Abandoned Eastown Theater in Detroit at 8041 Harper Ave

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    Originally a movie theater that opened in 1930, it was also a big concert venue from 1969 thru 1972 seating 2,500 people. Concerts there included MC5, Stooges, Buddy Miles, Amboy Dukes, Rush, Howlin' Wolf, Alice Cooper, War, BB King, Albert King, Mountain, Steve Miller, Sly and the Family Stone, Grand Funk - and that was just in the first few months it was open! It has been known as the Eastown Theater for most of it's life. The theater operated from 1930 until 1967. Outside of Rock Acts, it did reopen briefly in 1975 for Jazz acts, again in 1976 for Performing arts and plays, 1980 for avant garde and exploitation films, and a last attempt in 1984 for live performing arts again. It has also hosted a few techno raves in it's time. It was originally designed by VJ Waier.

    This is the place where Alice Cooper first started wearing a Top Hat, he had found it in the dumpster here.

    frankgiacobbe, wurlitzergirl, and 11 other people added this photo to their favorites.

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    1. chefoban 61 months ago | reply

      It was like walking into a different world, the lavender paint, the great pa system.. I can still hear "Easy Rider" by Jimi blasting though the joint. It was the place to be Friday/Saturday night.

    2. newspapermann 60 months ago | reply

      Actually, Derek, it was known as the Showcase in the mid-1970s for a bit.

    3. DetroitDerek Photography ( ALL RIGHTS RESERVED ) 60 months ago | reply

      I knew it became a Jazz venue for 1 1/2 years but wasn't aware there was a name change. I know it was called the Showcase when it opened for a while as an adult film theater from 1980-84 but didn't know that info at the time I posted this.

    4. sevenhutsonmontroy 58 months ago | reply

      I loved playing here! I was in a Detroit Band ,Elephant, short lived but got to play alot of good gigs. The band featured Harold Catarancuic who was the bassist in Jagged Edge. He started the band with Joe Pullin (Bass) Terry Stumpf (Guitar) and me on drums. We opened at the Eastowne for Mountain and subbed for Humble Pie when Steve Marriot took sick. We also opened for J. Geils when they recorded Full House live at the Grande Riviera. The Eastowne was a beautiful building inside and out. A real treat for anyone to see a band there and even more of a treat to play there! Seven

    5. 9b4b090045bf4e07b1365f5d4806232f 52 months ago | reply

      I thought it was called the Renaissance Theatre for a time when they were booking jazz in the 70s. I saw John Klemmer, who played an astonishingly short set (<45 min) then infuriated the audience by refusing to play even a single encore. Finally, after angrily persisting for nearly half an hour (and refusing to leave the theatre), the audience was finally satiated -- albeit grudgingly -- with another 3 tunes.

    6. seymour detroit 49 months ago | reply

      they are in the process of tearing it down it looks like. what a shame another great movie palace gone.

    7. Sue_N. 42 months ago | reply

      I remember there was a long hallway upstairs. It had a black floor with bright red walls. All the people that were to high used to be all over the floor up there. We called it Hell Hall.

    8. GARWOODMANSION 40 months ago | reply

      J .Geils recorded there album at the cinderela ballroom which was on jefferson ave on the eastside of detroit,it was torn down years ago---they did not record it at the grande riviera.

    9. Dean Novi 40 months ago | reply

      I saw the following bands at the Eastown:

      - Procol Harem - Rod Stewart -Terry Reid -Jethro Tull -Lee Michaels -Mungo Gerry

      Great venue!

    10. conserview 39 months ago | reply

      I saw Pink Floyd there in 1970 . . . also Iggy & The Stooges, Jethro Tull, Lee Michaels and Spirit.

    11. conserview 39 months ago | reply

      Almost forgot the Allman Brothers (with Duane Allman before his untimely death).

    12. zombie96 38 months ago | reply

      I had a bad trip after buying some bad shit

    13. zombie96 38 months ago | reply

      there was a time I miss the freedom found there.

    14. hankhighsmith 35 months ago | reply

      I went there many times from 1970-1973. There used to be a little cafe where that empty lot is now. I got kicked out and had to sit in there for an hour or so until they put somebody new on the door so I could get back in =)

      Alice Cooper played there a lot but I remember Humble Pie with Peter Frampton, Mountain with Leslie West and Felix Pappalardi, Emerson Lake and Palmer and a whole bunch of others.

      Used to go to the Grande Ballroom back then too.

    15. ajerseykid 34 months ago | reply

      I lived a few blocks away in the late '70s & saw many acts there... & had gone there to see movies when i was a kid. Can still recall the wacky hippy royalty outfits, the drugs, the volume of the music, the light show, the excitement of the scene, & tons of FUN! So sad & bittersweet to see this photo. Moved away from Detroit in the late '70s & it pains me to see images like this.

    16. Dean Novi 31 months ago | reply

      Thanks! I found the October 1970 Faces concert I attended!

    17. slipnut01 10 months ago | reply

      Closed in 1980 and quickly reopened, the Eastown Theatre began to show adult films under a new name, the Showcase, but closed again in 1984.(10)

      10.)^dr.flashback, comments, 2005-01-14, archive.org/details/gd71-10-24.sbd.clugston.3292.sbeok.shnf

    18. seymour detroit 10 months ago | reply

      yeah its mostly a pile of rubble now. the roof has almost completely caved in. scrappers have hit it hard.

    19. Dean Novi 10 months ago | reply

      I took 1 brick for memorabilia.

    20. slipnut01 9 months ago | reply

      Do you have a larger resolution of this photo? I'd like to use it in The Encyclopedia Of Jerry Garcia Music Venues. Please email me at slipnut01@gmail.com

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