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Hamtramck performance space and bar turns to crowdfunding for key renovations

Public Spaces Community Places, a state-sponsored placemaking initiative operated by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, has set out to raise funds for a Hamtramck-based project. The campaign's focus is Planet Ant Hall, a performance and social complex located across the street from the original Planet Ant Theatre.

Planet Ant and MEDC have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to help finish and repair Planet Ant Hall. Should the crowdfunding campaign successfully raise $35,000 by Nov. 1, the MEDC will kick in an addtional $35,000 as a matching grant.

The campaign is being hosted on the Michigan-based Patronicity crowdfunding platform.

Though Planet Ant Hall opened earlier this year, organizers say that there is still much work to be done. The group plans on using its crowdfunding and matching grant money, a total of $70,000, toward a new HVAC system, an improved facade, a build out of the back stage area, roof repairs, an upgraded lighting grid, and new techinical equipment.

According to Planet Ant Executive Director Darren Shelton, "Planet Ant Theatre was founded 25 years ago on the core principles of artistic freedom and experimentation, and the belief that these principles are fundamental to the spirit of community, creative fulfillment, and success. The completion of Ant Hall will accelerate the pursuit of this mission by expanding our space and resources and thus, our overall impact."

The original Planet Ant, which is still open today, debuted across the street in 1993. Originally a coffee shop, the storefront became a small black box theater in 1996, and has been putting on scripted and improv productions ever since. Among its famous alums include Keegan-Michael Key, co-creator of Comedy Central's "Key and Peele."

The new Planet Ant Hall includes a 470 capacity performance space and the attached Ghost Light Bar, and features music, comedy, films, karaoke, and more.

Click here to view the status of the crowdfunding campaign.

Planet Ant Hall is located at 2320 Caniff St. in Hamtramck.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Free after-school program for Detroit poets to expand and enhance services with sixth site

Detroit's Martin Luther King, Jr. High School, located at the intersection of McDougall and Larned streets on the city's east side, will soon receive a Citywide Poets site. The InsideOut Literary Arts Project's Citywide Poets is a free after-school program for teens.

Citywide Poets uses the written and spoken word to encourage teens to tell their story, examine the challenges they face, and explore solutions, says the organization. The program offers students relationships with artistic mentors and the opportunity for performances and publication.

According to InsideOut Literary Arts Project (iO), over 90 percent of students participating in the program go on to attend post-secondary institutions.

The new Citywide Poets site is the sixth for iO. It was made possible by a recently-announced $150,000 three-year grant from the Dresner Foundation.

Suma Rosen, iO Executive Director, says the organization is thrilled to have the support of the Dresner Foundation.

"Aside from improving literary skills and boosting college readiness, this program gives participants the space to embody their full selves; the power that comes from discovering one's voice through poetry and performance is truly transformational."

In addition to the new Citywide Poets site, the Dresner grant will enable iO to improve and expand other components of its creative arts programming. Among the improvements include the planned bolstering of the Youth Poet Laureate and Ambassadors program, which nurtures both creative and civic engagement. The statewide and Detroit-based youth poetry festival Louder than a Bomb will also be expanded.

Other Citywide Poets locations include the main branch of the Detroit Public Library, Detroit School for the Arts, Communication & Media Arts High School, Detroit Institute of Technology at Cody, and Detroit International Academy for Young Women.

"Citywide Poets fosters artistic excellence for youth, offers pathways for personal and professional development, and utilizes writing and performance as a method for community engagement," says Associate Director Alise Alousi.

Registration for the Citywide Poets program can be completed in person, by mail, and online.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

'Impromptu performance space' to open along Dequindre Cut

The Dequindre Cut, that two mile-long stretch of paved greenway connecting Eastern Market with the Detroit riverfront, was designed with bicyclists and pedestrians in mind. And while movement motivates much of its usage, it's a stationary feature that will soon be celebrated.

The Campbell Memorial Terrace, an outdoor performance space, will officially be unveiled this Thursday, October 13. A children's concert, its first scheduled programming, will occur during the Harvestfest Detroit celebration on Saturday, October 22.

