Tag Archives: corktown

Live music tonight at PJ’s Lager House


By Jeffrey Buck

Tonight’s lineup at PJ’s Lager House takes the stage at 9 PM and cover is $12.


“The Lamps are not an easy band. Their first release is a full-length so you get no “Hi ya, how ya doin’,” before the big blast. The songs twist at a lazy pace, not some immediate La-De-Da pop immediacy. The vocals are harsh and take a couple listens to “get” and a few more to enjoy. They occupy this netherworld which could be called “garage art” if the term wasn’t so lame. They are a bit too “arty” or “smart” for the garage punk purists and too “garage” for the ex-white belted, art punk crowd.” — Terminal Boredom


The debut solo on Sacred Bones Records, Timmy’s Organism is Timmy Vulgar’s organism of sound. Vulgar is of course the Human Eye front-man, erstwhile Clone Defect, and most recently a 2010 Kresge Artist Fellow which he was awarded for a “creative vision and commitment to excellence within a wide range of artistic disciplines.” Exploring a wide spectrum of the tree of rock n’ roll, heavy nuclear guitar rock, quick punk space glam, drunken late night white-man blues, instrumental joys of sadness, and don’t forget a little comedy rock. The lyrics are interesting and colorful, painting a picture, or a silent film in the listeners cerebellum. What is a gorilla symbolically? A peaceful creature living in a thick green jungle. He is king in his layer. Roaring like an angry guitar pounding on his chest like a primal drum. Chewing vegetation and leading his furry family to freedom! This is the Rise of the Green Gorilla!


Smelly Tongues featuring members of: Red Aunts, The Piranhas, White Savage, SYZ, Static Static, Druid Perfume, Intelligence, The Baptist Church, et al.


That garage-y 60’s pop-tinged rock goodness.

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Quicken Loans breaks ground on new technology center

DETROIT, May 20, 2014 – Quicken Loans Inc. and Bedrock Real Estate Services LLC, today began construction on the state-of-the-art Quicken Loans Technology Center, a 66,000-square-foot data center and office complex located at 1401 Rosa Parks Boulevard in Detroit’s up-and-coming Corktown district. The new facility will feature two 10,000-square-foot server rooms in addition to training, office and support space. Half of the data center will be occupied by Quicken Loans’ technology team. An equal-sized 33,000 square foot portion of the building, including the second 10,000 square-foot server room, will be available for lease when the center opens.

Scheduled for completion in January 2015, the modern cement and glass structure will boast an impressive 1.4 megawatts of redundant available power, an energy efficient design and a complex, next-generation air conditioning system to cool its server rooms. The building, Bedrock’s second ground-up development in the city of Detroit, will also feature a comprehensive security system.

“Detroit is experiencing an exciting technology revolution, so it only made sense to look in our own backyard when we decided to pursue a new home for our application and data systems,” said Linglong He, Quicken Loans Chief Information Officer. “We invest heavily in technology – both in our infrastructure and in the training we provide our talented, 1,100-member IT team.”

Construction and management of the Quicken Loans Technology Center will be conducted by Bedrock Real Estate Services, a Quicken Loans affiliated full-service real estate firm specializing in purchasing, leasing, financing, developing and managing commercial space in Detroit. Bedrock will also lease the available 33,000 square foot technology center space.

“Developing real estate that meets the needs of our Family of Companies and our tenants in the city of Detroit is our top priority at Bedrock,” said Jim Ketai, Bedrock Real Estate Services CEO and Managing Partner. “We are extremely proud to be bringing the Quicken Loans Technology Center to life and creating a secure, cutting-edge facility for one of the premiere IT companies in America. This is also a great opportunity for another top technology company to secure prime server and training space in Detroit.”

Quicken Loans has been recognized as one of Computerworld magazine’s ’100 Best Places to Work in IT’ the past nine years, ranking No. 1 in 2013, 2007, 2006 and 2005.

