The Coatpuller


Fifth Estate # 16, October 16-31, 1966

Detroit is full of openings! Last weekend: Uncle Russ’s Gran-de Ballroom broke into the open with the MC5 and the High Society’s light show, both of which were just as they have to be—TOO MUCH. (William Blake: “Enough! or Too Much.” Charles Olson: “We must have / what we want.”) We are getting it. The Gran-de will be the place again this weekend, and hopefully for a lot more weekends, with the pounding MC5 and the great new band from Lansing, the Woolies, who just recorded their first sides on the West Coast last month with one of the heaviest guitar players anywhere, Ron English, featured. The High Society will be there too.

This weekend the Artists’ Workshop will reopen with the beginning of a new phase of its existence—OPUS ONE, under the management of John Mueller, will have music by the Livonia Tool and Die and some treats by the Leprechaun Marmalade Company. Dancing will be a thing there too, and listening of course. Also blues, maniac music, jazz, poetry readings and other groovies. OPUS ONE will be open 8:30 till it quits on Friday and Saturday nights and you can get in for 99 cents while it lasts. That’s a change, i.e. try $2.50 at the Gran-de and the Etcetera. Other Artists’ Workshop activities will take place on special Sundays, the first of which will be OCTOBER 25, a mass voice and music concert with Jerry Younkins, Allen Van Newkirk, Jim Semark, Ralph Greenwood, and lots of other people reading and music by the Detroit Contemporary 4. The Lyman Woodward Ensemble, the Workshop Music Ensemble, and whoever else falls by to take part. Detroit poets: if you have eyes to read on the 25th, just show up and bring your manuscripts. Sunday, October 25, at 7:00 p.m., The Artists’ Workshop, 4857 John Lodge at Warren.

This is just the beginning. Other beautiful things are being born now & will see the light soon. I’ll try to get word to you. Detroit is full of openings, and all we have to do is walk in and take over. It’s been waiting for us. Coming soon: The Down-Home Tyrannosauraus of Despair!!

The San Francisco Mime Troupe at the Detroit Institute of Arts last weekend was OUT OF SIGHT! “Civil Rights in a Cracker-barrel.” is the most exciting theatre I’ve seen since the Concept East did LeRoi Jones’—THE SLAVE last year. All because the “actors” didn’t get hung up in the theatrical bag but just came on like people, even if they were in black-face and shiny powder-blue frock coats and trousers. Spades acting like real spades, and not some middle-class white man’s weird distortion of their reality. But this isn’t the place to review them, just to sound my joy at their performance.

Another opening: The Instage group did its first public concert October 2 and really DID IT. James Johnson & James Wheeler, of the Concept East, did their ZOO STORY, the dancers were beautiful (and had beautiful backing from Charles Moore, George Bohanon, Kirk Lightsey & John & Ron—Charles playing a lovely sparkling solo that had the cats sitting in back of me squirming around in their seats: “Who’s that? Wow!”); and good performances by the Ernie Farrow Quintet, Buttanon’s group, the Bob McDonald Quartet, Harold McKinney’s band (playing Joanie Mitchell’s BLUE ON BLUE to everyone’s delight, carrying people way out into their heads). Charles arranged the finale surreptitiously and blew all the minds in the Community Arts auditorium—the quartet (C. Moore, Kirk Lightsey, John Dana & Doug Hammond) opened and were joined by Bob McDonald, Frank Vojcek and Harvey Robb in the center, and by George Bohanon, Miller Brisker, Will Austin and Bert Myrick on the right, with Charles soloing over the whole band. The whole musical experience was easily the most exciting thing I’ve ever heard in Detroit, and I’ve heard a lot of heavy music here.

WSU Artists’ Society, who sponsored the Instage affair, will open its regular season with a retrospective reading by yours truly on Tuesday October 14 at Lower DeRoy Auditorium, 8:30 p.m., donation 50 cents. I’ll be reading THIS IS OUR MUSIC, FIRE MUSIC, BRIDGEWORK, the Leni poems, and new work from CORRECTIONS: a book of law. With commentary by the poet. Next event will be Thursday, November 3, at the Community Arts Auditorium—the third annual fall concert of new music by the Detroit Contemporary 4. Last year the band came out and splattered folks’ minds all over the DeRoy hall—this year we got a bigger place for them. Donation will be only $1.00. More about this next week.

Keep your eyes and ears open—there’s so much going on now you can’t miss it all. And kids—watch out for your local marijuana patrol, they’re armed, dangerous, and so out-of-date they still want to put people like us in prison for 20 years for smoking grass. One of their representatives was down on Plum street last week telling me how and what he’s going to do to me when he gets me again. You’d think they could find something better to do. Well, maybe they’ll wake up soon—everyone else is!!