Detroit Seen

by

Fifth Estate # 272, May 1976

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The Fifth Estate benefit on April 10 was one of the best ever with Detroit bluesman Bobo Jenkins and his band turning everybody on to their strong rhythms and FE supporters and friends dancing and drinking the night away. Unfortunately, our paper didn’t reach people early enough and many of the usual revelers missed the festivities. We took in about $400, but that was just enough to make expenses.

That sort of leaves us in a cash bind for May, so if you have been holding off subscribing, buying any books through our bookstore or making a donation, we urge you to do it now. Still, the party was fun and thanks to Mark, the staff at Formerly Alvin’s, Judy Adams at WDET, Joe Killian at WABX, and the others who gave us a hand…

Few people are aware of the significance of the Detroit Blues Club originated by bluesman Bobo Jenkins. The club was initiated to preserve, develop and spill the blues into the souls of the people. This art form has suffered severe blows in Detroit, specifically at the hands of the Motown corporation which ate up a number of small music companies (which had been producing local musicians) and ate up the Detroit blues for the most part. Who knows but what potential Muddy Waters or Albert Kings could have developed here, but never had the necessary support or tools to get over. The Blues Club features many established, and new, blues artists and anybody who attended the last Fifth Estate benefit knows that Bobo and gang aren’t throwing around a bag of dead cats when they get up there and motivate onstage. Bobo is currently holding forth on Sunday and Monday nights at the Gnu Joint, Cass at Palmer…

Since the Ann Arbor Sun has been whining in all their issues that the Detroit Free Press refuses to make mention of them, maybe we can make them feel a little better by a brief note in these pages. Always on the lookout for new ways to rip-off the black community, the Sun featured a front-page story in one of their April editions recommending that Detroit legalize casino gambling in order to bring revenue in to the city. The article, written by a white Ann Arbor sports writer, copiously quotes the opinions of hotel owners and the like, who see added bucks in their pockets if gambling comes to town. What the Sun is missing in their liberal, college-town view of the world is that gambling will further loot an already depressed community. Although the Fifth Estate does not support the state prohibiting games of chance, like the lottery legalized gambling would simply be another tax on the poor, making them the ones to prop up a faltering economy that is not of their making. The Sun, of course, is oblivious to this…

The Detroit Theatre Collective (DTC) is a new group formed in the Wayne State University area to develop, nurture, maintain and otherwise give theatre a long needed kick in the ass in Detroit. DTC was formed a few weeks ago by members of the Acme Theatrical Agency, Primitive Lust, and various theatre freeks from defunct groups and mysterious coastal regions. The Collective is scouring the vicinity for a building to house a community theatre in which original and established works will be presented, as well as healthy doses of video and music. Possibilities for the DTC are mammoth theatre festivals, outdoor theatre in parks, traveling troupes and assassinations (more?). Anyone wishing to contribute time or resources (including original plays) or who may be interested in attending a workshop should write to: P. Rat, 4403 Second, Detroit 48201, with a stamped, self-addressed envelope…

Black & Red has just published two new editions: Hungary ’56 by Andy Anderson, a long, out-of-print London Solidarity pamphlet describing the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and the Stalinist efforts to crush it; and Momentos by Federico Arcos, a Spanish language collection of poetry by a veteran of the 1936 Spanish Revolution. The Hungary pamphlet is particularly timely in that the monthly newspaper of the Communist (sic) Labor Party recently completed a campaign of lies and slander against that moment of working-class revolution and sided with the tanks of the Russian bureaucrats who have the murder of 50,000 Hungarian workers and peasants to account for. The CLP, a group of sleazy authoritarians, would undoubtedly have the same program for the workers of this country–slave under their direction or be shot…

We hope Fifth Estate readers will join the tens of thousands of other Michiganders who will ignore the state’s presidential primary this month as the non-event that it is. To add insult to injury, citizens are required to PAY for the primary although what is at issue is the selection of candidates by private political parties. This gives the Democrats and Republicans the appearance of being semi-official organs of government and we pick up the tab…

Bad news–the April 22 Detroit Free Press reported that ex-MC5er Wayne (Ramblin Rose) Kramer was sentenced in federal court to four years in prison for “possession for sale” of cocaine resulting from a raid last summer….After six years of publication, “The Gay Liberator” newspaper, a gay left-oriented monthly, has printed its last issue citing “a long-standing problem of a lack of energy and support” as being responsible for its demise. Their last issue (one of their best) is available for 35 cents from Box 631A, Detroit, Michigan 48232….

On May 1, the Fifth Estate May-Day celebration, at Alvin’s Deli, turned out to be a gathering of about 75 friends who shared a delicious dinner and then watched the film, “Red Squad,” which documented the efforts of the Pacific Street Film Collective to record the activities of the New York City subversive unit and the sometimes hilarious results. Following the film, attorney George Corsetti gave a short talk on the local anti-red squad suit. For information on the film, contact the Pacific Street people at: 280 Clinton St., Brooklyn NY 11201. Thanks to Barney Surowitz, proprietor of Alvin’s, for all his assistance and to Mark for printing.

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