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Last sync:2023-01-27 20:45
In which John, M. T. Anderson, and The Guide go Urban Exploring in Detroit and visit the long-abandoned United Artists Theater.


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A Bunny
( - -)
((') (')
Tobin Anderson: Good morning, Hank. It's supposed to be Monday.

John: But in fact it's Saturday. Hank, that's Tobin Anderson, world famous children's book author and winner of the 2006 National Book Award. This is the guide.

Guide: (nods, waves) What's goin' on?

John: Some quick background information. Before Tobin and I met up at a book festival in Kalamazoo, Tobin spent a day in Detroit looking at abandoned buildings, where he randomly met our tour guide. When we tried to fly back to the East on Friday, our flights got cancelled, so we called the guide up and he offered to take us on an urban exploring tour through the ruins of Detroit. As you will see, the guide is something of a genius.

Guide: (outside a building) He made a building that could be seen from, like, miles away, that made an impression on people, that didn't just blend in. It stuck out.

John: Hank, that's the Eastern Wig and Hair Company. We're gonna go in it, I think. But not...not in a traditional way.

(Tobin hangs from a fire escape to pull it down while the guide watches)

John: Okay, so that didn't work, Hank, and I'll tell you why. Uh, the owner of the building happened to drive by while Tobin was pulling down the fire escape. (as he enters a dark room) Hank, I'm in an abandoned building. I'm feeling some anxiety.

Tobin: Uh, the question of abandonment.

John: Yes.

Tobin: I wonder why there are so many lights turned on?

Guide: It means there could be a caretaker. You know, it could come on and check on it. I mean, not every day.

(John looks scared) John: Hank, I think it goes without saying that you shouldn't break into abandoned buildings, particularly not unless you have professional assistance like we did. It's unsafe, asbestos-y, terrifying, and generally illegal.

(Tobin is lying in an old bathtub) Is it a happy place, Tobin? Does it feel safe?

Tobin: No, cause there're holes at that end of the floor. Look.

John: Oh, shit! (looking at a column; Tobin enters with a blue and grey toy football) Tobin, someone in here has played repeated games of tic-tac-toe. (Xs have won all games)

Tobin: Clearly the O's have mad skills. (outside the building) We heard people walking around; we heard people talking. We had to flee. You can tell John...John's anxiety from the fact that the camera is shuttering like a dove giving birth.

Guide: (in the dark) Okay, we're now entering the United Artists Theatre designed by C. Howard Crane in a Spanish Catholic style. We're currently in the lobby.

John: I'm using the camera light to see where I'm going. Everything is covered in ice. It's just layers and layers of rubble. Hank, once I got past the anxiety of being someplace I shouldn't be, I started to think about the ruins themselves, the eerie beauty of the ice-encrusted decay. To the tour guide, the ruins seemed to represent a failure, a failure to recognize and use the gifts of the past. To Tobin, they also spoke of the inevitability of it all, the stark reminder that one day, every building will be ruins. I felt a mix of anxiety and reverence that I haven't felt since I worked at the hospital. I kept slipping up and calling it the cathedral instead of the theater.

Tobin: I'm on the stage now. Dies irae, dies illa, solvet saclum in favila. Teste David cum Sybilla. National Geographic from 1968. (reads from cover) “Iran's Shah crowns himself in glittering Tehran.” It was a very different time.

Guide: Now pull it back open, it should do the same thing.

John: It's heavy, huh? Look at all these safe deposit boxes.

Guide: Go through the troll hole.

John: Oh, right, first we have to go through the troll hole again. (outside the theater) Hank, we just came through a hole in that fence and went into that theater and then into this office building. (looking at pictures) Hank, this is what the theater used to look like that we were in today.

Guide: That's decayed beyond recognition for the most part.

(after the Brotherhood 2.0 logo; in an airport) Hey, Hank, tell me if this place looks familiar. (shot of a red Hummer; John flips it off)