I’m here in Detroit to participate in a film directed by Paolo Sorrentino (Il Divo). The other day we performed the song “This Must Be The Place” with band and string section while the camera made a complicated move and a living room set rose up and traveled over our heads. A stunt woman sat strapped in a chair reading a magazine as if nothing odd were happening. This was shot in the Majestic Theater, where I played in the mid-aughts, and it was packed with extras that were instructed to groove and applaud wildly after we finished the song. We were so pleasantly shocked that we all broke into big smiles as if their response were genuine. We’re so easily fooled.
Anyway, this gives me a week in Detroit, with some free time to look around. A lot has been and continues to be written about Detroit, a handy living symbol of America’s industrial decline and of the human and urban effects of the recent crash. It’s also a symbol of various attempts to revitalize a town on the ropes, including building urban farms; renovating communities; starting arts programs, and creating incentives to bring some much-needed life back….
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