Friday, October 3, 2008

The Copa Conspiracy

Is Flint determined to erase all evidence of the fabulous Copa? First, The Copa's second home gets turned into an empty lot. Now it appears the original Copa location at 510 S. Saginaw is doomed.

"The Metropolis...a former dance club that hosted local bands as recently as 2005, could be torn down and replaced with a new three-story building," reports Joe Lawlor of The Flint Journal.

"The Community Foundation of Greater Flint, which this May moved into its own new digs on South Saginaw Street, plans to spend an estimated $3 million to $4 million to construct the new building, said foundation President Kathi Horton.

"Horton said she's optimistic that the deal will fall into place, hopefully within the next month."

Not to complain about Joe Lawlor, who's got a heavy workload at the under-staffed Journal, but you've got to at least mention the Copa in this story.

Well, as another of my personal Flint landmarks is consigned to oblivion, I offer up these classic eighties songs that got heavy rotation at the Copa when I spent a lot of time there.


  1. I'd only been in the building once, for a show at the Local where some high school friends were playing. I had friends drive in from Otisville and Ypsilanti and we had a hell of a good time, wrapping up the night at Tom Z's. Obviously, I'm all for downtown revitalization, but it seems like we're losing a lot of historic buildings to make it happen. The three that we lost to the new Wade Trim building were bad, and the Rowe building has made its two buildings unrecognizable. I don't know if there are structural problems with The Metropolis, but if not, why take it away? I'm even bummed with the impending demolition of Genesee Towers: sure, it's ugly, falling apart and vacant, but I've got a soft spot for it.

  2. I remember all of these songs in heavy rotation...My favorite was New Order...Ahhh..The Copa...being young and drunk and with your New Wave friends...I miss those days!


  3. That formerly the Hot Rock Cafe a.k.a the Hot _____ ... you know.

    The dudes doing the "revitalization" downtown are "developers", and not very good ones at that. Flint presented them with an opportunity to buy alotta buildings for next to nothing and then use them as their own personal experiment. They could care less about preservation, history, or other local businesses. They are in it to make money. Apparently they think downtown is gonna become Royal Oak. Jokes on them. They've sat on a number of downtown properties for atleast 7 years allowing decay to continue. After the building collapse debacle they WILL NOT preserve anything.

    Manning St., planetarium fountain, Copa, Metropolis, Buckham Alley Theatre, Mobley Park... in Flint for every step forward there are two steps back.

  4. New Order? Thompson Twins? Tom Tom Club? Egads. Perhaps they should have demolished the Copa back in 1984.

    j/k , lol, ;^), ROTFLAMO.

  5. A Flint friend pointed out to me that they could at least save the facade of the buildings and convert the insides to soulless "modern" buildings. Developers are out to make money, not preserve anything. It's up to the city to make sure they don't destroy what character Flint has left downtown. I sense the city won't do that.

  6. And, yes, the music is a little embarrassing now, but after several drinks...

  7. The neon Copa sign lived on for at least a few years. The folks from Julie's Tavern on Lewis and Broadway put it in the window of the short-lived Copa Cafe a, get this, coffee shop in the heart of the old eastside. Was the Copa Cafe's demise part of the conspiracy?

    That little strip the was quite the spot with Julie's, Copa Cafe, and EL Nopal. Add Old Franks, Al and Donna's, Lewis St. Market, Easy Pick, and a couple of other bars and party stores and you had the highest concentration of booze in Flint outside of the 8 or so bars and party stores on S. Saginaw between Atherton and Hemphill.

    Uh, back on subject. Saving the facades would be fine, but alotta these facades aren't that special to begin with. I realize developers are in it for the $$, I just wish they would admit that fact and quit trying to act like they are doing something special. They're trying to foist corporate "hard" gentrification on downtown before the "soft" artiste/punker/college kid gentrification even takes place. That formula is doomed to failure.

    The only thing more depressing than a old vacant building is a new vacant building. If Uptown ever gets off of their butte they'll have plenty of those at inflated prices. Me? If I had the money I'd invest in Lewis St. Buy up all of the property and create a booze, sex, and drugs mecca that'd be like a combination of Amsterdam, Vancouver's Hastings St., the 70's Bowery, Dort Hwy., Reeperbahn, and Heidelberg St. They'd have to build another bus terminal just handle all of the "tourists".

  8. I saw disco reborn
    I saw leather bein' worn
    I saw a face in the mirror
    I drank too much beer

    At The Copa by DR. SCHWARTZ KULT

  9. Unfortunately preservation takes more money than new development. The only citys that really thrive are those that have character and history (or maybe those are the only citys I want to visit). I think the only thing left of Flint's history will be the bricks on Saginaw street.

    Flint has already lost BLOCKS of history with Water Pavillion parking lot, etc. Just look at a google space map of Flint and it's a sea of parking lots from Beach to the library.

    Am I out of the loop? What happened to the planetarium fountain?

    As to the Copa... after growing out of OLOL, am glad there was a place everyone could go... every school was represented... it was a great place to meet.

    "Blue Monday" was definitely a favorite of mine. I remember drinking those blue cocktails... still no clue what they're named. I think the New Order videos still hold up today. Since I never had MTV, this is the first I'm seeing it.

    My first experience in that building was a Bat Mitzvah party. In the late 70's disco was king and I forget the name of it then (something with a 5 maybe?) but it makes me wonder, who's going to get that Michael Jackson Thriller dance floor? Are there any auctions coming up? ;)

  10. Yes, I remember the Copa well. A Couple of the people I net there (20 years ago!) I am still in touch with.

  11. In the building's iteration as the Hot Rock Cafe, the Tuesday night DJ was Dan Bowyer. This was around '89 or '90, if memory serves.

    1. Yes, it was. We would hit Chirchill's on Thursday, Hot Rock on Fridays, & The Copa on Saturdays!!! So much fun.

  12. Maybe they could salvage that light up floor after they demolish the building and hang it on an interior wall as a modern art installation... and an homage to Flint Expats... ;)

  13. Well I have found memories as the doorman at the Hot Rock from 86 to 87. Fun times... met my ex wife in the Copa when i was hanging out with a girl i knew who worked the door there. She ask me to help her toss out some unruly pub crawlers. Ah those were the days.

  14. I remember The Copa Night Club very well. Spent just about every night they were open there dancing. A fiend and i went ther to dance and loved it. We use to get right in front of the big speaker in the back of the dance floor. That place was the best dance bar Flint had. When Bill Kane 1st opened it, it was called the Downtowners Club. It was a resturant during the day and at night the dance club. Bill sure knew how to bring in the people. I can remember Grace Jones being there. that was a night to remember. To bad it couldn't be renovated into another dance club Flint could use one. Well that was my two cents worth. Ah the memories....

  15. I remember a band called UltraViolence played at the Hot Rock Café in '86. It was just a guy playing synths and a singer, similar to Erasure or OMD. Very cool show, as I recall.


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