Boy, do I owe you guys a blog. I just put the last huge work obligation of summer in my rear-view mirror, and am looking forward to a very relaxed September. It is…my summer. I don’t care if it’s not as warm as August. It will be perfectly pleasant and it will belong to me.
My huge work obligation? I was working, through a contractor, on the social-media team for the Detroit Jazz Festival this past weekend. What that meant was up early and grind, grind, grind out content for all the channels, trying to cover three stages with 60 performers, drop the sponsors’ names, tag the performers so they share, etc. As someone who spent her career basically answering one question – What can I write that people might want to read? – it’s a little dizzying to consider the dozens that come with this hybrid of journalism, marketing and diplomacy. So I didn’t consider it (too much) and just tried to enjoy the music, which was pretty great. The artist in residence this year was a jazz drummer and hip-hop producer, and his three day-closing sets got progressively more hip-hop as the festival went on. I absolutely respect his vision that jazz and hip-hop have more in common than not, but I was also amused that at his closing-night show, he put a rapper on stage who introduced her new single, “Drunk AF.” I’m sure Billie Holiday was laughing somewhere on the astral plane.
The gig came with perks, including four nights’ lodging at the hotel in the RenCen, the hulking skyscraper complex at the foot of Woodward Avenue (and next door to the festival venue). It’s been a local joke since the day it opened that it’s almost impossible not to get lost there, and it took me about 24 hours to get my bearings. Just to give you an idea: The hotel’s “motor lobby” was on the first floor. The actual lobby was on the third. You took different elevators depending on whether your room was on the east or west side of the tower. Also, there are floors below the first which are not basement levels. But I figured it out well enough to guide an elderly couple to the Panera, so: Win.
You step out the back door and hello, what’s that:
Yes, cruise ships – one cruise ship, anyway – have discovered the Great Lakes. It’s so weird to see the Octantis go by on its voyages up and down the lakes. The ports of call leave something to be desired; I mean, there’s a few cities with halfway-decent downtowns, Mackinac Island and…I’m stumped. But, and this is something else I learned this weekend, via the TV in my room, tuned to CNN: Viking’s market niche is well-to-do seniors who don’t want to see children running around, nor onboard casinos. So the Great Lakes cruises, which are very expensive, concentrate on education and relaxation. I hope the guests enjoyed the jazz festival.
Here’s something else I saw wandering the de facto GM showroom on Level A (the RenCen being GM’s corporate headquarters):
That’s a pickup truck, and I was standing directly in front of it. The hood was about at my nose level, and I am not a short person. It boggles the mind that people who don’t need to haul around landscaping supplies or anything heavier than a laptop want vehicles like this, and yet: They do. Trucks and SUVs are the profit engine of the American auto industry. I mean, imagine parallel parking that thing. (Shudder.) And I’m an excellent parallel parker.
I have some more thoughts, including about Jimmy Buffett, but I’ll save them for another day. For now, it’s time to enjoy summer. Also, do some laundry.