Exclusive Interview:  Deon Forrest (aka: Greektown Hotbox) Detroit’s own world-famous street performer will be live outside Detroit Bookfest

Exclusive Interview: Deon Forrest (aka: Greektown Hotbox) Detroit’s own world-famous street performer will be live outside Detroit Bookfest

 

Deon will be located on Russell Street at Alfred Street from 11am-3pm during Bookfest. Please bring money to tip him. Paper money, small bills are appreciated.

 

Considered a Detroit street legend and one of the top street performers in the Midwest by many, the musically gifted Deon Forrest, has built a reputation for doing his own thing.

Self-taught and ambidextrous, Deon “plays the pots” on the streets of Detroit, most notably drawing massive crowds in the neighborhoods of Eastern Market, Greektown and Downtown.

Videos of Deon have gone viral numerous times. Some of the videos online have over 60 million views. He was featured on the Jimmy Kimmel Show and some fans of his work include Eminem, Janet Jackson, Post Malone, Jermaine Dupri, and many others.

Deon’s sense of rhythm, timing, theatrics, audience engagement and overall musicianship are what sets him apart from the competition.

Big Sean’s Detroit 2 album cover (featuring Deon Forrest on the front cover)

 

Let’s hear from Deon directly:

 

I love Detroit. Straight up. I grew up on the streets, didn’t have nothing. Then In 2008, I got shipped here and lived in a group home in Southwest Detroit at Fort and Schaefer. I got myself together in Detroit. I found out who I was in Detroit, this city made me who I am.”

“At that time, nobody knew who I was. I didn’t even know who I was. I didn’t know what I wanted to be or what I really wanted to do. But I knew I needed a hustle. Couldn’t let my kids stay on the streets and I didn’t want to beg for money, so one day I’m at my friends and being a percussionist, I’m always tapping on stuff, and I’m getting into the rhythm and right then and there I realized Deon you’re going to be a street performer.”

“I started off as a techno drummer without the speaker. Now I got a TopTech Audio speaker specially rigged on wheels. Built my pots because I wanted to do something unique and different. And now I got a whole mobile orchestra! My kit includes: piano, pots, slider, etc. I use ten pots and one cymbal. The buckets provide the bass. My favorite drumsticks are the plastic-tipped marching band Vix Stix (aka: Vic Firth).”

“My style is like Daft Punk mixed with Stomp (the British percussion group) and I can remix any song.”

Deon Forrest (aka: Greektown Hotbox) Detroit’s own world-famous street performer (photo Deon Forrest)

“The streets is like a big petri dish for testing your skills. To be a street performer, you have to battle underground to see who’s the best. I earned the title ‘King of Greektown’ because I’m 10-0. You set up near a big crowd and try to take the crowd. Whoever draws and keeps the crowd is the winner and you earn that spot.”

“I beat the five Chicago bucket drummers. We were rivals for a minute but now we’re cool. I outmaneuvered the marching band and they even had big bass drums. Also whooped a few horn players. I’ll go toe to toe with anybody on the streets. You play something? Bring it. Let’s see what you got. I’m in Eastern Market, Greektown, all over Downtown, come find me.”

“I play outside a lot of sports games, especially the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings, and outside live music venues, especially the Fox Theatre and Masonic Temple. The most money I ever made in a short time was I made $1,200 playing drums for about 1h30min. On a typical night, I average around $500.”

“I did a performance for Post Malone in Greektown. I played Martha Reeves birthday party. I’ve been in an NFL commercial with Barry Sanders. I’ve done all sorts of stuff.”

Deon Forrest (aka: Greektown Hotbox) Detroit’s own world-famous street performer and Detroit rapper Big Sean (photo Deon Forrest)

“One of my main inspirations is Michael Jackson. I also find some parallels between his life and my life. For instance, there was the Jackson Five. I used to perform on the streets with five people, including my man Miles Hubbell, but gradually the group started shortening until it was just me. Plus, how he did the moonwalk, I built a slider on my kit so I can kick the pot out and moonwalk it back.”

“Believe it or not, I only practice in my head. I get the music on my phone and listen to it. I have a special ability to instantly memorize music. I have a song of list of hundreds of songs in my head. I also do requests. My favorite stuff to play is pop, dance, techno, R & B, etc.”

“I love Detroit because there’s all kinds of wonderful and different people here. The best advice I can give y’all is just be who you are. Because whether you like it or not, the Real You’s gonna come out eventually. Just let it shine.”

“I’m a big basketball fan, would love to do something with the Detroit Pistons.”

“Currently, I’m building a special set. It’s a 360-degree chair that spins. I sit in the middle and there’s four different drumming stations where I can spin and play multiple, different songs interchangeably.”

Come check out Deon on the pots!

