eat your art work

photo: Lowell Boileau
One of the things I enjoy about the Russell Street Deli is the big long tables. You effectively can eat alone elbow to elbow with strangers. It's a nice strategy for a convivial place. The connections between art and food and culture for me are myriad, but this is of particular interest in thinking about how each fosters some sort of connection.

As I was elbow to elbow with strangers I thought of the adage I've heard "Dinner Time is the most segregated hour in America." Russell Street Deli enables what could be an even more robust creative energy by their seating. I think of the many places I love to eat in Detroit, and those that stand out are the ones that are not all black, all white, all Latino. There could be more. Take that as a creative challenge--I am going to. Let's foment some social revolution that reverses the dinner time adage. We all have to eat anyway, so why not eat together.

In the New York Times magazine a week back, there was a profile of Basil a small restaurant in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, whose social mission is to foster a complex culture around eating. Not just the neo-Brooklynites and their hand made sausages, the locavores and their organics, (and in this instance, not the notoriously insular Lubavitcher community.) I loved the sound of the place, and the motivations of the owner, who had moved to Brooklyn from Jerusalem and was looking to recreate some of the cheek-by-jowl complexity of that city.

Let's try it in Detroit.

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