Author: Steven Reaume (page 1 of 3)

City Hall Rejects Heidelberg Expansion

The Heidelberg Project has been a more personal, direct, and inspiring response to the plight and blight of our city than any hockey arena or $1000/month apartment project. It is a space that is truly a part of Detroit’s DNA. A space that was bringing hope and visitors to Detroit long before the Disneyfication of Downtown began.

Tax breaks, free land, community displacement are offered up on silver platters to rich developers. The lack of vision and respect from city government towards the culture of our city has got to stop.

This a a piece of the soul of our city, our history. An authentic expression of the originality of Detroiters. We need to speak up or the true icons of the Detroit we love, the Detroit that drew many of us here while so many were leaving, will soon be gone.

Detroit Land Bank rejects Heidelberg Project expansion (Metro Times)

313 Techno

Memorial weekend is undeniably our ‘techno holiday’ in Detroit. The long running electronic music festival, rescued from the ashes of mismanagement by the talented crew at Paxahau over 11 years ago, has become an annual pilgrimage for all those who love electronic music and the culture that has grown from it. Paxahau’s relentless pursuit of perfection, combined with the world class sound production of Audio Rescue Team, has propelled this annual event to the top of the list. It is because of their efforts that Movement is the bedrock of this weekends plethora of events.

Detroit was the birth place of techno in the the 80s. Although many genres have built upon it, Detroit Techno laid the foundation. The nascent club scene of the 80s also ignited the fire of what was to come. The Music Institute and Heaven provided a multicultural environment of sound and bodies, a perfect introduction to a new sound on the dance floor. The fusion of electronic music with post-punk industrial sounds in clubs such as Todd’s and City Club helped usher in a new culture that mixed genres and educated club goers.

The early 90s brought underground parties and rave culture into this mix here. Young, creative promoters let loose on our industrial canvas and defined what after-hours in our city was. Their uniquely Detroit style is still evident in the parties that are being produced now. 365 days a year there is a DJ playing in a venue somewhere in Detroit; in restaurants, clubs, warehouses, anywhere they can set up. From generation to generation the spirit of what the original creators of this sound established has evolved and flourished.

For those who have traveled to Detroit to celebrate this holiday of beats, and those that live it every day in our city, let’s get lost in the rhythm together and celebrate what we all have been a part of creating. Musicians, promoters, venues, and dancers are all responsible for creating this movement that we call techno.

Thank you Detroit.

Photo by Baboo Photography

Cultural (Im)Balance

The manifestations of collective cultural growth, experimentation and development should not be limited to a mainstream timeframe. Creativity flourishes around the clock, in unexpected locations, among disparate groups of people who come together to form truly unique communities. While some restrictions are necessary to protect citizens from harm, those restrictions should be carefully considered so as not to extinguish the spirit of cultural ingenuity.

Culture in Detroit is open for business until 2am, when the clock strikes 2, it has struggled to establish itself in a continuous way.

In the nineties we would build environments to safely express and grow an alternative habitat after closing time. We played a game of whack a mole with authorities, building up venues and waiting for the power of the city to break them down. The underground played an important role in the development of a new cultural revolution in our city then. We were a city hitting rock bottom in every way. Collectively we created a new vision of our city that was unique in sound and vision, one that shined a positive light on integration of city and suburb, black and white, gay and straight. Eventually the authorities won and muted the afterhours.

Fast forward to today. The New Detroit is thriving on one side of the cultural spectrum. Our achievements in the mainstream have been remarkable. The art, food and regular hours nightlife are growing impressively. Unfortunately it is unbalanced and not well integrated. Once again Detroit is struggling to establish an afterhours, underground subculture. Seeds are planted, begin to sprout new ideas and environments, then they are uprooted and killed, never fully realizing their potential. Unable to provide an avant-garde counterbalance.

Out of town visitors often commented on how reflective our underground was of the Detroit they had heard about and desired to experience. Something they found nowhere else. Some of the best DJs in the world wanted to travel to our city to play an after hours party and be a part of the energy of it. Many have been booked for parties around Movement this year, but with the most recent crackdown, cancellations are inevitable.

Recently we’ve lost venues such as Russell Industrial, Grenadier, and Tires. Michael Lapp tried relentlessly to work within the system to create a safe legal space at Tires, without any luck.

