Tuesday, May 29, 2007

RIP Charles Nelson Reilly

We lost a good one this weekend.

Because I am becoming my own grandmother, I always read the obituaries in the New York Times. That is where I read with great dismay that Charles Nelson Reilly died on Friday at the age of 76. A Tony-winning actor and Tony-nominated director, he was of course best known for his campy persona on the 1970's game show "Match Game."

Charles Nelson Reilly is one of those seventies television personalities that fascinates me so much, the openly flamboyant (if not officially openly gay) comic. It was an interesting stance to take in a time when there really was not mainstream acceptance for homosexuality. And yet it certainly led to popularity, as actors like C.N.R., Paul Lynde and Wayland Flowers were all among the most popular on their respective shows.

As the Times wrote:
Mr. Reilly’s openly gay persona was many years ahead of its time on television, and it had its risks. He recalled being dismissed early in his career by a network executive, who told him that “they don’t let queers on television.” Paul Linke, who directed the one-man show [Save It for the Stage: The Life of Reilly, 2002], said Mr. Reilly later had the last laugh when he would page through TV Guide and count how many times he was on the air that week.

And he certainly played a role in popular culture over the past 40 years, popping up in shows as disparate as Nanny & the Professor, Charles in Charge, The Drew Carey Show, Love, American Style, the X-Files, as a regular guest on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show, and even on Sid & Marty Krofft's trippy kids' show Lidsville.

The campy game show personality can seem like such a cliche now, but in context it was a bold move for any actor to be so open about his sexuality. It was a glimpse into a bit of gay culture America never really saw on television, and it helped pave the way for the greater acceptance the gay community would experience down the road.

And just catch any rerun of Match Game and you'll see - it could be outrageous and hilarious. He was cunty when cunty wasn't cool. R.I.P. C.N.R.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Proud Mary

Assaulting your personal assistant is tacky. Unless you're Naomi Campbell, in which case it's flawless.

Watch this and tell me how you can hate this woman.


Don't you love a late night, maybe a little buzzed, hanging out in a newly-cleaned home? I know I do.

Tonight was just a great Detroit night. Drinks with friends all night long at Honest John's; coming home to one of the best apartments in Detroit (which, if you must know, is in Lafayette Park, Detroit's best kept secret); old vinyl from high school on the turntable (Alphaville. Sure.)

Sometimes it all just comes together, and there is never any question why I live in the city. My view right now would blow your mind. Don't let my occasional (?) complaining throw you off, Detroit can be fucking awesome.


Well it's time for another Guerrilla Queer Bar event! Yay!

Guerrilla Queer Bar is my numero uno favorite gay thing to do within the city limits. It is ALWAYS fun, and within the past twelve months has really ramped up to the big time. Every event is now very well attended with some cool cats looking for fun in the city.

The next event is today, Friday, at the Comet Bar, starting at 9:30. It's karaoke! Or if you are preparing like I am, Cher-eoke. Details are at the great new
Detroit Guerrillas website.

I heartily recommend to anyone that they show up. The last event at the Whitney/Majestic Cafe was awesome, a great mix of city and suburb. And hot, actually.

As the Guerrillas website points out, however, they really want more cool lesbians to show up! So if you know any lesbians who are not too rowdy and maybe have a lippy in their purse, tell them to come on out!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Launched, or Six Degrees of Desperation

I've got a couple event recaps in the pipeline here, but since I've been inundated with requests for reports on Friday night's Launch party at the FD Lofts I will start with that.

I'm at a bit of a loss for how to describe the whole thing because it was almost like two parties happening concurrently. There were some really cool elements ... a boutique was set up in a loft near the party entrance and sold clothes by the featured designers The dj there was awesome, up in the loft bedroom overlooking the boutique, spinning vinyl, being hip (I'm assuming that was the Sass dj).

The FD Lofts look pretty damn cool. You had to wander through the building to get to the large loft where the party was held. I was impressed, especially with the secret courtyard area. A really good venue.

The main room was one huge fucking loft. Really, 10,000 square feet is a lot of space. There was some food from local restaurants (very casually presented, which I suppose is fine, but pizza from a box?). Booze was plentifully available at the cash bar (we were told "discounted drinks" were available when we walked in, but I'm not sure where in Detroit $8 for Raspberry Stoli and soda is considered "discount"). And the energy drink was like speed, I threw a shot of it into one of my drinks and I was bouncing off the walls.

