Friday, March 30, 2007

Upper Park Avenue is SO GAY

I'm a big fan of "upper park avenue" (ie: Town Pump and Centaur). I've been going to the Town Pump since they opened and ditto Centaur. The bars always attract an interesting crowd, but I have to say the most fascinating thing about them is how many gay straight guys are there!

75% of the time when I go, I end up in some deep conversation about gayness with some allegedly straight guy. Last time, the guy ends up telling me about his Asian girlfriend, and after getting mad at me for saying that Asian girlfriends are the gateway to Gayville, he told me how he made out with Perez Hilton when he was in LA. Weird. And kind of gross.

Tonight? I met a guy who was asking me all sorts of really prying sexual questions. Which of course I answered but I mean hello, are we dating?

So how did I meet him, you may ask, and why do I think he is gay straight?

He did a
Bend and Snap!!!! A fucking Bend and Snap right there in Centaur! I asked if he knew what he just did, and he totally knew! A 41-year old straight guy!

I told him to manscape that chest and give me a call.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Blair Bitch Project

Back when they first discovered the inter-nets and the world wide webs, there weren't a lot of young folks making their own web pages, blogs and manhunt profiles. But Richard and Bryan, two gay, Asian, skater (pre?) med students at Columbia University in NYC, started Blair, their online magazine inspired by the domineering bitchiness of Blair on The Facts of Life. Every gayboy needs a role model! I discovered it around 1995 back in DC when I was surfing the text-only web at work on my monochromatic monitor on a 386 computer at blazing speeds of up to 28.8kbps. Ah, the magic, and free time, of youth.

They ended up doing seven issues, and all of them have hilarious casually-written features thrown online in what now seems like remedial HTML, but at the time was standard and actually really pulled together! Features on the corporate takeover of Sassy magazine, Gay or Eurotrash? (we used to call this Flamer or Foreigner when I was in college), Lamar Latrelle from Revenge of the Nerds, and a hilarious writeup about the International Male catalog are just some of the highlights.

These boys were way ahead of the pop culture curve too, writing about robot dancing, the Beadazzler, Lacoste shirts and Wallabees way before any of them hit hipster mainstream!

Blair #6 is the highlight for me though, with great features on Wayland Flowers & Madame, electric wheelchairs AND Carol Channing! It's almost too much comedy to take!

It seems the boys have retired from the Blair biz, but I will always have a soft spot in my heart for my first favorite web zine, Blair.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Supergay Blight Tour: Gay Bars of Detroit (Part 2)

[This continues my Detroit gay bar blight tour from May of 2006, encompassing two neighborhoods that were previously gay strongholds in the city]

Part Two: Palmer Park and Warrendale

Palmer Park (the Woodward/McNichols/7 Mile area), formerly the heart of Detroit's gayborhood, still has a reasonable number of gay bars.

The venerable cha cha palace still gets quite a crowd on Thursdays, or so I'm told. Don't leave anything in your car, though. Twink central.

Club Gold Coast

The new location, not the old one I used to ride past on the school bus back in the 80's that bore the sign "Where Gentlemen Meet." The new place prominently features strippers. Classy.

The Male Box

All I know is they have lots of Lube Wrestling and Wet Jockey Short contests here, so you know it's got to be good.

The Warrendale neighborhood used to be home to a lot of Detroit gay residents, and the number of bars still in the area is a testament to that. A slightly nicer location than most of the other bars in the city, but everyone knows that since the cops got to move out of the city limits this area is going to hell too. Lots of nostalgia for the gay shame of the 80's during the drive through Warrendale, though, back when every gay bar was like a secret club and you had to actually go out in public to meet people.

Entrance in rear, like half the gay bars in the city (and more than half the gay guys, har har). Been around forever, best booger drag in town. Careful on your way out so you don't get shot like that guy from Windsor.

Only been there once, pretty fun but I was the thinnest and the prettiest in the bar. No western theme despite the enticing name and hay-colored brick exterior. Surprisingly busy for a Sunday afternoon! Sorry if that's your dad's car in the photo.

Ahh, the grande dame of gay bars in Detroit - how many faglets had their first gay bar experience here? In its third incarnation, it's still located in the same space in the same strip mall. No signage this time, like back in the old days.

