Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Where did the month go? Did the holiday even happen? December was like triage this year, just jumping from one immediate concern to the next. I suppose its imminent conclusion is a bit of a relief.
Things were pretty exciting around here this fall, that is for sure, so I'm sorry for fizzling out this month. But overall this year was pretty great. Sure, there were Supergay stories that went untold. Missions unaccomplished. Travels and travails that have lost their timely relevance.
But we won that Metro Times thing again, and Doggy Style is a dog-gone good time every week (NOTE: this week it's DIY - I'm out of town! Have fun without me!).
I was extremetly heartened by all the interest aroused by the election fallout, and I hope the gay community here continues to increase its visibility. And I thank our straight friends for their great support too.
I'm not sure how the Supergay Cultural Enhancement Program turned out, since I never even did my profile on the neighborhoods I thought had gay potential. Maybe in the new year? Also with no actual way to track the influx of gays into Detroit I can't give an estimate on whether or not we reached the magic number of 30. Anecdotally I know of at least four!
I am happy that the Supergay Media Infiltration Program has gone well, with a couple more pieces for Model D and the debut of an exciting new voice (me) on Detroit Public Radio's Detroit Today (did I ever mention that my election piece made it into the Detroit Today Weekend program too? Exciting!)
On the personal front, despite a rough summer I continue to enjoy my life in Detroit. The wonderful people I continue to meet really make this city the greatest I've ever inhabited, despite a lack of what many people commonly refer to as "amenities."
2009 will undoubtedly bring many changes. Certainly for SEMi, what with this whole auto industry thing going on. And personally, I'm turning forty this year, and that milestone has a number of big decisions attached to it. I can confidently predict that 2009 will be a much more interesting year!
As for now, I'm off to Palm Springs to see some of those gay friends who moved away over the years. Maybe there will be something interesting to report, maybe not. All I know is that my liver will need a vacation from this vacation. And maybe this year will end with a bang AND a whimper!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Oh how fun for me.
The real deal isn't that the gays automaticaly have great taste, it's that we pay attention and we care. It's all learned. And that means that everybody can have great taste! In the immortal words of style icon Brenda Dickson, "Fashion is something that can be acquired. And you too, be it male or female, can be very fashionable."
This time of year the concern is less fashion and more fashionable gift-giving, and so while I sit here watching the snow swirl around my Mies building, listening to Barbra's A Christmas Album and burning my Ralph Lauren "Holiday" candle (gay gay gay), I'm going to point out two great Detroit shops that are not only gay-calibre shopping destinations in the city, but also "best in show" for the entire SEMi region.
206 E. Grand River, 2nd Floor, in the Merchant's Apparel Building
Second-floor retail may seem counter-intuitive, but in Detroit none of the usual rules apply. It works to the advantage for Mezzanine, which is a high-end modern design store. The space is basically a loft space in a historic building near the Detroit Opera House, Small Plates and the new YMCA, and the overall look of the store is pretty much minimal gallery-esque with an absolutely fabulous view of downtown.
Even though it is home to the $4000 sofa, they also have a lot of gifts and home accessories at lower price points. There were things from $7 up when I was looking around the other day. They carry a curated selection of merchandise and feature the big names like Jonathan Adler, Alessi and Rosenthal as well as a lot of lesser-known lines and some vintage modern items as well. I would describe the aesthetic as northern European modern.
Finding Mezzanine is a little tricky the first time - you have to look up for the window signs, or just cool lighting. If you go to the corner of Broadway and E. Grand River, the entrance to the building is on GR. You ring for the elevator and an elevator attendant comes down and brings you up in the old manually-operated elevator. It's a totally "downtown" experience. Oh, and it's owned by a 'mo.
Here are some gift items I thought were great:
These vellum wine garlands are my new hostess gift.
Jonathan Adler scented candles and frames in tasteful white porcelain.
This is the pitcher/vase I have always loved at Eve the Restaurant in A2.
These little porcelain figures were so effin' cute, I want that nativity scene so
I can celebrate my lapsed Christianity with irony.
Bureau of Urban Living
460 West Canfield Street, in the Canfield Lofts
Bureau of Urban Living is the great little home store everyone wants in their neighborhood, so if you live in Midtown you have totally scored. Bureau is full of great modern accessories for the home and office, with an eye on fun-but-tasteful design and affordability.
Bureau is designy in a way that is clearly put together by a graphic designer. It's like a nice neutral graphic background of a store with lots of great color and groupings for wow factor. Bureau is a tiny little store but is packed full of great things. I love the simple homewares - my wastebaskets, napkins and candles all come from their, and I often get gifts for my nieces there as well! Bureau is a good place for gifts for girls, by the way!