The runway was set up at the far end. The fashion show was really pretty great. Man, I loves me some local models with their retarded walks. They try so hard, they're precious! The collections shown were mostly good, we liked the Wrath Arcane in person more than in the fashion show, but (if I recall correctly) Juma, Michel Delon and Wound Menswear were standouts.

But then ... there were some really fucking cheesy elements. And come on, we all know where they came from. Is there no other option in this city for event production and promotion than Six Degrees? I mean, let's run down the Six Degrees party checklist. Energy drink sponsor: check. Crazy sponsor logos everywhere: check. Luxury/sport cars casually strewn about: check. Long bar along the wall wth really, really tan female bartenders: check. Giant white balloons hanging from ceiling: check. "VIP" seating sofas with bottle service: check. Giant video screens with mediocre video production: check. Superstar DJ Mike Anthony, voted Detroit's #1 DJ (love that top 40 dance, play Fergielicious again!): check. I mean honestly, it's such a formula at this point.

So yeah, that was a 20 foot high inflatable can of Cintron energy drink by the entrance.

But ok, so I can run with the fact that this is a small town ultimately and that it's a necessary evil. And you know, isn't it all about getting your name out there and selling your damn product? This is America, right?

The crowd was pretty good. My prediction of gay hipster central was completely off, because of course I wasn't thinking about how a $25 cover might affect attendance. But it did have a great presence of Oakland County gays, a few fashionistas, definitely SOME gay hipster types, and some of the gay downtown crowd. So really no complaints, a rather respectable gay presence!

In addition, there were Detroit establishment types, actually quite a few media types, lots of downtown residents, and then the whole "Night at the Roxbury" crowd. It was funny to see a few older OC gays flirting with some of those tan boys with the loud print shirts and seeing the boys get all into the attention. I ended up with a little crowd of gay sourpusses for a good portion of the night, which was a little irritating. Look, sorry there aren't any cute gay boys for you to look at. This is a Detroit party.

Even Kwame Kilpatrick was there (lookin' stylish in a newsboy hat), who talked about how we need all kinds of people to make Detroit work, "white people, black people, Hispanics, Arabs, Chaldeans ... everyone!" Except apparently gay people. Go ahead say it, mayor sir. "Gay people and straight people." I mean, there are about fifty of them standing right in front of you. Don't worry, it's a safe crowd, no one will excoriate you from the pulpit for saying it.

I will say this right now, I am super fucking tired of Kwame Kilpatrick showing up places and talking about how welcoming the city is to all types, creative types, everyone, and never once will he explicitly include gay people in that welcome. I mean, I sat and watched him introduce Richard Florida at Orchestra Hall back in 2004 and pull the same crap. He played the "creative class" card, and mentioned all different types by name except for gay people, and then Richard Florida got up and talked about how the single most consistent factor in his research is a welcoming atmosphere for gay people.

It's like Ronald Reagan and his AIDS avoidance of the 80's, because it was considered a gay disease. Ignore it and maybe it will go away. That turned out to be really good policy.

Anyway, that didn't really diminish the fun of the evening (and the even greater fun of talking about it the next day). I'm proud of the Sarahs for pulling this off so successfully. With a little help from their friends, of course.

Also, Kwame ... Arabs and Chaldeans? Same thing.

Cute straight guy alert!

There is this cute guy named Jay Grandin who is from Canadia originally but now lives in Grand Rapids where he makes some pretty funny videos. Like, cute/funny. Like him.

Initially I thought maybe he was a gay because the first video I found was "Date with a Giant Penis" (do not ask how I found this), but it turns out he is just a cute straight hipster type who likes to take off his shirt.

I recommend the "Date" video as well as the "How to Shower: Men vs Women." But all of them seems to be pretty good, and you can watch them here.

Kinda hot.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Breaking Gay News!

Well, the Detroit area is still being passed over for the True Colors Tour with Cyndi Lauper, Erasure, Margaret Cho et al, but Erasure just added some dates for their solo summer tour and the Motor City made the cut!

The new single is super hot. Check it out at the Erasure website.

Now really this shouldn't seem like such a big deal, but you know we rarely get the good gay concerts. Sure, Scissor Sisters came by, but you know, Madonna didn't even look this way, and of course the aforementioned HRC benefit True Colors Tour ain't stopping here either.

