Another great gay high holy day has come and gone. It was full of excitement, but shockingly free of drag queens. I was a little disappointed.
There was a twist to the Guerrilla Queer Bar last Friday night. It was held at Illuminate, one of those loft events we get periodically around town (which, despite my original expectations, usually turn out to be pretty fun). This event was held at Willy's Overland Lofts, which is the loft project next to Avalon International Breads in Midtown. The building is cool and the penthouses are AMAZING (well, the unfinished space is). The model, well, you know, it was model-y. I think my only hearty endorsement was for the shower and for the hot guy leading our tour. It's a little upsetting to me to see these cool projects underway and to see the absolute lack of interesting interior design or space planning. I mean, these aren't cheap places. My advice is buy early so you can control your space completely and avoid the heartbreak of hollow-core doors.
You really get two kinds of Guerrilla Gay Bars - there is the fancy bunch and the regulars. The fancy bunch only shows up at places they are familiar with, but those bar nights tend to be really amazing and cool, with a great vibe and interesting mix of folks. The recent Town Pump event was like that.
When an event is held someplace a little off-beat, or at a dive bar, or features karaoke, attendance tends to be a little lower with a lot of familiar faces. It's kind of like an off-night at a regular bar. But those are fun because you get a chance to check out someplace different, talk to people you don't see all the time, the people tend to be a little more adventurous, and you can let your hair down a little because you aren't trying to impress some cute guy you just met. A "regulars" night might have about 50 folks show up, where a "fancy" night will get upwards of 100. Both are great.
The Illuminate night was a "regulars" night. Oddly, everyone seemed to show up at the exact same moment, like it was a gay flash mob or the rainbow bus just pulled up. The gays mingled, drank, toured, judged the model unit, and were a major presence at the party. They loved the fashion show, and it was declared by boys decidedly fitter than I that the pink "Bad Kitty" sleeveless hoodie is the gay fashion must-have for winter. I'll be sitting that trend out.
When the fashion show ended the band started up. They were kind of cool in a retro Carrie Nation/Beyond the Valley of the Dolls way. And they were loud. And that's when we lost the gays.
Unfinished drinks were set down. Conversations were abruptly curtailed. Your friends waved good-bye across the room. And they were gone. It was as if someone had dropped a giant vagina in the room, they couldn't get out fast enough.
So it was fun while it lasted, and of course we're all eagerly awaiting the next occurrence of our only decent downtown gay bar.
Moving on with the weekend ... a very fun gay-hosted Halloween costume party was on the docket for Saturday where I stayed MUCH later than I'd planned. I ventured out from there to meet a friend for last call at the Town Pump. While parking I watched a group of very macho types lining up to get in the TP and reconsidered my decision to enter the bar alone, in costume. A gal doesn't really like to get harrassed. Then I thought fuck it, I'm Supergay!
Predictably, hilarity ensued and I made it home intact, if not a little inebriated.
Sunday featured an amazing jaunt to Ann Arbor for dinner, drinks and a show, and it couldn't have been better. The details are really not relevant, but I'll just say it is an amazing thing to have a city like Ann Arbor so nearby. If downtown Detroit could just catch a hint of that foodie, intellectual vibe, it'd be a better place. The complacent smugness can stay in A2 though (I love that city, but let's just be honest).
Monday's highlight was lunch at the Caucus Club, as covered previously, and Tuesday's feature was a reception followed by a lecture by Julie Mehretu, hosted by the DIA's Friends of Modern and Contemporary Art. Mehretu's work is one of the exhibitions when the museum reopens - kind of nice to have something contemporary, no? Of course we ended up skipping out on the lecture because, hi, don't serve drinks and then make me sit in an auditorium for an hour. We cut out to meet friends cooler than we are at Cliff Bell's.
And in what has become a tradition, I went to Grosse Pointe Park to dress up like Betty Butterfield and pass out candy at my friend's house. They get tons of kids from both GP and Detroit come through their neighborhood, and originally I came to help "manage" the older non-costumed teens. It's amazing the power a man in a wig and a face smeared with lipstick can have over the youth of America.
What was great this year is that it was way more little kids out with their families. When teens showed up in street clothes, Betty forced them to sing a song, which was great because mostly they just turned and walked away. A lot of the kids get excited, trying to figure out if it's actually a woman passing out the candy. One tenacious little girl of about 8 in a Spider Woman costume came back three times, asking, "What you is? What you is?" She was excited beyond words to figure out I was actually a man in that pink Wal-Mart robe. She ran away yelling "It's a man!" and I had to fake heart palpitations to distract the other children at the door from the truth.
The night ended with a viewing of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," a nice cabernet and child's candy sorting, and it all seemed, in a very strange way, like a perfect gay Halloween. Well, perfect in the absence of anything gay besides me. Sometimes that's plenty.