Contributors: May 2016

George Bulanda has had the distinction of working on all 230 issues of Hour Detroit

George Bulanda

George Bulanda has had the distinction of working on all 230 issues of Hour Detroit, from its premiere in Spring 1996 until the present. And it hasn’t aged him at all, right? “Back 20 years ago, the naysayers were out in full force,” Bulanda recalls. “Few thought then that the magazine would survive the year. Our small staff would deliver the magazine free to bars, restaurants, coffee shops — anyplace that might notice us. But gradually people became intrigued by this oversized magazine, and interest swelled,” he says. Bulanda, who served as managing editor of Hour Detroit and Detroit Home magazines, left Hour Media in December 2012, but he continues to freelance, most notably as the writer of Hour’s back-page feature called The Way It Was, a position for which he has a special affection. “I’ve loved history, particularly Detroit history, since I was a small boy, and I’ve reached the stage where I can write some entries of The Way It Was from personal experience,” he says. “If people question me, I’ll say, ‘Pardon me, but I lived through that time.’ What keeps me energized is that I’m always learning about history and its connection to today. I’m a firm believer in the saying, ‘The past is present.’”

Joe Vaughn

“The people and places I have met and seen over the last 20 years because of the creation of Hour Detroit magazine are quite mind blowing,” says Joe Vaughn (shown here, circa 1996). He was the magazine’s founding staff photographer. “From having Elmore Leonard write me in as a Detroit photographer working for the Mafia in his book, Pagan Babies, to photographing Life Magazine photographer Gordon Parks in his New York apartment overlooking the United Nations to showcase his Exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts, the journey has been a blessing.” Other memorable sessions include documenting closing day at Tiger Stadium and the first pitch at Comerica Park. “Also, watching Detroit wind down in the recession, having no fine dining, to opening 80 new restaurants last year and photographing nearly all of them,” he adds. “I am grateful for all these adventures and the gift of being able to be called a ‘professional photographer.’ Here’s to another 20 years!”

Richard Bak

Richard Bak’s byline has been a familiar one in Hour Detroit ever since its inaugural issue in 1996 (he only wishes he was as young as pictured here back then). “I remember I had to be talked into doing a piece about Steve Yzerman,” says Bak, whose profile of maritime model-maker Keith M. Steffke appears in this issue. “The pay wasn’t much and I really didn’t think the magazine was going to survive, much less thrive. But here we all are, 20 years later.” Overall, he has contributed about 100 articles to Hour Detroit and its sister publications (including Sport Detroit, which he served as editor). His favorites include a long profile of Edsel Ford, the star-crossed son of Henry Ford. The feature was later expanded into Henry and Edsel, one of Bak’s many books, and inspired playwright Karim Alrawi’s, A Gift of Glory. Bak, 62, has no plans to ever retire. “What else would I do? I always have a bunch of short- and long-range writing projects going on. In my family, people routinely live into their 90s, so I absolutely intend to be contributing to Hour’s 50th anniversary issue in 2046.”