Lost Cultural Venues of Detroit: Photographs of the 2016 Exhibition

Around three months ago, I started organizing an exhibit called Lost Cultural Venues of Detroit: Social Spaces and Playgrounds.   Putting it together has been a lot of fun and a lot of work.

It’s gone well enough.  I think that a lot of people have seen it.  This post attempts to document the display.  It will give an idea of what it was like for those who couldn’t get by to see it in person.

At this writing, you have about three more weeks.  The full exhibit should be on display until Thursday September 15.  After that, it will be up a bit longer, yet keep getting smaller, until it’s down to just 2 cases. That “greatest hits” configuration should still be up until October 1st.

New hours: http://research.udmercy.edu/about/hours/mcn.php

I never really put out a sign-in sheet or guest book.  So if you did see it, I’d appreciate it if you’d email me at mgreemaugre@gmail.com or else just leave a comment here.

The first display case (below) featured events which took place outdoors.  These included the Michigan State Fair (at Detroit’s State Fairgrounds), the Festival of the Arts, the Fourth Street Fair, the Bob-Lo Boat, New Center’s Taste Fest and several more.

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Material connected with the “Fourth Street Fair”

The second case (below) celebrates Detroit’s early jazz scenes. There’s also material connected with Detroit’s lost Hastings Street/ Black Bottom neighborhood. The Graystone was one of the best known late, great jazz spots.  Thanks to Lutz Bacher for loaning the material on the Minor Key and the Drome Lounge.


The third case (below) features material on poetry and theatre venues. Included as an original flyer for an early performance by Lily Tomlin at the Unstabled Coffee House.  There’s also material on the Concept Theatre, the Catacombs Coffee House, the Horizons in Poetry series and much more.

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The fourth case (below) pays tribute to Detroit’s underground and repertory cinema scene.  Venues include the Tele-Arts Theatre and Zoot’s Coffee House.  Lost film series include the Cass City Cinema (held at the Unitarian Church at Cass & Forest) and the long running film program at the Main Branch Library.  It also includes a tribute to Detroit’s 1940’s movie theatres.


The fifth case (below) is a mixture of Detroit venues and events, mostly musical ones.  It includes material on the Grande, Bookies and various jazz spots.  There’s a photo of Smokey Robinson performing at Kennedy Square.

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The sixth case (below) is across the room, toward Livernois.  It’s the sole “flat case.”  A lot of the best and rarest things are here: a table drumstick from the Club El Sino, an ashtray from the Chin Tiki, material on the Detroit Artist’s Workshop, more on the Unstabled, an original ad for the Graystone ballroom and much more.

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The seventh and final case (below, two photos) also has a lot of interesting things.  It’s mostly posters, flyers and copies of old advertisements.

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A detail of the final showcase including material on the Palms-State Theatre, Bookies, the Zeitgeist, Alvin’s, the Freezer Theatre, the Poison Apple and others.  There are some copies of old ads for bars, restaurants and nightclubs in Detroit circa 1960-1961.

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4 Responses to “Lost Cultural Venues of Detroit: Photographs of the 2016 Exhibition”

  1. LHM Says:

    My wife’s grandmother was Edith Cantor, who operated the Unstabled Coffeehouse. We are looking for any information you have on its original location. Also very interested in any flyers or memorabilia or photographs of that material. Very difficult to find information. Thanks for your help.

    • khaym leyb ben hertz Says:

      I was involved with Edith and the Unstabled in 1962 and 1963. I worked running the after-hours jazz on the weekends, acted in several plays, and was in charge of advertising and publicity, sending releases out to all media
      The “house”jazz group featured Sam Sanders, Benny Maupin and Dedrick Glover.

      Among the talented “performers” were Woodie King, Cliff Frazier, Rev. Malcolm Boyd, Sheila Schurer, Lily Tomlin, Sylvia King, Mary SchornWolf Shanbrom, Lenny Pitt, Wouren Edouerdez, and myself.

      Among the plays we performed were “Crawling Arnold,” “The Sandbox,” and “The Pitt and the Pendulum.”

      The Unstabled was located at 16 Temple just west of Woodward, where Wayne State is building.

      Enjoyed working with Edith and the above-mentioned crew, and hope that this info helps you out a bit.

  2. artremedy20 Says:

    16 Temple Street. Email me at mgreemaugre@gmail.com & I can give you more information. It was before my time, but I’ve done some research & have met several people with vivid memories of the Unstabled Club.

  3. artremedy20 Says:

    Thanks for the further information on the Unstabled Club. There’s not a lot of information out there. This helps a lot.

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