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People's Ballroom

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(This issue I'm suspending my ROCK AND ROLL DOPE column in favor of the following statement, which is at least as important as anything I could fill this space with. It's the first formal statement of the PEOPLE'S BALLROOM project workers--originally intended to be ready for distribution at the People's Ballroom/Free John Now! benefit at the Grande Ballroom August 5, it didn't get together in enough time to be printed as a flyer so we're running it here. Stay tuned to the SUN for further developments. . . Frank Bach)

The People's Ballroom is a nonprofit corporation organized by a number of people in the Detroit/Ann Arbor youth community with the purpose of creating a real alternative to the existing entertainment scene in this area. Our immediate objective is to open a People's Ballroom and cultural center for the community by the first of the year - a place where our people can come together to dance and listen to music in the highest possible environment at the lowest possible prices. We don't want anything less than a true people's ballroom which is completely controlled by the people of the community and operated in the people's best interests. That's why we have organized a nonprofit corporation, because we want everybody to know that the day of the rip-off is over. And that's why we are holding a series of benefits, of which the dance/concert of Thursday, August 5 was the first, because the money for the People's Ballroom must come from the people themselves or else we won't be able to keep the control of our Ballroom in our own hands.

We believe that the near disintegration of our community has been a result of our not having any place of our own to go to where we can dance and get down in the music like we used to; we believe this is one of the main reasons why so many of our people are shooting death drugs and why so many of our bands have such a hard time staying together. We believe that our culture has been perverted and exploited by people who only want to make money off of us and who have no interest in seeing our community grow stronger and more together so we can control our own lives. We can't expect these greed-heads to make their phony entertainment palaces into real community centers, because that would be contrary to their purpose of using our music and our lives to make themselves rich. But we can create the kind of place we need by and for ourselves if we can continue to get together like this, with the bands contributing their music and the people contributing their time, energy and money for the benefit of the whole community.

What's happening at benefits is what we want to happen all the time in the People's Ballroom - good music by our own bands, low prices for the people, dancing and carrying on the way we were created to do it. The proceeds from the first benefit will go toward financing the next two or three dances in this series so we can raise enough money to get our program started. Later this fall we hope to put on a big benefit concert at Cobo Hall or some other big place like that, so we can make a down payment on a building we can use for our community center. It's going to take a lot work and a lot of money to get this project off the ground, but we know we can do it with the people behind it and we know the people are ready to move! Everybody's had enough of the way things are, but the only way we can change things is to get together and work together to create what we need for ourselves.

We hope to be able to tell you a lot more about our plans by the next benefit dance/concert, and we want to hear from as many of you as possible about what you want the People's Ballroom to be and what you can do to help make it real. We're just getting started now, so we don't have anyplace where you can come and see us, or call us up, but by the next dance we hope to have at least that much together. In the meantime, be thinking about what we're trying to do and what you might be able to do to help get this thing off the ground. We will be printing regular progress reports in our community newspapers, the Fifth Estate and the Ann Arbor Sun, from now on, and we hope to have a full report ready by the next time we all get together like this. We want all of you to know everything we're doing because this will be your Ballroom and it's up to all of us to make sure it's done right.

We want to thank the bands who have contributed their music to the People's Ballroom, and radio stations WRIF and WABX for helping get the word around, and all of you for coming here tonight to help get things started. This is just an example of what we can do when we work together to get what we need. All Power to the People!

Board of Directors, People's Ballroom Inc.

Pam Applin

Frank Bach

Collette Beck

Barbara Holliday

Judy Law

Michael Leopold

Mike Lull

Gail Maldaver

Genie Plamondon

Bill Rowe

Dave Sinclair

John Sinclair