Bureau could not be easier to find. It is on the ground floor of the Canfield Lofts, just west of Cass Avenue. They have a lovely red sign out front, and they are next to Motor City Brewing Works and across the street from the Traffic Jam and Snug.
Here are some fun things I saw in there yesterday:
The now-famous "Keep Calm and Carry On" Detroit-style: on a t-shirt. (Posters also available!)
I just adored this grouping.
Some of the great textile items by local artist Carl Oxley III!
Especially for this weather!
If these places are good enough for the discerning homosexualists of the world then they are good enough for those of you who aspire to good taste - and now you don't need us to shop with you! So do yourself a favor - patronize two great Detroit stores AND get better gifts than you will anyplace else!
Both stores are open with extended holiday hours through Tuesday, so get to steppin'! You can thank me later.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Blog reader Michael Conboy was inspired by the tour and created a series of drawings of gay bars "by the dozen." Detroit was the first treatment, and a later treatment of LA gay bars and bath houses was part of a gallery show recently!
A Dozen Gay Bars, 2008
With the no-holds-barred frontier of the internet and an ever increasing acceptance by mainstream society, the neighborhood gay bar holds less importance every day. But with acceptance comes the loss of camaraderie that people sharing a common secret develop. And complete acceptance must not only be legislated, it must be believed. So, while the entertainment might be less fabulous, the crowds less “cutting edge” and the atmosphere less charged, these homely structures survive as safe spaces for a group still having doubts that it’s all okay out there. In presenting these places “by the dozen” I play off the very ordinariness of their exteriors which belies the importance they have as spaces sacred to a minority who thrive behind their walls.
[A free copy of the last porny issue of BUTT magazine to the first person to name all the Detroit bars pictured here! (Click for a larger version.) Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your answers!]
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I HAVE been able to put together another night of Doggy Style however! You should come visit.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
(I can't center it for some reason, but it's a left of center video anyway.)
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Best part was the weekend, went back to Ann Arbor to see many of the friends that have trickled away over the years. Friday night was possibly the funnest night I've had all year (nothing personal to anyone I've dated who might be reading this). It was the full laughing until you couldn't breathe kind of party. Then heading out to the /aut/ bar which was, well, weird (one friend commented on the fact that all the upstairs bartenders were straight, after complaining his drink was really weak). And the Necto always seems to be a fun time, especially since I'm usually plastered by the time I get there. Necto is a great place to watch the guys you wanted to make out with in college make out with each other.
It was all so fun and so effortless, it was just like the old days, plus Ann Arbor is so pretty, Once again I found myself thinking about why I can't really find equilibrium here in Detroit, and I started to worry about the ways in which I think Detroit has changed me. When I'm in A2 with my friends it's a fun hanging out thing, but when I'm here I feel like it's all about how can we change our section of the world, there's a lot of trying hard and frustration along with the intermittent fun successes.
On the one hand, how can any imaginitive person not try and do stuff when presented with what is essentially a blank canvas? But on the other hand, sometimes it's just nice to hang out and booze up with your friends who all think they're comediennes (and kind of are) and enjoy the nice things in the world around you.
I was telling some friends about it the other night and the verdict was that this is pretty much my problem. Apparently I need to rebalance my priorities.
I just want fame and fortune like everyone else, is that so wrong? I just want a fun mellow home base too.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I wanted to take a moment to point out that if you have been as worked up as I have about the trouble the automotive industry has been having getting 1/70 the assistance Wall Street is getting no-questions-asked, then you should read what Sweet Juniper has to say. Some really great perspective, first here, then even better here.
And while I'm prepping for Doggy Style at the Park Bar tonight, you can get a perspective other than my own unbiased one from D-Tales. And I have no idea whom she is talking about in that post, I swear.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Let's go back in time to Gay New York, late 1980's. The AIDS crisis is reaching its pinnacle. ACT UP and Queer Nation have both come on the scene. One member of ACT UP decides that the "mainstream" (well, as mainstream as it was) gay press was not representing this new, more radical approach to activism. He teams up with a guy who wants to advertise his gay phone sex businesses and voila, OutWeek was formed.
Started on the 20th anniversary of Stonewall. Are you almost ready for Stonewall 40?OutWeek only published for two years but it was incredibly influential. It is most famous for starting the "outing" movement, which began in Michelangelo Signorile's "Gossip Watch" column, but it also routinely broke major news stories. It really achieved national notoriety when it outed Malcolm Forbes in a cover story just after his death.
No context was given for this list, but everyone knew what they were talking about. They may have
been somewhat indiscriminate in casting their net, but they called some of those pretty early.
