Detroit Sound Conservancy begins effort to restore Club Heaven soundsystem

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  • The historic LGBT club was the longtime home of revered DJ Ken Collier.
  • Detroit Sound Conservancy begins effort to restore Club Heaven soundsystem image
  • The Detroit Sound Conservancy has launched a Kickstarter campaign to restore and activate the soundsystem from historic gay nightclub Club Heaven. Club Heaven was open at the corner of 7 Mile and Woodward for a little over a decade beginning in 1985. The resident DJ at the afterhours club was Ken Collier, an influential figure for multiple generations of Detroit producers, from Derrick May to Terrence Parker. In 2017, May and Kevin Saunderson approached DSC with a donation, the Club Heaven soundsystem, which Red Bull Music Academy Daily describes as "Frankensteined together from now-renowned equipment: Cerwin-Vega Sensurround subwoofer bins, Altec Lansing 811B horns and M80 M/B horns, Howze & Walter Community Speakers, custom-made PAS amps built locally by engineer Floyd James." The DSC, a nonprofit organization founded by Dr. Carleton Gholz, hopes to turn the Club Heaven soundsystem into a mobile unit. Speaking with Resident Advisor, Gholz explained that while Club Heaven is name-checked frequently by DJs and dancers and was a global destination at the time, it is scantly documented. "There is only a video on YouTube, a few flyers and some stray mixes running around. We think the restored system will provide a better, more integrative and meaningful historical experience." Gholz also notes Detroit has lost 75 percent of its gay bars since Club Heaven opened in 1984. If successful, the Kickstarter will provide funds for the restoration of the soundsystem and a Detroit launch event in 2019. Beyond that, the nonprofit will raise additional funds to tour the soundsystem, which is plans to house permanently at DSC's headquarters in Detroit. Kickstarter gifts include Christopher Cushman's black and white photos of the House Of Charles, a voguing crew that called Club Heaven home. Head over to the Kickstarter for more information.