the best saturdays happen on tuesday

Revived at Live Coal

We were way past due for a tuesdaysaturday since winter kept the weekly holiday confined to our west-side homesteads for the most part. Surviving the polar vortex meant avoiding drafty windows, slippery sidewalks and dedicating dollars to heating bills instead of homegrown businesses. The worst winter regiment, I know.

Despite winter’s last wave goodbye interrupting what should be spring, we ventured out and met at Live Coal Gallery in true tuesdaysaturday spirit. Yvette Rock, the artist responsible for the gallery and cafe, welcomed me at the door with big hair and an even bigger smile. On the menu: locally-made greeting cards, hand-made jewels, wall-mounted art, broccoli and cheddar soup, grilled cheese on olive bread, and a calzone (which regrettably I didn’t notice posted on the blackboard until I was already full).

The soup warmed the chill of annoyance off of us as we aired our grievances with work, love and building independence. The cheese congealed our lessons learned with hopes for the future. So, of course, we had to finish the night with a little lubricant by ways of Hendricks and Patron just a block away at Woodbridge pub.

Funny story

A server with a handful of toilet paper opened the bathroom door, leading to an instant O-face as she gazed upon the customer with their pants at their ankles and butt planted to porcelain. The server quickly left the bathroom – apology barely audible over the slamming of the door, only to open it again and throw toilet paper inside. “I think you’ll be needing this.




Help Complex Movements win $20,000 with one (free) text!

Complex Movements is a prime example of how art and activism collide. Help this Detroit-based collective win $20,000 to keep doing great work.

Their project, Beware of the Dandelions, is inexplicable. It’s an experience that I am honored to have had twice, and has changed the framework in which I analyze issues in my community and ways to solve them. I am excited to see where the Collective takes the project in this incubation stage.

Complex Movements win the Detroit People’s Choice Award by texting ART1 to 22333 and by spreading the word to your friends!

Back to the Lakes, back on the chain

1369772070437 (2)I found myself back at Great Lakes Coffee Co.

It wasn’t just tuesdaysaturday that brought me here, it was a previous discussion about rest rooms. Yes, we bloggers care about where we unload. Great Lakes labels the bathrooms according to lighting instead of gender. I like the one with better lighting! I also like not searching for and deciding between the appropriate black figure standing over braille print to determine where the aftermath of espresso and water wound up

The bathroom was of particular importance on my visit because  I was drinking the double cream stout by Bell’s Brewery, (shout out to Kalamazoo), a guarantee that a pee break was in my future.

What was my plan following my pee break (in good lighting)? A bike ride, of course. I recently read that metro Detroit is experiencing a surge of bike frenzy. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve been seeing older black men bike around Detroit hoods on barely-rolling cycles faithfully since I was a kid. What’s happening is an increasing population of hipsters (who are more noticeable on bike than the usual landscape of low-income residents) to Cass Corridor have brought with them sassy and savvy bike shops with an edge that appeals to both street riders and the environmentalists communities and the residents fleeing from New York to a new urban, artistic paradise. A bike lane is planned for Woodward Avenue that will stretch to Pontiac, according to the Metro Times.

While I fear for the lives of riders used to biker-friendly drivers who give a lick about another person’s life, I am excited for the potential bike lane! So if you like to spend your other-than-Saturday-saturday pedaling from new developments, to longstanding community staples, to ruin porn (or more appropriately named – places where people used to live/work) then pedal on! And if you have finished a few pints of Bell’s, secure your helmet tightly.

Modern Impressionists at Live Coal Gallery June 14th

Modern Impressionists at Live Coal Gallery June 14th

Modern Impressionists exhibit featuring works by Senghor Reid and Gilda Snowden. Poetry readings by Naidra L Walls and youth poets from InsideOut Literary Arts Project

Kicking off a productive summer in Downtown Detroit coffee shops

With external work pressures, deadlines and the on-set of summer hustle-mode; the past couple of tuesdaysaturdays have been abut work and productivity. Shawntai and I have hit the Trumpet Vine, Great Lakes Coffee, and a few other spots – laptops in tow- ready to put the smackdown on our to-do lists!

1515 Broadway

Working at 1515 Broadway

Working at 1515 Broadway

Crystal Starr from Detropia, previously known as Crystal Starr from Culturenomics at 1515 Broadway sitting out front with some folks when we walked up. She had this line in the film that stuck with me. It was something about Detroiters once not being afraid to do things or take on the world because it’s right out of their windows. [It was a very serious moment, you have to watch to really get it.] If you’re looking at something every day — dreaming about it…it’s time to have the life you envision for yourself. That’s how we feel right now. Shawntai about theatre and serving people through art. Me, about the new reclaimed table I built, and my budding incubator for healthy community.

