The bobbing of the cello strapped to her back stopped momentarily as she watched Jared dart through the opening in the chain-link, step up on the cinderblock "ladder" and pull him self up and over and through the west window sill of the once opulent Lee Plaza apartments on Grand Boulevard in Detroit. The magnificent wood paneling held strong to the walls as the ornate plaster ceiling had slowly given up to the demon fingernails of the asbestos lurking above. Sunlight entered like a class of school children- in open spaces like a well-behaved group cheery and inquisitive; in darkened corners like a naughty loner where it cast cars upside down along an empty street (on first observation, we convinced we were peering into a hidden rat kingdom, only later discovered it was camera obscura of the world outside). The feeling of trespass, the undulating leitmotif of the day, came and disappeared again later as we negotiated down the rubble-strewn stairs (copper thieves had decimated the walls of 17 floors worth of stairwell) to be met in the cold darkness by the rich larghetto of Taryn's cello, and Charlene Kaye's wingd soprano.

Trespass- when a car passed and called out to us as we were climbing back into the building after an errand- and welcome- when in the car we recognized the face of our friend Mobil, the Eastern Market's hip-hop magi, who had also come west to the art frontier. Trespass- when I could see their bodies in the empty casements of the 17th floor from the quiet neighborhood below- Exhilaration- when looking over the whole of Detroit and seeing for the first time how grand Grand Boulevard once was and how pastorally the snow-vested vacant lots wintered quietly from our place beneath the eaves of the roof where thieves had stripped the copper panels away to leave this beautiful panorama open to our virgin eyes.

In a city living on the anvil of America's hammer economy, where the buildings are burnt and broken, and the copper melted down, but the spirit of the forge still burns on the Pontiac-loft screen-printing press, in the amplifiers and the pirated pro-tools systems of suburban post-college housing, in the Michigan-basement-stairwell-cupboard-photo-darkrooms, and in the acoustics of two women making new music in an old building lost between the cracks of economy and history, I myself often wonder, "are we not supposed to be here?"

- Phreddy Wischusen
2240 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit

The hotel was designed by Charles Noble and built in 1929. It stands fifteen stories high and its ornate Art Deco architecture is one of the reasons it was added to the United States National Register of Historic Sites in 1981. The building was initially used as a luxury hotel, similar to the Book-Cadillac. After a series of different owner/incarnations, the hotel was finally transformed into a senior citizen's home until it was abandoned in the mid-late nineties.
Don't Cry Baby

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All the Life Around

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It's Not Love

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Strike a Chord

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Change of The Wind / Magnolia Wine

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Director/DP
Edits
Dave Crosslin
Graphics
Chris Everhart
Stills