Diamond Jim's Saloon
If you're like me, nothing is more amusing than watching two men two-stepping. Detroit's only country & western gay bar was brokeback before you even knew about it.

Adam's Apple
Routinely touted as a "great neighborhood bar." Since I was getting desperate without a drink and it was the last bar on my tour, I stopped in and found it was, indeed, a friendly place. Not so much for the neighborhood anymore, since the people I talked to were all from outside the area (eastside, Plymouth, Novi, etc). But it's a bit of a flashback to the old Warrendale days nevertheless. Oh, and the entrance is in the rear.

Apologies for the following omissions:

Stinger's - supposedly somewhere near The Male Box, I couldn't find it to save my life

R&R Saloon - I really needed a drink at the Adam's Apple so I gave up on heading out to this isolated place (Michigan & Livernois area). It smells like a dirty dick inside so you can imagine the hovel it is on the outside.

La Dolce Vita - I am not sure this is really gay anymore, although it does get a gay clientele. Plus it's actually more a restaurant with a bar.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Supergay Blight Tour: Gay Bars of Detroit (Part 1)

[In spring of 2006, inspired by the "blight tours" of Detroit posted over on the forum at, I posted the following photo tour of the gay bars of Detroit. The forum was recently hacked and all old information was lost, so instead of simply linking to it, I'll just recreate the whole dang thing over here, and then throw in a spring 2007 update at the end. Have fun!]

Detroit has a long history of being home to the gay bars of SE Michigan, but since the gays moved north there hasn't been an evolution in the bars of Detroit. Like adding windows, for example. Or being attractively decorated. Take a look at all the great gay bars!

Part One: Downtown and Eastside

The Woodward: New Center

It's the building between the hardware store and the empty art supply store.

A helpful fellow named Steve approached me on the street as I took this picture to ask if I knew what I was taking a picture of. I told him I did, and we chatted about the history of the gay scene in Detroit, and how the Woodward had gone from being an old-timers bar full of white guys into a relatively busy bar with a mostly black clientele in the last few years. He suggested I get a picture of the back too, since that's where the entrance is.

Here's the grand entrance, near the ample parking. Steve told me that the front will be clad with marble later this spring, although there are no plans to open the front entrance. Or spruce up the back, apparently.

Steve walked me to my car after that. I thought for a second he was going to hit on me, but he just ended up hitting me up for a few bucks, for a White Castle, seeing as he's laid off right now ...

The Eagle: New Center, south of Henry Ford Hospital

Lots of people think this area would be a good one for the gayborhood to spring up. Can't say I disagree, although it makes me sad that this bar is the centerpiece of that plan. At least the entrance is on the street.

Temple Bar: Temple & Cass, in the glamorous Cass Corridor

I'm including this because people insist this is a gay bar. I will only say that a tranny hooker does not a gay bar make.

The Works: Michigan Ave in Corktown

Another alleged gay bar. Apparently one night a week gets a strong gay after hours thing still, although the appeal every night seems to be primarily after hours drugs.

Off-Broadway East: Harper & Connor, eastside

I don't know if there is an Off-Broadway West or where the original Off-Broadway was, but here is the eastside version. I was only there once, about 10 years ago. This hot guy I was screwing around with and I went to check it out and we couldn't tell if it was a gay bar or not, especially from the glares the few patrons in the bar gave us. Now it is apparently a hot spot for the gay African-American community.

I wonder what ever happened to that guy?

The Rainbow Room: 8 Mile & Mound (ish)

Conveniently located in the shadow of the Warren Truck Assembly for the butch bulldaggers who work there. Lots of lesbetarians drink here. Love the billboard.

continue to Part 2

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Ellen Degeneres is a lesbian with a talk show.

Ellen Degeneres chats with 88-year old Gladys Hardy from Austin, Texas. Really, really funny.

Supergay is on MySpace

Supergay Detroit is now on MySpace. If being my friend is something you think you would enjoy, then by all means add me!

