Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sometimes Experience is More Important

I knew we would wear a print! But first, here’s an un-smudged shot of the hot pink number we wore for a hot morning at Wayne State University*.

pink onpink

A dirndl skirt! What a good idea. But, we did change clothes for lunch with the kids in the Kresge Court under the lovely Rivera mural at the Detroit Institute of Art. You probably think the wardrobe change was due to the heat and humidity we suffered through for Lady M’s 15 minute speech in the hot sun. Not so! Lady M, fashion icon that she is, just wanted to wear something derivative of all the great art that resides in the DIA.

You might think that’s a joke, but back in the good old 20th century, when Motown stood for something other than the former home of the former Big Three, the Autos made enough money to keep the whole country afloat. Local cultural institutions like the DIA were the beneficiaries of their largesse which they used it to acquire a great stash of art, some of it quite fine. Now I think they’re slowly  selling it off to pay the electricity bill. So you should go now, before it’s all gone.

print Modern, organic art print

 Vasarely_juil099fThez, by Victor Vasarely

Now, just a quick word about where we didn’t go while we were in Detroit: we didn’t go to disgraced former-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s Get- Out-Of-Jail-Free party. It had to be cancelled, due to his unexpected re-incarceration. Up till a couple of years ago Kwame lived a charmed life: good schools, law degree, political career on a constant rising arc. Then, after acting stupidly by cheating on his wife, firing 2 cops who were snooping around allegations of impropriety and then authorizing the city to buy them off for $9 million for their illegal firing , he unfortunately also lied under oath and was convicted of a felony.

In order to “just move on” and “start the healing” the Judge let him off easy and he served only 90 days in Detroit’s version of Club-Fed, the county jail, before being released on probation. He was ordered to pay restitution to the city of $1 million (that’s a pretty good discount, considering the $9 million settlement he cost the city). But because Kwame, like Big Guy, was one of the anointed ones, he continued to live large – and Kwame is very,very large:

kwame cuffs

and only had $6 left for restitution. The judge wasn’t buying any of it, calling him deceitful and arrogant, and sent him back to the slammer - only this time it’s the state pen in Jackson. And, sad for Representative Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick, Kwame is her son: the one she used to call “the anointed one.” His daddy is also currently under investigation for bribery and fraud allegedly using his son’s position as mayor for personal gain.

Needless to say, being sent back to jail is a real buzz kill so last night’s after-glo party in Lady M’s honor with Spike Lee, Magic Johnson, Eric Holder, Robin Givhan and Kimberly Locke had to be cancelled.

Kwame didn’t kill Detroit single-handedly, he had decades of help from fellow Democrats. But he certainly did plunge it into a much deeper quagmire of entitlement, corruption and fiscal disaster. Will Detroit survive Kwame’s reign of narcissism?  Unclear at this point.

Detroit still has much worth saving, maybe current mayor Dave Bing – former Piston great and successful business owner can get the job done. ‘Cuz sometimes it’s better to actually know how to do something rather than just being anointed to do it.

old-main-wayne-state_thumb[2] *Old Main Hall, Wayne State University: Photo by John Cruz, Misplaced Focus