By: Amy Cooper, Detroit Ginger


UPDATE 11/24/2015: As of 1PM Today, Eastown Theatre’s stage was torn down, and laid to rest. Check out the photos and videos here

 


HistoricDetroit.org just posted a statement proclaiming that Eastown Theatre will be demolished in the next few days, and that scrappers had destroyed the rest of the building.  What used to be a  2,500-seat theatre that housed multiple acts is now a ghost town, and a backdrop for urban explorers, hoping to relive some of the charm of the building now in it’s last days. 

We have learned the Eastown Theatre in #Detroit will be torn down in the next few days. The building has been destroyed…

Posted by HistoricDetroit.org on Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The building opened in 1931 to a film of Clark Gable’s called Sporting Blood, according to Historic Detroit‘s website, and closed it’s doors in the 90’s after changing hands from Rock, to Jazz, to a church group. 

Historic Detroit explains the late history of the building in great detail, prior to the scrappers attacking the final bones: 

“In recent years, a fire gutted the apartments in the complex. Decorative plaster lies in heaps everywhere, though there are still spots where the building’s original luster shines. The paint has worn from the proscenium arch in places. Likewise, busts of women on the walls, once beautiful coppers and gold, are now plain white, if still intact at all. The walls in the auditorium have been washed away from a faulty roof. The electric blue paint that had been slapped on the balcony is still there, even though big chunks of the balcony are not, having succumbed to water damage. The chandeliers and railings are gone, too, as are the moldy seats.” – Historic Detroit

Aug. 9, 2010, a fire lead to the main demise of the building, and left what is mostly seen in photographs till this day. So we bid adieu to the building that rocked hard, rolled soft, and housed many wonderful memories. 

UPDATE 4PM, 11/20/2015: 

Steve Neavling of Motor City Muckraker used the social network broadcast program Periscope to show the beginnings of the demolition of the building’s neighboring apartments, and believes that the theater portion itself will be demolished tomorrow. 

The theatre has said to have had acts like Joe Walsh, REO Speedwagon, The Doors, and more perform in it’s historical theatre, according to the Eastown Theatre Show List on MotorCityMusicArchives.com.

GALLERY: Eastown Theatre, August 2015

By: Amy Cooper, Detroit Ginger


There becomes a dilemma in every artist’s life that comes down to this: do it for the money, or do it for the art. Well, from what we’re reading today in MetroTimes, the “art” might falter to the end of Theatre Bizarre

Photo: Amy Cooper, 2014 DIY Ferndale

Photo: Amy Cooper, 2014 DIY Ferndale

According to the release in MetroTimesJohn Dunivant said that financially, Theatre Bizzare is a giant money sucking hole. “Essentially it’s putting me in debt every year,” Dunivant told MT

To which, many will argue how expensive the ticket prices have become, but it’s not enough to sustain all the cost that there is to put on the event. 

MetroTimes paints the picture that TB is completely self sustaining, sharing Dunivant’s feelings on continuing the show. “If it could become sustainable, I would want it to go on forever,” Dunivant told MT. “The opportunity to build something this size and to bring this world to life is amazing. But it’s going to kill us.”

With ticket prices at $85 a pop, and a sold out show every year for quite some time, the cost to build/transport versus cost for the show is something of a question of if the show breaks even. What comes as an interesting twist in this story is The Knight Foundation‘s donation to the project. 

The Knight Foundation Grants Page (Screenshot)

The Knight Foundation Grants Page (Screenshot)

The Knight Foundation has a vast hand in fusion of the arts in the community, and with a lot of other projects like Literary Detroit and Detroit’s Plan of Adjustment. Otherwise, they are well invested in Detroit. Between the grant period of 9/7/2013 to 9/17/2015, Theatre Bizarre was awarded $100,000 in the Knight Arts Challenge initiative. So we wonder how much TB costs to put on per year, on top of what they rake in for ticket sales, and how much of that goes back into the production for the following year.