Field Report: Lower Park Avenue

The conventional wisdom about the gay scene in the city of Detroit, and downtown in particular, is that you are pretty much welcome anywhere you want to go, and this is certainly the case in my experience. But sometimes you want to be around other gay people, right? Not only so you can feel that there is some kind of community here, but also because a couple of gays really does tend to spruce up the atmosphere. Plus with the dismal gay bar options in the city, why shouldn't the gays hang out at nice places?

That's where the Field Report idea comes in. I go out, drink a lot with friends and then identify the places that have a good gay vibe, a decent gay presence, or maybe just a lot of potential as a gay socializing spot.

This week Lower Park Avenue was the target. I like calling it Lower Park Avenue because it makes it sound like a full district instead of just two bars.

First stop was Park Bar at the corner of Park and Elizabeth, pretty much right behind the State Theater. It's definitely a beer-and-a-shot kind of place, but they've got a ton of beer on tap and are fully stocked with the requisite good stuff. But I don't need to rehash these details - read the Model D article if you are that interested.

The decor is simple but nice with a gorgeous wooden bartop. It can get a little loud, but the location is cool and all the windows are great. The circle bar means sometimes you have to scream for a bartender in order to get booze, though, and the music vibe is definitely pretty rock-n-roll. You won't have to worry about getting dressed up either.

The crowd is a somewhat eclectic mix of hardcore Detroiters, hipsters, Kales building residents, a few visiting suburbanites and other random drop-in's who probably wandered down from Upper Park Avenue.

As far as any kind of gay vibe goes, we've got nothing going on there. The bar was pretty crowded when I was there and a friend asked if I thought there were any other gay people around other than me. A quick scan of the crowd revealed that no, in fact, there did not appear to be.

So the only gay in the room decided to wander next door, to Cliff Bell's.

Cliff Bell's has definitely got the gay goods. The interior is a beautifully-restored art deco space (presumptive thanks to Model D for the image below), and the live jazz and big band music is city sophistication at it's best. There's a lot of seating at small tables where you can hang and listen to the music with your group, or you can mill about at the bar and scope out the generally attractive and well-dressed crowd.

It's a cocktail kind of place too, so you don't have to worry about looking out of place as the only person in the room with a cosmo!

Having established that empirically this place is perfect for gays, what's the verdict on reality? Well I am thrilled to report that whenever I have been there, there is always a small but significant gay presence. It's a gay demographic that fits in with the crowd - mid-20's to mid-60's, professional, sophisticated. I ran into one gay friend and his group, sat at the bar next to two other (very cute) gay guys, and then ran into another (straight) friend who brought a group of gay guys he'd run into elsewhere that night. And who knows how many homos I missed? I was very focused on my cocktail. And the cute guys next to me. Anyway, not bad on a night when the place only filled to about 60% capacity.

The thing I love about the gays at Cliff Bell's is that everyone is so friendly. They're often out with straight friends, and everyone mixes together so easily. I can't really think of a visit when I didn't meet some new gay people there, and I certainly can't think of an occasion that wasn't a full-on good time.

So as far as Lower Park Avenue is concerned - don't hesitate to stop in The Park Bar and have a drink or meet friends there, but for finding the elusive downtown gay scene, definitely make an evening of Cliff Bell's.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Simply the best!

I cannot stop laughing about this website I just discovered! It's DynaDouche, "the first all brass and steel, affordable personal hygiene system that is uniquely designed for intimate cleansing in the privacy of your own shower!" (While not overtly explicit, you may or may not want to consider this website NSFW.)

There is so much comedy here I don't even know where to start. I guess the first thing that had me spitting red wine all over my computer screen was the fact that the website blares Tina Turner's "Simply the Best" as its theme song ... do you think it's licensed? And more importantly, do you think Tina's people know what it's licensed for? And most importantly do you think it's really the best??

But the real comedy comes as you delve into the website. I enjoyed how everyone wears costumes or other strange 70's art photo paraphenalia in the showers in the photos. Check out the image on the heterosexual starter page ... a bowler?? That's a little more Fosse than I normally like in my douching imagery. The photos of lesbians wearing Santa hats and the leatherman surrounded by pumpkins are also a nice touch. I think we should be on the lookout for a mime.