Deon Forrest (aka: Greektown Hotbox) Detroit’s own world-famous street performer (photo Deon Forrest)

Contact (hire Deon for gigs)

[email protected]

 

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/greektownhotbox/

 

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100017094069837

 

CashApp

$Greektownhotbox

 

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh-cH6eDaRrko8HKeeYp9bw/videos?view=0&sort=p&flow=grid

Deon Forrest (aka: Greektown Hotbox) Detroit’s own world-famous street performer (photo Deon Forrest)

Deon Forrest (aka: Greektown Hotbox) Detroit’s own world-famous street performer (photo Deon Forrest)

 

 

Deon Forrest playing in Detroit for rapper Post Malone

 

 

 

Deon Forrest is featured in this commercial with Barry Sanders

 

Detroit Bookfest 2024 Festival Guide

Detroit Bookfest 2024 Festival Guide

Detroit Bookfest 2019 (photo by Ryan M. Place)

 

The Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest, is a FREE annual in-person event at Eastern Market in Detroit, Michigan.

Eastern Market

Shed 5 (also Shed 4, DTE Plaza, and the Russell Lot)

2934 Russell Street

Detroit, MI 48207

 

Sunday, July 21, 2024

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

 

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/DetroitBookfest

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/detbookfest/

Linkedin

https://www.linkedin.com/company/64706023

 

Photos from 2023 Bookfest

https://detroitbookfest.com/6th-annual-detroit-bookfest-photos-2023/

 

Eastern Market Detroit map

 

The phrase “Eastern Market” refers to both the large district/neighborhood and also the series of Sheds owned by the city of Detroit and run by the Eastern Market Partnership non-profit organization.

Opened in 1891, Eastern Market is the largest historic public market in the United States.

Featuring 43 acres of space, Eastern Market is comprised of a series of indoor and outdoor sheds which function as thriving year-round consumer markets.

This year, Detroit Bookfest will be located inside Shed 5 where vendors will be selling all sorts of books (ie: used, rare, antiquarian, authors, children’s, new, unusual, ephemera, etc), comic books, vinyl LP records, creative arts, and more.

Detroit Festival of Books (photo by Debography)

 

DJ Seven Whales will be providing the vibes.

 

Debbie Maciolek will be documenting the experience with her keen and perceptive eye.

 

Food trucks such as Sonny’s Hamburgers and Tacos Hernandez will be located south of Shed 5.

 

 

Char’latte Coffee Company: Two Metro Detroit sisters are bringing their Mobile Coffee Cart to Detroit Bookfest

 

Brilliant Detroit will be in the DTE Plaza on the westside of Shed 5, along Russell Street

 

The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau’s D-Rover van will be outside Shed 5.

 

Pong Detroit, the ping-pong social club, will be wheeling some ping-pong tables over to Bookfest!

 

Deon Forrest (aka: Greektown Hotbox) Detroit’s own world-famous street performer will be live on Russell Street (at Alfred Street) outside Detroit Bookfest.

 

Detroit’s own Arts & Scraps is bringing the ScrapMobile to Bookfest! Kids will be able to build their own books here!

 

Birdie’s Bookmobile will be in the DTE Plaza outside Shed 5.

 

826michigan will be in the DTE Plaza outside Shed 5.

 

Detroit artist Rachel Quinlan created an exclusive painting for Detroit Bookfest

 

And more!

Health and safety is our #1 concern.

Whatever safety protocols are in place on Bookfest Day, we will be following them 100%.

We ultimately have no idea what to expect this year but we will do our absolute best to make it fun and safe.

JR Jones and Lonni Thomas, two of Eastern Market’s finest and also members of the Detroit Bookfest Committee (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

 

Our festival footprint has grown to include:

 

The Official Bookfest Afterparty down the street at Eastern Market Brewing Company (runs 10am-6pm)

https://detroitbookfest.com/bookfest-afterparty-embc/

 

Please explore the Detroit Bookfest Festival Guide below.

We also encourage you to make a day of it and explore the entire Eastern Market district, which is packed with hundreds of fun shops, restaurants, and experiences.

 

Eastern Market’s Shed 5 Detroit (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

 

 

Here’s our totally professional graphic designer-approved not flawed in any way screenshot MAP of the Bookfest Festival Footprint 

Detroit Bookfest festival map

 

Eastern Market Brewing Company

2515 Riopelle Street

 

Located three blocks southeast of Shed 5, Eastern Market Brewing Company (EMBC) is one of the most popular destinations in Eastern Market.

Currently, the street they’re on, Riopelle, is closed to vehicle traffic. It is pedestrian-only and they have tables in the street, food tent, live DJ Sam Morykwas, and of course beer, glorious beer.

Some of their most popular beers are:

Elephant Juice, Market Day IPA, Mae Blanc, Wonderboy, and White Coffee Stout

 

Bookfest Afterparty

https://detroitbookfest.com/bookfest-afterparty-embc/

 

Beer list

https://easternmarket.beer/beers/

 

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/easternmarketbrewing/

 

Special thanks to Dayne Bartscht (owner) and his team

Eastern Market Brewing Company Detroit (photo courtesy of EMBC)

EMBC Detroit (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

EMBC Detroit (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

 

 

 

Pong Detroit

This afterhours ping-pong social club is located inside Bert’s Warehouse (2739 Russell Street)

Pong Detroit

 

The brainchild of former Honolulu-based radio DJ and pong enthusiast Mal Lang, their slogan is “unplug and play.”

