Grande Ballroom Analysis / Fund Kicks Off!

The Friends of the Grande are very pleased to announce the first crowdfunding campaign for the Grande Ballroom.
This initiative will fund a due diligence inspection and initial building safety projects
that will benefit the building and its owners Chapel Hill Missionary Baptist Church.
Already on board are major contributors such as Margaret Saadi Kramer and Wayne Kramer (formerly of the legendary Grande house act the MC5). Wayne and Margaret have kindly pledged matching funds to the project. Please join us by visiting the Gofundme Grande Analysis/Fund

Metro Times Article

The Grande Ballroom

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Save the Grande! Friends of the Grande Volunteer meeting. August 2017

Tuesday evening August 8th from 7-9 P.M. we are calling to order the August volunteer meeting for the Friends of the Grande. This is a public meeting that is open to anyone interested in contributing to the cause of preserving and restoring the Grande Ballroom building. As of this spring, the current owners Chapel Hill Missionary Baptist Church have granted approval to pursue nomination of the building to the National Register of Historic Places and to investigate restoration/redevelopment potential.

Of particular importance for this meeting will be funding for a structural integrity report and the national historic registry nomination.

We will be holding monthly meetings in the Theater of Techshop Detroit. Techshop is a membership-based, open-access, DIY workshop.

We hope to  have all stakeholders present and look forward to seeing YOU there!

Cheers,

Leo Early

Friends of the Grande

FOG on Facebook

Techshop – Detroit/Allen Park

800 Republic Drive, Allen Park, MI 48101.

(313) 583-3831

Directions

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Friends of the Grande volunteer meeting June 5

Monday evening June 5 from 7-9 P.M. we are calling to order the first Friends of the Grande meeting in over ten years. This is a public meeting that is open to anyone interested in contributing to the cause of preserving and restoring the Grande Ballroom building. As of this spring, the current owners Chapel Hill Missionary Baptist Church have granted approval to pursue nomination of the building to the National Register of Historic Places and to investigate restoration/redevelopment potential.

We will be talking about the nomination which will be reviewed in September and discussing potential business cases. On the agenda are a number of pre-development projects that are critical to saving the building. “Sealing the envelope” of the structure is paramount and the help of volunteers coupled with fundraising efforts can aid in achieving that goal.

We will be holding this meeting in the auditorium of Techshop Detroit. Techshop is a membership-based, open-access, DIY workshop and fabrication studio that welcomes people of all skill levels to come in and use industrial tools and equipment to build their own projects.

We hope to  have all stakeholders present and look forward to seeing YOU there!

Cheers,

Leo Early

Friends of the Grande

 

Techshop – Detroit/Allen Park

800 Republic Drive, Allen Park, MI 48101.

(313) 583-3831

Directions

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Leo Early @ B&N Book Fair Saturday March 4

Although it’s technically in Northville, I’ll be appearing at the Livonia Barnes and Noble Local Author Book Fair on Saturday March 4 @ 7 P.M.

I am one of ten local authors invited to participate based upon the success of our titles at the chain. So if you still enjoy browsing through real physical books and meeting those that write them, please come out and join us!

17111 Haggerty Rd.
Northville, MI 48168
248-348-0696

Barnes and Noble – Livonia Local Author Book Fair

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Grande Ballroom 50th Anniversary – History Bus Tour w/Photos

This gallery contains 17 photos.

In remembrance of the 50th Anniversary of the Rock n Roll re-opening of the Grande Ballroom, author Leo Early led a group of 35 Grande fans on a music history tour of downriver and the west side of Detroit. On … Continue reading

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The Grande Ballroom – Detroit’s Rock n Roll Palace

leo early

After 12 years of toil, dozens of interviews, countless library hours and plenty of travel,  I am pleased to finally announce the release of my book, “The Grande Ballroom – Detroit’s Rock n Roll Palace.” Much thanks to all the Grande faithful who helped me get to this point. To all the principals, patrons and performers, I hope this offering is a reflective glimpse into the entire 88 year history of the building that you will all enjoy.

Leo Early 2016

“In the 1920’s, a jewel of Detroit entertainment arose on the west side – the Grande Ballroom. The venue flourished under the ownership of infamous gambler Harry Weitzman and management of dance scion Paul Strasburg. The advent of rock n’ roll pushed the ballroom into hard times, but in 1966, a local schoolteacher and disc jockey Russ Gibb resurrected it with the promise of live rock music.The new psychedelic ballroom style attracted scores of suburban baby boomers and helped launch the careers of local legends like the MC5, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper and Ted Nugent. Soon the ballroom’s prestige attracted international acts like the Cream, the Who and the Jeff Beck group. Detroit Music expert Leo Early celebrates this beloved venue.”

Amazon


grrp_cover

Cover photo by Tom Weschler

Press Release

The Grande Ballroom – Detroit’s Rock n Roll Palace Facebook group – Discuss the book!