Remembering 9/11 and the importance of cleanliness ...
Can someone please buy these queens a commercial steamer? The flag, hats and shower curtains are a mess!

I also really admired the promises of "no more standing wet and cold in the shower while cleansing!" Finally!

But I guess my favorite thing is the name, because I can't stop thinking it might be a sassy retort from an arch-nemesis on every gayboy's favorite Sid & Marty Krofft production: "I'll be back,
ElectraWoman and DynaDouche"

Douching is funny.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Gay people made a (re) entry into popular entertainment in the 1970's, following years of being considered too controversial to include in mainstream media (see the excellent documentary The Celluloid Closet for an in-depth look at this). Naturally the campy, fun angle to gay life was mostly featured, and several personalities played this up. With the possible exception of Paul Lynde, who was more memorable or more beloved than Wayland Flowers & Madame?

Here's a clip I found - in a movie starring Redd Foxx and Pearl Bailey of all people! - that had a clip of a performance by Madame. Shit it's funny, check it out.

(You have to watch the video directly on YouTube, so just click the picture above and it will take you there.)

As an aside, Wayland Flowers was a resident of the blossoming gay community in Dupont Circle in Washington, DC, when he developed the character of Madame. The story goes that she was based on a woman who worked at the popular restaurant Trio at 17th & Q Streets NW. When I lived in DC in the early 90's, she was the cashier there, and she looked EXACTLY like Madame, it was hilarious! She used to march in the gay pride parade and everything. The story may be true, if this woman worked at Trio for 25 years. From the looks of her, it was definitely possible.

Of course seeing this little scene of a gay cabaret makes me think ... we don't even have anything like this in the Detroit area anymore. Hell, even a gay piano bar? I don't think we do. I'm gonna have to look in this. I suppose there's always Saugatuck in the summer.


As I sat around this morning drinking black coffee and nursing the tiniest of hangovers, listening to k.d. lang's Shadowland album (triply gay: lesbotron k.d., in her butch cowboy days, covering a Chris Isaak song. Delish.), it occured to me that perhaps I should set some expectations for anyone unfortunate enough to stumble across this blog and actually read it. Like in a good relationship, discussing expectations early on can avert heartbreak down the road.

First of all, let's make it exceedingly clear that this is a blog. Blogs are, at their very core, completely narcissistic excercises undertaken by people who think what they have to say is important or interesting enough to warrant an audience. I think of it metaphorically as masturbating with an audience. Now of course, sometimes you get the hot guy in the steam room at the gym, as with a blog like Mark Maynard's or Detroitblog. You really don't mind being the audience and frankly, if you've got it, flaunt it.

Unfortunately the majority of blogs are more like the fat old guy wearing a too-short towel in the sauna at the DAC. Avert. Eyes. Immediately. To make another local comparison, something like the South of 8 Mile blog might fall into this category.

This blog will probably be somewhere in between. Think of it as your college roommate from sophomore year who comes home from the bar horny and doesn't care (or maybe he does?) if you are awake and watching. Kind of confusing, kind of hot, and we won't talk about what we've seen after the fact. But it might happen again.

So really, don't take anything I write on here too seriously. It's just my (informed, relevant, fascinating) point-of-view. And feel free to disagree or comment. Comments are welcome.

Secondly, I ain't out to hurt no one. I am taking a critical look at what Detroit has to offer a gay guy with high standards, but who likes the lack of conformity and the diversity of the city. So yes, I may criticize the decor of a bar or restaurant. I may make a remark or two about the fashion choices of a crowd at a show. I might possibly put down the suburbs from time to time. And dear, I will definitely criticize your excessive fake tanning. But this is all in the interest of providing constructive commentary and helping gays like me find community and fabulous good times inside the city limits.

Thirdly, I will help promote great goings-on in the city. Obviously one man cannot know about everything that's going on, but I will help get the word out, with one caveat: it really does have to fit in the scope of this blog. So it will need to be something of interest for gays, or something that will attract gay people, or something along those lines. So run it by me, hopefully I can help get the word out to my enormous readership.

And lastly, for now, I'll try to keep things interesting on here, and post with some frequency. Nothing is more irritating than a blogger who doesn't ever blog.

