In preparation for this road trip I’ve watched tons of documentaries and TV specials, read articles on every building, park, sculpture, and energy innovation in Detroit, Chicago, and Denver. The only thing I forgot to look up was the murder parties going on in Detroit and Chicago, primarily in the past week.
In 2 days I’ll be in Detroit, once coined “Hamburger Hill” in the Eminem song “Amityville” because, “we don’t do drive-bys / we park in front of houses and shoot / and when the police come we fuckin’ shoot it out with them, too”. Looking forward to it.
We’re only spending two days there and I’m adamantly against ruin porn and poverty tours so we’ll mostly be sticking with the sculptures, buildings, urban farms, and the Packard Plant. There are talks of driving down 8 Mile, but who knows.
Right after we leave, we’re speeding over to Chicago or “Chi-raq”—coined after the overwhelming number of homicides in recent years (and this last weekend). Again, we’ll mostly be staying out of the South Side, like Detroit’s easy-to-find-yourself-in poverty areas. Again we’ll be focusing on buildings, sculptures, parks, green roofs, and other innovations.
The idea here is to promote the advancements of the U.S., even in places where nothing optimistic is ever said. Especially in places like Detroit, where people are in need of some light—even if it’s not much light—in the midst of all the bleak shit.
Denver will be an adventure. Maybe make our way to Boulder, the Liberal utopia. It’ll be smooth sailing from there on home.
All this research, all this time, but nothing can possibly prepare me for the reality of these places; no pictures, moving or still, can instill the deepening reality and understanding within me for an alarmingly neglected piece of America.
This land is your land / This land is my land.
I’m so ready. I’m not ready.