Still, these statements in MetroTimes cause us to think – how many Theatre Bizzare‘s do we have left? Will Dunivant continue? And more importantly, from this point, would Dunivant and company finally bow to the idea of a sponsor, and what would that mean for the troupe of actors/actresses/barkers and otherwise, and would it change the way the show is put on?

We’ve seen it in recent years the changes that are made to large shows and how the schematic changes. As you can recall, DEMF (Movement Electronic Music Festival, for those youngins) used to be free until Paxahau‘s involvement. It has become a financial swell of sponsorship and say-so’s from corporate surprise, which also drives ticket sales upward in cost. 

This did certainly boot “financially strapped people,” (or as some people call it “the riff raff” out) but simultaneously brought more established acts to the scene. So this raises the question with something like Theatre Bizzare

One can only wait and see what changes are made, and if the show will continue to, as they say, “go on.”

By: Amy Cooper, Detroit Ginger


“The role of imagination in Cave’s work is not escapism, but rather a strategy to negotiate the real life states of vulnerability and consequence.”  – ‘Greetings From Detroit’ 

Soundsuits in the Main Gallery Photo: Amy Cooper

Soundsuits in the Main Gallery Photo: Amy Cooper

Visiting Cranbrook Art Museum, you always partake in some sort of experience like any other, and this time was no exception. The in-depth look at Nick Cave‘s artwork was immensely interesting, and luckily in this experience, a first hand look with the curator of the exhibit, Laura Mott

An excerpt from the published piece in a private publication called The Grapevine by Amy Cooper (Myself)  reads as follows on the subject: 

“Nick Cave’s designs are what he calls “Soundsuits,” made of repurposed materials like sequins, fabrics, twigs, plastic, yarn, and anything else he can get his hands on.  Crafted for sound, mobility, and dance, the sound suits are used to create a sense of anonymity to the inhabitant of the suit. With this releases the bond of judgment on race, color, class, or physical appearance.”

“Mott explained that Cave looks at himself as a messenger, not an artist. “This isn’t a hobby. It’s art to create conversation.”  Within our tour, we received a firsthand account from Mott on how Cave’s process works, and were able to give her our feedback on impacting pieces, whether they be political, spiritual, or racial.  She shared with us Cave’s notion that the suits could inspire “collective dreaming” that would allow us to draw on the creative power of dreams.”

In addition to this, Laura was able to partake in days of filming with The Right Brothers and Nick Cave for video installations, and the visuals are absolutely stunning. After observing it once, one of my colleges stayed with me as we watched the video a second time, flabbergasted by the movement and watching the Soundsuits in action. 

The exhibit will be in operation for one more week, ending it’s stint on October 11, and admission is $10. If you’ve got the time, it’s a prime exhibit to visit and behold. To learn more, please visit Cranbrook’s Website

GALLERY OF EXHIBIT

By: Erica Banas, Lady Reporter


In 2014, the wildly popular “Pure Michigan” tourism campaign had a budget of $13 million.  While the campaign’s future seems shaky due to the recent downsizing of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, one man is on a mission to help change people’s perception of Michigan, which when you boil it all down really translates to the way people see Detroit.

That man…is Michael Bolton.

Image Courtesy of Giphy

Image Courtesy of Giphy

No, not that one.  The real Michael Bolton.

Image Courtesy of Giphy

Image Courtesy of Giphy

Yes, everyone’s favorite no-talent ass clown is co-producing Gotta Keep Dreamin:  Detroit’s 21st Century Renaissance, a movie about all of the positive things going on in Detroit.  After having a chance to attend an exclusive preview screening of a few excerpts from the film, which also featured an interesting panel hosted by Mitch Albom (more on that in a bit), I almost regret referring to Bolton by the now infamous Office Space putdown, because this film is dripping with the kind of heart and soul not often found in “outsiders” who happen to be from one of the whitest state in the country.   (FYI:  I’m referring to Connecticut.)

