Lights, Camera,..... Action? Part 2

This is the second blog series on the Eastown Theater. If you happened to miss the first you can read it here. The Eastown Theater was the second building we entered on our trip, but we were still packed for time.  We only had about 30 minutes to spend inside, and very little to spend outside as we had to move on to other buildings, and also avoid being caught or interupted by the locals.  It was a bit unfortunate that we didn’t get to spend to long outside, because that is where I seen some of the saddest things on the whole trip.  Cars up on cynder blocks, every other house was abandoned, and so many people living on the streets.  The neighbourhood, simply put, was rough!
Inside, what could I really say about it? It was a dump, literally. People desperate for money had ripped all of the chairs out to sell the metal for scrap and left the cushions in a huge pile.  People dumped a whack load of tires, and other garbage inside this place.  I’m not really sure why this building was picked to dump tires over any other building, maybe there was an auto garage around that couldnt afford to take the tires to a real dump?

Eastown showed a variety of classic films up until the 60’s when it closed down due to lack of attendance and the development of multi-screen theaters. In 1969, Eastown opened up again, but as a rock venue hosting some of the biggest and most influential rockers of all time. Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, Bob Seeger, The Doors, and the Grateful Dead are among the biggest names that graced the stage at Eastown.
The sounds of rock and roll only lasted 4 years when, again in 1973 the theater closed down. The theater seen numerous changes between then and the 90’s including a church, an adult theatre, a rave house, a jazz theatre, and a performing arts theatre.
Taking pictures was very difficult in this building. The stage had a very large hole that was covered by a piece of plywood. The roof between the main floor and the balcony was falling apart and was basically supported by just re-bar. This, all while dodging all the garbage that was all over the floors.

The lighting in this building was absolutely terrible as well. There was only 2 sources of light really, some coming in through a hole in the wall above the balcony on the second floor, and some coming in from behind the stage where the fire had ripped through. I can only imagine what this place was like in its hay days, playing old black and white movies. The amount of popcorn that was spilt on those floors, and the number of first dates this place probably entertained. So many people have passed through this building, but the shape it currently is in, I have a feeling we will probably some of the last people that got to enjoy this magnificent place.

I tried to edit this whole series and give the photos a classic film feel, by converting them to black and white and adding some grain. I hope you enjoy the series on the Eastown Theater.

Lights, Camera,..... Action? Part 1

There was a group of photogs I ventured down to Detroit with this past July, and one of our stops was the Eastown Theater.  This building was absolutely majestic in the day, at least from the pictures I have seen, but now the building lies in utter ruins in a pretty rough area of Detroit.  In the first part, of this two part series, I really wanted to talk about the history of this building.  In the second part I will show some more of my pictures and discuss the current state of this building.  The theater was built in 1931 as a movie house due to the vast expansion and fascination with cinema during that era.

There have been numerous changes to the building over the years which I really wanted to show you.  The very top picture is opening day at the Eastown, with all the hustle and bustle.  The first movie was an early Clark Gable called Sporting Blood.  It is amazing what can change over time though, when we arrived there was no longer buildings on either side of the theatre, all of the signs have been completely removed and there isn’t a car or person to be found.  In August of 2010 a fire struck the Eastown and burnt down a significant portion of building.  From what I understand the part that burnt was an apartment building which housed a number of people, and while on our trip a few photog’s found a lot of personal belongings mixed in the rubble.

Here are a few of the pictures I was able to take from the inside of the theater.  The picture below is from the stage looking out and up at the balcony.  You can see the rough condition this building is in.  I don’t expect it to be standing much longer, since most of the walls were falling apart down to just the re-bar.

Check out the next part in a few days to see more of my pictures and to get a little more of the history around the Eastown Theatre.