Located at the base of the Lafayette Street ramp between Orleans and St. Aubin streets, the Terrace includes a covered stage for performances and tiered seating walls for spectators.

The Terrace was designed with the community in mind. While there will be the occasional scheduled performance, its real function will be determined by those who use it. The space has a come-what-may policyno permits or reservations required. Whether it's working musicians wanting to put on an impromptu performance, local poets wanting to give readings, or neighborhood children coming up with their own fun and games, if the stage is open, the community is encouraged to use it.

Spontaneity is the name of the game here.

"We wanted to leave it flexible and see what the community comes up with," says Mark Wallace, president and CEO of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. "We set the table and let the community bring the programming instead of us bringing the programming from the top down."

The Campbell Memorial Terrace is named after C. David Campbell, former president of the McGregor Fund and a founding member of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. A long-standing member of the Detroit non-profit community, Campbell passed away in 2014. The McGregor Fund presented the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy with a $1 million gift to honor Campbell. According to those responsible, the terrace, which incorporates all the things Campbell lovedthe outdoors, music, art, and, most of all, the communitydoes just that.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Two alley festivals to take place this Saturday in Midtown

Often an afterthought in most neighborhoods, the alley is kind of a special thing in Midtown. There's Dally in the Alley, one of Detroit's longest-running street fairs, which celebrates the Cass Corridor with local music, art, and food vendors lining a neighborhood alley. There are the green alleys, which convert typically dank and uninviting alleys into charming walkways, complete with green methods of storm water management and the reintroduction of native plants. There's even the Garden Bowl, which, at over 100 years old, is the oldest continuously operating bowling alley in the country.

A new micro-festival will debut on Saturday, September 10, the same day as Dally in the Alley. The new event is called The Green Alley Gathering and it takes place in the Green Alley adjacent to Jolly Pumpkin and Third Man Records. Organized by Porterhouse Presents, the Gathering will celebrate the community and promote Midtown Detroit, Inc.'s Green Alley construction projects throughout the neighborhood.

Two music stages will bookend the alley, plus Man & Pan Paella will be serving their traditional meat, seafood, and vegan Spanish paella. A cash bar featuring Jolly Pumpkin, North Peak, and Civilized Spirits adult beverages will be located in Third Man Records.

Booked to play the first Green Alley Gathering is MarchFourth, a genre-mixing party marching band that also features acrobats and stilters, the Craig Brown Band, a local country-rock group recently signed to Third Man Records, and the Silent Disco, a multimedia experience that has listeners wear headphones at the concert. Silent Disco will include sets from DJ Psycho, DJ Prim, and more.

The Green Alley Gathering is Saturday, September 10 and runs from 6:00 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. It is located in the Green Alley between 2nd and Cass Avenues and West Canfield and West Willis Streets.

Dally in the Alley is Saturday, September 10 and runs from 11:00 a.m to 11:00 p.m. between Forest Avenue and Hancock Street and 2nd and 3rd Avenues. The event is free.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Planet Ant turns to crowdfunding to complete redevelopment of old Hamtramck banquet hall

Planet Ant Theatre is growing. Not just in the size of its audience, but physically. 

The theater that showcases Metro Detroit's longest running improv show has acquired a banquet hall kitty corner from its black box theater on Caniff Street, and is in the process of transforming it into Planet Ant Hall. While Planet Ant will continue to utilize its theatre for shows, the hall will allow Planet Ant to increase seating capacity for shows and also offer more improv comedy classes.

(Check out this Model D article on the local improv comedy scene)

Construction is already underway. The drop ceiling has been torn out but the air conditioning will remainan upgrade those familiar with Planet Ant might appreciate today. But a maxed out budget now has Planet Ant turning to the community to help finish the job. Planet Ant has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $55,000. An August 31 deadline has been extended by ten days to help Planet Ant reach its goal.

Michael Hovitch, managing director of Planet Ant, says the money raised will go toward things like sound and lighting equipment, seating, and a renovated floor. The goal is to complete construction by the end of October, the theater's 20th anniversary, and launch the new space with a popular show from Planet Ant's past.

