Thursday, November 13, 2008

How it looks today

I can't seem to find any images from before the Deja Vu. If anyone knows of some I'd like to add it here.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Who in the Ypsilanti area would be interested in and affected by swapping a stripclub for a movie theater:
  • Arts groups - the RAC for instance is nearby and may have a stake in this change
  • EMU - could be a nice opportunity for the school to get more involved in downtown Ypsi and potentially have their own student theater
  • the Historic Society - returning the Martha Washington theater to its original look (or close to it) would be a win for them
  • DDA - the downtown development folks obviously have a vested interest in some gentrification of the downtown area
  • Churches - I assume religious groups in the area would support removing the Deja Vu on moral grounds; I'm not sure if they would or could participate in the work
  • Ypsi Police Department - does the Deja Vu affect the crime rates in the city? I don't know. Does it influence our prostitution problem? I'm not sure, but it can't hurt right?
  • Property owners - the Maurers, for instance, own lots of property around there, and a nice attraction like a movie theater would certainly raise property values
  • the City of Ypsilanti - the Deja Vu pays property taxes, therefore they are better for the city in that location than nothing at all; I don't know if the taxes raised from the building would change with a movie theater there instead
  • the Deja Vu - obviously the owners and employees have a major stake here; how profitable is this location for them? could a compromise be reached which would move them outside of the city without hurting their bottom line?
  • Citizens in the community - another obvious stakeholder; is there a desire for change within the community? am I alone in thinking this would be a great thing for Ypsi? What does the wider community think?
These are all i can think of right off the bat, I'm sure there are more.

Monday, October 20, 2008


What I would like to do eventually is to start a non-profit organization to purchase the Martha Washington building, reconvert it back into a movie theater, and operate the theater for arts/limited release films

I think having EMU support would be a big help. I'm sure local churches would chip in as well. Another big contributor to this campaign may be the Historical Society off Ypsilanti as well as the city DDA. After all the building was once called the Martha Washington, and was an important building within the city of Ypsilanti, and could become a new bellwether for cultural renewal within Ypsilanti.


Let me offer these caveats:

1. I've never been inside the Deja Vu, so I do not know it's condition nor how much work would be required to turn it back into a movie theater

2. I don't know how much tax revenue the Deja Vu generates for the city, or how that would compare to a movie theater

3. I have no idea how much the owners of the Deja Vu would ask for to sell the building, or if they would even consider the idea (surely a big enough number would persuade them, but who knows)

If anyone has insider info on any of this kind of stuff feel free to leave a comment.


As an Ypsilanti resident I find myself wondering how I can improve this city, and although I can think of at least a dozen things that would make things better there are very few that I can have any influence over. The biggest one is the Deja Vu strip-club.
One of the first things I looked for when I moved to the Ypsilanti area was an indie movie theater, but I found none. I drove around to get a better look at the downtown and spotted the Deja Vu. The first thing I saw was the theater-like sign out front, and immediately I though, 'Oh great, there is a theater here after all!' But then I saw that the sign said something about nude girls and realized my error.
Upon further research I learned that the building currently housing the Deja Vu was once called the Martha Washington theater, a small independent movie house in the heart of downtown Ypsi. Over time I came to the conclusion that one of the best ways to improve the city of Ypsilanti would be to get rid of the Deja Vu, and another great way to improve Ypsilanti would be to have a movie theater downtown. The best possible outcome would be to do both at the same time, and flip an eye-sore into an attraction. This blog was created as a way to get discussion about the issue into the open, and hopefully to generate some action to get something done about it.
Let me say up front that I harbor no ill-will towards the owners/operators of the Deja Vu, and that I appreciate their right to operate their business as they see fit. My cheif concern, however, is the quality of our downtown, and in the best interest of the community I find it necessary to take the position that a strip-club is just not the best use for that space, and that they ought to move the business elsewhere.