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PJ’s Lager House: Friday Night Jams

PJ's Lager House | Detroit, Michigan

PJ’s Lager House | Detroit, Michigan

Looking for something to do this Friday evening. Check out the line-up over at PJ’s Lager House in Corktown. Only $5 to get in and bands take the stage starting at 9 PM. Looking to eat before the show? Look no further than PJ’s fantastic menu. Here’s a list and look at who’s playing:
Born & bred in the downriver area, singer/songwriter Ryan Dillaha is truly a product of Detroit. The Miracle Men were formed in early 2013 with his long-time drummer Tim Rios and new additions,  Mike Millman on bass and Jason Portier on guitar.  The band has earned rave reviews from critics and fans for their exuberant live shows. Their debut album LOVE ALONE appeared earlier this year.  Ryan Dillaha and the Miracle Men play the kind of music you wish people still played; call it Detroit Americana,  call it soulful folk rock and roll, but whatever you call it raise a glass and bring your dancing shoes.
Rock and roll band. kind of like the Faces, but with different faces. They take their booze and your booze, music and fun very seriously…in a ribald sort of way.
True sound over a new sound. Soul swagger over click clack.  Stick over automatic. Beer. The Dirty Dirty Dollars do accept credit, but prefer crumpled cash.  Two dudes from Chicago, dead set on rock ‘n’ roll, smashing riffs out ’til morning and providing the love-making shuffle for that magical time: post-drunk and pre-hangover.
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A conversation with the guys behind Corktown Cinema


By Patrick Smith

It has been a hard, frustrating few years since The Burton Theatre in Detroit was forced to close its doors due to a dispute with its landlord. Since then we here at the Spine have been following the ups and downs of their quest to find a permanent home with the same anticipation and attachment as the rest of Detroit. Now it looks like our days of waiting may soon be over. But first you have to go vote for Corktown Cinema in the Hatch Detroit contest. Like right now, go vote on Facebook and at Hatch.com, then wait 24 hours and one minute and do it again. Repeat until August 29.

And you need to do this everyday because Corktown Cinema is proof that all the nice stuff you want to believe about Detroit is true.

During its too-brief run, The Burton was the sort of place people are talking about when they talk about the possibilities of Detroit. Too often all that bluster about the freedom and space to make what you want of the world just ends with Dutch people buying shitty houses, but the people behind the Burton actually took an old school and turned it into a really special place to watch movies. And then they showed incredible and unique films there. The Burton wasn’t just about having a movie theatre in Detroit that was like theatres in other cities, it was about having one that was better. Which is the idea after all, right?

Any confusion or frustration felt by fans of the former Burton, now Corktown is understandable. For a long time it looked like they had a spot in an exciting new complex in Corktown (hence the new name) but that development has hit some snags. It is understandable that people set themselves up for failure, or brace for expected disappointment. But the Corktown guys haven’t stopped working. Since the Burton closed, Brandon Walley joined Jeff Else as a part owner. Walley was the director of the Detroit Film Center and is a filmmaker himself, so he brings valuable knowledge and perspective to the operation.

This week both Else and Walley answered some questions for the Spine. Their edited answers are below.

Woodward Spine: The Hatch contest winner gets $50,000. What are you going to do with the money?

