How Bookie Stewart shaped Detroit’s music scene

Journalist Rob St. Mary joins CultureShift to talk about how Bookie’s fostered a uniquely creative space for local musicians as Detroit’s first punk venue.

black and white historical image of a building with a sign that reads, "Frank Gagen's, 870."

The early days of Bookie's.

In a recent article for the Detroit Free Press, journalist Rob St. Mary writes that “if it wasn’t for the ‘Godfather of Gay Detroit,’ Detroit rock history might have been different.” He dives into the influence of Samuel “Bookie” Stewart as one of the city’s most iconic night life entrepreneurs, and how he helped launch the modern music scene.

St. Mary, a former WDET reporter, joins CultureShift to talk about how Bookie’s fostered a uniquely creative space for local musicians as Detroit’s first punk venue.

“It becomes a place where all the artists — weirdos, queer kids, straight kids, Black, white, Hispanic kids — everybody all comes together and they start performing.” — Rob St. Mary, journalist

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Author

  • Amanda LeClaire

    Amanda LeClaire is an award-winning host and producer of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. She’s a founding producer of WDET’s flagship news talk show Detroit Today, and a former host/reporter for Arizona Public Media. Amanda is also an artist, certified intuitive and energy healer, and professional tarot reader.