I know what you’re all thinking:  “That sounds nice, but how in the hell did Mike even decide to make this movie?”  The answer is quite simple.  Initially, Bolton set out to make a film about Motown Records and the music it produced in the 1960s that heavily influenced his career.  While in the process of making that film, Bolton realized there was way more going on in the city that many people don’t know about, and that’s how the film’s focus changed, and it’s taken three-and-a-half years to get to this point.

The excerpts that were screened were filled with all the usual names that started off in Detroit and made it big:

Smokey Robinson
Aretha Franklin
Alice Cooper
Frances Ford Coppola (who proudly showed off his Shinola watch)…
Jerry Bruckheimer

…but they also focused on Veronika Scott, CEO/Founder of The Empowerment Plan and Jason Hall, co-founder of Detroit Bike City and Slow Roll, alongside the likes of Dan Gilbert and Christopher Ilitch, which is how the panels were structured as well.

Whether it was planned or not (we’re leaning toward the former), each industry titan represented in Gotta Keep Dreamin was paired up with a grassroots-type in the panel break coinciding with each film clip. 

And that’s part of the message of the film and of the Motor City itself.  Sure, the millionaires and billionaires have a lot of power on their side to cause change, but without the likes of Scott and Hall, there would simply be no spirit in Detroit.

Per Freep.com, Bolton and everyone involved with Gotta Keep Dreamin are aiming to have a final cut completed by October 14, which happens to be the deadline for submission to the Sundance Film Festival.  If the film makes the deadline and is then chosen to be screened at the famed Utah festival, Bolton will definitely earn honorary Detroiter status so much so that he could easily get away with this.

Image Courtesy of Facebook

Image Courtesy of Facebook

By: Amy Cooper, Detroit Ginger


Mixed Bag Art and Music Showcase Russell Industrial Center, 2015. Photo: ACRONYM

Mixed Bag Art and Music Showcase Russell Industrial Center, 2015. Photo: ACRONYM

If you are in the Detroit Art Scene, you know that it can be competitive, staunch, dramatic, but equally rewarding. It also always depends on who you are around and whether they are a class act, or a raving egotistical lunatic. The reason for pointing out this startling fact, is that the folks who starred in/created the Mixed Bag Art and Music Showcase this weekend are the good guys. 

Erron Reed, Victor Koos, Holly Hock, Ren Fracture, and the collection of Apathetic Zebra (Mickey Saldana, Kelly Karnesky, Risto Thomas, and Mitch Grygorcewicz) had a vast range of creativity, along with many thought provoking pieces. 


Thought provoking images of women spliced with startling statistics brings to mind the things we tend to miss when just seeing a photograph of a pretty girl. Photo: ACRONYM

Thought provoking images of women spliced with startling statistics brings to mind the things we tend to miss when just seeing a photograph of a pretty girl. Photo: ACRONYM

Mickey Saldana asked me during the evening “Which piece is your favorite?” and I honestly couldn’t pick just one. Looking at the creativity on the walls, in every medium, every visual, and being able to chat with some of the artists, it made me realize even more how much the curated scene in Detroit has to offer. 

Most of the artists that were in that room never get to come face to face with some of their idols of the internet, so speaking with people like Victor Koos, who I come in contact with via social media and see his shots of models in our collective space make it all the more worthwhile when viewing each other’s work. 

With the music of Feral Ground pulsating through the room, and PBR sponsorship, it was what one photographer, Jon DeBoer says “It’s like an Instagram meet but we’re not taking photos.” And truly, it was probably way better than an Instagram meet, and way more enriching. 

 

After experiencing this mingling session, here’s to hoping that Erron Reed and the rest of the posse will continue to have shows like this in the future. 

