Letters to the Editor
Our readers chime in on our Music Issue, bailing out Detroit, and the charm of Downriver
Published: December 28, 2011
All over the map
We received numerous comments on our Ultimate Sightseer's Guide, most of it positive, but often pointing out omissions. When we set out to do the map, we decided to go for a range of places, not just the most important, and not necessarily including all the important or interesting sites in any given category (jazz, punk, country, etc.). And there are some categories that we missed entirely (reggae, polka, disco, etc.). But we also planned for our online component (metrotimes.com/detroitmusicmap) to be an ongoing project, including many more of the sites that have made the music of the Motor City what it is. So feel free to send us your corrections and ideas for additions. If you can send us detailed info and annotations or sources, all the better; personal reminisces, that's just fine. Have a picture you shot of the spot that we might use? Send that too. Through the year we'll feature some of those new sites in the print edition while adding them online. At least one letter writer suggested a Part II of the guide next year, a possibility we started kicking around a bit ago on our own. As always, your thoughts are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org and (now) email@example.com.
Off the map
Re: MT's "Detroit Music: The ultimate sightseer's guide" (Dec. 14), I see the Trumbellplex made the cut but no Graystone Hall, Freezer, 404 Willis or Grounds Coffee House (on the U-of-D campus)? These were all very important venues in the landscape Detroit's hardcore-punk history, and just as or more important than the before mentioned — a glaring omission on your part. —Michael Derrick, Detroit
I really appreciate your "Ultimate Sightseer's Guide" to Detroit Music — it's interesting and informative. And while I understand that you couldn't possibly include every venue, it seems to me that some were woefully overlooked. How couldn't you mention the Michigan Palace, where the infamous "Metallic K.O." bootleg album was recorded, documenting the last gig of the Raw Power-era Stooges? There's boasts, in the article, of the birthplaces of techno and hip-hop, but not a word about the Freezer Theater, where Midwest hardcore punk was born. Some venues, such as Harpo's, seem to have been included only because of some notoriety, but what about the original City Club?
Rather than just lament what could have been in the article, may I propose a part 2? —Don Handy, Mount Clemens
Two glaring omissions to your otherwise great music legends piece are where I first heard Joni Mitchell perform — at the Raven in Southfield where Sweet Lorraine's restaurant is now — and the Retort in the basement of a place on Woodward (perhaps in Highland Park) run by Pete Cantini. I heard Jose Feliciano play there, and he mentions it as his first professional gig in his autobiography. —John Bruno, Ann Arbor
Bailouts for them, austerity for us?
Re: Jack Lessenberry's "Is an EM inevitable?" (Dec. 7), an Emergency Manager will only make matters worse for Detroit and the metro area. It will result in severe cuts for those already living under harsh conditions.
Detroit's problems are not the result of mismanagement. Whatever faults they may have, today's elected officials are certainly no worse than those who ran the city for decades. What has changed is the downsizing of its auto-dependent economy and decisions to move jobs out of the city, state and country. In addition, a housing crisis, whose blame lies on Wall Street not Detroit, has resulted in foreclosures, vacancies and a further erosion of the tax base.
It might be better to ask why many cities throughout the country are facing deficits. We are not a poorer nation than we were 30 years ago; in fact we have more money. The problem is it is all concentrated in the hands of the 1 percent.
If we could bail out Wall Street (who did cause their own problems) why not Detroit? —John Rummel, Royal Oak
According to Campbell
I was deeply disappointed in Brett Callwood's story about me ("Silly Politics," Dec. 21). I realize he was trying to be "fair and balanced" in his approach and couldn't get the judge or police to comment on an open court case. I offered Brett a great deal of collaborative evidence to support what I told him. Brett chose not to see any of it or to talk to witnesses. I know he had the best of intentions. But his story calls into question every word I said. I won't feel any better about his good intentions while rotting in prison for the crime of running for mayor in a tiny suburb that has become a corrupt police state over the lifetime I have lived here.
Also, in my defense, I didn't "have a hand" in starting the original Bookie's Club 870. I founded it with a partner, put up all the money, did all the PA, the advertising, the booking, the press relations, and everything except sit around during the daytime drinking and schmoozing the owner. That was my partner's job. I have huge amounts of documentation and eyewitnesses to support that. Allegedly. According to Campbell. —Scott Campbell, Harper Woods
Thank you for your reviews of restaurants and bars downriver (Short Order, Dec. 7). Ever since I moved Downriver in 1995, I have been dismayed by the media's lack of coverage about anything downriver. I've lived in all three metro Detroit counties in the last 50 years, and by far, Downriver has the friendliest people, the least traffic, and the most reasonable prices. Thanks again! —Susan Eckert Pinkowski, Riverview
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