After years in California painting pools, landscapes, and actual pool bottoms, David Hockey returned to the home of his childhood to paint the English countryside. These are expressive, colorful works informed by his years in California—a fresh perspective, no doubt achieved by his time away.
Sometimes it takes time and distance to see clearly.
Two weeks ago I set out in my VW Rabbit for California to meet Detroiters who are living in LA. This is Detroitisit via LA. There was adventure, excitement, danger—stops to see friends, a scary encounter with a bald man in a Jeep. Perhaps two weeks is not a life time, and I am not a great artist—or an artist at all—but it feels similar. Detroit, I am far away from home, and I miss you. From your poorly designed pedestrian areas to my favorite restaurants, I miss you.
And because I miss you, I am going to take this space to list some of the many things I have taken for granted.
Lady of the House
Chef Kate, congrats on being named one of Food & Wine’s BEST NEW CHEFS FOR 2018. You’re awesome. Your restaurant is bonkers and your goal of providing “an unforgettable dinner party every night”—we are so there. As for the rest of you, I’m sorry if you ever want to party there on a Saturday night again. Unless you really enjoy long waits. Pro tip: Speaking from experience, don’t be that person who blows up the host you met once to put you on the books or “squeeze you in.” Just not a good look.
Most of the cold pressed juice in LA comes in plastic bottles.
The Zimbabwe Cultural Centre of Detroit
Artist Chido Johnson turned a house into a cultural center for his home country of Zimbabwe in a mostly Bengladeshi neighborhood—in absolute Detroit style.
The number of cool happenings that go down in LA strip malls is absurd. I prefer offbeat industrial areas overgrown with trees, Hello, bb. The space is expansive, the lighting is perfect, and the door is completely hidden. Maybe intentional? Owner, Sean Thomas Blott, is bringing in some of the biggest names in contemporary art—mind-blowing.
Fun fact: I’m a founding partner of a food truck turned spaceship disguised as a restaurant that serves some damn fine Khao Soi. To Takoi & BEYOND! Night + Market just isn’t the same (to me).
Baker’s Keyboard Lounge
Try explaining the tiny half booths to someone who’s never been there.
Lupita Wash & Dry
All my LA friends have washers and dryers in their units. Which is fine, if you enjoy doing laundry. To me, there’s something almost sacred about picking up plastic bags of perfectly folded towels and panties that smell like a chemical floral arrangement.
This is maybe the only place where I can eat every. Single. Day. Fresh vegetables and rice is Detroit superfood. Once Chef Mike offered to give me a clipping from his plant. And the ginger tea? This place is practically a wellness center.
I recently met a famous and—fondly-regarded, if not misunderstood at times—Detroit musician living in Nashville who dismissed Larry as “that guy from Detroit everyone interviews.” Which is like my girlfriend dismissing the Office as that show norms watch after work. She was totally binge watching after one episode.
Also, Larry on FB is AMAZING.
I have a friend out here who listens to WDET daily. She’s really into Ed Love—and the news! One of her favorite winter pastimes is laughing when Detroit experiences bad weather.
Most people I know in Detroit have created their own jobs. From loft restaurants to popup shops, Detroiters have a talent for making something out of very little. Example: Mr Pops Detail Shop which doubles as a sanctuary for exotic bird. I promise, you haven’t experienced Detroit until you’ve met the talking parrot.
Photo by Michelle Gerard and Jenna Belevender.