A collection of curated works from the multi-talented artists at the Mixed Bag.  Photo: ACRONYM

A collection of curated works from the multi-talented artists at the Mixed Bag.  Photo: ACRONYM


Artist / Musician Bios and Contact Info

Feral Ground
Fresh off of hosting their own three day music festival, FG brings their unique and thought provoking sound to the show. From their website…

“Feral Ground is an idea. The name itself embodies the concept that this world we live in is not as tame and placid as some would like you to believe it is. Our self appointed task is to show you that you haven’t heard everything yet, hip hop is not dying, and that people can be influenced by music in a positive way.  Feral Ground is more than just the sum of all its parts. Feral Ground is a new way of thinking. It is a way of thinking that is inclusive instead of exclusive, about family over the individual, about solutions beyond the problems, and most importantly, its about inspiring people to take control over their lives.”
 

Apathetic Zebra
We have Mickey Saldana, Kelly Karnesky and Risto Thomas along with Mitch Grygorcewicz. Apathetic zebra is a art collective including acting, video, photography and writing. And Mitch is a graffiti artist new and upcoming in Detroit.

Erron Reed
Erron has been a photographer based in Detroit for over 10 years and has been featured in many art shows nationally as well as locally. He will be bringing Portrait, abstract and landscape art to the show in a rare public showing.

Holly Hock
Holly is a self taught artist originally from the West Coast, now residing in Michigan. She is inspired largely by bygone eras and the macabre. She uses a variety of antique, vintage, salvaged and new elements to create unique assemblage and mixed media pieces.

Ren Fracture
Ren Fracture is a freelance artist from downriver Michigan, best known for illustrating hands and biographical comic strips. Ren uses comic strips to cope with ongoing depression, anxiety, and gender identity struggles. Ren Fracture became involved in the Detroit art scene in 2010 and has since exhibited in over 35 group shows.

Victor Koos
Victor’s photographic style can be broken down into two parts. Environment and Image Making. Working in Detroit Michigan, he is surrounded by one of the more unique landscapes on Earth. Whether he likes what he sees or not, makes no difference. He will shoot what is around him. Studying under Graphic Designer Brian Schorn, he was drawn to the term “visual resonance”, the idea of showcasing sound visually.

The information in this section was collected from the Event page on Facebook for the Mixed Bag Showcase. You can view that information here

By: Ayana T. Miller, Guest Writer


Saratonin “flowing” at Charivari.  © 2015 Ayana T. Miller

Saratonin “flowing” at Charivari.  © 2015 Ayana T. Miller

“Serotonin”, is a chemical found in the brain that is responsible for maintaining mood balance and is necessary to combat depression and anxiety.  It keeps us happy.  “Saratonin” does the same with her colorful and creative abstract art.  You see, looking at visual art that is aesthetically pleasing has the same effect on our mental well-being!  Sara Elizabeth Carnacchi, or “Saratonin” as she’s known in the art community, seeks to do just that.  

Sara was born and raised in the city of Detroit, and her middle name, Elizabeth, is for the street she grew up on.  Various circumstances led to her living in various states, but Sarah eventually found her way home back to the D.  Painting and Trance are her passions, and that combination of those passions led her to the Charivari Festival held on Belle Isle in August of this year.  Excited about being an artist participant in Charivari, Sara was both scared and nervous to be showcased.  However, her excitement and positive spirit won in the end.  “I love Detroit and inspire everyone to be the change they want to see in Detroit.”  Sarah was commissioned to live paint while Marissa Guzman and the Saunderson Brothers performed during the festival.

“Any piece of art I make is one of a kind.  There will never be the same piece twice.” © 2015 Ayana T. Miller

You can feel that positive spirit when you meet Sara and see her infectious smile.  She’s come a long way from tagging burned out buildings during her early youth in the city.  “I have always been an abstract thinker, and was never one to sit down with a pencil and paper.  (I’d) rather pick up a paint brush and can of paint and just flow; flow through my essence.”  

 

And flow she does.  While working as an assistant at CPOP Gallery (later Contra Products, LLC) in Hamtramck, Sara had a creative falling out with the owner.  She then found herself at Russell Industrial Center as a member of the Detroit Art Collective.  Unfortunately, her time with that group was brief, but Sara still kept in touch with RIC’s Cyle Voss.  It was Voss who invited her to participate in Charivari where Sara painted, and sold her one of a kind artwork on canvas.

