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Michigan Boogie

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This summer has witnessed some heavy rock and roll repression around the area, with the powers that be attempting to créate a general snuff scène complete with busts, fires, cattle prods, and riot squads. First off, the Full Tilt Boogie Ballroom in Monroe went up in smoke on July 14, cause unknown, to the tune of $115,000-plus in damage. Since its inception in September, 1972, the Full Tilt had offered the young people of southeastern Michigan a place to get together with each other and hear some rock and roll, which can be a welcome change from the boredom of living in Monroe or Dundee with your parents. Sure, there were a lot of bogus things about the ballroomskonk food, leaks in the roof, sanitation and bogus dope problems, to mention a few-but they were the normal ballroom hassls and could have been resolved in time had FTB Productions dedicated itself to creating and maintaining the highest-energy place they possibly could. and then worked actively to reach that goal. And as the young freaks who at tended the concerts learned about the good and bad aspects of the Full Tilt, it would have become clear as to what kind of place they needed and what the ballroom could become. Using what you've got to learn whut you need. But the lire changed the whole scène. Determined to keep on rockin'. FTB Productions moved their operation a few miles west to Simons Park in Dundee. Two concerts were held there and then another at Twin Lakes without any major hassles or problems coming down. But Moruoe County Prosecutor Rostash was taking steps to reniedy that. You see. the Full Tilt had been notorious with the local aiithoimes. who had wanted to shut the place down all along.After the fire they must have breathed easier until they heard about Simon's Park. So, according to Mike Crowder, head of FTB Productions, Rostash contacted the landlord of the Simons Park property, who then went to Monroe County Court with the prosecutor and told of open pot smoking and various other things, forming the basis for an injunction against the concerts for health and moráis reasons and to "protect the welfare of the public." This proved to be a classic example of the Nixonian doubletalk which has pervaded many of the country's businesspeople, law enforcement officers, and other public officials over the past few years. Instead of publicly announcing the injunction and the concert's cancellation in advance, Rostash and the Monroe County Sheriffs Department's efforts at "protecting the welfare of the public" consisted of setting up a roadblock just in front of the park and stopping and searching cars. Many people were dragged out, and more than 75 were busted on drug, alcohol, and various other charges. It was reported to the SUN that the deputies were carrying electric cattle prods, but we haven't been able to verify this at press time. If Rostash were really concerned with the people's safety and well being, it seems that he would have tried to work with the Full Tilt people to elimínate the bogue things that existed, or at the very least would have given FTB Productions a chance to defend itself in court before the injunction was issued. But he wasn't as concerned with changing oppressive, bogus conditions as he was with waging a cultural attack on the young freaks on their way to the Simons Park rock concert. Because of his warped honk mentality, over 75 people were subjected to the frude police-state tactics of the Sheriffs Department, jailed, and required to defend themselves in court with jail sentences hanging over their heads. For trying to go to a rock concert and get high with their friends. What is going on? The injunction caused the cancellation of the Southern Michigan Pop Festival which had been scheduled for August 25 and 26, and so FTB Productions is now concentrating its energies on the State Theatre in Toledo. Located at the corner of Collingwood and Delaware, the State will be open every Saturday throughout the fall and winter, and they plan to bring in a number of "name" bands as well as the ever-expanding number of smoking regional bands. Outdoor gigs are out of the question at the present. Eastown Rises - - This Time to Stay Now we go to Detroit's famed Eastown Theatre, which has been the scène of another skirmish in the continuing battle of the cultures. First opened in spring of 1969, the Eastown had played a part in the developmeni of the Michigan rock and roll community and the young freak culture that grew around it, since a lot of Detroit área kids first got turned on to being freaks at the Eastown. But Mayor Roman Gribbs had different cultural interests. and he exhibited his low consciousness about the needs of thousands and thousands of people in the Motor City rock and roll community by revoking the Eastown's concert and dance hall license in December of 1971 without any explanation. Eastown Theatre, Inc., which was operating the hall, fïled a lawsuit over the matter, but no immediate results were achieved. So the Eastown was closed and it seemed that it would stay that way. Then another group of people, Eastown Productions, entered the scène and began working to revive the ballroom. They labored to overeóme the hassles with the City of Detroit. But Gribbs refused to give up the concert and dance hall license. Having complied with all their legal obligations and still having no prospect of being granted the license to which they were legally entitled, the Eastown wasjammed up. : Or so it appeared until on July 19 they did the unexpected and. on their attorney's advice, opened without a license. Three thousand rock and roll freaks were on hand when Detroit started the show off, kicking out the first Eastown jams in almost two years! They were followed by R. E. O. Speedwagon and then Joe Walsh ended the show. The next night the place was packed again. The pólice and other city officials kept hands off these two gigs as well as the next pair of concerts. held on August 3 and 4. But intense pressure was building to stop the Eastown once again. and on August 10 Wayne County Circuit Judge Joseph Rashid responded to a suit charging the Eastown with being a "nuisance" by issuing a temporary injunction against the concerts. Three hundred pólice were stationed in buses near the theatre to make sure no one attended a rock concert there that night or the next. The Eastown was closed once again. and Eastown Productions and the Motor City rock and roll community. who frequented the place. were up against some