Mal says, “Soccer is # 1 and table tennis is the # 2 participant sport in world. Table tennis is huge in China, India, Europe (especially Sweden & Germany).”

Bert’s Warehouse also features a comedy club, kitchen, and bar, so you can drink and pong all night long.

Lessons are available and they will be doing wheelchair table tennis soon.

Their other slogan is “Food, drinks, music and pong.”

Hours

Tuesday-Thursday

5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Cost

$10/hr from 5-7pm, then $15/hr 7pm-11pm

 

Homepage

http://pongdetroit.com/

 

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/pongdetroit/

 

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/pongdetroit/

 

Thanks to Mal Lang (owner)

 

Pong Detroit (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Pong Detroit

Pong Detroit inside Bert’s Warehouse (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Michigan shaped ping pong paddle (courtesy of Pong Detroit)

Bert’s Warehouse Detroit (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

 

 

 

The Dequindre Cut

Closest entrance located at 3017 Orleans Street.

 

The Cut,” as it’s called is a lovely greenway/urban recreational pathway for walking, biking, jogging.

It is 2-miles long and runs from the Detroit Riverfront to the northern tip of Eastern Market.

Near the Wilkins/Orleans entrance, you can find the Freight Yard Bar, this is an outdoor bar made out of shipping containers.

To get to the bar:

Enter at Orleans St & Wilkins St, walk down to the Cut, make a right, then it’s down on your left.

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/DequindreCutFreightYard

Dequindre Cut (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Dequindre Cut (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Dequindre Cut Map

Dequindre Cut (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Dequindre Cut (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Dequindre Cut Freight Yard bar (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Dequindre Cut (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra concert @ Dequindre Cut Freightyard Bar (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

 

 

 

Detroit City Distillery

2462 Riopelle Street

 

The Riopelle taproom of DCD is down the street from Eastern Market Brewing Company.

Here you will find a lively outdoor vibe, including music, cocktails and food from Midnight Temple, the Indian gastropub located above DCD. (hint: try the tandoori wings and gobi rollup).

 

Homepage

https://www.detroitcitydistillery.com/

 

Midnight Temple

https://www.midnighttemple.com/

 

Special thanks to JP Jerome (co-founder), Mike Forsyth (co-founder), Akash Sudhakara (Midnight Temple)

Detroit City Distillery (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Midnight Temple Indian food Detroit (photo courtesy of Yelp)

 

 

 

The Eastern (event venue)

3434 Russell Street

The Eastern is a lovely 5,000-square foot industrial space you can rent out for special events.

Built in 1888, this is the old Hook and Ladder # 5 fire station. The Eastern has capacity for 300 seated or 600+ strolling and a 3,000 square foot outdoor patio.

Note: The entrance is not directly on Russell St, rather the main entrance is located on the north side of the building next to Wasserman Art Gallery.

Homepage

http://www.theeasterndetroit.com/

Virtual Tour

http://www.theeasterndetroit.com/virtual-tour

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/theeastern

Special thank you to Scott Rutterbush (owner).

The Eastern event space Detroit (courtesy The Eastern)

The Eastern event space Detroit (courtesy The Eastern)

The Eastern event space Detroit (courtesy The Eastern)

The Eastern event space Detroit (courtesy The Eastern)

 

 

Elsewhere in the Eastern Market district….

 

Eastern Market sculpture at Orleans and Erskine (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Eastern Market graffiti on Orleans Street, north of Erskine (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Eastern Market graffiti on Orleans Street, north of Erskine (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Eastern Market graffiti on Orleans Street, north of Winder (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Eastern Market graffiti on Orleans Street, north of Winder (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Eastern Market graffiti on Orleans Street, north of Winder (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Eastern Market graffiti on Orleans Street, north of Alfred (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

 

 

 

Dyno Indoor Climbing Gym

3500 Orleans Street

 

This place is really cool! Inside you will find 12-15 foot tall boulders and a 49 foot tall rope section.

You can get a day pass, punch pass, or membership.

Climbers must be over 4 years old and you have to be over 16 years old to belay.

 

Homepage

https://www.dynodetroit.com/

 

Special thanks to Dino Ruggeri (owner)

Dyno indoor climbing gym (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Dyno indoor climbing gym (photo courtesy of Dyno)

 

 

Dorais Park Velodrome

601 Mack Avenue

Located on the NW edge of the Eastern Market district, this is also another really cool place!

Inside the 64,000 square foot dome you will find an indoor wooden bicycle track.

Bicyclists beware, you can actually go up to 50mph on your bicycle inside here!

 

Homepage

https://lexusvelodrome.com/

 

Special thanks to Dale Hughes (owner)

Dorais Park Velodrome (photo courtesy of the Velodrome)

Dorais Park Velodrome (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

 

That’s not everything in Eastern Market.

Merely a small sampling of some of the fun and exciting things you can do.

Be sure to explore the entire district and enjoy your experience in Detroit!