You’re already less depressed by this girl’s antics and carefree spirit!  © 2015 Ayana T. Miller

You’re already less depressed by this girl’s antics and carefree spirit!  © 2015 Ayana T. Miller

As you can see, Sara’s work is bright and cheery.  Right now, the gypsy girl is no longer involved with any artists’ group, and is totally freelance.  If you would like to work with Sara in commissioning artwork, or to purchase any of her handmade jewelry or any current paintings shown above, please contact her on Facebook.

 

By: Brett Booth, Guest Writer


Child gives peace sign during Goose Lake International Music Festival. Photo: Goose Lake Film Still. 

Child gives peace sign during Goose Lake International Music Festival. Photo: Goose Lake Film Still. 

“We were kind of looking around like, ‘wow, this is really happening.’ That’s just something you can’t explain. You never imagined in your wildest dreams that you’d ever attend something like that in your backyard,” said Bob Avel, Goose Lake International Music Festival attendee and historian. 

1970 had already seen The Beatles disband, the safe return of Apollo 13 and the tragedies at Kent State and Jackson State University.  The summer of love came and went and the Age of Aquarius was in its fleeting moments. The nation’s young were goo-goo eyed over Woodstock and a sizable group of young people started to attend what they called “Pop Festivals.” In 1970, Michigan was home to one of the largest music festivals of its era. 

A Southfield construction executive, Richard Songer, purchased 390-acres of land near Jackson, Michigan, in hopes to create the world’s first permanent festival site. The property had permanent bathrooms every 500 feet, a private beach, and the self-proclaimed “longest slide in the world.”

Songer had already held a country music festival and was looking to hold a large festival featuring rock music. In an effort to avoid some of the mistakes and shortcomings of other pop festivals, Songer brought Detroit disk jockey Tom Wright and his associate “Uncle” Ross Gibb onboard. Wright and Gibb had experience booking and promoting rock shows together in Detroit. 

Poker Chip Style Tickets Issued To Concert Goers.  Photo: Brett Booth

Poker Chip Style Tickets Issued To Concert Goers.  Photo: Brett Booth

One problem Songer, Wright, and Gibb saw with Woodstock was that out of the estimated 500,000 people that attended the festival, less than half actually paid. To address this issue, 12-foot tall fences were installed around the property to discourage “gatecrashing”. Poker chip-style tickets were even created in an effort to eliminate counterfeiting. 

The trio also saw some of the anxiety and problems at many pop festivals escalating during the stage changeover between bands. To virtually eliminate wait time between bands, Goose Lake Park featured a revolving stage. The turntable-style stage allowed one band to say their goodnights and as soon as the last note was struck, stagehands could push the stage around and another band would be set up and ready to play. 

Word began to spread about Goose Lake. Momentum began building and their first pop festival, Goose Lake International Music Festival, was being billed as “Michigan’s Woodstock”. National acts like Rod Stewart and The Faces, Jethro Tull, Chicago, Mountain, Ten Years After and John Sebastian were billed alongside Detroit favorites like The Stooges, Bob Seger, Alice Cooper, Savage Grace and SRC at Goose Lake Park, August, 7, 8 and 9. 

Unfortunately, not all the buildup to the festival was positive. Once locals in the small farming community heard there was going to be a large rock festival bringing in longhairs by the VW bus full, they began to speak at city council meetings, sign petitions and do everything in their power to prevent the festival.

Much to the disappointment of the locals, Songer, Wright, and Gibb acquired the proper permits and licenses to hold the event. Goose Lake International Music Festival was a go. 

The sun hung high in the August sky as the gates were set to open Thursday, August 6, 1970. The creators soon would find that their 60,000 person estimate would be far too conservative. Cars lined the long country roads for miles leading from Interstate-94. By the time the festival started Friday there were over 200,000 people at Goose Lake. 

“You can’t believe the energy that is emitted from that many people—I mean, you can’t explain it. And everybody there having a good time, it was like; you were in awe of it,” said Avel. 