Hopefully this works for you.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Quickie Timekiller: HeMale or SheMale?

Just for fun ... take the quiz at the site HeMaleorSheMale and see how good you are at picking out the tranny!

Wo-man or She-Man?

PS: I scored 10/12

Be a mind sticker?

There is absolutely nothing gay going on in Detroit today, I've checked everywhere. So let's just enjoy a little 70's camp.

Here's a great ad for Tab, rife with threats of marital abandonment if you don't stay slim. "Don't you want to have a good shape? He wants you with a good shape." Brilliant!

I wonder if a return to this kind of advertising might help with the obesity epidemic in America, as I have personally found that veiled threats and guilt trips are excellent coercive tools.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

If you like a little Sass in your sassafrass ...

SupergayDetroit's unwritten, vaguely-conceived mission statement involves a commitment to spreading the news about great gay happenings in Detroit.

Which brings me to this: there's this little gay dance party that is exciting and marginally underground that I know you are gonna love. It's SASS, and despite their bad attitude (see below) you will have a kickin' good time.

A statement from their MySpace page:

I am SASS.
I am a monthly in downtown Detroit.
I turned one last November.
I am
Dorkwave & Dethlab's queer kid brother.
I am a dance party.
I am not a techno night.
Not everyone wants to hear Cher remixes and circuit music at the gay bar. (editor's note: I do)
Trance, progressive, and that hi-nrg music...not here.

Someone had to step up to bat so...

A gay night for the interesting guys and anyone else who wants to hear real
dance tracks and good music, new and old.

It's all about options.

Call me a faggot and I'll knock your teeth out.

OK then, a little hardline about the homophobia (because who doesn't like calling their best girlfriends "faggot"?) but hey, go and have fun!

State of the Gaytion

The first post for the much-anticipated SupergayDetroit blog is, naturally, a rant about the state of the gay-tion in the Detroit area.

In a happy moment for Ferndale, they were recently named the third most gay friendly city in the United States by The Advocate. Third! That's tremendously exciting, what in the world did they do to rate this? According to the
article in the Royal Oak Daily Tribune, the Advocate was looking for new places to recognize, and in addition to considering census information, household income, quotes from residents and an openness to diversity, they considered:

... quality of public schools, retirement communities and condos, an integrated sense of community and the quality of environment for raising children

OK, excuse me? Quality of public schools? Quality of environment for raising children? What has gay life become? This is what we've fought so hard for, the right to blend?

Being gay used to mean a little bit of fabulous, a little bit of edginess, a little bit of fight and a little bit of fun. It was about standing out, not blending in! And somehow we lost some of that. The fight now is not for protecting our right to be gay, but fighting for our right to act straight. And that truly saddens me.

Now don't get me wrong, it's really important for gay families to have safe and supportive environments. And it's great that more and more gay men and lesbians feel the family life is an option for them. HOWEVER, I don't think it's acceptable that the beacon of hope for the gay community in SE Michigan is an area recognized for it's family friendliness and retirement options! Uh uh, that's not working for me.

So that's what this blog is about: finding the fabulous, the edgy, the fight and the fun in Gay Detroit. SupergayDetroit will be a guide to living your gay life here the right way.

Oh, and for all the smuggles who are saying, "Hey! Ferndale is a great gay area and why would we need anything else?" I offer the following coda from the article in the Daily Tribune:

But you don't have to be gay to enjoy Ferndale, according to new City Manager Bob Bruner, who said Ferndale is a great place for people of all sexual orientations. Ferndale homeowner -- and heterosexual -- Tom Gagne agreed.

"I thought we were gay-friendly for years and I'm glad we finally made that list," said Gagne, who opposed the human rights ordinance because he thought it was unnecessary. "Ferndale isn't just gay-friendly, it's family-friendly, pedestrian-friendly, business-friendly. It's a great, friendly town."

So let's give a big fuuuuuuuuuck you to the Ferndale-ites who minimize the uniqueness of gay life, and who espouse what tends to be the prevailing attitude of the residents of SE Michigan. Oh sure we're gay friendly, just like we're friendly to everyone, like businesses. Because it's exactly the same.
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