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Eminem, Movies Among Decade's Biggest Entertainment Stories

Of the Oakland Press

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Motown, music and movies were among the metro area’s biggest entertainment stories of the decade, along with personalities that proudly wore the olde English D on their chests and spread the good word about the Motor City around the globe. Here’s a look at who had us rocking, rolling and reeling during the past 10 years ...

• Rapper Eminem, who resides in Oakland Township and does most of his recording in Ferndale, told us what his name was at the end of the ’90s and finished the ‘00s as the top-selling musical entertainer of the decade. His 32.2 million album sales topped even the Beatles, while two of the titles — 2000’s “The Marshall Mathers LP” and 2002’s “The Eminem Show” — were among the decade’s Top 5. He sang with Elton John on the Grammy Awards and had a star-making film turn in “8 Mile,” whose theme song, “Lose Yourself,” won an Academy Award. (His costar, Brittany Murphy died of heart failure in December.) There were some stumbles along the way — a pair of assault charges in 2000, an on-and-off relationship with (and marriages to) the former Kim Scott, (mother of his 14-year-old daughter, Hailie), an addiction to sleeping pills that landed him in rehab in 2005 and an inexplicable relationship with Mariah Carey — but 2009’s chart-topping “Relapse” brought a welcome return to form.

• The Michigan state government instituted a series of incentives for filmmakers in April 2008 that brought Hollywood out to the mitten in force. Among the arrivals were Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino,” Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, “Whip It,” a remake of “Red Dawn,” portions of “Up in the Air” and the HBO series “Hung.”

• The Detroit Electronic Music Festival made an international imprint when it launched in 2000, drawing a purported 1 million fans to Hart Plaza for a free weekend of dance music. It was the beginning of a rough-and-tumble decade for the event, which kept going despite management and ownership changes, name changes and the switch from free admission to a ticketed event. Since 2006, its been under the Ferndale-based promotions company Paxahau and rechristened Movement: Detroit’s Electronic Music Festival. Original artistic director Carl Craig, who filed suit after being dismissed during the festival’s second year, will return to the post for Movement 2010.

• The Palace of Auburn Hills celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2008 with, among other activities, an intensive redecoration of the arena’s concourse. It was one of many improvements at the Palace during the decade, including: the Casino Windsor club in 2001; deluxe “bunker suites” underneath the regular seating area in 2005; the Comcast Pavilion, housing a food court and full-service bar, in 2006; and the Enterprise Financial and 5/3 clubs, which were constructed the same year. Palace Sports & Entertainment averaged 300 events and attendances of 3.5 million at the arena, the DTE Energy Music Theatre and the Meadow Brook Music Festival.

• Detroit has always been a haven for hard rock. In 2003, it became the home of a Hard Rock Cafe, which sits in the lobby level of the Compuware building and features the usual walls full of memorabilia and hosts an assortment of concerts and other musical events.

• A little bit of Rockefeller Center came to Detroit in 2004 when Campus Martius Park opened in the Kennedy Square area downtown, complete with fountains, an ice skating rink and an Au Bon Pain. The park hosts concerts during the summer as well as a state for the annual Detroit International Jazz Festival.

• The Detroit Winter Blast joined the entertainment landscape in 2005, presenting the traditional food-musicfamily fun formula with a snow-covered twist. Like its summer counterpart, Arts, Beats & Eats, the fest will add a charity admission fee in 2010 and continue as the Motown Winter Blast.

• Super Bowl XL in 2006 was a hit on the entertainment as well as the sports front, bringing to town all manner of star-studded parties sponsored by the likes of Playboy, Maxim, Sports Illustrated and other concerns. Eminem hit the stage for his Shady Records bash at the State Theatre (where Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee got in a punch-up with another rapper’s bodyguards) while Kid Rock welcomed Bob Seger on stage during his encores at Joe Louis Arena and was the special guest DJ at the SI party at the Emerald Theatre in Mount Clemens.

• Kid Rock went from being a “Devil Without a Cause” to being a superlative citizen of southeastern Michigan, quietly stepping up to help fund a water park in Clarkston, kick in to help stable horses whose owners could no longer afford them in the economic downturn, support the National Guard Warrior campaign and other good deeds. He made music, too — releasing five albums, scoring big hits with “Picture” and “All Summer Long,” and shepherding good pal and sidekick Uncle Kracker into a successful solo career. He also bought the Made In Detroit clothing company, started a beer brand (American Bad Ass) and sold out two nights at Comerica Park in the summer of 2009. We almost forget that he married Pamela Anderson — four times, no less — in 2006.

It was a good if not particularly productive decade for Bob Seger. In 2004 the Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and two years later he released “Face the Promise,” his first new album in 11 years, supported by his first concert tour in just as long. He closed the decade by starting to dig into his vaults with “Early Seger Vol. 1.”

• The White Stripes joined New York kindred spirits the Strokes as vanguards for the garage rock movement in the early part of the decade. Then, after 2003’s “Elephant” stomped its way to platinum, Jack White took things even further with two more bands (the Raconteurs and the Dead Weather), film appearances (“Cold Mountain,” “It Might Get Loud”) and production (Loretta Lynn’s “Van Lear Rose.”) He left Detroit for Nashville with some harsh words but can still be claimed as a Motor City success story.

• The Detroit International Jazz Festival seemed doomed, or at least on the ropes, when Ford Motor Co. withdrew its $250,000 title sponsorship in 2005. Carhartt clothing heiress Gretchen Valade, a lifelong jazz fan who had started the Mack Avenue Records label, was the knight in shining armor, endowing the festival with $10 million, refreshing its administrative staff and taking an active role in the operation. The festival turned 30 in 2009 as the largest free jazz festival in the United States.

• After years of unrealized ideas and frustrated plans, the corner of Saginaw and Pike streets in Pontiac came to life again with the 2007 opening of the Crofoot complex, a multi-use entertainment facility comprising four buildings and housing rooms of various sizes. Since then the Crofoot has hosted concerts, private parties, video shoots and celebrity appearances by Bill Cosby, filmmaker John Waters and a then-campaigning Michelle Obama.

• Michigan became part of the summer music festival circuit in 2008 when the Rothbury Festival bowed on the Double JJ Ranch in the western part of the state. Headliners such as the Dave Matthews Band, the Dead, Bob Dylan, Widespread Panic and others helped attract about 35,000 each of its first two years, though the star of both events was arguably the psychedelically adorned Sherwood Forest in the middle of the site.

• The Motown Records label began its 50th anniversary celebration in late 2008 and continued into 2009, staging a chest-thumping black-tie gala in November that featured performances by Stevie Wonder with Kid Rock, Aretha Franklin and the Temptations.

• The Michigan State Fair, established in 1849 and considered the oldest of its kind in the country, may have ended along with the decade. State officials said the 2009 run, which drew a reported 217,000 people, will likely be the last, although some are hoping to save the event.

• After a dozen years filling Pontiac’s streets with Labor Day Weekend revelers, the Arts, Beats & Eats festival announced plans to move to Royal Oak for the 2010 edition, recovering financial assistance that the struggling Pontiac was unable to provide in recent years.

• The decade ended with good news for nonsmokers when the Michigan state legislature approved a measure banning smoking in all work places except casino gaming floors — a move that will keep the air fresh in bars, clubs, theaters, arenas and other entertainment venues throughout the state.

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