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News:
Motown Museum Ready For 50th Anniversary Celebration
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

Ground zero for Motown's 50th anniversary celebration will, appropriate, be in Motown itself this week.

"I think we're going to have throngs of people," says K. Audley Smith, chief operating officer of the Motown Historical Museum in the company's original headquarters at 2648 W. Grand Blvd. "We're getting call from all over the place. We're expecting a lot of attention and a lot of visitors to the museum."

The museum will make it easier for them Monday through Friday, with special hours and half-price admission from noon-4 p.m. each day. The facility will also host celebrity docents each day as part of an In Their Own Words series, including the Four Tops' Abdul "Duke" Fakir, members of the Andantes vocal group, Funk Brothers drummer Uriel Jones, Motown session guitarist Dennis Coffey, producer/arrangers Paul Riser and Clay McMurray, style and etiquette coach Maxine Powell, record promotion executive Ernest Kelley and others.

"These alumni will, in their own words, share with visitors what it was like being with Motown during the formative years," Smith says.

The museum will kick off its special week at 10 a.m. Monday with a press conference/photo opportunity at which political luminaries -- including Detroit interim Mayor Kenneth Cockrel, Jr., Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano and representatives from the state and federal government will issue a variety of proclamations.

The museum is planning other special activities, including a celebrity golf outing during the summer hosted by Fakir and a gala celebration in late October or early November that Smith says will be "more like a Motor Town Revue than our traditional black-tie, sit-down affair," possibly at the Fox Theatre or another of Detroit's regular concert venues.

The museum will also be a beneficiary of the Hitsville Celebrity Cruise, which sails from Miami to Cozumel, Mexico, Jan. 28-Feb. 1, 2010. Information is available by calling (313) 446-6982 or on www.motownalumni.com.

The local museum's act ivies join some national initiatives celebrating Motown's golden anniversary. Company founder Berry Gordy, Jr., and former executive Suzanne DePasse are working on a feature-film documentary that will likely debut in September, as well as a series of long-form DVDs and archival album releases to follow the December release of the "Motown: The Complete No. 1's" box set. A Broadway musical is set for 2010.

A special Marvin Gaye exhibit is expected to open later this year at a facility outside Detroit, according to Smith, while the Motown Historical Museum is partnering with the Smithsonian Institution for a traveling exhibit that's slated to hit the road in 2010.

Hallmark Gold Crown stores are selling a line of Recordable Cards for Valentine's Day featuring Motown music, as well as a 10-song CD compilation "Heart & Soul -- Celebrating 50 Years of Motown." The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum in Cleveland has also joined the party with Motown: The Sound of Young American Turns 50, an exhibit that opened Jan. 1 and will run for the entire year.

For information on the Motown Historical Museum, call (313) 875-2264 or visit www.motownmuseum.com.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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