Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Hip in Detroit Chats with El Club Owner About That Kickstarter You Saw on Facebook

It's been just under a year since El Club opened its doors in SW Detroit. The large open space has been the host to a number of wonderful events since it opened its doors and it has quickly distinguished itself as one of the coolest places to perform in the City of Detroit. They have invited a ton of different acts to play through their superior sound system and we have personally seen some memorable shows, including Valley Hush's album release party, Tunde Olaniran opening for Sleigh Bells and Chelsea Wolfe. We even hosted our five year anniversary party there this past January.  It has become a sought after place to play for local and national acts alike.  
So, naturally they want to expand the space. Have you ever noticed the empty building that looks like it might catch on fire that is next to El Club? That's the building that owner Graeme Flegenheimer wants to turn into what he calls a "community space". Ideally this space would be the host for a variety of things, including a coffee house with performance and retail space, three rentable band practice spaces, a silkscreen studio, a classroom and gallery space, and a rooftop patio. To raise money to create this space, El Club has started a Kickstarter to raise $50,000 to get the project off the ground. The launch of the campaign came with the usual cheers and jeers that come with doing anything in Detroit. Many people were excited by the idea of having a community space like this in SW Detroit and others were angry that a business would ask for money to start another business. Personally, we love the impact that El Club has had on the musical community of Detroit and we like the idea of seeing it expand into more. So, we reached out to Graeme and got answers from the man behind the big plan. Check out what he has to say and click the link to donate below if you are so inclined, they have some solid rewards! 

HID- Who currently owns the building that you are hoping to turn into the new community space?
Graeme Flegenheimer- "We own the building."

HID- If you get the backing for this project when would the facility realistically open?
Graeme Flegenheimer- "Spring 2018"

HID- You are calling it a community space, does that mean that it will feature free events?
Graeme Flegenheimer- "Yes, we will feature free art classes to students in Southwest Detroit, ranging from graphic design, filmmaking, visual arts & music lessons. I have already done these free art classes in my previous space, The Church on York, and it was amazing. We had members of Hole, Maroon 5 & Urge Overkill teaching kids how to play. We'll host AA meetings, NA meetings...The basement will have affordable practice spaces for artists to rent...Finally, a free silk screen studio for folks to use. So yes, free events & tools."

HID- Why did you decide to do a kickstarter for this project?
Graeme Flegenheimer- "Because a business loan was not possible for us. We are also applying to some grant programs. This Kickstarter is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of raising the money needed."

HID- When you say 2500 to throw your own event, is that any event I want?
Graeme Flegenheimer- "Yes"

HID- This campaign has been met with some negativity by people who are wondering why you decided to use a Kickstarter to fund a for profit business, but this isn't the first time this has been done in Detroit and similar campaigns did not receive this kind of backlash. Would you like to address this?
Graeme Flegenheimer- "Yes, the business will turn a small profit, by serving coffee & snacks throughout the day. That income will go to pay the staff, keep the lights on & pay taxes. The buildings primarily purpose to provide free education & creative spaces...So, we can't afford to incur a massive debt from the build out. People like to project their own narrative & make assumptions, so if they wanna hate, that's cool, don't support the cause. I know where my heart & intentions are. I am always open to having a dialogue."

PS. Someone donate that 2500 to rent the club and give me a call, I have ideas!


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