A pretty good weekend ripened into a perfect Easter — bell-clear, warm, perfect. The Facebook pictures on my feed are a glory of sunshine and pastels, little girls in pretty dresses and boys in bow ties, egg hunts and big family feeds
Me, I wore black. Still not ready to transition to my springtime color palette of white, beige and gray.
But a good weekend. It included “The Ten Commandments” (not the whole thing, of course, because there were commercials roughly ever 45 seconds), a David Bowie tribute concert, Easter, spaghetti and a few other wonderful things. Now a thunderstorm is drawing the curtain down on the whole thing. Not bad.
Here’s an OID story for you: A mediocre avant-garde artist partially disassembles a Detroit house and ships it to Rotterdam for an exhibition, promising he’d clean the whole thing up within six months.
Yeah, that was a year ago.
The story of 20194 Stoepel has become a tangled web of lofty artistic intentions, unintended consequences and broken promises, leaving neighbors living next to blight they say is worse than when the house was simply abandoned.
“I feel disrespected to the max, like we are nothing,” said Beverly Woung, who lives next door to the crumbling remains.
Which is bad enough, but when you read the guy’s self-justification, it’s enough to turn you into a Republican.
When I started on this project, my thoughts were clear. I wanted to bring a house back to Europe from America. When I arrived in Detroit in March 2015 I realised that this city – in the country I had left in 1992 out of distaste for its nationalistic, isolationist, police-dog mentality and its privatised prison system, along with its thick dictionary of rules and tax codes and its ingratiating political correctness – had, aside from the positive developments that were mostly in the downtown area, begun to look like a war zone.
This guy is such a douche it takes your breath away. And now the city is going to have to clean up his mess.
What happens when you make a great research university an arm of the state chamber of commerce. In Wisconsin, specifically.
But the big news of the weekend is the death of Jim Harrison, a great poet, novelist, gourmand, and Charlotte’s neighbor. It was only a matter of time — he was old and looked terrible — but it’s still a shock. I won’t sugarcoat his last few books, which were not his best and sometimes embarrassing to read, but when he was good, he was as good as anyone. And he wrote a lot when he was good. Almost everyone slips a little in old age. And even when he wasn’t great, he was better than almost everyone.
A big loss. Now I have to download his last book.