Between Heaven And Hell, Michigan

October 24, 2009 at 2:05 am Leave a comment

To work on a feature film I returned to Detroit (it used to be called MoTown, now it’s more like NoTown), which is the land of my birth or so it says on my birth certificate. This visit has been a shock to the system in several ways.

1. A very visible culture shift can be seen as I travel around in the area that was once called Dearborn and now is known to the locals as Dearbornistan. Everywhere I look I see Arabic signs in the store windows, and many of the women are wearing a head wrap and long sleeved shirts, along with ankle length dresses to help me and other men control our innate lust. It’s a bit like when I worked on a film in Goshen, Indiana where the WalMart had hitching posts for the horse and buggy set that are the Amish as they go shopping. Walking through the interior of that store was like being on the set of a western film set in the 1800’s, with extras wearing period OshKosh B’gosh © (Since 1895) style wardrobe. But here a bit North of Detroit it’s more like being on the set of “Alienation”, it looks almost normal, but there’s something a bit off kilter. I do have a new description of what’s terrorizing, and that would be a 5’1″ tall 93 pound Palestinian woman driving 3 tons of Ford Expedition with her eyes barely able to see through the steering wheel and over the dashboard to know what’s on the road in front of her. For me, the only thing that could make it more scary would be if there were a few pounds of C-4 bouncing around in the baggage area. This is an interesting idea but  I think I’ll pass on inspecting for that. Especially when said SUV is  parked in the lot of  the “Beirut By Night” (this is the true name) restaurant. There are no IED’s allowed on the premises, or so I hear.

2. The temperature’s also a bit off, at least after living in Los Angeles for a few decades. Oh yeah, that’s off in the colder direction, with indications of more of the less (heat) to come soon.

P1020398

We’re in the mid-season here, caught between summer and winter in what’s known as the season of road repair, indicated by orange barrels every few feet on the freeway expressway.

orange barrel

1 Fast Angry Driver + 1 Slow Moving Barrel = Orange Road Kill

The trailer mounted car rig shot we did tonight was not exactly a pleasure cruise, since there had been enough rain today to flood the picture car (missing window glass in a few places) with about a half inch of water sloshing around on the floorboards. There would have been more, but being that this was a true “Detroiter” car with copious amounts of BodyCancerByFisher rust outs that gave the old car the appearance of crying as a flood of  big tears flowed out on each turn.

3. The real worry pressing on the minds of many of the local crew members? “Devil’s Night” is approaching, and according to our “on occasion correct” call sheet advance schedule it seems that we will be working on night exterior shots. I’m sure it’s going to be cold enough that will be welcome the heat from the burning houses, but for the newly homeless, perhaps not so much.

4. The drivers!!! For a place so full of people that for most purposes have no where to go, they sure seem to be in a hella big hurry to get there. And the local un-official sport, one perhaps soon to replace Devil’s night, now seems to be tailgating, wherein they allow a bit over one car space for every 100 miles per hour they drive. Most of the drivers seem to be agressive angry actually hostile to whoever is unlucky enough to be blocking the road in front of them, it’s amazing that there aren’t more traffic pile-ups but I guess they’ve learned to deal with it. I hope that I never do that, except for while I’m driving around here in the nation’s leader in unemployment, where, to paraphrase an old Ford commercial, “Finding A Job Is Job #1“.

N.B., The ownership of any and all photos, opinions, and/ or quotes above (including those of my own) belong to the material’s creator(s). Credit is given when it’s known, but as everyone knows, success usually has a million parents and failure is an orphan.

Feel free to ignore any ads that are shown below this advisory, I don’t get to choose them and even more sadly, I don’t make a penny off any of them, so in the holy name of capitalism I rebuke and don’t endorse or support any of them, unless of course they’re made of funny stuff…..  

P.S., check back for occasional updates and rewrites….

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