We will out you after you die, if not before.OutWeek only lasted two years, but it changed gay journalism. After its publication the Advocate officially became a magazine for lesbians and gay men, for example. And gay activism, which previously could have a hard time getting media coverage, gained a permanent place in the public image of the gay community.
Because Jesus loves us, the entire run of OutWeek magazine is available online in PDF format. Take a look through them - they are ALL great reading! And a little bit of a cultural time capsule too, as you can see in these ads.
One upon a time most gays met in person, but even back then you could
still dial up on your 2400 baud modem and chat on the BBS!
It turns out it really was the new frontier in gay communications. Who knew?
There's always room for the fabulous in gay journalism. Then? A fabulous store.
Now? We know her better as the woman who created the looks on Sex and the City.
Don't ask, don't smell.Take your mind off all the "Detroit on the precipice" anxiety with a workday full of serious-minded gay diversions. It will benefit you more in the long run!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The latest is a cover story in this month's Dwell magazine, featuring Friends of Supergay Keira Alexandra and Toby Barlow and their fab townhouse!
Actually Toby blogs for the Huffington Post, so I guess that makes LP home to four top bloggers. Maybe there are more I don't even know about - fess up!
Anyway - long story short, love LP. Sometimes I feel like living here is the happiest thing about my life in Detroit.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Well now I've got a way to introduce you without all the rigamarole. Sweet Juniper is a blog written by a straight couple raising two young kids in Detroit. It's smart and arty and really popular all around the country and, in fact, the entire world. I'm assuming.
As part of a continuing series, "Dutch" took an old Mr. T coloring book and by only changing the captions, turned it into an affirmation of the power of love, no matter what genders are involved. It is so funny you will LOL, and I am not kidding! Click here (or on the image) to see the blog post, which includes a link to the PDF of the entire coloring book.
"I pity the fool who doesn't support marriage equality!"Too bad we didn't have this in Cali before the election, it might have changed the outcome!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Despite sub-40-degree weather and near-freezing rain, there was a reasonably good turnout for the National Protest Against Prop 8 down at the CAY. I'm no crowd guesstimator, but I'd say there were probably 100+ people there, bundled up, intermittently chanting and listening to rally speakers.
Only a handful of us get that pleasure.
I didn't get signed release forms, so let's just say it
really was Paul Lynde and Rock Hudson, ok?
It seems like we may have had a little jump-start in the gay rights movement with this Prop 8 thingie. While our turnout wasn't huge (although I think not too bad given the weather, plus the amount of "activism doesn't go with this outfit" in this region), I heard from friends in NYC, Chicago and SF that protests were off-the-hook and incredibly life-affirming there.
*sigh* I guess for our metro area's size we should have been able to do better. I mean, *I* wanted life-affirming! If we had a REAL gay hub we'd be able to rally more people to action, but we don't so I'll shut up about that for now.
I am glad we had this, at the very least for the purposes of raising gay visibility in the area. Tonight I can fall asleep thinking that there might be a chance for the gay community here.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
As a perk of this blogging gig, I was invited to go to the preview of the new movie Milk last night. I am not allowed to review it until it comes out in two weeks, but I am going to say that watching the events of Harvey Milk's life reminded me why action is important today.
Didn't see these until the way out, but how VIP!
In the 1970's, every gay victory around the country was celebrated all around the country, and every gay defeat was a call to arms for every gay person everywhere. Each victory by Anita Bryant and her posse in Florida and other states spurred gays in the Castro to march in protest. And they fought hard, and they mobilized the everyday gay to get out and express his or her outrage. And their successes made the complacency of today possible.
Proposition 8 banning gay marriage in CA should never have passed, and I think everyone on our side thought it wouldn't. The loss was a huge wake-up call to gay and straight people alike who honestly thought we were on our way to a more progressive, inclusive America this election. The amount of outrage we have seen emerge about this says to me that gay people are finally realizing we need to assert ourselves if we want real equality under law.
Now let me be clear: I can barely get a gay date, so you can be sure as hell I have no personal interest in gay marriage. And I think Keith Olbermann is a FREAK for his whole "this is about love" commentary on MSNBC. This is about fairness. Commitment ceremonies are about love.
I will tell you this much though, I am fucking tired and a half with gay people being viewed as somehow less than fully human, and that needs to stop. It's bad enough I have to deal with all the self-loathing quasi-closet cases around town. I don't need my government overtaxing and underrepresenting us too.
I didn't live through the gay rights protests of the 70's, but I did watch the protests of Queer Nation in Boston and participated in ACT UP demonstrations in Washington, DC. I was in the March on Washington in 1993 and went to the biggest showing of the AIDS Quilt on the Washington Mall. I wasn't hardcore, but I was paying attention. But then - like everyone else - I stopped pushing.
