Fifth Estate celebrates 50th year with exhibits & festivities


Fifth Estate # 394, Summer 2015 - Technology


September 19, MOCAD
3-5pm, The Fifth Estate’s 50 Years of Radical Journalism, Commentary & Critique: A Panel & Conversation
5-7pm, FE staff reunion
8:30-10:00pm at HopCat (Canfield at Woodward), dance/party/concert celebration featuring Detroit’s Layabouts. Full menu for dinner before is available.

“You Can’t Print That!: 50 Years of the Fifth Estate.” Runs to January 3, 2016. In the Mike Kelley Mobile Homestead. Open Friday-Sunday, 11am-5pm. Free.

Ongoing: Detroit Historical Museum, “Start the Presses: 50 years of the Fifth Estate open to the public during museum hours. Runs to August 2016. Free.

As this publication approaches our fiftieth anniversary in November, we have a number of events planned to mark the occasion from museum displays to a staff reunion and a dance party celebration with Detroit’s Layabouts band. We want to celebrate our long existence, but also historians and museum curators have become interested in what we’ve published over the last half century, and the impact of the ideas contained in our articles.

fe-394-4-sample1Two Detroit museums will offer exhibits of Fifth Estate material this fall focusing mainly on the early years when we published a weekly and biweekly tabloid, but also recognizing our current status as an expanding anarchist magazine.

A display at the Museum of Contemporary Art-Detroit (MOCAD), “You Can’t Print That! 50 Years of the Fifth Estate,” feature a reconstruction of our 1960s office with pre-computer printing technology, posters (rock and roll and anti-war), art, and the FE button and bumper sticker shop.

The Detroit Historical Museum will have an exhibit, “Start the Presses: 50 years of the Fifth Estate,” featuring back issues, photographs, artifacts, and memorabilia that highlight the history of the Fifth Estate. It is open to the public on Saturday; no admission charge.

If you have material you think will help exhibit our history for either of the museums, please let us know. We are particularly interested in filling in gaps in our collection of past issues, especially the first ten editions. Also, letters, photos, and other items you may have that should be preserved. Even if they are not used in the exhibits, we will offer them to the University of Michigan’s Labadie Collection which archives radical items for historical research.

fe-394-4-sample2On Saturday, September 19, 5-7pm, at the MOCAD venue, there will be a staff reunion to which we invite everyone who had any connection with the Fifth Estate over the years. As of now, we only have the event scheduled, but no arrangements for housing or transportation. If the demand is there, we may address this soon. If you plan to attend, please RSVP so we get an idea of how many people to expect.

There will be a break for dinner and then we’ll reassemble across the street at HopCat, Canfield at Woodward Ave., for a dance/party/concert celebration featuring Detroit’s Layabouts at 8:30 pm.

The band played for our 20th anniversary party, so we thought we’d bring them back for an encore. Members, who are scattered as far away as Mexico, are reconstituting the group for what they say will be the final performance of their 34-year run. The Layabouts played at anarchist gatherings in Chicago, Minneapolis, and Toronto in the 1980s and are known for their radical anarchist lyrics and irresistible ska/rock, dance beat.

If we get enough interest, we may also have an afternoon walking tour of the area in which the Fifth Estate was born and raised hell in for a good part of its existence. Let us know if you are interested in that. It’s going to be a long day, but a memorable one, but a stroll through the “old neighborhood,” might be worth the memories.

And, the Fifth Estate is making it into another exhibit. The Modern Art Museum of the City of Paris is presenting an exhibition dedicated to Andy Warhol, which runs from October 1, 2015 to February 7, 2016.

As part of the exhibition’s catalogue, they are translating an excerpt from an article in our November 15-30, 1966 issue, “Warhol Here For Mod Wedding.”

“Here” was the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit which became a venue for a three-day Carnaby Street Fun Festival featuring a wedding at which Lou Reed’s Velvet Underground with Nico provided the music.

Warhol’s wedding gift to the couple was an inflatable Baby Ruth candy bar measuring five feet long. The Festival in Detroit also featured the Yardbirds, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Sam the Sham and Dick Clark.

Whether or not you are able to attend any of these events, we hope you have found the Fifth Estate as stimulating and thought-provoking to read as we have to produce it.

Issues shown above are from 1970 and 1971.