So rejoice faggots! Erasure is coming July 31 to the Music Hall. Finally some good news for homos.

PS - I'm tellin' ya, Music Hall is turning out to be the best friend the gays in this town ever had. If you ever meet artistic director Vince Paul give him a big hug. He's pretty cute, you won't mind.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Gay Bar Review: The Detroit Eagle

It’s not a chain, and it’s not a franchise. But nearly every somewhat major city has a gay bar called The Eagle. The idea is that The Eagle caters to the levi/leather crowd. Well, and the bear crowd too depending on the market. The bar has reputation for being scary, or dirty, or just filthy sexy. I mean, that’s a leather bar stereotype too, but The Eagle is sort of the archetype. Who even knows how long bars called Eagle have been around? At least since the 70’s.

In some cities, there is a lot of filth involved with a trip to The Eagle.
New York City and DC come to mind. I mean, I’ve heard. In other cities it’s more a local type bar, or an alternative to the S&M (stand and model) scene at some of the other bars. Pittsburgh is like this, their Eagle is hugely popular.

And then you get Detroit. I have to laugh when I meet guys who have never been to the Detroit Eagle and act scandalized when you mention going there. Why? Because the Detroit Eagle is a totally different variant of Eagle: sad, lonely and pathetic.

I first went to the Detroit Eagle back in ’99. It was a little weird, a totally new crowd for me, but fun. Frankly I was hoping to witness a little filth and didn’t get it, but you know, it was fine. I was a new face and had most of my drinks bought for me, so that was exciting. It was a while before I went back, but I remember at one point being struck by the fact that it was a pretty great and totally different scene, and the music was fucking awesome. It was full early 80’s gay bar throwback … a little Donna Summer, some Lime, and when was the last time you heard “The Visitors” by ABBA? Mixed in was some current dance stuff, but good remixes. And the funny kicker is that nobody dances.

Well my friends and I hung onto this idea of the Eagle for a long time, but after a few recent visits I was forced to let go and accept the new reality. The Detroit Eagle is horrible. Let’s look at my last visit.

Fridays are empty there, generally. So I went on a Saturday. I actually had been someplace dress-up beforehand and did the change-in-the-car thing for the uniform of jeans and a black t-shirt. I walked up to the door, paid a $3 cover, and entered a room that was MAYBE 30% occupied. At 11:30 on their busiest night. And that was the highlight of the evening.

I went to order a beer at the bar (because *hello* that’s what you drink at an Eagle) and when I said I wanted to start a tab they informed me they don’t take credit cards. “But there’s an ATM over there.” OK, hi, even Honest John’s now takes credit cards. The ATM? Out of order. So I had to leave the bar, get in my car, and drive to an ATM. As I am driving past The Woodward (the gay bar that’s been around since the ‘50’s, not the restaurant in Compuware that’s been there since last year), I end up behind a car with the license plate
LA BEIJA and think, “I really should be going where they’re going.”

But I didn’t. I got money and went back. The music? The same they’ve been playing for the past five years. The crowd? As clique-y as any at Pronto. So much for the “the Eagle is the friendly bar” claim. The crowd was not very pulled together either. By that I mean dressed shitty and none-too-pretty.

I left after a while realizing that the Detroit Eagle has really lost any sort of fun vibe that *I* ever experienced, and is really just a sad little gay bar. When you walk in and frantically think, “is this my future in Detroit?" you know it’s time to walk right back out.

Put this on your list of things to do

OK, sorry for the lapse in posting, I've been having a very full life. There are about six half-finished blog posts as a result of that, so stay tuned.

In the meantime ... I am sure you've been inundated with information about the Launch event this Friday at the FD Lofts in Eastern Market. Their website is
here, but just be sure to turn off your volume if you are at work. They have a song playing - not an unpleasant one - but it's like MySpace, you get the music and by the time you figure out how to turn it off (there is no way on this site, btw) everyone in the office knows you aren't doing work.

This is an interesting event concept. It brings together Detroit hipsters/movers/shakers with the fake-tan/bottle service club set in what should be an extraordinarily entertaining clash of cultures. Who can blame the Sarahs at
Wound Menswear for trying to get maximum exposure for the world of up-and-coming designers? And who can blame Six Degrees magazine for trying to get some downtown credibility? And why on earth wouldn't Camilo Pardo be involved?

