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Monday, March 18,2013

Occupy the Speakeasy

Vacant Lansing was packed with flappers, gamblers and Jazz Age ambiance

by City Pulse Staff

Thursday, March 1 — The “blind tiger” logo should have been a clue.

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The much-buzzed-about, highly cryptic Vacant Lansing event, held Wednesday night in REO Town (at a warehouse in the 1100 block of South Washington Avenue), turned out to be a recreation of a 1920s speakeasy — or, as they were sometimes called, a “blind tiger.”

Those who knew the secret password to get inside (“bum’s rush”) found themselves surrounded by gambling, flappers and some staged fighting, courtesy of actors recruited by Peppermint Creek Theatre Co.

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“Mocktinis” were served — Prohibition, you know — although customers were encouraged to bring their own booze. Music was provided by Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle and DJ Rachael; photographer Jena McShane was on-hand to take portraits in a retro-style studio.

The event, which sold out days after it was announced, was a benefit for Reach Art Studio. In the week leading up to Vacant Lansing, ticketholders were emailed puzzles and coded messages that offered a few clues about the location and nature of the event.

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