The Majestic Theatre Complex sits on Woodward and is a full city block of entertainment. The Majestic is home to North America’s oldest continually operating bowling alley (since 1913), the greasiest and most incredible drunk snack in the city (Sgt. Pepperoni’s pizza slice, duh), and three music venues, The Majestic Theatre, The Magic Stick, and The Majestic Cafe. These venues host everything from birthday parties to Bingo, concerts both large and small, weddings, dance parties, etc.
I have been an employee of The Majestic for 6 years, this October. I have worked in many roles and partnered with the complex in many ways on behalf of my other “day” jobs throughout the years. I have worked with dozens and dozens of unique and diverse individuals. I’ve met hundreds of musicians and made friends with many regulars. I have spilled wine on Ryan Gosling and cleaned up vomit in the same night.
Every shift is a completely different experience. Because of the diverse programming and venue options, the complex is one of the rare places in “New Detroit” where you can see a black guy with dreads sitting next to a blonde Wayne State sorority girl who is giving a cigarette to Larry, the homeless drummer that has been hanging out in front for years. I can work a hardcore metal show on Thursday, a teeny-bopper mainstream group on Friday, and a rap show on Saturday. I often wish that I would have started a photo series called People of the Majestic long ago, drawing inspiration from the blog Humans of New York.
The people watching is incredible and it’s really cool to make money while watching concerts. But most of all, it’s the people I am working with. What a wacky group of misfits. In the six years I’ve worked at The Majestic I have met many characters — the pin chaser that hangs out behind the lanes, the grumpy chef, the many, many tattooed, chain smoking bartenders, veins thick with Jagermeister. These are the people that taught me how to work hard, how to play hard, but mostly, how to work hard. We have lost a few along the way to tragedy, but the way this unique community comes together, with nothing but shared work experiences in common, is remarkable.
But I am lucky to be a part of this group of Detroiters that have served the Cass Corridor, not only behind the bar and in the restaurants, but as hardest and musicians and the ones that kept this area active throughout the late 80s, 90s, and early 00s. A huge part of the service industry is observation. So much time spent in the fishbowl of the bar and you meet people from all over the world, learn many unique stories from our own backyard, and observe human interaction, sometimes like a fly on the wall. These experiences and people taught me the beauty of “work family”, the reality that there is always someone in your life that is going through something worse than my petty day-to-day problems, and how to be an assertive but kind coworker and friend.