Detroit Seen


Fifth Estate # 268, January, 1976

Thanks to everyone (musicians, performers and party-goers) who made the Fifth Estate 10th anniversary party on December 6 one of the most entertaining and fun sets Detroit has seen in a long while. (See details and photos farther in.) Besides all of the joyous dancing and partying, the benefit managed to bring in enough money to print this issue, order some more books for our store and catch up on some nagging bills. Also, reaction to the affair was so overwhelming that numerous people have suggested that we sponsor events featuring Detroit talent on a regular basis, perhaps every two months. Sounds good to us and we are planning a meeting in a few weeks to discuss such possibilities.

…Several West Coast subscribers wrote to us during the last few weeks saying they never received their October-November issue of the FE, featuring President Ford on the cover. If you did not receive that issue, please notify us and we will send it out. This is important both because we want you to have your papers and so we can determine if the Post Office is delivering them. By the way, the quote under Ford’s picture was obviously not his, but was written by Pierre Proudhon in 1848.

…Last issue’s replica of Wayne State University’s student newspaper, The South End, which announced the resignation of the president of the University turned more than a few heads when we put about 2,000 of them out at regular South End distribution points. Most students and the school administration assumed it was the real thing with the former enjoying it and the latter hitting the ceiling. Even when it became apparent that it was another FE ruse, WSU president George Gullen was forced to deny to the media that he was resigning, and he accused the South End staff of being in on the plot (they weren’t). The WSU Publication Board considered suing the FE, but fearing that we would probably get too much publicity from the case, they decided not to press the issue.

…Since the FE publication schedule is hopelessly out of whack, with this being the first issue since the beginning of November, we are going to bring things back to a regular publication date as of February 1 and continue appearing on the first of each month.

…All good news this issue: The Los Angeles Free Press agreed to drop its $11,000 lawsuit against us for printing “their” Ron Cobb cartoons after some convincing last-minute, long-distance persuasion by attorney Ken Mogill. Cobb has stopped producing cartoons for the meantime, but we will continue to reprint his drawings which have previously appeared in the FE.

…Our other legal hassle (with Michigan Bell) seems to have faded away as we have heard nothing from the Prosecutor’s office since last issue. We’re ready to call it a flat-out victory over the legal forces of the State and the utility monopoly. Undaunted, we will probably have the 1976 telephone credit card codes by next issue, so watch for them.

…Our “Eat The Rich” T-shirt silk-screening parties have gone over so well that we are going to have a fourth one on Friday, January 16, 2 til 5 p.m. at our office (4403 Second Avenue corner of W. Canfield). As usual, we will have T-shirts available for you to buy or you can bring in any garment of your own. Also, several people have suggested doing other designs including “Fuck Authority.” Any slogan or design is easily produced, so get a hold of us if you have ideas of your own.

…You may have noticed the absence of the Classified Ad section in our last FE which was necessitated by an extreme lack of space. But we will reinstate the Classifieds this issue, and continue them as long as our readers wish to use this service. Remember, we will accept only non-commercial ads, so if you have a message or stuff to trade, or want to share rides, etc., send in your ad–the service is free.

…We have also been printing in most past issues the names of prisoners who write and ask for communication from our readers. We would like to hear from some of these prisoners as to whether they are actually receiving their Fifth Estates (does the prison interfere with your mail?) and also, do you actually receive communication as a result of our printing your names?

…Also, since we occasionally receive requests from prisoners for free subscriptions to our paper, which we are unable to give because of our extremely tight budget and operating expenses, we have decided to suggest that our readers deal with this question. If you wish to send in a donation (at least $2.00 to a prisoners subscription fund, we will begin sending the FE free to prisoners if enough money is sent in to cover the costs of such mailings. Make certain you designate any donation as specifically for the prisoners fund so we can keep track of the amount of money we receive.

…The 20 Grand Lounge, local showcase for Detroit musicians, is planning a series of shows that represent a “shot in the arm” for the Detroit blues scene. The lounge, located on W. Grand Boulevard, between 14th and Warren, is featuring such blues greats as McKinley (Little Mack) Collins, John (Bobo) Jenkins, Jerry (Blind Child) Gaun, Lewis (Mr. Bo) Collins, Jonnie Jones, and Joe L. Carter. The musicians playing in the 20 Grand show all belong to the Detroit Blues Club, an organization which is trying to revive the authentic old-style blues in Detroit.