"Planet Ant has been around for a long time and it's become a big part of the community," says Hovitch. "It's a small black box theater but we've been wanting to expand for a while. We've been having more and more success with our classes and want to grow, offer more opportunities for our performers."

It's an impressive list of actors, comedians, and musicians that have come through Planet Ant's doors. Two of the most famous include Jack White, who performed at the Planet Ant Coffee House open mic night, and Keegan-Michael Key, who was a founding member of Planet Ant Theatre and its comedy group.

Planet Ant Coffee House opened in 1993. It transitioned to being a theater three years later.

The Planet Ant Hall crowdfunding campaign is being hosted on Indiegogo.

Planet Ant Hall is located at 2320 Caniff St. in Hamtramck.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

New neighborhood bar opens on Carpenter Street in Hamtramck

The Perrotta brothers are familiar faces around Hamtramck. Andrew is a member of the local music community, performing with the band Sick Smile. Ian is a copy editor at the Hamtramck Review and a member of city council. Together, they started Habitat for Hamtramck. Beginning Wednesday, March 9, the Perrottas will be members of the Hamtramck bar owner community, when their new venture, Trixie's Bar, officially opens for business.

Though the bar had a soft opening and served as a venue for the recent Hamtramck Music Festival, Wednesday marks the official opening with the establishment of regular hours, Wednesday-Saturday from 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Hours may expand in the future.

Trixie's Bar is located in the old Turtle & Inky's space on Carpenter Street between Joseph Campau and Mackay. The Perrotta brothers purchased the bar last November, spending the past several months sprucing up a building the previous owner described to them as “an old horse.” The brothers re-named the bar Trixie's in remembrance to their mother, who passed away earlier that year.

While some changes have been made, including the addition of a stage for live music, Ian says the business will remain a neighborhood bar. The brothers plan on hosting live bands on Saturdays among other events throughout the week. New lighting, a drink rail, a beer cooler, and wireless Internet have been installed. A new paint job and extensive caulking have been performed. Ian, who has been attempting to open the music store Sticks, Strings, and Other Things since 2011, will use part of the space to sell musical goods, at least until a permanent location for that store opens.

"We want it to be a fun and welcoming place where you know you'll have a good time," says Ian. "A night here is kind of like being at a house party with a liquor license."

Trixie's Bar is located at 2656 Carpenter St. in Hamtramck.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Retail Bootcamp complete, Detroit startups work to establish permanent locations

Five Detroit start-ups are receiving a financial push from their alma mater, TechTown's 2015 Retail Boot Camp program. Nearly $40,000 will be split among the five graduates of the entrepreneur training program in an effort to help them make the transition to brick-and-mortar locations.

The businesses include a music store, ice cream shop, handmade Indian crafts store, creamery, and resale/vintage clothing boutique. According to TechTown, each business is "on-the-verge." Each received a kickstart package that includes up to $7,500 in subsidies that can be used toward a permanent location, pop-up location, inventory, and/or a point-of-sale system.

Alana Rodriguez hopes to use the money to open Mama Coo's Boutique in her Southwest Detroit neighborhood. She has previously sold vintage/resale clothing as well as personally handmade jewelry and crafts at the Detroit Institute of Arts and Eastern Market.

Either West Village, East Jefferson, or West Rivertown will land an outdoor goods store as Sarah White looks to open her MOR & Co. on the city's east side. In a previous interview with Model D, White said that a lot of thought goes into selecting her inventory. "When I look at the design of something, it's not just what does it looks like, but how does it work? Where did it come from? Who made it and what's their story? How am I going to sell it, and what does someone do with it after it's done being used? All of those are important components," she says.

Third Wave Music, a 2014 Hatch finalist, is the recipient of one of the 2015 Kickstart Awards, which will be used toward opening the musical instrument store in the soon-to-be renovated Forest Arms apartment building in Midtown. Look for Third Wave to make its debut in April 2016.

Chris Reilly's Reilly Craft Creamery will use the money toward a pop-up in a yet-to-be disclosed location somewhere in the city in the summer of 2016. The creamery gets its products from Michigan organic farms.

