June 5, 2013


Jack White Becomes Detroit's Newest Superhero

Jeff Kravitz
Jeff Kravitz

This is how all rich, benevolent rock stars should act.

The Masonic Temple, a legendary performance space in Detroit, owed $142,000 in back taxes and was on the verge of being auctioned off to, presumably, make way for another Cinnabon or Gap or whatever bored, rich developers do to stay rich.

But like Clark Kent rushing into the phone booth and changing into Superman, Jack White sauntered into his custom-made, vintage-era Scopitone, changed out of his 1930s all-black suit and fedora and emerged a superhero, paying the theatre's entire tax bill and allowing it to continue unburdened by the rock-hating IRS.

As the New York Times notes, the theatre played host to memorable sets by MC5, the Who and the Rolling Stones, as well as seven concerts by the White Stripes themselves. White's mom, it was revealed, was also an usher at the theatre, so this is basically a Pay It Forward remake directed by D.A. Pennebaker.

“Jack’s donation could not have come at a better time and we are eternally grateful to him for it,” the theatre's president Roger Sobran told Detroit Free Press. “Jack’s magnanimous generosity and unflinching loyalty to this historic building and his Detroit roots is appreciated beyond words.”

In light of the donation, the Masonic Temple Association announced that they would rename Cathedral Theater, one of two theaters in the building, as the Jack White Theater.