Post Number: 1224
|Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 - 2:01 pm: || |
For all who drive past this each day and might like a peak inside...
Post Number: 2023
|Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 - 2:02 pm: || |
They used to have shows there around 1988 or so.
Post Number: 6450
|Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 - 2:20 pm: || |
Thanks Irish_mafia! Great pics. It's in better shape inside than I would have thought.
It shows in great detail the "Pueblo Deco" style of the 1920's. Detroit's 3 greatest Pueblo Deco buildings were the Guardian Building, Old Fisher Theatre (destroyed for a new theatre in 1961), and the Vanity Ballroom.
I'm glad to see that the Vanity Ballroom is being well secured from scalpers. I hope that this gem can one day be resurrected.
Although that stretch of Jefferson where the Vanity Ballroom is located (between Dickerson & the Grosse Pte. Park border) is still a rough area, at least the "up to the sidewalk" commercial building stock along that stretch is still mostly intact.
Post Number: 6578
|Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 - 2:30 pm: || |
You're right Gistok. Being that close the Pointes definitely pulls the area down a tad.
Post Number: 66
|Posted on Thursday, March 13, 2008 - 6:44 am: || |
Looks like DetroitBlogger John scored an interview with the current owner of the Vanity Ballroom; could this be the first time he's ever gotten permission to get inside an abandoned building?
(I'm glad scrappers haven't yet destroyed the place)
Post Number: 72
|Posted on Thursday, March 13, 2008 - 7:07 am: || |
Aiw, thanks for the giggle. On a serious note however JEBA, Jefferson East Business Association deserves a lot of credit for trying to bring back some vitality to the Jefferson corridor.
Post Number: 494
|Posted on Thursday, March 13, 2008 - 8:01 am: || |
It had never occurred to me that it would be so ornate inside. Thanks for posting!
Post Number: 240
|Posted on Thursday, March 13, 2008 - 8:44 am: || |
^^^ITA! What an incredible place, and doesn't look that bad inside. Oh the possibilities. Yet another venue that is ripe for renovation.
Post Number: 16
|Posted on Thursday, March 13, 2008 - 8:54 am: || |
I have driven past it many times. The movies Dreamgirls and 8 Mile have shots of the exterior in them. It is nice to see what's inside and that the owner has been somewhat successful keeping scrappers out.
Post Number: 6464
|Posted on Thursday, March 13, 2008 - 9:26 am: || |
Interestingly enough, the movie palace architects of the 1920's received a lot of commissions to design ballrooms. Hence the Vanity Ballroom was designed by Charles Agree, who also designed Detroit's largest neighborhood theatre, the late Hollywood Theatre (3,434 seats, razed 1963) on West Fort & Ferdinand.
Rapp & Rapp, the Chicago architectural firm that designed nearly 100 theatres with the "royal French" treatment (such as the Michigan), designed a wonderful ballroom in Chicago known as "The Trianon", also done up in a French style. Sadly, it too is gone.
However, one other Chicago ballroom still survives... the huge Aragon Ballroom, which was designed by John Eberson, the movie palace architect who brought the "Atmospheric" style of theatres to America. He designed the Aragon Ballroom in an atmospheric style similar to his theatres. With a capacity of nearly 6,000, it is one of the largest historic ballrooms in the country:
With the demise of the Graystone and (eventually) Grande Ballrooms, it would be nice to have the Vanity Ballroom survive as a glorious example of a rare early 20th century opulent venue... the American Ballroom.
Of all the old buildings along East Jefferson, the Players Club, Broadhead Naval Armory and the Vanity Ballroom have to top the list of Detroit venues of the early 20th century that are worth preserving.
With the renaissance of ballroom dancing as a popular form of entertainment (at least on TV), perhaps there may yet become a use for the glorious Vanity Ballroom.
Post Number: 1407
|Posted on Friday, March 14, 2008 - 9:48 am: || |
My "much" older sister has a large colorized print of The Vanity Ballroom in her family room in Dallas. I know she has fond memories of the place from the early 1970's so I sent her a link to detroitblog. I though she would be interested in seeing some recent pictures of the inside. Her is her response.
"Thanks - that was interesting - "opened on weekends in the 60s" Now wait a minute - I used to go there on weekends - and I'll bet it was the 70s.....
Iggy Stooge recorded an album there - and Arrowsmith...can't remember who else I saw....??? My memory is a little hazy."
Post Number: 114
|Posted on Friday, March 14, 2008 - 1:29 pm: || |
The point I got from this, and it should disgust everyone here, is the fact the owner is a complete TOOL. If it's a slam dunk, that fucker should have been working on it or sold it after 20 years. Sorry for the language but this is the problem with so many of these abandoned gems, and the pattern continues to repeat itself. While holding out for the highest bidder, the building continues to rot. Greedy bastards.
Post Number: 6474
|Posted on Friday, March 14, 2008 - 1:44 pm: || |
Sorry Hamtragedy, but I think you're way off base. Chuck Forbes owned several theatres for nearly a decade before he finally got enough resources to restore them. And Mike Ilitch is still in possession of 2 theatres that are rotting away. Even Michigan Opera Theatre had a theatre (Madison) that they let decay for 11 years before they finally were able to unload it without doing anything to it, and it's gone today.
Now I don't know the man who owns the Vanity, but how can you jump to such conclusions if no bank is going to give him a loan to fix up his property?
Now I'm not saying he's not greedy... but he's probably paying his property taxes on it, and hasn't made a nickel off of it, and may never reap anything. But he's doing his best to prevent scalpers from getting into it, so I will give him some credit.
What if someone like him had taken ownership (and not abandoned) of the Lee Plaza, and instead of letting it slowly be dismantled (like it is), he at least secured it, and protected it until the market in the area improved. Would you call that guy a fucker as well?
I just don't think you have enough information about this gentleman to start comparing him to Michael Higgins, and think you may be wrong on your analysis.
Post Number: 115
|Posted on Friday, March 14, 2008 - 1:59 pm: || |
Duly noted. I was in there working a gig 20 years ago. It is truly a beautiful bldg. But to give the guy credit for securing the place is one thing. Not fixing the roof for 20 years and the resulting underlying damage is another. I'm sure the emotion in my tone is shared by many forumers, as essentially, it is another building left to rot while the owner holds out for a pay-day.
BTW, I have worked on a few homes in that area, and the concerned citizens have always found the owner to be somewhat of an obstacle. But that's all heresay.....
BTW 2, I used to drive by the Lee Plaza, Riviera, Great Lakes, and worked a short stint at the Norwest (they showed Prince' Purple Rain for two years). I've read Gistok's posts long before I began posting. Thanks for bringing the past to life. Now, if we could somehow preserve what's left for the future.
Post Number: 6479
|Posted on Friday, March 14, 2008 - 2:08 pm: || |
I agree with you on fixing up the roof...
Post Number: 31
|Posted on Friday, March 14, 2008 - 3:54 pm: || |
I played a show there in about '87 or '88. I remember it well because our drummer didn't show up and we had to play with a drum machine. First time I'd ever done that.
I recall being blown away by what we called the "Aztec Deco" design. Every doorway was a work of art. Some of the cool old furniture had survived--Chrome couches and beautiful floor lamps and even snazzy deco ashtrays. Even then the place was getting a bit run down, but it was still easy to see the glory of this ballroom.
One other cool thing. A few weeks later I mentioned to my parents that I had been in the Vanity Ballroom, and they were just tickled. They went there to drink and dance before they were married, and were delighted to find out that there was still activity in the old room.