Detroit's famous 'Grandma Techno' to exhibit photography

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They call Patricia Lay-Dorsey "Grandma Techno." She's nearly 73 years old, and she's has been a fixture at detroit's Movement Electronic Music Festival since she first attended on a lark in 2005. She can almost always be spotted with her motorized scooter and a camera. The younger festivalgoers have seemingly welcomed her with open arms.



"They call me Grandma Techno and take hundreds of pics of us together," Lay-Dorsey says in a press release. "They give me hugs and ‘kandi,’ the beaded bracelets they make themselves. They clear a path so my mobility scooter and I can get up to the front of the jam-packed stages, parting the crowds like the Red Sea. They lift me out of my seat to I can stand to dance while holding tight to the barricade — and boogie down beside me, grinning from ear to ear."

Lay-Dorsey will exhibit her photos from the festival in They call me Grandma Techno at the Heidelberg Project's POST-HAB gallery, which has an opening reception on Friday. "The photos you see [in They call me Grandma Techno] document all those years and, hopefully, will continue until I take my final breath,” Lay-Dorsey says. 



Lay-Dorsey's enthusiasm aligns perfectly with Heidelberg Project founder Tyree Guyton's philosophy, "Heidelbergology." "In many ways, Patricia’s story of overcoming obstacles and using art as a medicine mirrors the story of the Heidelberg Project itself,” says POST-HAB chair Julie MacDonald in a release. “For that, and many other reasons, I could not be more excited to have the inspiring, talented, and vivacious Grandma Techno as the inaugural photographer in exposure.”

They Call Me Grandma Techno opens from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, June 5 alongside artist Daniel Cicchelli’s paintings. The POST-HAB gallery is located at 3632 Heidelberg St., Detroit; more information is available at heidelberg.org. Runs through the end of June.

Read more about Grandma Techno in a recent profile over at Vice.


Staff writer Lee DeVito opines weekly on arts and culture for the Detroit Metro Times.

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