Another Eastern Market vendor, Ojas Alkolkar, hopes to open Tribalfare in either downtown, Midtown, or Corktown. In addition to selling one-of-a-kind, handcrafted goods from her native India, Alkolkar will also offer Bollywood dance lessons, yoga, and other community events at her eventual location.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Detroiters in film, music, and the live arts to vie for $25,000 fellowships

It's that time of year again, the time when artists in and around Detroit begin imagining what they would do with $25,000. The application cycle for the 2016 Kresge Artist Fellowships has begun.

An application guide for the fellowship program was released on Monday, Nov. 2. While the application process doesn't open until Dec. 1 and the deadline isn't until Jan. 21, the guide is being made available to prepare local artists for a better chance at winning the prizes. Now in its eighth year, Kresge Arts in Detroit will award $25,000 fellowships to 18 local artists in film, music, and the live arts. The awards are available to artists living in metro Detroit, defined here as Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties.

Nine awards will go to those in the live arts and nine awards will go to those in film and music. According to Kresge, the live arts include choreography, dance, theater directing, performance art, playwriting, and interdisciplinary work. The film and music division includes animation, film directing, music composition, music performance, screenwriting, and interdisciplinary work.

A 2014 Kresge Artist Fellow, playwright Sherina Rodriguez Sharpe characterizes winning the award as a life-changing experience. "The fellowship enabled me to take greater risks in my work and to live my entire life as art," she says in a statement.

This year's programming is a little different than others as applicants for the Kresge Artist Fellowship will also be considered for the 2016 Gilda Awards, two $5,000 no-strings-attached prizes named in honor of Gilda Snowden, a Detroit artist and professor at the College for Creative Studies who died in September of 2014. The Creative Many Michigan organization will also be offering professional practice opportunities for the fellows.

Two applicant orientations and one workshop will be held prior to the Jan. 21 deadline so as to better prepare artists in their applications.

The Kresge Foundation funds the fellowships, having given $3.5 million directly to local artists since 2008. Kresge Arts in Detroit at the College for Creative Studies administers the fellowships. 126 Kresge Artist Fellowships, seven Kresge Eminent Artist Awards, and two Gilda Snowden Awards have been doled out since 2008.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

New arts venue to celebrate Eastern Market grand opening

Detroit's latest arts venue is set to open Friday, Sept. 25, in Eastern Market. Wasserman Projects, specializing in art, design, and music programming, will open its doors in concert with the Detroit Design Festival. The grand opening and reception will feature two installations by three artists, one inside and one outside, along with music from Jeedo X and Saxappeal.

Inside the 5,000-square-foot Eastern Market space that Wasserman now occupies, German-born and current-Brooklyn resident Markus Linnenbrink has collaborated with Miami Beach architect Nick Gelpi to create "THEFIRSTONEISCRAZY-THESECONDONEISNUTS." It's art-meets-architecture, according to organizers, and allows for visitors to walk within the installation and interact with its ins and outs. During the opening reception, Jeedo X and Saxappeal will perform within the creation along a central split.

Outside will debut "Elf Waves," "Earth Loops," and "*Spatial Forces," a new work from Detroit-based Jon Brumit. "Elf Waves" is an aural, visual, and physical creation built in a modified grain silo on the grounds of Wasserman. "Earth Loops" allows users to play music along with "*Spatial Forces," which is temporarily using FM radio station 100.1 FM to broadcast the artist's music throughout Eastern Market, using 13 short-range FM radio transmitters installed on Russell Street from Mack to Gratiot avenues to create a drive-through radio collage. The artist was the recipient of a Knights Art Challenge grant.

Art from all three artists will also be on display.

"This inaugural exhibition brings together artists and designers coming from a wide range of backgrounds," says Gary Wasserman, founder of Wasserman Projects. "It is a great example of the conceptual and experiential nature we have envisioned for our programming and is just the beginning of the innovative programs we plan to realize in our new location."

