Sunday, August 17, 2014

A visit to the Big D ~ 8/16/14

Mary Alice Walker and I wanted to see our friend, Peter Carey, in the 2-man show "Ernie" playing in Detroit and purchased 3pm tickets for this afternoon. Our intent was to visit Hitsville U.S.A. before the show but due to some traffic delays and their tours being booked, we could only take some photos outside before we headed back to find the theater and maybe some food.
There was no street parking and we parked at KFC a few blocks away. The neighborhood is fascinating. There are wrecks and ruins of homes everywhere and then businesses popping up everywhere on residential properties. Mary found some cool sunglasses.
We drove back to search for the theater, which we passed unknowingly several times. We finally decided to park and walk because gps told us we were nearby. We took a few pics along the way.
We finally spotted it, tucked into crazy Hockeytown.

Huge line for food and beverage and with nothing else around open (closed from the recent flood) we walked back to the car for snacks and then walked back to the theater. Almost show time!
And the play was amazing. Peter Carey, acting many years old than his age, and TJ Corbett, acting many years younger, were so believable. They had great rapport and were obviously very comfortable with each other and with this play. And they never dropped the baseball :-) We caught up with them afterward.
We seriously needed to grab some food before trying to catch the 6:00 Hitsville tour so walked to a bar we spotted earlier that was on the way to the car. The Centaur was promising but too busy to get us our food on time. We took it to go and made it back to Hitsville with minutes to spare for the 6pm tour.

No photos are allowed anywhere inside the museum and all tours are guided. Our group was pretty much rushed through the galleries (photos, albums, Supremes' dresses, shoes, and wigs, hat & glove from Micheal Jackson) with no time to read the interesting things posted. We did have time, however, for our guide to banter with people in our group, sing short motown solos, and make us sing with him in the echo chamber. He made sure that no one lingered behind and herded us quite effectively :-( Someone asked if they could go back to view the exhibits again and our guide said no. It'd be great to be able to tour this place without a herder.

So you can't take it all in with the time allotted. From the galleries we moved into what was Barry Gordy's apartment when he first opened the studio. It's frozen in time with his kitchen table serving as his early shipping department. But the best part of the tour was standing inside Studio A where the great recordings were made. Pictures of Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and more are hanging on the walls. The original piano and drums are still there as are the cords hanging down for the microphones. I couldn't take my own photos but naturally, there are photos on the internet. The 1877 Steinway was restored due to Paul McCartney's visit several years ago and his funding of the restoration. We had to stay on the blue carpet and sing "My Girl" with our tour guide. Ok, that was pretty cool.
We left Barry Gordy Jr Blvd to head back to Grand Rapids and discovered that "No Standing" also means "no parking." Ah well. A $45.00 parking ticket is about what we would have paid in a lot. Until next time, Detroit!
P.S.  Besides the internet for the studio pictures, photo credit also goes to Mary Alice Walker who took our selfies :-)

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