1515 Broadway is the perfect place to think/brainstorm/work. The food is great, reasonably priced, and they take credit cards now!  Those of us who are all to used to making the mad dash to the PNC ATM across Broadway St. are doing a seriously happy dance at the moment, feel free to join in.  The only things I would change is the small table size and constant cold temperature, which I know would detract from the old French bistro vibe and probably encourage people to stay longer and spend less; but, I would definitely stay longer and may more for comfort.

Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company

1515 Broadway made me give Great Lakes Coffee Rosting Company another chance. I’d almost written it off completely for a few reasons: 1. I didn’t like my first interaction with the Barista at the register (asking if I “knew anything about coffee” versus if I “wanted to hear about the Great Lakes Coffee choices” was not a great start to our relationship); 2. there weren’t any foods (at the time) that went well with coffee, and 3. all of te seats that were in locations of interest to me were taken.  That’s where 1515 Broadway came in. An open discussion and panel of small business owners were convened in the 1515 Theatre.  The discussion was really centered on race and how Midtown and Corktown have been gentrified to make the barrier to entry into Detroit business seem lower.  There were so many other notable points of discussion, but what struck me was that the panelists and audience were basically blasting the co-founder of Great Lakes for putting such a hipster/non-Detroit seeming/wannabe Starbucks coffee shop in Downtown Detroit, Midtown no less. How dare they! I felt bad for the guy, so I thought I’d give the coffee shop another shot. One panelist (find out her name) mentioned that the seats were too low and the atmosphere isn’t welcoming to everyone.

Standby: Indonesian Sulawesi

My Standby: Indonesian Sulawesi

In the three hours we spent working there on Monday, I observed all kinds of folk in the coffee shop.  I noticed new seating of varying heights, and the servers were really friendly.  Down sides to the Great Lakes Coffee: 1. I can never get my iPad to connect with te wi-fi. My laptop works fine so it’s not their problem, let alone that no one else looked like they were having trouble logging on. It’s the iPad and very strange. 2. Outlets are limited – get a spot with a plug & hold on! people are always watching you to see when you’re about to leave so that they can swoop in on the plug. It’s not personal – we all do it. We all need the outlets!

Great Lakes Coffee has great parking options, too. Off-street spaces are available on Alexandrine, but PNC customers could use the lot across the street (I think. Don’t quote me.). There is also a parking garage next door if you don’t mind spending a little money.

These past few productive weeks of playwriting and career planning have been a great way to start summer in the D. Now, on to conquer the next week!

Laughing & Lafayette Park

Bai Mai Thai restaurant

Bai Mai Thai restaurant

Lafayette Park is an anomaly. It’s a hodge podge of young and mid -existence. Patches of grass holding swing sets like the last pair of mammals to board Noah’s ark. 1959 designs by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe – subtext to the Pavillion. I’ve taken a walk through the neighborhood, and its an interesting dynamic to say the least.

Bai Mai Thai sits in an unsuspecting strip mall storefront.
Swanky and rustic. Semi-Thai atmosphere. Pictures of Thailand & Iron chef on the televisions.

We ordered the usual Patrol gimlet (with sugar) and 2 entrees. Order your drink as tequila and lime for the fastest return. It was a decent drink. Worth the $8. Since it’s close to so many small businesses, apartments, and a school, I’m sure they also have lunch specials and deliver.

Sitting in the booth adjacent to the main entrance, I observed everyone from Hipsters to families. No obvious classification of socioeconomic status.

Great food. Pay attention! The most spicy things say, “BURN BURN BURN (not recommended).” Which, I found to be hilarious. It was definitely a tuesdaysaturday tweet-worthy classic.

I would definitely visit again. Our total visit: 2 entrees & 2 Patron gimlets came to about $48. Well worth it.

The Return of tuesdaysaturday

1360717811378Because tuesdaysaturday is not just a holiday from the normality and general grind of life, and because it’s all about fostering friendship and building community relationships that strengthen the core of who we are and what we choose to live upon, two weeks without a traditional tuesdaysaturday meant a return to the basics: Pancakes.

Before frequent runs to Starbucks for an Izzy, before nights claiming wall plug at The Bronx Bar, before long walks down Parkview or Woodward, there were pancakes.

They are not made with the finest of ingredients. They do not have a carbon footprint of 3 miles. They do not promise to be low in fat, gluten-free, vegan, organic or even taste exactly the same as the last breakfast. But they are our mainstay.

After being in separate cities for two weeks, the tuesdaysaturday bloggers reunited over pan fried batter goodness, syrup and OJ.

We told stories. We laughed. We danced in our seats a little. We talked about how we missed tuesdaysaturday with the originators. And then, we laughed some more.

