New blues 

Next time you drive through Detroit, particularly the streets adjoining downtown or the cultural center, take a good look around. The people about to be moved out or otherwise inconvenienced by “urban renewal” (a term often disguising corporate real-estate takeovers and land-grab deals in the spirit of the recent mess at the Michigan State Fairgrounds) live in neighborhoods just like you and I. The uprooting of such home sites has been going on since the ’50s (remember Hastings Street?), but Detroit is just one of the places on the map of displacements. Airing next Wednesday, June 13, at 9 p.m. on WTVS, Channel 56, is a 90-minute documentary titled The Fillmore (the fourth episode in PBS’s Peabody Award-winning series, Neighborhoods: The Hidden Cities of San Francisco). It chronicles the struggles, tragedies and courage of the people of the Fillmore district, from Japanese-Americans to African-Americans, in the face of federally mandated devastation of their homes and other living, thriving spaces, all in the name of “safety,” “upgrading” and “investment.” Sound familiar?

The Hot & the Bothered is edited by MT arts editor George Tysh. E-mail him at

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