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30 years of Dallying 

Once again, it's time for locals to move their cars off the street, lest they be used as picnic tables, beverage coasters and crash spaces for Dally in the Alley, the North Cass Community Union's annual day of food, music and art.

This Saturday marks the 30th anniversary of the Dally, making it the 26th opportunity for graying hipsters to complain that it's "not as good as it was five years ago."

Traditionally, 30 denotes the transition from post-adolescent narcissism to mortgage-holding, gym membership card-carrying maturity. And in festival years, 30 is downright venerable. But, Dally co-chairman and Woodbridge resident Luke Schram, at 24, six years younger than the fair, says that the Dally hasn't slid into a middle-aged slump.

"The Dally is usually run by people who have been living in the neighborhood and participating for a long time," Schram says. "One of our goals this year was to expose the audience to younger groups, younger artists."

Schram points to some new additions to this year's festival like an art show coordinated by the recently opened Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD). The show features highlights from the Words Fail Me exhibit currently running at the museum by British artists Jeremy Deller and Ryan Gander.

"And you know Funk Night that's been all the rage with the kids lately?" says Schram, speaking of the infamously over-attended last-Friday-of-the-month dance party now held at the Bohemian National Home. It, too, will play a Dally role as Funk Night DJs Frankie Raines and Brad Hales spin '60s and '70s funk, soul and Motown on the Urban Electronic Stage from 1 to 1:45 p.m.

Schram also recommends that Dally attendees check out jazz/burlesque ensemble Torch With a Twist, performing on the Main Stage at 8:30 p.m., and acoustic trio Noman, playing at 9 p.m. on the Garden Stage.

And, he says, make sure not too miss jazz fusion group Kindred Spirit featuring local legend Faruq Z. Bey on the Main Stage at 10 p.m.

The Dally will also have a kids fair, with a poetry workshop from Detroit publisher Broadside Press.

The day's refreshments will be provided by North Cass brewery the Motor City Brewing Works.


The Dally in the Alley runs Saturday, Sept. 8, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Rain date is Sunday, Sept. 9. Visit for map and full schedule.

Charles Maldonado is a freelance writer for Metro Times. Send comments to

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