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Detroit Lives

Exploring Motor City's artistic renaissance through a Johnny Knoxville-led doc

by Jasmine Kounang
on 09 September 2010

The history of Palladium boots has always been one of exploration. Originally started as a tire brand in 1920, Palladium was known for tires so advanced that most European military aircrafts used them for their fleets. However, when the end of World War II saw the decrease of aircraft production, like many wartime businesses the company decided to take a different direction with the now-famous Palladium boot.


With the goal of producing footwear as durable as their tires, Palladium made boots tough enough for the French Legion to wear through their explorations of deserts in North Africa and the terrain of the Atlas Mountains.


Taking this concept of exploration, Palladium boots partnered up with Virtue (Vice's creative agency) to create a series of documentaries exploring and investigating the secret and forgotten spots in the cities we live in today. The short films (all living on the Palladium site) have so far taken viewers to see hidden oil drills in Hollywood, hidden espionage sites in Berlin, and uncovered secret antennas of radio pirates on London rooftops.

Detroit4.jpg Detroit5.jpg

The most recent of the documentaries features Johnny Knoxville in "Detroit Lives," navigating through the gritty streets of Detroit revealing a Gen-Y led artistic revival of the city stereotypically known as an urban wasteland.


In the short film Knoxville meets with many of Detroit's young creatives (artists, musicians, fashion designers, restauranteurs and developers) who all show through their DIY mentality, the change they hope to bring to "the D." Through their creation of music, art, investment and development of land, and start-up businesses, the film unveils a hands-on wonderland where young individuals can actually have an impact on positive community change to rebuild the city that they love. During a short Q&A session with the cast, Bethany, a leading character and entrepreneur in the film, describes Detroit's DIY mindset as, "Not a great place for consuming, but a great place for producing", which further reinforces that there is no better time than now to bring the change the city needs.

Take a look at the creative film on Palladium's site where you'll find Knoxville and crew exploring an undiscovered Detroit as they visit art collectives, meet with creative entrepreneurs and talk with musicians. Look out for the Heidelberg Projects (previously featured on CH) as they drive through Motor City in search of untold stories.

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