Brandon Walley: Corktown Cinema will become a reality. It has become a singular mission for Jeff and I. Winning Hatch Detroit will put us on the fast track to purchasing the building that will be a perfect fit for us in Corktown. Having our own space as oppose to renting, as was the case with Burton Theatre, will allow us to do everything Burton did but on steroids. So much more opportunity to have unique programming and events that aren’t offered in Detroit currently.
Jeff Else: We will be using the $50,000 in conjunction with some private investment we have committed towards the purchasing of a building to house the cinema, and the expenses involved in adapting the space.
WS: Why should people vote for you?
BW: We are offering something that is singularly unique to Detroit right now. Anyone that lives in the city knows that going to see a movie usually means driving to the suburbs. But mainly, we will offer programming that isn’t even offered anywhere in Michigan. Major cities in the US have options for unique cinema, we’ll bring it to Detroit but also do it better than most. Basically, we’re all friends working towards the same goal… cinema not otherwise offered in Detroit. The mantra remains.
JE: We think watching movies in a social setting (with a beer maybe) is an essential part of any vibrant community.  As anyone who lives in the city can tell you, far too often seeing a movie involves going to the suburbs.  There are only 4 functioning movie theatres in the city, most of them on the outskirts.  We think that’s tragic.  Also, we’ve proved that this idea works.  We were open for almost two years as the Burton Theatre, and developed a loyal following when we were forced to close due to a dispute with our landlord.  We have card-carrying members.. Detroit wants this.
WS: What else you guys working on beyond this contest?
JE: Well we’ve been working hard towards finding a suitable building for the cinema, which is a bit more challenging than just finding your average storefront, that’s really been our focus this year.  We kept up a fairly consistent pop-up schedule after the Burton closed, but we’re really trying hard to find a permanent home now.
BW: Beyond my role as Program Director for Corktown, I’m lucky that I get the opportunity to program (when asked) for other organizations. I’m curating the next Mothlight Cinema here in Detroit, which is a really great outlet for avant garde cinema (bridging the gap until CC opens.) Programming at Nightingale Microcinema in Chicago this fall and continuing to be the regional programmer for Media City in Canada.
Then, well I’m a filmmaker. Keep working. Hopefully my first feature, loosely based on the Detroit music scene, will be done by the end of the year.
WS: It has been a while since you closed, what has been going on since then? Why the hold up?
JE: Oh boy, so many things.  We had been working with some developers from New York for about a year and a half to be part of a big complex of independent retail, food etc.. they are doing in Corktown, but their development hit some snags and is sort of in limbo.  Earlier this year we were in a prolonged bidding war for a building that we ultimately lost.  So, you know, just mundane stuff, but we’ve been working hard all the while to make it happen, and there’s no stopping us.
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Detroit’s premier Dixieland group Detroit Pleasure Society performs live

Detroit Pleasure Society | Doug Coombe

Detroit Pleasure Society | Doug Coombe

DETROIT, MICH. – Itching for some Dixieland? Longing for Prohibition’s Top 40? Come celebrate the debut album release of Detroit Pleasure Society!

Before Swing, before Bebop, there was Dixie Land, and the Detroit Pleasure Society easily takes you to another era. The newest sibling to the Detroit Party Marching Band, Detroit Pleasure Society has a different lean on similar instrumentation. With horns, drums and banjo, this 6 piece group perform tunes of times past, with Dixie Land and New Orleans style brass music, playing everything from Rebirth to Bix.

Detroit Pleasure Society hosts a slew of talented Detroit musicians with a variety of backgrounds. Members include guitar aficionado Nick Schillace (of the folk group Lac La Belle) on Tenor Banjo, Ben Luckett (of Kenny Tudricks’ band) on Drums, and Nicole McUmber, Thomas Gilchrist, Paul Mardirosian, and Stephen Bublitz of the Detroit Party Marching Band.

Friday, February 22nd
Detroit Pleasure Society CD Release
wsg Danny Kroha, Glenn Tucker

PJ’s Lager House
1254 Michigan Avenue
Detroit, MI
Doors 9pm

DPS will perform two sets, along with sets from special guests Glenn Tucker on the piano and Danny Kroha playing the Delta blues. Expect the finest in Detroit Dixieland as they take PJ’s Lager House back to its prohibition days.


Glenn Tucker is a versatile up-and-coming jazz pianist, organist, composer, and arranger currently from Detroit, Michigan. He is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where he studied privately with Geri Allen. Glenn has also been mentored by area piano greats including bebopper Claude Black, early jazz historian James Dapogny, and modern jazz stalwart Roger Jones.


Danny Kroha, known for his work in rock bands The Gories and The Demolition Doll Rods, one of Detroit’s most treasured musicians. His expressive solo performances offer deep-roots in the style of Delta blues, along with long woven tales that bring the listener to the core of each tune.


