “shop” at small corner stores. We read the awful numbers about Detroit, staggeringly high unemployment, thousands and thousands of foreclosed homes, blocks of rubble where people once lived, but incredibly it’s gotten worse! People are actually growing vegetables in the vacant formerly junk covered empty lots dotting the town. Think about that! People in an American city are growing food in empty lots and living like characters in a bad science fiction movie! What’s left of the quickly hollowing out middle class are living like hippies on a commune because ferociously destructive liberal policies have driven off the major supermarkets whose operators likely ran away from robberies and shoplifter coddled by the liberals who ruled them

People tend to have a visceral reaction to the sight of books piled ten feet high and left to rot in a windowless warehouse or strewn about a classroom floor. They seem to have more sympathy for books than for the children who’ll never  have  to use them. Half of Detroiters cannot even read. Unemployment is above 20 percent and it streets are filled with hopeless people. When I see schools left like this, I know exactly what waits for many of these kids.-  Perhaps the resurgence of the art that is being generated in places in the downtown ghettos like those represented in the ending visual strains of Motown Madness or from  the haunting sound of Aretha Franklin singing Nessum Dorma as a last minute stand- in for an ill opera tenor – can shows us the power of the art form.    So like the phoenix of the Myths-  Detroit must be  – A phoenix rising.

A phoenix is a mythical bird with a colorful plumage and a tail of gold and scarlet (or purple, blue, and green according to some legends). It has a 500 to 1,000 year life-cycle, near the end of which it builds itself a nest of twigs that then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix or phoenix egg arises, reborn anew to live again. The new phoenix is destined to live as long as its old self. In some stories, the new phoenix embalms the ashes of its old self in an egg made of myrrh and deposits it in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis (sun city in Greek). It is said that the bird’s cry is that of a beautiful song

   I wonder if it is sung by Diana Ross ,  Stevie Wonder Aretha Franklin – or by another new great one to replace MJ)

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