Wasserman Projects celebrates its grand opening Friday, Sept. 25, from 6 to 10 p.m. It is located at 3434 Russell St. in Eastern Market.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Coming this September to the Dequindre Cut: Lazermaze, Pulsar Party, and more

Now in its fifth year, the Detroit Design Festival is turning its attention to the Dequindre Cut.

The festival, which celebrates the great design legacy of Detroit, is organized by the Detroit Creative Corridor Center and will run from Sept. 22-26 at locations throughout the city.

Set for the Dequindre Cut is the "Under the Cut" event, the result of an international contest that solicited designers from near and far to submit proposals for interactive art installations that focus on the theme of 'play.' Organizers chose five winners from a total of 50 submissions. Each winner will receive a $2,500 grant to aid in the construction and installation of their piece.

Three of the installations planned for "Under the Cut" come from Detroiters. Anya Sirota's "Pulsar Party" utilizes lightweight metallic geometric flares to create a cosmic-like environment, both experiential and whimsical. Bridget Quinn, also of Detroit, will construct the "Office of Natural Feelings," a collection of poetry written by Detroiters that will lead pedestrians on trips throughout the city. Detroit-based architectural design studio LAAVU has been selected to create an installation entitled "Swing Dequindre." LAAVU will install a series of swings and a large sail to be used by people exploring the Cut.

The fourth installation comes from Ann Arbor, where U. Sean Vance developed "Drop Kick Push Pull," an interactive game of object manipulation that encourages physical movement. The lone international entry selected was from London, England-based George King Architects. Theirs is called "Lazermaze," a maze that mixes the past with future using UV ink-dyed wool that glows, which at night gives the effect of lazers, while drawing inspiration from ancient Greek labyrinths and medieval European hedge mazes.

"Cities of design are cities that are responsive to human needs, and we want Detroit Design Festival 2015 to challenge designers to explore how design can encourage residents to engage with their environment and improve the quality of life for all Detroiters," says Matthew Clayson, DC3 Executive Director.

In addition to the five winners, Detroit's Skidmore Studio will donate an installation called "Pinwheels," which will involve planting hundreds of pinwheels along the Cut. Also occurring at the nearby riverfront will be Missouri-born artist Nick Cave's "Heard•Detroit," where he'll parade nearly 30 life-size horse sculptures along the riverfront.

"Under the Cut" opens the last day of DDF, Sept. 26. It runs through Oct. 10.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Gabriel Hall to bring New Orleans vibe to West Village

A music venue, bar, restaurant, museum, and music education advocacy group are all coming to West Village -- and they'll all be under the same roof. If all goes to plan, Dameon Gabriel and his business partner will have opened Gabriel Hall by the end of the summer of 2016 in an old three-story house with a ground floor storefront located at the intersection of Kercheval and Van Dyke. Like Gabriel himself, Gabriel Hall is a unique blend of New Orleans and Detroit, or, as he puts it, New Orleans blood with a Detroit heart.

Dameon comes from New Orleans and Detroit music royalty. A family that was at the very beginnings of New Orleans jazz, the Gabriels moved to Detroit in the 1940s and have been carrying on that legacy ever since. Today, Dameon leads the Gabriel Brass Band. His business partner, a Louisiana-born chef, is crafting a menu that draws inspiration from both New Orleans and Detroit.

Finalists in last year's Hatch Detroit contest, Gabriel and his team have a big vision for the place, which they purchased at the end of April. The first floor will house the bar, restaurant, and music venue.

"I love to create an experience. If you have a good time with friends, food, and music, you always remember that," says Gabriel. "I always had that growing up where I would be with my uncles and my dad and everything would turn into a concert and everybody's partying and dancing and everybody's playing an instrument in the house."

Upstairs will serve as a museum, chronicling the deep history of the Gabriel family and New Orleans and Detroit jazz. It will also serve as the headquarters of an already-existing nonprofit dedicated to improving music education conditions in city schools. The group was recently involved in donating 21 instruments to Detroit Public Schools students.

