Motor City Rides 

If you don’t know this guy Anthony Garth, chances are you’ve seen his work. The chrome-domed director was a bartending fixture at the Magic Stick from 2000 to 2006, and he still does the occasional shift there. He’s also directed many winning music vids for a checklist of Detroit stars — the White Stripes, Eminem, Obie Trice, Proof, Bizarre, the Sights, the Electric Six, the Detroit Cobras and the Von Bondies among them.

After studying photography and film production at Oakland University, Garth split for Los Angeles in 1996 for film work and returned a couple years later because he completely understands Detroit’s haunted aesthetic beauty. By 2001, he’d earned a few huge, door-opening gigs; he shot the White Stripes’ eerie “Hotel Yorba” vid and co-produced Eminem’s 2002 tour documentary Eminem: All Access Europe.

Such beginnings made Garth an in-demand director; he has since shot more than 40 music clips and has helmed some major ad campaigns, including the Chevy HHR and an upcoming Pure Michigan tourism campaign.

Between shoots, Garth scans locations in his grandfather William’s 1980 Cadillac Fleetwood. Now, this Fleetwood is a fetching beast, to be sure, one that slurps up fuel at a whopping 11 miles to the gallon, but it’s a Caddy that makes an impression. Garth motors around Detroit like an alcoholic surgeon who owns this town, baby. The filmmaker, you’ll note, knows a thing or two about choosing locations. Hence Dearborn’s Ford-Wyoming Drive-In here, where, as a tyke, Garth’s family would pull out the lawn chairs for classics like E.T. “An ’80s Cadillac, a hat from Henry the Hatter and the Ford-Wyoming Drive In-Theater,” Garth cracks, “what else does one need in Detroit?”

More by Doug Coombe

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