Last week I showed a documentary about the spread of electronic music. And have shown a couple of videos that were a part of the Imaging Detroit project.
This week I meld the two.
And I do it on this specific day because of one of the individuals interviewed in this documentary: Laura Gavoor. It wasn’t until I saw her face that I realized how long this documentary was in the making.
See, Laura Gavoor died ten years ago. Here’s what I wrote ten years ago today, on the 313 Detroit Techno email list when I found out she passed away:
Detroit in the eyes of many people is a wasteland. Even listening to some
of the comments of May, Atkins, Mills, and Hawtin, one can easily get the
impression that people around the city are just biding their time to turn
the lights out. People like Laura saw Detroit not only for what it
appeared to be, but also for what it was underneath the surface AND FOR
WHAT IT COULD BE. In the face of an extended campaign to discredit and
disinform, people like Laura remain DEFIANT, RELENTLESS, UNBOWED, and
UNBROKEN…while at the same time expressing a joy for life simply
unmatched by any of the rat bast*rds out to sh*t on the city.
I teach an Introduction to African American Studies class. Today we
talked about Plessy v. Ferguson…for those who aren’t familiar, Plessy
was a shoemaker in 1890’s Louisiana and he tried to sue to have a racist
policy of separating whites and blacks on public transportation
dismantled. He didn’t win…but the kicker to me is the following: Plessy
was 7/8 white. He could have simply passed for white and lived a life of
But he didn’t. Not only did he claim his blackness, he FOUGHT for black
Now I don’t know Laura personally. Don’t know if she’s black or white,
tall or short, big or small.
I do know this though. Where the path of least resistance in relation to
Detroit and Detroit techno is to simply “pass” Laura stayed…living,
loving, and KICKING *SS. We’d do well to follow her path.
She will be sorely missed.
Mark Anthony Neal suggested I write the definitive history of Detroit techno. That project might still be in me. But this documentary might just do the trick.