Of course the rest of us are the real winners because the Sarahs are true cool, and Six Degrees does really know how to produce an event. And the FD Lofts, who's been there yet? Plus Cintron Energy Drink!!!! AWESOME!

Frankly, this event is just too fucking insane to miss, whether you are gay or straight. But the gays should definitely check it out. I predict gay hipster central.

Saturday, May 5, 2007


Kinda hung over from Bravo Bravo at the Opera House last night. What a shock. So I'm just digging up some sixties camp on YouTube.

First clip is from
Sweet Charity, the 1969 film directed by Bob Fosse, based on his stage musical. And it's soooooooo Fosse! It's a dance number entitled "Rich Man's Frug."

Now what really smacked me in the face about it, aside from the fact that it's perfect late 60's/early 70's, it that the choreography for the
"Khaki-a-go-go" Gap ad I posted a while back is lifted directly from this! Who knew?

This musical is also notable for spawning the song "Hey Big Spender," the screenplay is by Frederico Fellini, and the all-star cast includes Shirley MacLaine, Chita Rivera, Ricardo Montalban, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Ben Vereen!

Second camp find for the day was the world's longest movie trailer for the 1966 film Modesty Blaise. I know, that's like a comic you read at the doctor's office or found at your grandpa's house, like
Brenda Starr. Well apparently she was like the female James Bond, or as the trailer says "the female answer to Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, and those others who burned cities to save civilization."

Whatever she was, it's FULL camp. Apparently this movie was a big influence on Quentin Tarantino in the writing of Kill Bill. Again, who knew?

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Let's Hear It For The Girl / Caneface

I love Jodie Foster. She's super smart, surpasses mere lesbian chic with her lesbian couture style, has made some amazing films (the latest woman-in-peril contributions to her oeuvre notwithstanding), and, as it turns out, is fluent in French and can sing.

Since I also love the French language (it's totally useless but sounds great), you can only imagine how awesome I thought the following video from 1978 is:

Now since we've got Jodie on the brain (in three separate pant-based outfits, no less), I want to use her in a vocabulary lesson.

There is this great NYC-based gay forum called
The Datalounge that is good readin'. I've been checking it out for close to eight years now (if you thought for some reason I wasn't a full internet geek despite the fact that I BLOG, you are mistaken). It's smart, grammatically-correct and bitchy, and is actually super-informative on politics, gay history and celebrity gossip. For instance, one highlight was a play-by-play during the attacks of 9/11 - it was actually more informative about what was happening than the news at times. Another highlight was the creation of the word caneface.

Now you may or may not be familiar with the expressions gayface or carbface (if not, read up at the links), but caneface is not defined on UrbanDictionary. Its genesis is complicated, but it appears to have started at the Datalounge web site.

It began with the observation that lesbians often carry canes. I'm not talking field-hockey type sporty young lesbians, but rather feminist/mother gaia/mentrual hut type older lesbians. It may seem a weird observation, but now that I've brought it up I need you to start paying attention. You'll see it's true. Shit, just go to Ann Arbor and look around.

A statue of Ben Franklin or lesbian with a cane? It's hard to tell.

(PS - Don't Google Image "lesbian" & "cane."
There are some disturbing Christmas-themed images out there

After an indeterminate period of "lesbian with a cane" jokes and sightings, gayface had made its way into the vernacular (see Jay Manuel from ANTM or that guy from Extreme Makeover Home Edition for examples). Never ones to leave their lesbian sistren (it's a word) out of the stereotyping game, caneface made its debut and caught on quickly as a way to describe a woman who looks lesbish.

It's tough to say what the characteristics of caneface are specifically, although they seem to involve a slight kind of harshness about the features, maybe a bit of toughness around the eyes and mouth, something that says "I want a fish taco."

It does not preclude being beautiful by any means, but it's never a conventional beauty. And it is also not necessarily a characteristic of all lesbians, since Ellen DeGeneres seems exempt from the phenomenon. (And for the sake of covering my ass, not everyone with caneface is necessarily a lesbian. Allegedly.)

But as you can see from the photos below, there is a little something in those faces that says lesbian, and it's not totally tied to the hairstyle.

The Faces of Cane

Anyway, I hope you will incorporate caneface into your life, because it's a handy term. And fun to use. And really, totally harmless, unless you think there is something bad about being called a lesbian. In which case you are a total asshole.

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