True Colors — Maize and Blue
The Horatio Williams Foundation building in Detroit was awash in maize and blue Wednesday when the nonprofit's founder, Horatio Williams, hosted a coaches clinic presented by Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff. Some 270 Metro Detroit high school coaches gathered at the Lafayette Park building that typically is set up to serve the academic and social needs of inner-city children. Harbaugh's staff made sure there was no confusion about who was in the house for this occasion: they brought mini-vans with maize and blue logos, UM posters, T-shirts and lanyards, and even slipped a huge maize and blue sleeve over the neon Horatio Williams Foundation sign in front of the building. After the clinic, a sumptuous repast was served. "I like the work being done at this foundation in properly preparing Detroit youth for college life," Harbaugh said. "And I really like that instead of serving the usual hot dogs at a coaches clinic, they're serving us lamb chops and chicken tonight."
Aretha pays homage to Rev. C.L. Franklin and Rev. Cecil Franklin
In lieu of the spring/summer church revival that she likes to do each year, Aretha Franklin is hosting a special event 4-7 p.m. June 7 at New Bethel Baptist Church to honor her late father and brother. Dubbed "Aretha Franklin Presents a Memorial for Rev. C.L. Franklin&Rev. Cecil Franklin," the event will feature gospel music and a soul food buffet before and after the memorial. Everybody is invited to share their memories of Aretha's father, the eminent civil rights activist and pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church, who died in 1984, and her brother Cecil, who managed her career and was also a minister, and died in 1989.
Some of the gospel royalty performing for the Queen of Soul's event will be Karen Clark Sheard and Twinkie Clark; Dorothy Norwood of the Caravans, the Rev. Donald Parson and the Rev. Robert Smith Jr., the current pastor of New Bethel Baptist. It's all free — the memorial, music and food — and open to the public, although attendees are free to donate during the usual church collection. Will Franklin sing? Nothing's official, but it's rare that she doesn't sing a number or two.
Art in the Alley
The very chic JJ Curis of Library Street Collective invited a slew of her art-loving friends to attend the private opening of Shepard Fairey's exhibition at the gallery last week, and to observe the stencils that Fairey did in the Public Matter exhibition in The Belt.
"We've been told that when the exhibition opened to the public that evening, between 8,000 to 10,000 people came out," Curis said. "That's a strong statement about the art scene in Detroit." The opening also marked the conclusion of Shepard's stint painting murals in our city, and gave the public a first glimpse into the future prospects for The Belt, which is Bedrock Real Estate and Library Street Collective's art-filled alley. "The long-term vision includes a fully pedestrian public space with restaurants, bars and a coffee shop lining the alley," Curis said. "The first of these should be opening in the coming months. It's a testament to the arts creating a sense of place within our community."