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The Daily Detroit Happy Hour

The Daily Detroit Happy Hour is Detroit’s dinner party conversation, with multiple segments with local tastemakers, artists and entrepreneurs. They don’t call it the Paris of the Midwest for nothing! Host Sven Gustafson is a former journalist and bartender, and a fan of tasty food and drink — and Swedish pancakes. He hosts a smart and engaging conversation about Detroit’s fast-changing restaurant, arts and entertainment scene each week with a variety of fascinating guests and quick-hit segments. Join us as we explore the city through a fun and insightful lens.
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Now displaying: March, 2018
Mar 30, 2018

Detroit has gone Tinseltown … sort of. “The Leisure Seeker,” the new movie starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland that opened in theaters earlier this month, is based on the 2009 novel of the same name by Michael Zadoorian, who lives in Ferndale.

Zadoorian stopped by the Daily Detroit Happy Hour podcast to talk about the film, how it differs from his novel, and his forthcoming book “Beautiful Music,” due May 1.

“The Leisure Seeker” focuses on two long-married retirees named Ella and John Spencer who climb aboard their old Winnebago camper and travel across the country from their home in suburban Detroit to Disneyland in California. Their bodies are failing them — Ella suffers from an unspecified cancer, while John has dementia — and their adult children are in a panic about their ill-advised stunt, yet the book is a mostly uplifting look at life, love and letting go.

The film, directed by Italian filmmaker Paolo Virzi as his first English-language feature, takes a number of liberties with Zadoorian’s tale, and it has generated some rather lukewarm reviews, despite accolades for the performances of Mirren and Sutherland.

In this episode, Zadoorian talks candidly about it all, including how he reacted when he first read the screenplay (he didn’t write any of it), how he got to meet Mirren at a film premier, and the role Detroit plays in his writing muse. And he gives us a preview of “Beautiful Music,” his third novel which is set in the early ‘70s in Detroit.

“She was so gracious, she was super nice,” he says of his initial meeting of Mirren. “The director introduced us. And she said, ‘Do you have any thoughts for the character, or anything like that?’ I knew they were sort of hesitant to even have me there on the set, just because they all had a script, and they were sticking with the script. And I said, ‘You know, I bet there’s not anyone in this room who wants to hear what I have to say.’ And the conversation ended shortly after that.”

The film is currently showing at the Maple Art Theater in Bloomfield Hills.

Mar 23, 2018

Michigan's schools are in trouble. Although many parents believe their school and their teacher is fine, compared to the rest of the nation the state ranks very poorly.

It wasn't always this way. Over the years, other states like Tennessee and Florida have surpassed Michigan. Fighting between factions has locked progress in Michigan's schools in place.

The status quo - for instance, Michigan is one of only five states in which reading skills declined between 2003 and 2015 - isn't going to cut it when it comes to attracting businesses and outside talent.

But there are possibilities. Our guest on this episode is Ron French, Senior Reporter at Bridge Magazine. He recently penned a piece where he went through 12 different reports and shared a bunch of things he learned from them that he shared on their website here. There are common threads.

As so often, Michigan's problems aren't unique. We just need to take action on it. 

He joins Sven Gustafson to talk about the state of education. It's a very informative conversation that should sober you, but leave you with a sense that something can be done.. if we're willing to find common ground. 

Mar 23, 2018

Michigan's schools are in trouble. Although many parents believe their school and their teacher is fine, compared to the rest of the nation the state ranks very poorly.

It wasn't always this way. Over the years, other states like Tennessee and Florida have surpassed Michigan. Fighting between factions has locked progress in Michigan's schools in place.

The status quo - for instance, Michigan is one of only five states in which reading skills declined between 2003 and 2015 - isn't going to cut it when it comes to attracting businesses and outside talent.

But there are possibilities. Our guest on this episode is Ron French, Senior Reporter at Bridge Magazine. He recently penned a piece where he went through 12 different reports and shared a bunch of things he learned from them that he shared on their website here. There are common threads.

As so often, Michigan's problems aren't unique. We just need to take action on it. 

He joins Sven Gustafson to talk about the state of education. It's a very informative conversation that should sober you, but leave you with a sense that something can be done.. if we're willing to find common ground. 

Mar 17, 2018

On this week's Daily Detroit Happy Hour, we talk mass transit. A new plan has been put forth by Wayne County Executive Warren Evans (more here)... but does it even have a chance? Does any plan have a chance?

The Daily Detroit team walked through some of the speech Evans gave to a Regional Transit Authority Board meeting, what the plan is and what it could mean.. and openly wondered if there is any plan that would actually be acceptable to suburban leaders as the target keeps moving.

One of the conversation threads was the "alternative fact" that transit wasn't a reason Detroit made the cut for Amazon, even though we have plenty of evidence that it was, especially in light of a previous show where we went to Indianapolis and were told clearly that without a viable mass transit plan Indianapolis wouldn't have made the list. 

We also talked about the lack of vision when it comes to leaders in Macomb and Oakland County as they basically have their positions for life and don't have to fight off challengers, and the reality that although it may have been politically necessary and it looked good on County Executive Evans for putting the plan forward, it's probably not going anywhere. 

As always, be sure to subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts or wherever fine shows are found: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-daily-detroit-happy-hour/id1168444594?mt=2

 

Mar 9, 2018

Hour Detroit magazine named Parc its 2018 restaurant of the year in its March edition — yes, Daily Detroit readers, there’s still a place for print media — and so this week’s episode takes you down to Campus Martius for a conversation about the restaurant, the award, food and the city’s fast-changing dining scene.

We chat with Parc’s executive chef, Jordan Hoffman, and Hour Detroit Editor Steve Wilke in a wide-ranging conversation that touches on everything from the restaurant’s gorgeous urban setting to the lamb rigatoni topped with feta cheese, an homage to the influence of Greektown.

Hoffman is a native of Adrian who has cooked in kitchens in Paris, Miami and Las Vegas before returning to Detroit to open Parc. He describes his cooking as Midwestern, blended with his French and Italian training.

“It’s meat-centric,” he says. “It’s braises, it’s great vegetables in summers, it’s challenging yourself with root vegetables in the winter…

“I grew up with long braises on Sundays, roasting the chicken, grilling, the wood fire grill is a big part of what we do here and the fact that we’re doing it over really fantastic local hardwood, it’s fun and it’s intriguing. I get to use great product that is from Michigan, that all I have to do is just really give it an opportunity to shine, throw It on a wood fire grill, hit it with the right aromatics and then do some small accompaniments to really challenge that dish and we’re ready to go.”

Wilke discusses Hour’s approach to covering food in Detroit, the shifting dining-scene dynamics between the city and suburbs, and some of his favorite Parc dishes.

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Our thanks as always to our friends at Podcast Detroit for the support.

Mar 2, 2018

So this is a veritable charcuterie of topics and guests from the floor of the 2018 Detroit Policy Conference.

Sven Gustafson and the Daily Detroit team spent the day at the Motor City Casino getting interviews and talking to interesting people, and here are three of the interviews.

  • Candice Simons, Brooklyn Outdoor and J'Adore Detroit, who talked about the big ad controversy where billboards have been banned downtown - and what might be happening to change that
  • Christopher Collins of the Detroit JazzFest joined us along with Anne Parson, President and CEO of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to talk about the role of art in Detroit's revitalization.
  • Justin Robinson, Vice President, Business Attraction, Detroit Regional Chamber and John Paul Rea, Director of Planning and Economic Development for Macomb County, on what the region is doing to keep talent here and much more.

Thanks to Podcast Detroit and Dave Phillips for providing remote engineering for this episode.

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