(Editor-at-Large Walter Wasacz writes a weekly column on life in Hamtramck.)
By Walter Wasacz
I’ve always been drawn to Caniff, the main east-west artery in the city. OK, some could argue the point that Holbrook holds that claim.
But the mix of storefront businesses (including The Review), churches and mosques, social halls and cultural centers, impressive markets and restaurants — and, of course, the longest, sweetest residential strip in Hamtramck from Conant to just past Buffalo — tilts it in Caniff’s favor.
My rhapsodizing comes with a purpose. I’m so excited about the development of an art space on Caniff called Public Pool (yes, I’ve written about it before; and yes, I am member who has a role in programming and publicizing events there) that I’m always trying new ways to frame the story about this unique place.
It’s an art gallery, hosting shows by visual artists, but it’s a performance space home to improvisational music, dance, modern classical opera (yes, opera in Hamtramck) and literary readings. It’s a neighborhood catalyst, drawing people to the city to work, play and live. There is an episode of Model D TV you should see. It features founding member Steve Hughes, a writer, Kresge Arts fellow and Hamtramck guy, talking about Public Pool and the assets it brings to the community. Watch it here: http://www.modeldmedia.com/features/modeldtvpublicpool111.aspx
This Saturday, Jan. 15, the same night as the public opening of the North American International Auto Show, Public Pool fires its own car culture cannon shot: Automobiles: Shaping Our Landscape, Designing Our Lives. The show features the work of nine artists showing work that considers the huge impact cars have had on our lives.
Included is Carrie Dickason’s 12-foot Carscape, outlining the interior of a 1997 Subaru Legacy that she lived in while traveling around the country; Ian Swanson’s study of the effects of window tinting and Kate Daughdrill’s (of Southwest Detroit’s Soup series) performance piece that explores what can happen in intimate spaces, like a vehicle conveniently parked in front of the gallery. Longtime Hamtramckan Amy Kelly, who was in a serious roll-over accident where her pelvis was crushed, will also bring her own perspective to the show.
Other participating artists include: Christina Burch, Steve Coy, Rod Klingelhofer, Brian St. Cyr and Bethany Shorb.
There will be a special electro-mechanical performance outside Public Pool by Apetechnology. The piece uses 1/3-scale, robotic, fiber-glass cars. And they crash. But only after all audience members are safely positioned behind barricades. This must be seen to be truly believed and appreciated. The performance will be documented by a film crew, making it possible for Public Pool (with the help of the city) to cordon off the area as a film production site.
Opening night hours are 7 – 11 p.m. Apetechology performance is at 10 p.m. Refreshments provided courtesy of Traffic Jam & Snug (the Midtown restaurant owned by our friend Scott Lowell, who grew up north of Carpenter and attended Our Lady Help of Christians school). Music provided by Dethlab (Michael Doyle, David Blunk II and the multi-talented Shorb, who also performs under the name Toybreaker and makes awesome neckwear under the brand name Cyberoptix. Ties that don’t suck is her motto).
An after-party (11 p.m.-2 a.m.) at Skipper’s Hamtown Bar (9735 Conant Ave., Hamtramck) features food by John Lopez (his credits are impressive: Union Street, Majestic Cafe, Agave, Atlas Global Bistro) and danceable DJ set by nospectacle.
Make Caniff your destination on Saturday. It’ll warm up a cold January night, guaranteed.
Public Pool is at 3309 Caniff Ave., Hamtramck and is open Saturdays, 1 – 6 p.m.