Motown won’t be dancing in the streets for its 50th anniversary until 2009, but the Motown Alumni Association (MAA) is getting a jump on the festivities with its first annual convention, which will be held Friday and Saturday (Oct. 10-11) at Bert’s Warehouse Theater in Detroit’s Eastern Market.
MAA founder Billy Wilson is still confirming artists and company executives from the past to be part of the twoday affair, which will feature panel discussions, movies, memorabilia and music.
“I just want people to be aware of the alumni association and aware of some of the different factors that were involved with Motown,” Wilson explains. “All they ever see are the artists. They don’t know a lot about the internal structure of the company, which was very diverse in itself.
“I think even Motown artists will learn from this, because the artists didn’t know everything. They knew their story, but there were other pieces to the (Motown) story that they didn’t know.”
The convention kicks off at 3 p.m. today with a session about Motown literature, followed by artist and producers panels. “In the Name of Love,” little-seen movie about the Supremes, will be screened at 6 p.m. followed by a jam session at 9 p.m.
Saturday’s festivities begin at 9 a.m. with video footage featuring Motown artists, followed by panels which start at noon. “Band of Gold,” a documentary about Motown’s famed Holland-Dozier-Holland writing and production team, will be shown at 6 p.m., while a Red Light Party featuring DJs rather than live music, begins at 8 p.m.
Wilson says the association has a worldwide mailing list of about 10,000; one needn’t be an actual Motown alumni to belong, and membership is free until 2009, when Wilson plans to start charging an annual rate. Association members get into the convention for $20 — a considerable savings from the $75/one day, $100/two days fees for non-members. Fans can sign up throughout the weekend and receive the member rate.
Bert’s is at 2739 Russell St. Call (313) 567-2030 or visit www.motownalumni.com.
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