As the police were aggressively closing down a venue this weekend one officer commented, “There’s no place for after hours in the new Detroit’ and “All of you fuckers from the burbs can’t keep coming here and think you can do whatever you want’. Interestingly that last quote was said to all longtime Detroit residents. This lack of vision and understanding is counterproductive and ignorant. In the year that Grenadier operated there was no violence, no need for cops or ambulances. In contrast, on any given weekend in Greektown, the police presence is pervasive, violence common, and safety uncertain.

Constant attempts at establishing a forum for underground environments in the after hours and outer edge of the establishment will continue. It’s time for our city and those in charge to recognize this and help find a way to support those who want to create safe, alternative spaces. I challenge our local government to participate in the development of a 24 hour city.

Bringing the underground into the structure of our city would also be financially beneficial in many direct and indirect ways. Revenue from properly licensed and taxed after hours venues could be substantial. The expansion of entertainment options would also draw more tourists.

Detroit is often compared to Berlin. Our industrial aesthetic, expansive urban ruins, and electronic music scene are amongst the reasons why. We could learn a few things from the way culture has been allowed to thrive there. They have clubs such as Tresor and Berghain that are considered among the best in the world. There is no equivalent in Detroit, a city considered the birthplace of techno, and there never will be in this restrictive environment.

This is a shame.

Year 2016 : Day 005 : Soundtrack

Ted Krisko

: Ted Krisko, part of the duo ATAXIA, plays a stripped down and immersive set that  is graceful and infused with the flavor of Detroit.

 Ted will be playing at TV Dinners in TV Lounge tonight with Loren and Mister Joshooa.

Icon : #grenadierclub

There are times that when a club opens in Detroit, it feels like it’s always been here, an icon of the city. It so perfectly fills a void in the scene. Grenadier Club, in my opinion, is one of those places.

Grenadier

Previously one of the many Grenadier private clubs across the country, Grenadier closed and reopened as a gay bar on the near Eastside of Detroit. We heard about the club in December of 2015. Our first night there they were presenting a drag show on the main floor. It felt like the drag shows of Detroit’s past. Authentic, diverse and raw. Looking for a space for an after hours weekly, in January we toured the the club.

When we were taken up the back stairs into the ballroom it was love on first site.

Grenadier

Wanting to recreate some of the unity, imagination and creativity of the original underground parties in Detroit, we started a weekly called BAK DØR in that ballroom. We decided to showcase a line up of club residents (Bunny Hop, DJ Holographic, Rex Bravo, and RJ Stefanski) that, in our opinion, reflected the talent present in todays scene. We would invite a guest resident each month, including some Detroit legends, to share the booth with them and help curate the party for the month. We joined with a different local artist each month to reimagine and transform the interior of the club. We quickly added a second chill room, RØM2, to highlight everything from experimental to ambient Detroit artists. Combined with the unique, generous and creative staff at Grenadier, the photos of Robert Guzman that reflected, on our posters, the essence of what we wanted BAK DØR to be (and quickly became a showcase of what it became) and the sound by Audio Rescue Team, we felt we had the right formula.

Since then, every Friday night at midnight, guests have come through the Lombardi Room’s back door entrance, up to the ballroom and come together on the dance floor until the sun came up. Some of the best seasoned and new DJs have shared the DJ booth, Detroiters of all kinds have celebrated life, each other and danced the strain of their week away. And yes, we all got gloriously messy.

Grenadier

Trying to find out more history about Grenadier has been difficult. One of a chain of clubs across the country, Grenadier Lounge of Marracci seems to be part of the Shriners organization. With obvious Egyptian references throughout the club and it’s ballroom, it’s mysterious history makes the space even more interesting. It has a Detroit flavor that’s difficult to describe unless you’ve been there.

Grenadier

As we close this chapter of BAK DØR, we take with us many new friends. We have gained a family in everyone that has made Grenadier possible. We look forward to spending many weekends at the club as guests, and as promoters in the future. We are honored to have been a part of the beginnings of this truly special and uniquely Detroit venue.

We couldn’t have incubated BAK DØR in any other venue, and are excited to experience what the many great promoters do in the space in the weeks to come.

We’ll see you on the dance floor of Grenadier, an instant icon of Detroit’s club scene.

#grenadierclub icon products

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