Forget the mural of musicians blowing a colorful breeze and take a peek at what’s stenciled in white paint on the door of the Lafayette Building on Michigan Ave., downtown: one bad-ass mamma jamma in pearls and an Afro with “sho’ ‘nuff gettin’ attention,” as the song goes. She pours Coke from the bottle into the mouths of her fans, her babes, a greedy group of ghouls. Stardom is a love/hate thing.
Pronto! Quickly! What the hell is this all about? On the corner of Fort Street and Rosa Parks, on the side of a closed-down Ham King of all places, are what look to be airline safety instructions. But you could also contextualize it as a great piece of sequential art. Mom looks serene, although a digital countdown and the aforementioned imperatives are ominous indications of peril. And as MT design director Sean Bieri notes: “‘Secure your own mask before assisting others’ is one of the wisest pieces of advice I’ve ever heard.”
Yes, it’s most likely the work of some hip Woodbridge kids who actually grew up with an Eames lounge chair in their living room, but I like this sign of life on the old Music and Performing Arts High School on Rosa Parks Boulevard, just north of Grand River. The brick building is still home to a couple of notable artists.
“Delray Crib in the Hood” is a janky yet intimidating private residence on Dearborn Avenue, located near the remote biker club of the Iron Coffins. On the way there, I struck gold at a yard sale with dozens of piggy (and poodle, elephant, ram, pony, etc.) banks from the 1960s, painted in a psychedelic array of pink, teal, puke yellow and orange. But back to the crib: Get in, get out. Mind the signs and flags.