New Student-Documentary: Paris Burton on Restoring Theaters, Revitalizing Neighborhoods in Detroit

Updated June 14, 2015:  Digging Detroit is excited to support the next generation of storytellers.  Below is a student documentary and journey with producer Paris Burton, a new graduate from University Liggett.  We also take an exciting look at the school’s unique senior year Academic Research Program.  

(See press release on Paris and her collaboration with Digging Detroit.)

June 14, 2015

On Tuesday, May 25th Paris presented her research project at a Celebration of Research at University Liggett.  In the school’s auditorium, her documentary played (below) while Paris was on-hand to explain to attendees her findings.

On the evening of Liggett’s Celebration of Research, Digging Detroit’s Thomas J. Reed, Jr. met Paris…

And we were also able to touch base on the school’s Academic Research Program with Program Director, Shernaz Minwalla who discusses the student projects and the success of the students when the enter college.


Blog Post from Paris Burton

March 30, 2015

Digging Detroit's Thomas J. Reed, Jr. with University Liggett senior Paris Burton

Digging Detroit’s Thomas J. Reed, Jr. with University Liggett senior Paris Burton

Hi, I am Paris Burton, a senior at University Liggett School. In my ARP class I have been studying a single topic for a little over a year. Liggett’s Academic Research Program develops the skills, resources and knowledge necessary for students to perform an independent project with the clear goal of contributing to an ongoing scholarly discourse.

My research question is:

  • Given the successful renovation of the Fox Theater, how can other distressed neighborhood theaters be restored and reimagined to become once again vibrant centers in their neighborhoods?

My topic focuses on the Fox Theater and the Alger Theater and how their renovations have affected the neighborhood around them.

Thus far in my research I have toured both theaters and have interviewed Dave Calendine (Fox Theater) and Marc Tirikian (Alger Theater). The journey has allowed me to explore the history of both theaters, the renovation processes, and future plans. Did you know that at one time the Fox Theater held acid rock concerts in order to make enough money just to keep it open? Or that the Alger Theater caught fire during the showing of a horror movie?

In my research I have looked at the histories of each theater as well as what each renovation consists of and any future plans each theater may have.

The short interview below describes the goals for this project. In collaboration with Digging Detroit, I will create a documentary focusing on both theaters.




My Documentary’s Structure

  • Intro
    1. Exterior of fox and Alger Theaters
    2. Voice over of what my project is?
  • History- Fox
    1. Old Images
    2. Footage of main lobby
    3. Footage of Theater
    4. Interview?
  • History-Alger
    1. Old images
      1. (Not live footage)
    2. Footage of lobby
    3. Footage of Theater
      1. Panning shots of the ceiling and curtains
    4. Footage of the upstairs
    5. Interview?
  • Effect on Neighborhood-Fox
    1. Interview- Dave Calandine
  • Effect on Neighborhood- Alger
    1. Interview- Marc Tirikian
  • Renovations Past and Cost- Fox
    1. Money
    2. Theater Ceiling
    3. Pit
    4. Main lobby-Bars
    5. Theater Seating
    6. Interview?
  • Renovations Past, Current and Cost- Alger
    1. Money
    2. Doors
    3. Light Fixtures
    4. Ceiling
    5. Interview
  • Future Plans?-Fox
    1. Interview?
  • Future Plans- Alger
  • Conclusion
    1. Thesis responded to…
    2. Lessons Learned




Posted in Detroit History, Education, Theatres and tagged , , , , , , , , .