Broke-Ass Stuart was in Detroit.
He blasted Stevie Wonder songs while driving a Chevy through the streets. He ate Slow’s with us and we even took him to the Garden Bowl for a game. He even got Larry D’Mongo to show him what a machine gun can do to a man.
Earlier this month we caught up with him in New York, where he sat in bar with us on the Lower East Side. Not just any bar though, but the deliciously dive-y Detroit-themed Motor City Bar. And over a tall, icy beer, we asked him how did he get here.
At present, Stuart is releasing his third book, Young Broke & Beautiful: Broke-Ass Stuart’s Guide to Living Cheaply— this one he describes as a general guide for broke-asses everywhere.
But it all started with an interview with Gothamist. He had just released his 2008 book, Broke-Ass Stuart’s Guide to Living Cheaply in New York. The interviewer asked Stuart what he wanted to do next. He said he wanted a TV show. Through a sleight of hand and the magic of showbiz, he was soon in talks with 44 Pictures and IFC.
No, that’s the short version he says.
“I officially started with Lonely Planet.”
Before Lonely Planet, Stuart was a Bay area freelancer known for his zines like Broke-Ass Stuart’s Guide to Living Cheaply in San Francisco. But Lonely Planet made it official.
“Then I got my business cards.” Those cards let him intruduce himself to the world as a travel writer with a penchant for penny-pinching. Through mostly out of necessity, his broke-ass ways resonated with fellow young, travel loving broke-asses.
He got to Detroit a little differently.
He and the production team started brainstorming what the show was going to be like. “We put a list together of 12 cities,” he says.
Detroit stayed on the list because, according to them, it seemed like the city America forgot. Plus he’d never been to Michigan before and he liked how Detroit’s motto — “We Hope For Better Things; It Shall Rise From the Ashes” — actually spoke true of what the city was going though, despite it being written in the 1800’s.
“I’d never been to a city like Detroit in all the cites I’d been to,” he says. Although in town for less than a week, Stuart did nearly everything you’re supposed to do when you go to Detroit, but with some very cool people like Invincible, Juan Atkins and us.
Detroit was actually his last stop. The previous cities were San Diego, Baltimore, Boston, New Orleans and Memphis. Notice no New York or LA. Rather, cities that don’t always get pegged as destinations. But that was all the more reason they were picked.
“These show’s are love letter’s to the cities,” Stuart says. “We’re letting you know there’s something wonderful in these places.”
See Stuart take on Detroit Friday, Jul. 29 at 11:00 PM EDT on IFC.
PS- He says he’s been listening to a lot of Motown lately and listed Smokey, Stevie and Marvin as his faves.
Photo Credit: 44 Pictures/IFC