See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Motor City Cribs 


Chris Bathgate is one of the stars of yet another Ann Arbor folk generation. Alongside Jim Roll, Misty Lyn, Matt Jones, Canada, Great Lakes Myth Society and many others, Bathgate is part of a vibrant scene where musicians play in a multitude of bands and show up on each other’s recordings. Bathgate is equally comfortable in solo acoustic performances too, just as he pushes sonic envelopes in bands. (He’s moonlighting on bass and guitar with Saturday Looks Good To Me on their current tour.)


Bathgate’s Ann Arbor home is a co-op and former dancehall located above Wazoo Records. In a time when downtown Ann Arbor is beginning to resemble Royal Oak, the Arbor Vitae co-op is one of the few remaining remnants of the city’s freer times, circa the 1960s and early ’70s. Arbor Vitae started off as a dancehall (there’s a half inch of sand under the floor to deaden sound), then it became a corset factory and even a miniature golf course until the late, self-proclaimed peace planner Rich Ahern turned the loft — with soaring, two-story wood ceilings! — into a community living space.

None of the rooms have actual ceilings, so the lofts aren’t for light sleepers. But that’s also part of its appeal. “Arbor Vitae takes me out of my bubble,” Bathgate says. “It’s nice to be around so many different creative people. You might fall asleep to klezmer music at 4 in the morning and then hear a noise music jam at 10 a.m.”

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Speaking of House & Garden, Motor City Cribs And Rides

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit