Meet Detroit’s Night Economy Ambassador and one of our panelists! Adrian Tonon, a dynamic entrepreneur and humanitarian, has developed exceptional skills in the key areas of leadership, management, organization, finances, public policy, social service and detailed customer service. Adrian has trained and mentored numerous individuals and corporations in the art of customer relations and attaining company and/or personal goals. After serving on the then Detroit Mayoral Candidate, Michael E. Duggan’s Executive Campaign Team to help promote world-class customer service in the public sector and raise awareness of Mike’s ability to lead the City of Detroit, Adrian is now the City of Detroit’s first Director of Customer Service and an appointee of Mayor Michael E. Duggan’s Administration.
Ingrid LaFleur is a curator, pleasure activist and Afrofuturist. Her mission is to ensure equal distribution of the future, exploring the frontiers of social justice through new technologies, economies and modes of government.
As a recent Detroit Mayoral candidate and founder and director of AFROTOPIA, LaFleur implements Afrofuturist strategies to empower Black bodies and oppressed communities through frameworks such as blockchain and universal basic income. Ingrid LaFleur is currently the co-founder and Chief Community Officer of EOS Detroit, Director of Detroit Bank Job, and Curator of the upcoming Afrofuturist exhibition, Manifest Destiny at the Library Street Collective.
As a thought leader, social justice technologist, public speaker, teacher and cultural advisor she has led conversations and workshops at Centre Pompidou (Paris), TEDxBrooklyn, TEDxDetroit, Ideas City, New Museum (New York), AfroTech Conference, Harvard University and Oxford University, among others. LaFleur serves on the board of JustSpace Alliance, Powerhouse Productions, and the Cooley ReUse Project.
Melissa Perales moved from Chicago to Berlin in the 90’s where she studied film at Columbia College Chicago. Since then she has organized an international film festival, owned her own restaurant, began booking and promoting live shows and film screenings under the moniker M:Soundtrack, and for the last 7 years she has co-curated music festivals in Berlin. As a concert promoter she presents international acts monthly. M:Soundtrack is a platform and meeting point within the Berlin independent music scene since it’s 2004 inception. She has been co-organizing the Torstrassen festival in Berlin-Mitte since 2011 and since 2017 the co-founder and curator of the We Make Waves Festival for women, trans and non-binary people in music. Melissa’s passion is soundtracks, therefore starting Supertape-Berlin was the likely result: a music supervision and consulting company which she runs together with the documentary filmmaker, Sabine Steyer. Melissa is also a board member with all2gethernow e.V., an organization who looks for new strategies within the music business and it’s cultural landscape. Through a2n, Melissa & Colleagues founded the Music Pool Berlin, the central place to go for musicians and people working in the music business for consultations, workshops, coaching and community networking.
Lutz Leichsenring is the co-founder of the Creative Footprint and one of the world’s leading authorities on protecting creative industries. In 2018 Lutz co-founded VibeLab, an organization that aims to engage, connect, inform, promote, and counsel cross-sector stakeholders to keep cities vibrant and flourishing after dark. Recognizing that music venues are cultural assets that significantly enrich and improve society, the VibeLab network helps those who are seeking out new paths to make a change in their community. Since 2009, Lutz has been the spokesman and executive board member for the Berlin Clubcommission. He has fought tirelessly for the rights of Berlin’s vast underground club scene by organizing demonstrations, conferences, workshops and by speaking at round tables and parliamentary committees.
Mirik Milan is the former Amsterdam Night Mayor responsible for launching the independent night mayor role which liaises directly with the municipality of Amsterdam. He is also co-founder of Berlin’s VibeLab, an agency that advocates for night economy initiatives around the world. His work helped create similar government positions in over 30 other global cities. Elected in 2012, Milan worked directly with the nightlife economy in Amsterdam. While night mayor, 24-hour venue permits were granted and crime around Amsterdam’s Rembrandtplein was reduced. Milan’s work was replicated in places like London with Mayor Sadiq Khan’s 2016 appointment of “night czar,” Amy Lamé, and New York’s Ariel Palitzin 2018.
From its beginnings in the early 1980s, techno music culture in Detroit has been about stretching the limits of creative freedom. When the Berlin Wall came tumbling down in 1989, the reunified German capital needed a soundtrack to match its newfound euphoria. Detroit was there to help stretch that historic moment into many over the next 30 years. The fact that Berlin was open all night and Detroit techno artists were wired to play high impact music until dawn and beyond made for a perfect partnership. The seeds were planted then for an industry that flourishes worldwide today.
Thirty years later, one of the results of that enduring friendship is the Detroit-Berlin Connection (DBC), a group dedicated to growing both the night economy and the creative industries that support it. On May 21-22, the DBC will hold its sixth annual Detroit conference, The Potential. The two-day event is co-funded by Deutschlandjahr USA and the Goethe-Institut Chicago, and is presented in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), Tresor Berlin, and Your Mom’s Agency (Berlin).
On May 21, a public talk at Tangent Gallery will feature guest presenters Mirik Milan & Lutz Leichsenring of Berlin’s VibeLab, an agency that advocates for night economy initiatives around the world. Milan & Lutz will reflect on their experience in creating dialogue and exchange between cross-sector stakeholders, and how Detroit could follow a similar path to create a vibrant 24-hour economy. Tourism based around techno and the curfew-free night has produced huge economic and social dividends in Berlin. They will also talk about how innovative models created and practiced in Berlin can be applied to Detroit and other cities.
The second day, May 22, is organized by Your Mom’s Agency (Berlin) and takes place at Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD). It features music production workshops for teens given by artists from the two cities including Afro-Futurist pioneer and Detroit-Berlin techno producer Alan Oldham, and Detroit hip-hop and diversity advocate Piper Carter. Day two also features a film screening of Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolis, this silent German film classic explores a day in the life of Berlin with a modern twist: connecting the monumental music scenes of Berlin and Detroit. The screening will be scored by musicians from both cities: Lucky Paul (Los Angeles/Detroit/Berlin), Sarah Farina (Berlin), and Sean Tate (Detroit) and will be streamed live by Detroit-based radio collective, the Bassment.
The Detroit-Berlin Connection, a 5013c nonprofit organization, has been strengthening existing relationships between artists in Detroit and Berlin since 2013, when it began changing the local narrative that only bad things happen at night. Together with Underground Resistance / Submerge Records (Detroit), Tresor Berlin, and Your Mom’s Agency (Berlin), the DBC is telling the story of Detroit as a creative lighthouse, a place of artistic experimentation and entrepreneurial and social innovation. The Potential conference in Detroit is one of many events planned as part of Wunderbar Together, an initiative funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, implemented by the Goethe-Institut, and with support from the Federation of German Industries (BDI). This year-long festival of over 1,500 events in all 50 states began in October 2018 and continues throughout 2019.
Program: Tuesday, May 21 2019, 1PM-7PM Tangent Gallery 715 East Milwaukee Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202 1-2PM: Submerge – Networking and Tours of the Techno Museum 2-2:30PM: Walk over to Tangent and dining at Deutschtroit Food Truck 2:30-2:45PM:Welcome and Opening Remarks by Corn Harris & Angie Linder with poetry by T. Miller 2:45PM-3:15PM Building a strong creative community, one event at a time – Melissa Perales 3:15-4:15PM: 24-hour economy presentation by Mirik Milan & Lutz Leichsenring of VibeLab Berlin 4:15-4:30PM Break & Snacks 4:30-5:30PM: Panel discussion – Safe & Legal Path to 24 Hours feat. Detroit’s Night Ambassador Adrian Tonon 5:30-5:45PM: Q&A 5:45-6:15PM –
Ingrid LaFleur, Zach Brunell (Detroit Sound Bureau) and others for a fireside discussion about empowering & sustaining creatives in the city
6:15-7PM: Networking, Food Truck & Afterglow
Wednesday, May 22 2019, 10AM-10PM MOCAD 4454 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201 10AM: Music production workshops 8PM: Film screening of Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolis with live score by Lucky Paul, Sarah Farina, and Sean Tate, live streaming by The Bassment.
Events are for all ages and free to the public.
Find us online: detroitberlin.de detroitberlin.com