They weren’t outlaw parties like Michael Alig’s takeover of McDonald’s in the 80s in New York, but the parties in unexpected and transformed rooms were a seminal part of the party scene in Detroit.
In the early 90’s I left on a sabbatical from Detroit and moved to Pontiac to manage Industry Nightclub and work with Amir. While in Pontiac I ran a small coffee shop with Carlos, Marke, Eric, and Alan called KORZO. Although tiny, holding maybe 30-40 people, and short lived, it represented the kind of multi-experience space that could inspire community. On many nights we would close the draped tarp over the front window, set-up a sound system and throw a party. Mare, Brian, so many others would pull out their vinyl and present their craft. KORZO the sandwich shop was transformed into KORZO the listening/dance room.
Later in the decade while at La Dolce Vita, Meredith and I started a weekly Tuesday called HOT BOX. We would remove the tables and chairs from the dining room and throw a party every week. Theo Parrish and Moodymann created an environment of sound that brought the dance floor into a sweaty frenzy. Adriel held down an ambient room at Zoot’s Coffee Shop in midtown. Robert and Jason in the bar at Traffic Jam on Tuesdays. There were many more.
Times Square, which was at its heart a club, was transformed in to a lunch spot, gallery and one of the best brunch spots in the area. Melissa and I couldn’t get through a week without sharing one of their cinnamon rolls. All individual unique and special incarnations, but at it’s soul was Butch‘s residency, commanding the dance floor. A benchmark of clubbing at the time.
I remember parties in the 80’s that Sterling would throw in school cafeterias, random events at the Junior League, University Club, Lodge Halls, lofts. These were the seeds that the rave scene grew from, evolving from restaurants, cafeterias and coffee houses to warehouses.
Today Vincent Patricola sets up his turntables on the bar at Union Street Detroit on Sundays, Peter Croce plays at Central Kitchen + Bar downtown, Ariel takes over Drive Table Tennis Social Club weekly, and a few more.
But I say that’s not enough!
Detroit is overflowing with new and established talent and great new spaces. Lets spread the sound to a wider audience. Takeover some dining rooms, set-up your turntables on a few bars and create the soundtrack to todays Detroit.
Let’s bring the sound of Detroit to unexpected places.