intense intimidation. Now the suit originally filed in 1971 by Eastown Theatre. Inc., comes back on to the scène, along with Federal District Judge Philip Pratt. who blew the cover on Gribbs' act by saying the original license revocation was unconstitutional and that it wasn't any of Gribbs' business in the first place! Pratt also ruled the city's license ordinance "void for vagueness" because it doesn't require that the city explain a revocation. Gabe Glantz, attorney for Eastown Theatre, Inc., explained to the SUN that if the City of Detroit wanted to revoke the license, they legally should have given notice of the reasons why, then a hearing should have been held where both sides would have had the chance to argue their cases, and a decisión would then have been made by a judge as to whether or not there were grounds for a revocation. But all Mayor Gribbs had done was steal the license, illegally, and then refuse to give an explanation or to grant a new license to Eastown Productions. So now the Eastown is set to re-open Carlos Santana as he appeared on the stage of Crisler Arena last Friday, along with John McLaughlin. It was a fine concert of rock and rolljazz ' with a spiritual message. The group was the only one on the bill that night, filling Crisler with waves of sound for a set lasting almost three hours. SantanaMcLaughlin improvise off a wide variety of themes, ranging from a very speeded up Sly Stone to an electronic version of John Coltrane's masterpiece, A Love Supreme. The organ player in the band was especially powerful, using his keyboard almost as a Moog synthezier to produce wild, free soundwaves. The pair recently teamed up and have an album out on Columbia called DEVOTION. The concert was produced by Daystar, composed of student organizations at the University of Michigan which brings national recording artists into Ann Arbor for concerts throughout the school year. on Friday, September 15, with Fio & Eddie headlining, and will continue with another show the next night featuring the Blue Oyster Cult. They plan to book new bands in each weekend after that on a permanent basis, all with the protection of the old Eastown Theatre, Inc., license. Eastown Productions has filed lawsuits for damages and losses suffered by the illegal license refusal, and has also demanded that the City furnish the license originally requested. The Ballroom will remain open this time, or at least until Gribbs and his cohorts come up with something more solid than simply calling the place a "nuisance." No doubt the number of ballrooms will continue to increase, and as more and more people become aware that music and culture are integral parts of their lives, they will begin to take a more active role in providing for their own needs. A2 Peoples Ballroom One of these needs is a place to hear bands and get together with our friends. Bars can be cool at times, but often there is no place to dance, it can be fairly expensive, and overcrowding is often a problem. Bars can also turn into havens for various kinds of hustlers, which can créate a bizarro atmosphere. A lot of people get turned off by the "flesh market" vibes and don't want to come back, but they still want to hear the music. The various ballroom attempts are a step in the right direction, but they too have problems with bad drugs and skonk food, and often the people in charge have a hard time generally managing and maintaining their operations. The People's Ballroom of Ann Arbor opened a year ago on September 1 as an attempt to créate a place where people worked actively to take the Ballroom to the highest possible level and tried to deal with bogus conditions as they carne down. Organized and managed by local freaks directly affected by and involved with the music and culture presented there, the Ballroom was open for only 3Vt months before it was destroyed last December 15 by the fire at the Community Center complex on Washington Street. Since then, various efforts have been made to raise money for the Ballroom which have been fairly successful. But in the area of finding a suitable permanent location, the results have been practically zero. And there were no People's Ballroom dances until the middle of the summer, when arrangements were made to hold a dance on the U of M campus in the South Quad dining room. The dance was threatened as University officials attempted to pressure South Quad building director Ken Moon into cancelling the gig. But brother Moon was above that, and wouldn't cop to their plan, and so the dance went off on schedule without further threats, featuring Sky King & the New Heavenly Bluesbreakers and Uprising. Expenses were remarkably low-around $330-for a gig with bands of the caliber of these two, but even so the People's Ballroom took a loss of around $110 as only 215 people showed up. Publicity could have been better, and many handbills were ripped down shortly after they were posted. So a lot of people didn't know the gig was going on, and the steady rain didn't help matters much. But the primary problem seemed to be the fact that not enough people were involved in the organization and production of the dance. The Ballroom Committee met shortly afterward and planned to hold two more dances before the Blues & Jazz Festival. But the handful of people involved were already too busy with various other types of work and eommunity activities to devote adequate time and energy to the Ballroom. It was impossible to continue without raising the energy level, and so the gigs were cancelled, and now the Ballroom is only existing in a few people's minds. Hopefully, by the fall more people will want to work to make the Ballroom a physical reality. If you want to help in any way-by planning or playing gigs, drawing or posting handbills, or whatever, get in touch. Willy & the Bumble Bees will soon be buzzing into town video taping their way from Minneapolis Minn. and back. A seven piece band, playing funky blues, rhythm & blues, jazz, and rock & roll, they'U be at the Primo Showbar Sept. 19 and backing Bobby Blue Bland there on the 2Oth. The Bees recorded with Bonnie Raitt on her fdirst album (Warner Bros.) and with John Koerner on Sweet Jane Ltd., owned and operated by Minn. bluesman Dave Ray and his wife Sylvia. Their new doublé 45 features a couple of smokers66 Highway Parts 1,11, & III b-w Too Many Drivers. Ann Arbor's Brooklyn Blues Busters, bluesrockers of Flick's fame, played at Milan Prison last July 8. Pressure from the Prisoner's Cultural Collective at Milan makes the prison administration give up Sunday afternoon dates and the PCC brings in the band.