Detroit Lives

The Motor City has been declared dead more times than Rasputin. But over the last few years, while The News Media (and Dutch tourists) were hemming and hawing over a few neglected streets that had started to look more like meadows, a bunch of creative badasses were quietly buying abandoned 9-story buildings, filling them with everyone they knew, and making Detroit actually pretty fucking incredible. Our old buddy Johnny Knoxville paid a visit to the D to explore for himself.


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  1. This doc brought back many good memories for me. Yes the buildings are in a sad state of repair. At one time the city was vibrant with life! I would love to see it do-over. My grandfather owned a little bar in downtown Detroit. Near the old Tiger Stadium. Used to go to the games on sundays and eat the best bar burgers ever. EVERYONE in my family worked in the auto industry. As a girl my dad took me to see the “works” of the Rouge stamping plant. Amazing. I moved out as a young adult in the 80s because there were simply no jobs. Went into the military so I could go to school. It was a great experience in and of itself. When I came back after 20 years Detroit and its near suburbs were nothing like I remembered. So much potential. As a business person I realize that rehabbing a building is more $$$ than a demolition and build but just imagine the possibilities. Am proud of where I came from. Love Michigan!!!

  2. Just replace the Democrats with another party adn Detroit will bloom.

  3. The property taxes are beyond ridiculous in Detroit. Much of the cost of an abandoned property is the years of accumulated property tax. A house sold for 1.36 on Ebay but came with 8000 in tax bills. It wasn’t worth 1000 even for the land.

  4. Phil & people like him are part of the problem in Detroit & created even more because of this film. Classism reigns & locals replaced w/hipster wanna-bees. All it takes is rich parents & your dreams can come true in Detroit!

  5. Insane how this video pretty much only shows white people in a city that’s 80% black. Way to push the envelope, Knoxville.

  6. I wish I kept track of how often they used the word GREAT.

  7. Great that outside money is coming in, but it needs to involve folks in the neighborhoods, grass roots folks who have been down for decades. Just because they are poor doesn’t mean they aren’t people too. Generation upon generation have been waiting for change.

  8. Nice short film. This is not ‘pick and choose journalism’ if you realize that only the trouble spots were in focus here. It’s amazing that the owners of these abandoned buildings don’t demand some overhead from the squatters. There is lots of opportunity in Detroit, if you’re creative. I’d love to visit.

  9. I moved to Detroit in July of 2012. I would say that all the good stuff depicted in the flick is really better (and they left out a lot of good things — like beautiful well kept neighborhoods) and the bad stuff has gotten better. No better place to move to if you are an entrepreneur.

  10. as someone who grew up in detroit, this movie has made me so crazily stoked about it. thanks for doing it! can’t wait to see what is next for the D!

  11. This was freaking incredible. As someone who was raised in The D I so appreciate the efforts of Johnny Knoxville, the owner of Slo’s

  12. 11.25 detroit was built by cars? lol

  13. I can’t understand stand why there has not been a larger growth in urban gardening. A little substaibable living, better health, & more community..Usually there is a community in collected areas. I guess lives can get off-track through, hard times. Everybody needs a little love, called humanity.

  14. Looks like a great place for all types of artist.It is extremely hard to find places were you can take your time to make something unique.

  15. Well good documentary, although I was a bit dissapointed with Knoxville in some parts……. ”Elton John is from Detroit?”… I mean, realy?? Looks like such a vibrant city, with diverse culture and people. Would love to be a part of it!

  16. most inspiring documentary ive seen in a while, detroit seems like a wonderful truly inspiring place. raw, young, energetic, lawless.. no one is giving it much attention, its off the radar, big corporations dont want anything from it and because of this it is a truly free place and its lovely to see that good people seem to be taking advantage of this. reminds me of berlin a bit, bit bigger, more industrial.

  17. Some of you people need to get over yourself. Some of you are labeling a group of people…no…hipsters are NOT trying to be the face of Detroit. They don’t think they are better than the rest of the world, either. Geez…people shooting down others that are tying to make a change. What are YOU doing for the city? And I live in Detroit…for the past 10 years…and you know what, these 20-30 something white kids you label as Hipsters…at least they are doing something to make a positive change to the city. Give me a break….

  18. white people with no education ruined detroit!!! haha typical stupid nigger couldnt be more wrong

  19. F*ck yeah. this rocks and this is how we do!!!!

  20. red neck crackers with no education ruined detroit. 

  21. screw that…how about knocking some of the old buildings down and planting a few trees and some grass seed?  don’t preserve what clearly isn’t working

  22. Hipsters that think they are better than the rest of the world. Who are they to tell everyone what Detroit needs? Like that one broad that says the city needs more artists instead of sports team etc. NO, sorry hun, there needs to be more things for the children growing up on these streets, staring at your paintings on the wall does nothing but glorify yourself. Unlike these narcissistic hipsters, I am from Detroit. I applaud their efforts, but am offended that they try to be the faces of the city. 

    • I agree with Tina4mayor, I’m not from Detroit, but I have seen this same scenario played out in Brooklyn for over a period of forty years…first, local,state and federal government allows a community to go down via no employment, drug infection, poor schools, poor police presence, rundown housing and no recreational facilities…second the few White who remain in the community, if any will move out and the Black who can will also. Now the community is left with only the very disenfranchised. Then gentrification began to roar…young Whites, mostly artist, comes into the hood, where their parents would have never have thought of even getting close to within a 2 miles radius. So these young hipsters with the use of their parents monies for the most part, will start doing their entrepreneurship thing. Third…they will start businesses which mainly serve their interest and slowly but surly people of color who are still there will be price out , because housing will go up, once big corporation notice that these hipsters have something that they can make money from, the million dollar condos will go up and the disenfranchised will stay the same…This is a vicious cycle, which our government doesn’t want to change.

  23. Does anyone know the name of the song that starts at 3:21? Went through the song credits but can’t seem to find it

  24. Its really over the top IMO, a good bit of propaganda. 

    Yes most of the stuff is pretty cool but it is bias to the extreme. They said “ohh, what a great city” like 2 times every minute. I dont think it has anything to do with the city itself but just shows a bunch of hipsters that think they are better than the rest of the world.

  25. what’s up with all the censorship?

  26. WOW, What a great doc. SO INSPIRING. I want to m move to detraoiut now :)d

  27. full on,soo inspirational I wrote a song about it!

  28. Detroit will never be back to its old self,  WAYYY to many niggers

  29. Wow! this is fantastic news. 

  30. To claim John Lee Hooker is from Detroit is pretty weak. Ruined the movie for me.

  31. What a brilliant film!  So glad you posted this today on FB!!