The Grande Ballroom – Detroit’s Rock n Roll Palace – Fan/Book page

The Friends of the Grande Facebook page – Grass roots activism

Leoearly.com – Author Page

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Save the Grande! F.O.G. volunteers meeting – Nov.13

This month’s Friends of the Grande Volunteer meeting will again be at the Techshop in Allen Park where I’ll provide updates on:

  • The National Register Nomination for the Grande Ballroom.
  • Crowdfunding update for the Structural Engineering Inspection costs.
  • Conditional plans for a larger stabilization/renovation fund.

If you cannot make it in person, please be sure to visit the F.O.G
Facebook Group page for the Facebook Live video stream!

See you there!

Leo Early

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Save the Grande! Friends of the Grande meeting July 6

Thursday evening July 6 from 7-9 P.M. we are calling to order the July meeting of the Friends of the Grande. This is a public meeting that is open to anyone interested in contributing to the cause of preserving and restoring the Grande Ballroom building. As of this spring, the current owners Chapel Hill Missionary Baptist Church have granted approval to pursue nomination of the building to the National Register of Historic Places and to investigate restoration/redevelopment potential.

Of particular importance for this meeting will be the latest on a structural integrity report and the national historic registry nomination. Most specifics are not published publicly and are privy only to attendees.

We will be holding this meeting in the Theater of Techshop Detroit. Techshop is a membership-based, open-access, DIY workshop and fabrication studio that welcomes people of all skill levels to come in and use industrial tools and equipment to build their own projects.

We hope to  have all stakeholders present and look forward to seeing YOU there!

Cheers,

Leo Early

Friends of the Grande

Techshop – Detroit/Allen Park

800 Republic Drive, Allen Park, MI 48101.

(313) 583-3831

Directions

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Grande Ballroom green lit for National Register of Historic Places process / restoration

Grande Ballroom green lit for National Register of Historic Places process / restoration.

I am pleased to announce that this week I met with the owners of the Grande Ballroom, Chapel Missionary Baptist Church represented by Pastor Dr. R. Lamont Smith II.  This meeting was held to discuss their support for the Grande Ballroom building’s potential and to officially sign off on owner approval of our application to the National Register of Historic Places. Based upon the information we gathered during our inspection visit in October, we believe that it is viable to secure, stabilize and salvage the structure.  Public input is being sought for potential uses for the building.

Leo Early (left) and Dr. R. Lamont Smith II w/ the historic nomination approval.

 

Dr. Smith and myself were also featured in this recent HUB Detroit article.

Road to Resurrection: Pastor crusades to save historic ballroom

Stay tuned for more on these initiatives.

 

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Leo Early book signing Oakland Mall Feb.18

leo early

After a short break to recover from the whirlwind of book events since our October launch, I am back on the road! I’ll be signing copies of The Grande Ballroom Detroit’s Rock n Roll Palace at Oakland Mall Saturday February 18. This time the major event is WCSX’s 2nd Annual Classic Rock Swap. Within the perimeter of the swap, shoppers can buy, sell, trade CD’s LP’s, music memorabilia and yes BOOKS! It runs from 10-5, hope to see you there!

WCSX 2nd Annual Classic Rock Swap

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The Alabama Theater – cousin of the Grande – Video

In researching the Grande Ballroom Detroit’s Rock n Roll Palace I learned of the Architects Graven and Mayger and their involvement in Detroit architecture and two significant Southern movie palaces. Several years ago I had the opportunity to visit the pair, the Tennessee Theater in Knoxville and the massive Alabama theater in Birmingham. Through the largesse of their staff I was able to shoot a ton of photos and video and get many of my questions answered. At the Alabama our day closed with a special movie screening. The State of Alabama had developed a reading program for elementary school children. Any child that read his or her quota of books for the semester was awarded a special field trip. This semester’s trip was an excursion to the Alabama to see Disney’s “Ratatouille”, soda pop and popcorn included. The audio I recorded is the demonstration of the the Theater organ by Cecil Whitmire, organist and manager of the theater. The demo is immediately followed by a sing along with hundreds of kids joining in.

The Alabama Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society saved the Alabama from the wrecking ball in the 80s. The exceedingly rare Wurlitzer pipe organ, known today as “Big Bertha”, is a centerpiece of the facility. Mr. Whitmire explained that volunteers were at a loss on how to begin the modern restoration, when one day the phone magically rang; “On the other end was a fella from the company that had purchased the assets of a firm that once was the Publix theater management company. He said; we have Grayven and Mayger blueprints for the Alabama, would you like them? So, for the cost of shipping they sent dozens of the blueprints to us from Atlanta.” These original blueprints were invaluable to the restoration of this marvelous Southern gem that in 1993 became the Official Historic Theatre of Alabama.

Alabama Theater from Leo Early on Vimeo.

 

For more.. get the book!

grrp_cover

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Author Leo Early – Drew and Mike Podcast

I had a blast talking about the Grande with Drew Lane and Marc Fellhauer from the Drew and Mike podcast Wednesday. These guys are Detroit broadcasting stalwarts and real pros! You’ll be able to catch me at the 24:00 minute mark.

Drew And Mike – Dec 14, 2016 – Part 1

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