‘Club Heaven was a magical place of freedom and liberation.’ — Here’s how one Detroit club gave gay Black men the oasis they needed during the HIV/AIDS crisis.
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Club Heaven opened in Detroit in 1984 and became an oasis for gay Black men during the HIV/AIDS epidemic’s early years in the U.S. Since the club closed in 1997, 75% of Detroit’s queer spaces have reportedly closed. Now a team is working to restore Club Heaven’s iconic and historic sound system.
Michael Fotas, Sound Engineer, Detroit Sound Conservancy, Attendee of Club Heaven: Being in a place with that size sound system operating at its peak, at that time, ok, turned all the way up, like literally you couldn’t look straight because the low frequency made your retinas wiggle.
Club Heaven opened in Detroit in 1984 during the HIV/AIDS epidemic’s earliest years in the U.S.
Damon Percy, Music Critic, Detroit Sound Conservancy, Attendee of Club Heaven: Inside of Club Heaven, it was two rooms. There was one was the room where you kind of sat and, you know, talked and showed off your fashions with your cliques. In the other bigger room, that was the dance floor.
Damon Percy, Music Critic, Detroit Sound Conservancy, Attendee of Club Heaven: Got off the bus stop right there. The last bus would come to my, where I lived, at 1:30, so I’d have to kind of walk around, hiding. Cuz I was you know, 19.
Today Percy is a member of LGBT Detroit, an organization partnering with the Detroit Sound Conservancy (DSC) to restore the Club Heaven sound system. Music preservation org DSC began restoring the Heaven sound system in 2017. DSC raised more than $15,000 to fund the project through a 2018 Kickstarter campaign
To keep up with the restoration of Club Heaven sound system, you can join Detroit Sound Conservancy’s mailing list via http://detroitsound.org
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