As Limp Bizkit's Wes Borland and his fiancee, Queen Kwong frontwoman Carré Calloway dig into renovations on their newly purchased Detroit home—Instagram shows pix of Calloway on its grand staircase, along with Borland's man tools for gettin' 'er done—Curbed has found some intriguing details about their new place at 55 Arden Park. The rockstar couple purchased the 1923 Arden Park mansion last month. One fascinating bit of intel is that Borland and Calloway won't be the first artists to live in this house. Unlike most of the grand old houses in the area, the place didn't start out as a car maker's place. Its previous owner, James Allen Jones, was a classically trained operatic baritone and the founder of a pioneering African American theater company in Detroit.
Jones used 55 Arden Park as the official address of his Restoration Arts Theater, a Detroit company that produced plays in the US and the UK in the 1960s and 70s, including bringing groups of African American actors to perform at festivals in Britain, where they exposed theatergoers to works like "A Raisin in the Sun." Jones himself had a unique story that included his military service, a Fullbright scholarship and teaching extensively in England, where he developed strong ties that helped when he brought touring companies to perform.
According to a Free Press story from 2009, Jones began his opera and theater training in his early teens, and once met legendary African American actor and singer Paul Robeson. Jones' particularly enjoyed Shakespeare, teaching the bard's work in Detroit and later at Ecorse High. He performed the role of Othello in theaters all over the world before returning to his hometown, where he created the first program to bring Detroit public school pupils the the UK to perform.
In buying the home, Borland and Callway keep it in artists' hands, which is a nice departure from the usual restoration story that starts with a long-dead car maker or lawyer and ends with an MBA or developer making the house perfect for rich squares. Perhaps Borland and Callaway will reach out to Mr. Jones so that they might incorporate a piece or two of Jones' theater memorabilia into the home or to find a way of acknowledging Restoration Arts in their designs for the place. Artist Robert David Jones, son of James Allen, the founder and director Detroit Design Festival mainstay Untitled Detroit and the project manager for the Red Bull House of Art, recently met up with the owners of his parents' old house at Eastern Market and describes them as "2 of the sweetest folks I've ever met."
While people speculate that the duo may head south after their first taste of a real Detroit winter, the warm welcome they're receiving from their house's longtime owners may help keep them here for the long haul.
·Wes Borland and fiancée Carré Callaway Buy Detroit Fixer [Curbed Detroit]
·Cast of 'Raisin' set for Tour of England [The Afro American]
·Lawrence Sherrill Will Open Studio [Berkeley Daily Gazette]
·Teacher gets Ecorse high-schoolers pumped and onstage
[Detroit Free Press]
·Robert David Jones Instragram [Instragram]
·Untitled Detroit [Untitled Detroit]