It's a change of intended destinations for the Gabriel Hall team, having originally planned on renting a storefront in Woodbridge. And while Gabriel stresses a deep affection for Woodbridge, the opportunity to own a building proved too valuable to pass up. Gabriel says that the West Village neighborhood and association is thrilled to have the business moving in, already offering to organize volunteer clean-up days for the site. It's a building that has been vacant for quite a while and will require significant effort and investment to become white box-ready.

Gabriel and his business partner have hired the Detroit firm Virtuoso Design+Build to come up with Gabriel Hall's look. The firm is responsible for designing UFO Factory in Corktown and a Big Sean-donated recording studio at Cass Tech. He says they're working on something that evokes that vintage New Orleans flair without looking old and stuck in time.

Dameon hopes to open Gabriel Hall by the end of the summer of 2016. It's to be located at 8002 Kercheval Ave.

Source: Dameon Gabriel, founder and CEO of Gabriel Hall
Writer: MJ Galbraith

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Two artists each win $50K to bring projects to Detroit


A Detroit skate and sculpture park will be the beneficiary of a $50,000 grant awarded by the Joyce Foundation to Jamaicana-born artist Nari Ward and Detroit arts and community group Power House Productions. The two will partner on the construction of a new sculpture for the park on Detroit's east side.

Ride It Sculpture Park is located at the intersection of the E. Davison Freeway and Klinger Street, just north of Hamtramck. Power House Productions built the park, converting an unused vacant lot into a skate park, art installation, and community space. They've received national attention for the park, even drawing in legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk, who visited Ride It in 2013 and, through his foundation, awarded Power House Productions a $30,000 grant.

Ward plans on using the Joyce Award to spend the year in Detroit, where he'll take in the city and find inspiration for his sculpture. He'll also use that time to find locally-sourced materials for his piece.

"I have always wanted to come back and do another project in Detroit," says Ward. "The opportunity to work with Power House Productions on a large scale public sculpture offers me this opportunity. I look forward to encounter, experiment with, and accompany a community with humility and respect."

Also winning a $50,000 Joyce Award is Sanford Biggers. The New York City-based artist will partner with the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit in the creation of "Subjective Cosmology," a multidisciplinary piece that will explore American history. Biggers also plans on spending a year in the city as he gathers inspiration for the project and meets local artists and musicians.

The Joyce Awards presents itself as the only program to specifically support artists of color in the major cities throughout the Great Lakes region. A project in Chicago and a project in the Twin Cities join the two projects in Detroit as $50,000 winners.

Source: Joyce Foundation press release
Writer: MJ Galbraith

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

PJ's Lager House to raise money for future Detroit music store

Corktown bar, restaurant, and music venue PJ's Lager House is hosting a two-night fundraiser for Third Wave Music, a musical instrument and supply store scheduled to open in August 2015 in Midtown's Forest Arms apartment building, which is currently being rehabbed. The event takes place Friday, Jan. 2, and Saturday, Jan. 3 at PJ's in Corktown.

Though they didn't win the ultimate $50,000 prize as a finalist in the 2014 Hatch Detroit contest, Third Wave Music has experienced a significant boost from the community. A recent crowdfunding campaign, fundraising concerts, and art auction raised a reported $10,000 for the music store. That money is being used to purchase inventory.

The weekend-long benefit was actually the idea of Lager House owner Paul "PJ" Ryder, who approached Third Wave about hosting another fundraiser. All of the money collected at the door and 50 percent of bar sales will be given to Third Wave.

Detroit is a city internationally renowned for its contributions to popular music. Yet for all of the musicians living and working in Detroit, be they students, amateurs, hobbyists, or professionals, there are few -- if any -- places to buy even the simplest of supplies, from reeds to guitar picks, strings to drum sticks.

"The outpouring of love and support reminds me of how much musicians and the people who love music really have each others back," says co-owner Jen David. "How we really want to help each other succeed, but also how bad we need a music store that is focused on the community."

In addition to supplies, the store will sell used gear, Detroit-made products and instruments, and will offer instrument repair services. As it stands today, Detroit musicians have to rely on suburban stores for the majority of such products. Music lessons are also planned.