Included in the $15 admission to the festival was a campsite and free firewood. Makeshift tents and sleeping bags littered the rolling hills of Goose Lake Park. Nude festival goers walked around freely and bathed in the lake. American flags hung from car windows and served as makeshift blankets. Every cause and subculture was represented at Goose Lake; bikers, Buddhists, civil rights groups and political parties. 

Inside the fence, cannabis and psychedelics were sold and used openly. The police officers outside the festival chose not to pursue any drug use inside the gates for fear of starting a riot. It’s important to note that while many festival goers were either drinking or consuming some sort of drug, this doesn’t hold true for all.  

“It’s interesting, you make these assumptions about huge crowds like that but then as I’ve talked to people since then, they go, ‘oh yeah, I was at the Goose Lake rock festival’ and some say, ‘yeah, I was smoking dope’ or ‘I was drinking’ or some, ‘oh yeah, I didn’t take anything, man. I didn’t like drugs but I dug the music’,” said Al Jacques, lead singer and bassist for Savage Grace. “You make these gross generalizations about crowds or generations or whatever and sometimes some of those gross generalizations are true but they are still gross generalizations.” 

Locals gawked across the lake at the invasion of “weirdos” who had come to takeover their town and compromise their morals. Party stores for miles were left with empty shelves and happy business owners. Film footage shot that weekend featured interviews with neighbors that commented on how polite and respectful the festival goers were, while in the same breath, explained they had their shotguns loaded just incase. 

Inside the gates, things remained peaceful. The weekend ended without any reports of violent crimes or death. A few dozen people were treated by medical staff but were all treated for sunburn or heat exhaustion—no drug related cases were reported. 

The weekend went off without a hitch—something Billboard Magazine praised the festival for. As for the rest of the press, Goose Lake didn’t receive the proper coverage, even back then. Rolling Stone and other large rock publications completely snubbed the festival.

“You have the East coast and the Left coast and you have all of us ‘flyover-people’ in the middle,” recalls Jacques. “I believe there was a conscious decision on their part to ignore the festival because they are and were the cultural centers of the world and how dare you have something as big as Woodstock.”

The rumor is, while Songer granted members of the press free admission, it was made very clear that the backstage area was for band members only and press was not welcome in the backstage area. Whatever the case, one of the largest festivals of its era came and went without much of a peep. 

 A festival dubbed “Goose Lake II” was planned for that Labor Day weekend and would feature Fleetwood Mac and Savoy Brown. This looked to be a great ending to an amazing event and the start of a new age for rock music in the Midwest; however, the powers that be had other plans. The State of Michigan drew charges on Richard Songer and later indicted him for promoting the sale of drugs. 

“Well, they had to have some reason to crucify the guy. I mean, you couldn’t go after him because he caused a parking problem. That doesn’t sound like a criminal. The minute you brought the drug word into it—now you’ve got people’s attention,” said Avel. “They didn’t want that to ever happen again. So, what’s the best way to do it? You look for the worst possible thing you can come up with.”

Remaining Speaker Towers at Greenwood Acres Campground. Photo: Brett Booth

Remaining Speaker Towers at Greenwood Acres Campground. Photo: Brett Booth

Goose Lake International Music Festival would be the first and last pop festival ever held at Goose Lake Park. The property spent a short time as a zoo before being converted into its current state as a campground. Bits and pieces of its rock ‘n’ roll history are hidden throughout the campground. The large steel-beamed speaker towers still stand alongside the stage that has since been converted into a rec center. 

Goose Lake may not go down in history as the most influential moment in rock history and will likely be left out of the conversation when talking about festivals like Woodstock, Altamont and Monterey Pop, but, the magic and mystery of Goose Lake will live on forever in the hearts and minds of those who attended this amazingly-beautiful, forgotten chapter of rock ‘n’ roll history.

Goose Lake. 1970.

A video posted by radioc00per (@radioc00per) on Jul 27, 2015 at 12:41pm PDT

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