This past week featured a whirlwind of awesome experiences in Ann Arbor and Detroit: from being a part of a historic evening with legendary Red Wings players to enjoying my first beer outdoors in 2014 (oh, Michigan, what a winter it has been!) to making a new friend saved from a foreclosed home, I recap an eventful week in Southeast Michigan.
“The Perfect Human” Retires No. 5 Red Wings Jersey Forever
Thursday, March 6th: I entered Joe Louis Arena, with a different perception of hockey than in past games and seasons. This night was a special one to be appreciated, not just for the championship banners and retired jersey numbers hanging in the rafters, or the physical building itself with its days limited and shadowed by a new Illitch coliseum on the horizon (I reminisce about the last few games I attended at Tigers Stadium), but of a historic moment where several of the greatest hockey players would reunite to honor the best defenseman to ever don a winged wheel in uniform: Niklas Lidstrom’s (nicknamed the “Perfect Human” by hockey fans everywhere) number five jersey would be retired forever with the greats alongside Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and Steve Yzerman. The ceremony commenced with the assembly of current and former players, coaches and staff onto the red carpet on the ice, including several teammates from past Stanley Cup championship seasons: Kris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom, Vladimir Konstantinov and Brendan Shanahan. Each were announced with a heartfelt roar from a crowd of die-hard Detroit sports fans unmatched in any other sports town. The hour-long tribute featured video highlights from Lidstrom’s career and speeches from players. Along with the sold out Joe, Lidstrom’s wife, Annika, their four children and thirty relatives who traveled from Sweden were in attendance.
Nerd Nite Celebrates One Year in The 313!
Thursday, March 13th: Nerd Nite Detroit celebrated their first birthday by throwing a carnival event at the Tangent Gallery/Hastings Street Ballroom. Originally founded in New York, Nerd Nite became rooted in Detroit when co-founders, or local bosses as they refer to themselves, Amber Conville, Liz Lamoste, Nathan Hughes and Josh Diskin organized in the Motor City. Nerd Nite now meets in 50 cities across the globe and features monthly themed presentations on various topics in academia, art, history, science, technology, and more with the accompaniment of alcoholic beverages and food offerings from Sidecar Detroit. In lieu of presentations this month, Nerd Nite Detroit hosted a carnival themed event with hands-on activities, including creating tile art from dyes, screen printing and glowing chemistry under ultraviolet light, watching live performers dance with fire (and Irish dancing) and making friends with a boa constrictor saved from a foreclosed home in Detroit.
Awesome Mitten bloggers Joanna Dueweke, Jonathon Arnston and Alfred Lim spend quality time with a Burmese boa constrictor saved from a foreclosed home in Detroit. Photo Courtesy of Alfred Lim.
Button featuring Nerd Nite 313 Logo. Photo Courtesy of Alfred Lim.
Ann Arbor Urban Beer Garden Opens for 2014 Season
Friday, March 14th: With the sun setting on a 50+ degree day in Ann Arbor, the parking lot of Downtown Home & Garden transformed into picnic tables, garden furniture, fire pits and a fully stocked (and staffed) bar kicking off the opening night of a new year as Bill’s Beer Garden. In light of the St. Patrick’s Day opening weekend, I enjoyed an Arcadia Brigid’s Irish Red, a 5.4 percent ABV red amber ale with medium body, hoppy bite and sweet malty aroma with my feet warmed up to a fire pit and campfire smoke evoking summer memories. Bill’s features unique brews from across the Awesome Mitten, including the Distorter Porter from Greenbush Brewing (Sawyer, MI), Final Absolution Belgian from Dragonmead Brewery (Warren, MI), and Bourbon Peach Kombucha by Unity Vibration (Ypsilanti, MI) for a taste of fermented Chinese tea remedy goodness.
The weather finally breaks for an outdoor beer by the fire in Ann Arbor’s urban garden. Photo Courtesy of Alfred Lim.