A Benefit for Third Wave Music occurs Friday, Jan. 2, and Saturday, Jan. 3, at PJ's Lager House at 1254 Michigan Ave. Music begins at 9 p.m. on both nights. Friday includes sets from Six and the Sevens, Coyote Cleanup, Alison Lewis, 3FT, and DJ Nothing Elegant. Saturday features performances from Robbie Dwight, Kaylan Waterman, Rollin'N'Tumblin, Duende!, and Stone Clover. There is a $10 suggested donation.

Source: Jen David, co-owner of Third Wave Music
Writer: MJ Galbraith

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Detroit's newest music venue, the Huma Room, opens with HopCat craft beer bar

Ted Smith has been coming to Detroit for concerts since at least the 1980s, when he'd make many a trip to St. Andrew's Hall. Having booked music in Grand Rapids for 20 years, Smith often used Detroit as inspiration, discovering cool new music here to bring back there. Now he's moved to Detroit full-time to book shows at the city's newest music venue, the Huma Room. It's the second floor of HopCat Detroit, a craft beer bar and restaurant that is bringing 130 taps to Midtown. The grand opening is this weekend.

HopCat Detroit is the company's fourth location and the first to have a dedicated music venue. The reason for that, says Smith, is because of Detroit's rich musical heritage, something that HopCat wants to be a part of. HopCat owner Mark Sellers is a big music fan and personally approached Smith to ask him to move to Detroit to help run the Huma Room.

"There were always things in Detroit that really interested me that I wanted to bring back to Grand Rapids," says Smith. "Now I'm here." Smith has booked and worked at popular Grand Rapids venues including the Reptile House, the Intersection, and the Orbit Room.

The new venue is a sizable investment in an even bigger one -- HopCat itself represents a $4.2 million renovation of 4265 Woodward Ave., the old Agave restaurant building. The main area downstairs features 130 taps, brand new kitchen facilities, and an extensive and stylish interior rehabilitation and design. There is a 60-person four-season roof patio. The Huma Room features an additional 60 taps, new PA system, and space for 400 people standing and 250 sitting. It's adorned with historic concert photos and posters from area artists.

Smith's goal is to have music Wednesday through Saturday and is looking to draw local, regional, and national talent of all genres to the venue. An open mic for songwriters, rappers, comedians, and storytellers will be held on Sundays.

HopCat Detroit and the Huma Room open at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13.

Source: Ted Smith, booking agent at the Huma Room
Writer: MJ Galbraith

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Michigan Audio Heritage Society Museum to celebrate grand opening


Record store owners are as much archivists as they are business owners, so it's fitting that one of Detroit's very own, Brad Hales of People's Records, is about to open a museum. The Michigan Audio Heritage Society Museum, or MAHS Museum, will debut this weekend. Located in a formerly unused room of the coffee shop/music venue/art gallery/community space Trinosophes, MAHS occupies its own storefront at 1464 Gratiot Ave.

Hales has been working on collecting material for the museum for the past 11 years. As he accumulated records for his store, Hales began to amass a sizable collection of local music ephemera, like historic posters and promotional materials. With the help of John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's Knight Arts Challenge and Eastern Market Corporation, Hales is ready to open his museum.

Hales hopes MAHS will bring some much deserved attention to Michigan's musical legacy. While plenty of well-known music has come out of Michigan, Hales says that there's still so much that we don't even know about as Michiganders. He often finds himself learning about Michigan music from people who aren't even from here -- sometimes people on the other side of the world.

"There's a great deal of stuff that the rest of the world looks to us for that we might not even appreciate or know about ourselves," says Hales.

Hales is also cultivating a Detroit- and Michigan-centric Internet radio program, available to stream and download. The program will often co-incide with the rotating exhibits at the museum. 

The MAHS museum is free and will be accessible during Trinosophes brunch and performances. A grand opening is being celebrated by weekend performances from legendary Detroit jazz group Vibes From The Tribe, tickets for which are available at Trinosophes. The museum itself will be open 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday, September 26, and Saturday, September 27.
 
Source: Brad Hales, owner of People's Records, Michigan Audio Heritage Society Museum
Writer: MJ Galbraith

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.
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