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Detroit Pop Culture

Music. Where would you ever start? From Aretha Franklin (who still has a house up by the Detroit Golf Club) to Martha and the Vandellas (Martha Reeves served a blessedly-short, tragicomic stint on the city council this past decade) to Eminem (lives in Rochester Hills) to the White Stripes (they’ve pushed off to Nashville now, sadly) and so many more, Detroit music has been, is and will likely continue to be everywhere you turn. To delve into the techno scene, check out music by Derrick May, one of the Belleville Three—the group of suburban kids cited as the founders of the movement. Much has been written about the rise and fall of Detroit, but perhaps no recent book quite as accurately portrays life in the city as Jeffrey Eugenides’ Pulitzer Prize-winning "Middlesex," a story about immigration, sexual identity and growing up—and living—in a city falling apart. Detroit’s film business is booming, thanks to tax breaks provided by the state. Recent movies filmed here include Clint Eastwood’s "Gran Torino" (filmed largely in the decaying inner suburb of Highland Park) and Michael Bay’s "Transformers," which pressed the abandoned train station into service for the film’s final scenes. And while they may not necessarily be found playing in films set in Detroit, it’s impossible to conceive of a Hollywood without Detroit, which gave the world such tough cookies as Lily Tomlin, Gilda Radner, Ellen Burstyn and Elaine Stritch. Roll those all into one and you have a pretty good idea of the attitude of the people who still live around here—in a word, no B.S.