Tour of Submerge with Cornelius Harris, The Unknown Writer
Saturday, September 20, 2008
James and I got to go down there together because my mother was visiting and she took care of our kids. It was so nice to be able to do something research related with my husband! We had a really good time together and ended up exploring Detroit way more than I would have thought to do had I been by myself. I probably would have felt a strong need to get back home to the kids and wouldn't have wandered around the city.
Touring Submerge with Cornelius was great. He repeatedly referred to the space as a "living space" because of the constant use it gets by people in Detroit's electronic music community. It's a four story building that used to belong to a labor union. Submerge folks purchased the building around 2000, and renovated it completely. It was falling apart when they bought it, and they turned it into something amazing and beautiful. It is definitely not an empty, quiet space. There is a record store in the basement called Somewhere in Detroit. It is not open regularly, but it is open during the festival weekend on Memorial Day weekend in May. Otherwise, they sell music through Detroit Threads, a record store in Hamtramck. On the walls of the store are signatures and messages from people who have passed through. Cornelius handed me a felt pen and told me that Submerge exists because of the people who pass through here, so that is what the pen was for. It was really neat to sign the wall. Here is what I wrote: "I love Detroit. Thank you for the music. Denise Dalphond, the techno student." I was really excited, and honored, and grateful to be asked to write on those walls. There were lots of interesting things written on the walls. I saw Dan Sicko, author of Techno Rebels, signed the wall. That was cool.
Then we walked up to the second level, and Cornelius pointed out office spaces, Detroit Techno Militia office, and then took us into his office. He showed us the Detroit artists' work on the walls in the central stairway. And a large photo of Jeff Mills hands in the stairway! Submerge is just a solid, living dedication to Detroit people, culture, and history.
After James and I left, we went to get coffee and then to an art store near Wayne State to get some photo supplies for James. Then we went by the sports complex downtown with Comerica Park (Detroit Tigers, baseball) and Ford Field (Detroit Lions, football), and all the other amusement and restaurants in the vicinity. The parking lots are right on edge of the highway so that people coming to see game don't even have to drive in Detroit much at all. They can just drive from highway to parking lot and then back to the highway again. What a convenience for all those suburbanites to come into the city and not have to be bothered by the rest of Detroit. Yes, that is nasty sarcastic.
We did some more driving around the area, then on to Harmonie Park where Spectacles clothing shop is and Lolas – still need to go there. Friday nights are described as being reminiscent of the Music Institute.
Here's a couple of things that I still want to do and can't believe that I haven't gotten around to them yet:
Record store outing
Museum of African American History
Detroit Historical Museum