Club Heaven Sound System Collection

Club Heaven, a primarily Black LGBT club, gave life. But it was not alone. Explore the venues, promoters, and DJs of the City’s historic club continuum.

Since its founding in 2012, Detroit Sound Conservancy has been committed to preserving the memory of Detroit’s contributions to global dance culture. In 2017, this commitment deepened with the gift of the Club Heaven Sound System. As part of our community engagement and eventual activation of the system, we have organized source materials below from our collections and online that begin to tell the breadth of Detroit’s “underground” (predominantly Black, queer, and not celebrated outside of its community ecosystem during its heyday) musical story in a local, national, and international context, from the days of disco to the rise of the Movement Festival.

If you have any questions, edits, or additions, please contact us at info@detroitsound.org or call direct at 313-444-8242. 

Venues

Click here to see an interactive map of Detroit’s based on scholar Tim Retzloff’s work documenting gay bars in Detroit. 

Back Street (formerly Escape)

Bookie’s

Cheeks

The Chessmate

Explore our programming around The Chessmate. 

Club Heaven

Eagle

Famous Door

Gas Station

Iron Hinge

Menjo’s

Music Institute

Off Broadway East

Shelter

Studio 54

Timesquare

Todd’s

Waymans

Woodward

Zippers

DJs, Performers, Pools, and Promoters

A partial list of local DJs, performers, and promoters who were seminal to the formation and flowering of Detroit’s underground dance culture.

Juan Atkins

Duane “In The Mix” Bradley

Tyrone Bradley

Patrick Burton

Mike Clark

Gregory Collier

Hear an interview with Collier here.

Ken Collier

Hear an interview with Collier here.

John “Jammin'” Collins

Dance Detroit (formerly Disco Pool Detroit)

Link to our Dance Detroit Collection page.

Deep Space

Photo of DJs Morris Mitchell and Butch Duncan at Movement 2011. Photographer Carleton Gholz. Courtesy of Carleton Gholz Collection.

Butch Duncan

Al Ester

Scott “Go Go” Gordon

Hear an interview with Gordon.

A photograph of DJ Stacey Hale performing during our Dance Detroit Reunion in 2015.

Stacey “Hotwaxx” Hale (Professional website)

Melvin Hill

Innovative Jocks

Jerry Johnson

John Kryston

L’Uomo

Midwestern Dance Association

Jeff Mills

Minx

Morris Mitchell

Listen to an interview with Mitchell here.

Nancy Mitchell

Steve Nader (1955-2011)

Read an obituary here.

Chad Novak

Hear a mix by Novak here.

Paxahau

Art Payne

Tony Peoples

Poor Boy

Dawn Porter

Enola Porter

Larry Sanders

Kevin Saunderson

Delano Smith

Zana Smith

Jim Stone

Norm Talley

Cynthia “DJ Cent” Travis

Hear an oral history with Cent.

True Disco

United Dance Music Association

Voom

Elton Weathers

Renaldo White

Dale Willis

Darryl Wynn

Houses

Charles

Dior

Escada

Bartenders

Dennis Ashby

Media

Between the Lines

Cruise

Gayly Speaking

Kick!

Metra 

Outpost

Tempo

Detroit Sound Conservancy At-Large Board Member Lee Simmons (1960-2020) with the Club Heaven Sound System at LGBT Detroit’s event space in 2019.

National Alumni

A partial list of DJs and performers beyond Detroit who were seminal to the formation and flowering of Detroit’s underground dance culture.

Frankie Knuckles

Larry Levan

Tee Scott

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