Contributors: July 2011
Nancy Nall Derringer, Jim McFarlin, Richard Bak, Joe Vaughn
Nancy Nall Derringer
Derringer used to confine her bike riding to designated paths only. But after a head-on crash with another cyclist knocked out a lateral incisor, she figured she might as well take her chances on the road. Riding in Detroit is a mixed blessing, with the city’s spectacular scenery compromised by bad pavement and, of course, motorists. The monthly Critical Mass ride tries to raise drivers’ awareness by being an aggravation to them as much as they can be to cyclists. Whether it works is an open question. For now, Derringer is concentrating on a push to get bike routes designated and posted in the Grosse Pointes, where she lives.
McFarlin, who penned the Detroiter of the Year feature, has become Hour Detroit’s unofficial Detroiter biographer, having written previous salutes to Kid Rock in 2009 and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing in 2007. “I’m thrilled and honored” by the assignments, he says, even though life and circumstances have taken his home base from Detroit to central Illinois. “I spent 30 years of my life in Detroit, a lot of it in downtown, and the city will always be home to me,” McFarlin says. “I get back to town at least once a month; I’m still an active member of the National Association of Black Journalists Detroit chapter. I think I appreciate the exciting changes and improvements to downtown even more now that I’m not there every day.”
“Whenever people talk about some of the great musicians who have come out of our state — and Michigan has arguably produced more than any other — Del Shannon often seems to get left out of the conversation,” says Bak, a Dearborn-based writer whose profile of Shannon can be read here. “Part of the reason, I think, is because he hailed from the west side of the state. But with his aggressive falsetto and the early use of Max Crook’s synthesizer on his records, nobody can argue that he wasn’t one of the most unique performers of the 1960s.”
Vaughn, a regular Hour Detroit contributor, took his knack for shooting food to the great outdoors for this issue’s entertaining feature. In a very rainy spring (this was photographed in May), Vaughn and crew lucked into a rare sunny day. They also lucked into a lovely setting belonging to a homeowner who generously allowed the intrusion while requesting anonymity. “Driving down the streets in Birmingham, you wouldn’t realize the secret gardens that lie behind the homes,” Vaughn says of the private patio beside a ravine. A native Detroiter, Vaughn lives and works from his home studio with his family close by. His recent freelance photography has included work for HBO, Essence, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, and Time.