Bringing the glamour of Hollywood to Detroit

By LeeAnn Brown

A night of glamorous guests, live entertainment and red carpet paparazzi – and it’s only a 40-minute car ride away.

This Sunday night, the 87th annual Academy Awards will take place in Hollywood, California. Millions of spectators, popcorn in hand, will tune in to honor the best films of 2014 – or just to judge what the stars are wearing.

Although watching from the living room has its perks, students that want a more engaging experience can celebrate the Oscar-nominated short films at Hollywood in Detroit next Thursday, Feb. 26.

Hosted by Detroit Passport to the Arts (DP2A), a non-profit dedicated to introducing people 45 and under to the cultural scene in the city, Hollywood in Detroit provides food, film and fun for the public.  

“Students can expect an all-inclusive evening of fun and glamour,” DP2A Director Margo Strebig said. “The event is a full experience that includes viewing the films, a best dressed contest, red carpet, photo booth, food, drinks, a DJ and more.”

DP2A was founded in hopes of “cultivating the next generation of arts and culture enthusiasts in Metro Detroit through increased awareness of and access to the arts community,” according to the website.

After attending the event three years ago, Jerry Mangona said he wanted to be more involved with DP2A. He is now board chair.

“One of the biggest reasons why I got involved was because I saw what a quality program this was and was surprised at how few people knew about it,” Mangona said. “My personal reason for wanting to take on the position of chair this year is to help spread the word about the program.”

DP2A offers affordable passports, which students can buy if they want VIP access to six diverse performances, followed by six social networking events. Instead of committing to one organization’s season pass, the passports allow samplings from each art form.

Passport owners can talk with the artists, tour the backstage areas and enjoy art with like-minded people.

“Passport holders get to enjoy a variety of offerings in the Detroit area with a group of about 200 people, and hopefully, they will experience something new or find out they have a love for a certain art form,” Strebig said.

Students interested in the arts don’t have to purchase a passport to get involved. Hollywood in Detroit is open to the public, and DP2A offers volunteer and leadership opportunities.

Mangona believes involvement with art is essential to human connection and identity.

“Art, music and dance – these are some of the few places that connect people regardless of background,” Mangona said. “It’s a place where we can get reconnected to what we all have in common, and especially, for a region like Metro Detroit, which is still trying to figure out its identity going forward, the arts are going to play a large part in helping inspire what we can be.”

Students can purchase the $29 Hollywood in Detroit tickets and find more information on getting involved at dp2a.org.