The Chessmate, at the corner of Livernois and 6, has a history of late night concerts, cutting-edge acts, and legendary troubadours, as well as nights of joy and pain, from high school students watching James Cotton play harmonica in the middle of Livernois, to a teen being shot by the Errol Flynns after a night of dancing. We forget places like the Chessmate at our collective peril.
In that spirit, Live6 Detroit and Detroit Sound Conservancy will celebrate the rich, complicated, cultural, and social legacies of the former Chess Mate Cafe/The Chessmate (now University Coin Laundry) with storytelling, community listening, and live performances for three consecutive evenings at Detroit Sip (7420 West McNichols Rd., Detroit, MI 48221). This multi-generational, historically-informed, placemaking weekend will attempt to reenact, reinvestigate, and reimagine what those Cafe audiences, performers, and neighbors felt like while informing our current neighborhood discussions. Black, white, and brown, folk, blues, and disco, student, neighbor, and outsider, straight, gay, and exploring, Chessmate brought the then Live 6 community together for a brief moment in the 1960s and 70s in ways worth remembering.