Palladium is a French boot manufacturing company. Johnny Knoxville is best known for his MTV series “Jackass” and its subsequent movie iterations.
Put this unlikely pair together and you get a remarkable 3-part documentary on the current state of Detroit. From the Palladium website:
Once the fourth-largest metropolis in America—some have called it the Death of the American Dream. Today, the young people of the Motor City are making it their own DIY paradise where rules are second to passion and creativity. They are creating the new Detroit on their own terms, against real adversity. We put our boots on and went exploring.
Part 1 of Detroit Lives is embedded here above. You can find Parts 2 and 3 on the project’s website.
The documentary is unexpected in a few ways. Johnny Knoxville doing something serious? Detroit isn’t a complete disaster? A city actually going with lack of regulation and/or structure to help with rebirth?
One of the most grabbing things for me was at 3:00 in Part 1 (above). Ko Melina is a Detroit musician who describes an instance of “pick-and-choose journalism” about Cass Tech high school. The news story talked about the old dilapidated abandoned school campus without mentioning the brand new campus right across the street. The video is striking.
It is good to see evidence of the city’s rebirth, even in the face of an American public and a press that only want to tell one story.
UDPATE: Another noteworthy Detroit video would be the Superbowl commercial for the Chrysler 200. (Watch here.) After the game, Fast Company did a piece talking about the impact the ad had on the city:
But a Super Bowl ad from the company that is now 25%-owned by foreigners has the whole city buzzing today. Chrysler, which is run by Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne, delivered a rousing two-minute spot last night that summed up the hopes of everyone who believes the city can come back strong. The ad made the front page of today’s Detroit Free Press, with the headline “Motor City Pride.”