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Joel Landy tells his side of the Corktown Cinema fight

This is a response, from Joel Landy owner of the former Burton International School, to Patrick Smith’s Explaining the Corktown Cinema Internet Fight published August 14, 2012. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Woodward Spine. 


I, Joel Landy, the Big Bad Landlord, created the idea of hosting a theater in the Burton School. I named it, designed the theater and its operation, borrowed and spent more than $80,000 and many hours renovating all of its features including the pool table in the boys’ room. The Corktown guys rented the Burton Theatre , bought a popcorn machine, installed some used projectors, started renting movies and organized and operated their creative project. There was no “dispute with the landlord” as they have stated. They moved out at 2 a.m. under their own free will with no notice to avoid paying three-month-overdue separately-metered electric bills and the payment, or arrangements thereof for a security deposit that had never been paid. The rent never changed, it only went down as I subsidized the operation.

After 20 comments in one week from people thinking the Burton Theatre was closed—and having asked the Corktown Cinema guys to discontinue using the theater’s name—I contacted Facebook. After a short investigation, Facebook determined the former tenant was still using the theater’s name on their page and turned the page over to us. After a couple quick postings to let people know the Burton Theatre was still open, I unpublished the page and shut it down. I look forward to the day when the Burton Theatre, the Corktown Cinema, and the DFT will be working together and cross-promoting various activities.

Thank You,

Joel Landy

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Explaining the Corktown Cinema Internet fight

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Woodward Spine.

By Patrick Smith

Yesterday there was an Internet slap-fight between the operators of Cass City Cinema and fans and friends of the operators of the late-Burton Theatre and the very-much alive and getting alive-ier Corktown Cinema. Because most of the back-and-forth occured on Facebook and was littered with both incendiary and uninformed comments, there is a likelihood that the squabble will be, and has been trivialized, (like me calling it a slap fight) or misunderstood, but this is important stuff and the disagreement is not at all confusing.

Yesterday someone, seemingly the current owner of the former Burton International School, Joel Landy, effectively wrestled control of the Burton Theatre Facebook page and twitter account. How he did this I am not entirely sure, though based on accounts from others’ posts, it seems he managed to do so simply by asking Facebook to give him control of the page. This account had, before Landy took over the page, more than 2,100 “likes” and a robust community of people following and interacting with the theatre, which was promoting the new location and name of the Burton, Corktown Cinema. There is not any question that the Facebook page and twitter account, along with the thousands of fans of the Burton are not the property of Joel Landy or anyone else associated with Cass City Cinema, and there is also no question that stealing someone else’s creation (in this case both the Facebook page and the cultivation of the theatre’s online presence) is illegal and morally wrong.

Right now the Burton Theatre Facebook page has been deleted, either because of complaints from the actual owners of The Burton Theatre or because of informed fans of the page reporting the hi-jacked page as a scam. Please do not mistake the deleting of the Facebook page as a victory for the original owners of the business, as anyone who has ever tried to accomplish something on the Internet knows, building and maintaining a strong following and a consistent Internet voice is a very difficult thing to do. If the page stays deleted, or if it is not restored to its original owners this stands as a victory for the owners of Cass City Cinema.

To start off, let’s be clear on what this disagreement is most certainly NOT about. No one believes that Joel Landy or anyone else does not have the right to operate a theatre within the former Burton International School, of course he does. No one thinks there isn’t enough room in the city for another movie theatre, if Landy is finally realizing his dream of running a theater that is essentially TNT writ large, I have no problem with it. It has been sad and extremely frustrating to watch Landy and his supporters act as if fans of the real Burton Theatre are simply against all other movie theaters.

At issue is that Joel Landy does not have the right to operate The Burton Theatre, because he does not own The Burton Theatre, did not create The Burton Theatre and had nothing to do with the success of The Burton Theatre anymore than any other landlord has to do with the success of his/her tenants.