Film, food, frigid

Three days of tuesdaysaturday … and counting

Winter decided to take a prickly brush and slap our cheeks this week. Nothing a little food and film couldn’t alleviate, right?

Naidra and I shivered out of 1515 Broadway on Monday after a coffee warm up that stood little chance against what felt like subzero windchill. Where to go? Any place warm, was our first thought. We shared our day driving between the lines of Gratiot, and then Woodward, and then Second before we pulled to a stop at our staple: The Bronx Bar.

Their black bean burger is the best ever. I’ve tested it five times so far, and it never fails to appease me. I might need to try it again soon just to be sure. I wouldn’t want to lead readers astray.

ImageTuesday was more relaxing. After working the day away at our jobs we talked about our goals and achievements over BetterMade Barbecue chips. I’m in an ongoing relationships with the crunchy Detroit classic.

Wednesday we took a more civic attitude and made our way to $2 Brew & View at the Magic Bag in Ferndale to see Detropia. Here’s the review: Excellent movie anyone interested or becoming disinterested in Detroit or urban living or the rapid extermination of the middle class should see.

Too bad it’s far too cold to hop from abandoned gem to abandoned gem. Come spring, we will be ready to explore.

new, new, not-so-new

Happy New Year.

A toast to 2013 being better than 2012 was officiated with Patron, lime and sugar. Gimlets  with sugar on the rim have been the new tone of tuesdaysaturday due to Naidra’s infectious ordering of the perfectly-sweet, perfectly-tart, and occasionally-adjusted strength of the tweaked bar staple.

Being the first tuesdaysaturday of the year (a continuation of pancakes and tequila sunrises from the day before), we needed two rounds of gimlets.

The first round came with lentil soup for Naidra and a Greek salad for me at Traffic Jam & Snug. Nothing screams ts like supporting local midtown business.
TJ&S touts on their menu that their ingredients are so local they have the same address. I like this arrogant admission because the salad tasted un-canned and delightful  Keep it up, midtown and I will keep calling you my home away from home.

The second gimlet came after a stop at Affirmations to discuss the presence of resources for transgender, non-gender conforming and other gender-expressive persons in the metro area. It’s always good to connect with like-minded people. Talk of social justice and creating inclusive spaces is a pill best swallowed with tequila – builds confidence.

Local Kitchen and Bar in Ferndale made a tasty gimlet that skimped on the liquor for a whopping $14. This investigator needs to ask before she drinks. Their shots, however, are nothing to argue against in size, although you pay for nearly a pint of Patron off their double shot which is a mirror image of a triple  The shot was cushioned by wonderful butternut squash and sweet potato soup. No spice, just running-wild sweetness in this bowl. The decor is homely chick with milk bottles serving as water pitchers and heavy spoons and forks seemingly melded in the 1800s. It’s swanky and fun, but two bowls of soup, two drinks and two shots landed us a $70. Save your Christmas money, kiddies.

We ended the eve at Barnes and Noble over Starbucks coffee. I christened a new journal especially for fiction and Naidra finished off her sketching and journal. It was a repeat of many moments spent hunched over or chair-swallowed at bookstores during high school. It’s a reminder that this year will be about bridging where we have come from with where we will be. There is lots of work to do. And did I mention lots of tequila to consume?

2013, we are out here. Let’s do this.


Writing Prompt: latitude & longitude

Latitude and Longitude prompt

Photo credit: Naidra L Walls

A little while ago, Shawntai gave “latitude and longitude” as the writing prompt for the week.  It is always amazing how she comes up with them, and what we get as a pseudo-finished product. As an example, I posted what I wrote from the prompt. You can do with it whatever you like, it would be great to see what you come up with!

Of course, there is editing to do, and I’m not totally sure about posting my unpublished poems to WordPress (nor does it feel very humble to have mentioned myself by name three times in one post). Do any of you know the legal ramifications/copyright laws, etc. around that?

Potential exposure to plagiarism aside, here’s my start:

In our
shifting half
circle. Vibrating in
anticipation for
intersection – transitioning
from tumbling descension of cold
and ice into grey mites creeping
into us. this latitude pours down like
molasses in the arctic but singes a hellfire
only the equator could create.
In our shifting half
we’re boiling over
we’re dripping down into
it — heavier than the sadness
carried like knapsacks.
In our shifting half, we come

If it was to me — I’d sit down and sink
in pushing deeper into this core.
Matching my insides with creation’s. I
would push through land and clay digging
deeper into it as a first love digs into
your abdomen — clutching intestine with
fingerprints &  grit. This determination
takes me under.                    covering my
mouth & nose. Breathing in is not an

by Naidra L Walls

Do you have any writing prompt suggestions? Leave them in the comments section, or reach out to us!

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