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The Nolan Factor - April 29th 2009

JeffNolan - one of MCB's longtime contributors will be dropping a few posts from time to time about music / art / state of the economy / women / food / car repair / laundry tips

"The Nolan Factor"

I spent this last week painting a pair of mannequin legs for a Harley Davidson dealership and working day and night on a small pile of logo designs and as a result of this excessive freelancing
I didn't do shit this week.
I basically did nothing fun outside of drink gallons of coffee
in my tiny house in Royal Oak.
You may notice that my usual Tuesday column is appearing on a day that is not Tuesday, this is a side-effect of me not having any fun for a week, as my column is typically about me having fun.
So this week instead of hot chicks puking in the streets, rock & rolling around Detroit, and general debauchery I am writing about the old Michigan Central Station, graffiti writers, and Nikki DeSautelle in addition to a grab bag of CD reviews.

I am not yet sure how I feel about the supposed impending doom of the iconic train station. Although it is a total cliché of Detroit, it is not without a certain charm. I first visited with a few graffiti writing friends (efes who wrote camp20 at the time and Slut) who showed me how to get in with out having to climb any fences. It basically involved crawling through a hole in the basement and navigating around gaping holes in near total darkness to a stairway that led to the main lobby.

Inside the train station I have met several photographers, none of whom ever seem to leave the main lobby, a few homeless, and a few writers, most notably Porab.
Porab is a small-statured twenty something of an indeterminate ethnicity. When asked about his name he clarified his heritage, Po for Polish, Rab for Arab.

Less known than the old Michigan Central but more impressive are the train tracks that run through eastern market. You merely have to climb under a bridge or hop a fence in most cases to get down and you are surrounded by towering grafs, homeless digs, and miles and miles of endless tags with no authority figures to be seen- even in the middle of the day, just watch out for the occasional construction crew or train, not that I would ever advocate anyone break the law...

If you already make a past time of vandalizing public buildings and trespassing on private property, why not steal shit too? This is the rationale of nah brah aka dracula who explained to me how he and several other detroit taggers obtain their paint. This is done by walking into Home Depot with a shopping cart, scoping out heavy things that are right in the entrance (bags of salt, dirt, paving stones, cumbersome gardening tools) and then immediately walking to the spray paint isle and filling the cart to the brim.
Then they walk straight out the door with it. In the event that a vigilant employee spot them they claim that they were just taking the cart to the front to put in previously spied heavy object:
“Oh no sir- Of course I wasn't about to leave without paying!
I was just taking this cart full of paint to the front to safely pick up this bag of dirt.”

APRIL 27 2009
Nikki's DeSautelle Solo show

Nikki DeSautelle is a Detroit based illustrator just finishing her final year at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. Her solo show held in the U-245 gallery was a tribute to all things small: 42 tiny paintings lined the walls of the one room gallery, a very small book (no larger than a business card) adorned a corner pedestal, and miniature tacos served with mini cupcakes (“minifood” according to her facebook page). Her naïve line work and non-committal washes capture the minute details of her subjects. A particularly striking piece was of a pair of high contrast Michael Jackson-esque dance shoes on their points in a setting that hinted at a lighted stage without putting it directly. Her tiny compositions imply a sense of space beyond the miniature confines of her work by means of her careful cropping and attention to the details that most of the world simply overlook. Her illustrative style of painting is based in drawing and consists primarily of line drawings that define the forms and are essentially painted in.

A book of her work as well as some of her classmates'
is available as a FREE download
or about $28 if you would like a physical copy at

After a few weeks of reviewing albums in my column I have decided on a slight amendment which will hopefully add clarity to my overall liking (or disliking) of a CD: a 1 to 5 star rating which will accompany each review. It will break down like this:

* = unlistenable
** = not so good, kind of bad
*** = tolerably alright
**** = pretty damn good
***** = phenomenally awesome

Dan Deacon

Dan Deacon is a deviously trendy electro-dance composer who has been crisscrossing the world playing at every place that asks him to. He has been on some of the largest stages in the world (an the smallest) and has become a leader of the current generation of electronic musicians for his incredibly inventive and intelligent use of samples and noise, subtlety, and above all his wild live performances.
Previous shows in Detroit were hosted by the rambunctious Scrummage kids, in which he placed his folding table of homebrew electronic gizmos and flashing lights in the crowd and fought off the crushing circle of hipsters with his elbows. His newest release is if anything more mature and carefully crafted than previous installments, all available for free from .
It is a departure from his previous work in that he is now supported by a full band consisting of 8 percussionists, 5 synthesizers, and 2 guitarists instead of playing along to an ipod.

Pete Doherty
Grace / Wastelands

Until I had listened to this album Pete Doherty was just that guy who was dating Kate Moss and taking drugs. Evidently he also makes music. His solo album is something like a youthful Bob Dylan knockoff. It features stripped down compositions primarily featuring just he and a guitar. It is dreary and melodramatic with a british accent.
It sounds at times like another mopey English export, the Verve. Winding from spacey tunes to neo-psychedelic folk the album is slow paced and reflective. It maintains a consistent pensive mood with subject matter that varies from Pete Doherty's heroin use, rainstorms, and lost love.
Good music to take a nap to.

"The Nolan Factor IS DETROIT"
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