Perhaps this is already obvious, but I am friends with the owners of the original Burton. That friendship is certainly what makes me so invested in this issue, and that friendship also means that I got to watch a group of very hard-working Detroit and Hamtramck residents build a really special cinema from scratch. Joel Landy provided the physical space of course, and that is not nothing, but Jeff, Nate, David and Matt furnished the theatre with amazing seats, a screen, two projectors, a concession stand and everything else needed to run a theatre. More importantly they established a film program that was at one-time challenging and rare while also being really fun and popular.

And most importantly they made the name The Burton Theatre mean something. People know the name, people know what the Burton stood for and they knew it as the theatre that opened in a great but underdeveloped area in Detroit and brought a really special film-going experience to people who otherwise would not have been able to experience it. This is something that Landy absolutely did not do until the necessary infrastructure and public attention were gifted to him. Many of the movies shown at the Burton weren’t only not available in Detroit, they weren’t available in the suburbs either and they weren’t available in most American cities. In posts on his website and elsewhere Landy has somewhat-subtly used that uniqueness as a club to bash the owners with calls of elitism or at least impracticality, as if the only important thing is building something in Detroit, not building something special.

Legally the issue is not remotely gray, The Burton Theatre is a company officially formed and licensed in the state of Michigan (in case you were wondering neither Landy nor anyone else associated with Cass City Cinema is listed on the articles of organization) and The Burton Theatre is a trademarked name. The fact that the theatre was located in the former Burton School is completely irrelevant, if I were to open a fair-trade organic kale store in the Renaissance Center called “Renaissance Fair,” and then decided to move locations, General Motors could not just reopen the same business with the same name in the same location. It would be laughable to suggest they could. On some level Landy acknowledges this, by renaming the theatre Cass City he is admitting that he knows he does not own the rights to the name Burton Theatre.

But apparently, while being aware that he does not own the rights to the name, Landy is a bit fuzzy on whether or not he owns the rights to a piece of intellectual property he most certainly did not create. And by a bit fuzzy I mean totally delusional, The Burton Theatre Facebook page is not his. The particularly insidious part of this whole mess is that it is very easy to create a Facebook page with the same name as an existing page; as of right now there are at least six different pages titled “cute girls” on Facebook. But Landy did not create his own Burton page, had he done so he would have been clearly stealing someone else’s name but it would have at least demonstrated an actual desire to foster his own publicity and attention, by simply stealing the existing page and not creating his own Landy made it incredibly transparent that what he is attempting to steal is not the name but the goodwill and attention rightfully earned and accumulated by the owners of the Corktown Cinema.

Disingenuously, the operators of Cass City have been claiming on Facebook and elsewhere that their latest efforts are simply attempts to combat confusion and misinformation spread by the owners of Corktown Cinema. It is completely necessary, they plead, to steal someone else’s web page and disrupt legitimate business efforts so that they can get the word out that cinema lives in the old Burton International School. Never, neither publicly nor privately have I heard anyone from Corktown Cinema deny that Landy is operating a theatre in their old space, rather the owners of the Burton have correctly informed their fans and the public that the company The Burton Theatre has changed locations and names.

You see, as hard as this may be to believe, it is NOT the responsibility of the owners of Corktown Cinema to promote Cass City Cinema, that is Landy’s job, and stealing someone else’s Facebook page is not an appropriate way to do so. Finally, not only is it ludicrous to suggest that a company who changed locations is somehow responsible for promoting its old location, it is also important for the Corktown Cinema owners to make sure people are aware they are no longer operating at the Burton School. As they set out on creating a unique and special cinema viewing experience in a new location, Corktown Cinema has an invested interest in making sure the public knows they aren’t the ones screening 8 Mile and The Hunger Games over on Cass Avenue.

And this all matters for a number of reasons: most personally, the Corktown Cinema guys have worked extremely hard to establish themselves in Detroit and are dedicated both to film culture and in contributing to the city, it is not OK for a rich bully to sweep in and denigrate all of the hard work they have put in; on a larger scale it is important that we do not let the owners of property assert their right to own individual and creative product, being wealthy enough to own large chunks of land is its own privilege, it is not accompanied with the right to push others around.



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