A Slice of History From Detroit Rock City

The Eastown Theatre went from being an opulent, family-friendly movie house in Detroit around the 1930s, to a rough-and-tumble rock-and-roll rave spot plagued by bad luck in the 1960s. After being shut down for a brief period in the early ’70s, the Eastown was renamed the Showcase Theatre and opened up for another run in 1976. In a record-breaking turn of luck for the theatre, James Brown brought his “Body Heat” Tour to the Eastown for a 6-day stint which included 14 performances by Brown within those 6 days. Due to consistent crime in the area, high drug-dealing traffic, and little to no security at the venue, the “Showcase Theatre” did not long survive the late ’70s. Brown’s string of shows would be one of the last great performance runs the Eastown Theatre would see, but even those performances were by no means smooth sailing — a dispute between James Brown and the theatre over rent money almost cost James Brown over $50,000 in equipment. The Eastown Theatre may be cursed, but still it provided Detroit with some of it’s purest rock and roll moments as well as, if you can even imagine it now, a place for families to take in a 15-cents-per-ticket film surrounded by elegance.



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