Now we have another reason to push ... or rather push back. This weekend we can be part of a demonstration that lets people everywhere know it's really time to grow up about this. And we can be part of a demonstration that gives us a sense of solidarity and a stronger sense of ourselves. If you have never participated in a demonstration, you may find it does as much to change your inner world as it does the outer world.
I have come to a point where I feel it is absolutely imperative that as many supporters of gay marriage show up to protest on Saturday as possible. Gay people should obviously be there, but our straight friends need to show support too.
Please come with friends to the protest demanding marriage equality this Saturday, November 15, at 1:30pm at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center in downtown Detroit.
We can dress up the Spirit of Detroit too.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Facebook is scary sometimes.
I wonder what will happen with Triangle now? There's really a bit of a gay leadership vacuum in this state (actually, a leadership vacuum period), so a little more turmoil there doesn't bode well for gay rights in this state.
I guess that's why I feel it's important that as individuals we make sure our voice is heard. We really can't afford to wait for new leadership to settle in. That's why things like the protest at CAY this weekend are important. We need to stay visible!
If you missed Doggy Style last year you can read about its genesis here, and see all Doggy Style-related posts from last winter here. Essentially it's a "gay-er" night at the Park Bar where gay folks with a downtown sensibility meet up for music that's more finely attuned to a gay ear and a curated video program that is kind of new music / old music / production number / drag queen / camp. Or whatever else I find.
We went on hiatus for summer, but we are long overdue for some more good ol' downtown gay camaradarie. So get your friends and come on down! And stop by after the Madonna concert, if you're going!
The Park Bar is located at 2040 Park Avenue, right behind the Fillmore (formerly State) Theater, near Comerica Park. There's no sign, but it's the bar right on the corner of Park & Elizabether with the huge windows.
It all starts up next Tuesday, November 18. Arrive starting at 8:30, videos start at 9:30. You'll be home in bed by 11:30, not bad for a school night.
So see you next Tuesday! And every Tuesday after that until May! Yay!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The California Gay Rights Brigade is chapping my ass. A gay marriage ban passed there so now we have to have national protests. Here's my question: where the fuck was California's outrage when marriage bans passed in 29 other states?
Every time I'm in California people ask, "Oh, so when are you moving here?" Seriously, people I've just met. Comments about the state of gay affairs here are met with "you should know better" looks. People cannot even wrap their brains around why a gay person might live in Detroit.
So now gay California, which hasn't had a real gay rights fight in twenty years, gets a little taste of what we deal with more frequently here in the flyover states and we're supposed to put down our knitting and march, since it's NOW an issue of national importance?
OK, fine, whatever it takes, I realize California is a bellweather state for gay rights. But I just wanted to point that out. California, maybe you could be a little less smug in the future.
There is a Very Important Gay Rights Protest coming up this week! All around the country people are gathering to "Join the Impact." Their website says:
"Tuesday night was a bitter-sweet celebration. We came together to witness the first black man who will become our president, yet watched in sadness as Florida, Arizona, Arkansas, and California all voted down equal rights for all citizens.This is not a four-state issue. This is an issue of equality across America. Stand up and make your voice heard."
The protest will be this Saturday at 1:30pm in downtown Detroit in front of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center. I suspect there will be a good turnout, and all bitterness aside, right now "the iron is hot" and we need to push hard to capitalize on the momentum and outrage that the passing of Proposition 8 in California hath wrought.
And this extends to straight folks too. We really need your support and your voice. It's not enough to silently support marriage equality. You need to let people know that the way things are now is not right, and that you support change.
Now get to steppin'!
You and me both, Mary.
The front is also better for the random run-in. Just yesterday I was enjoying tea and viewing the internet when who should walk in but fellow Detroit blogger D-Tales. While I was reading her blog. That was funny.
After a fantastic old-school liquid lunch with a colleague at the Caucus Club I ventured over to the Mercury Coffee Bar in Corktown.
That place has been buzzing every time I've driven by lately. Sunday night around 5pm it was nuts in there. It was relatively busy yesterday too, lots of folks working on laptops and a few meeting type activities in the lower level, but I think the greatest thing was working and being able to look out at the Michigan Central Depot on an overcast Monday afternoon.
Another thing I've noted before and has been verified by several friends is the very attractive and well-dressed crowd that patronizes this business. Incredulous, one of my friends asked, "where did these people come from?"
Actually the only thing that has been bugging me about Mercury is the fact that their identity program involves using the initials "MCB." First of all, why in God's name would you not fully utilize a great name like Mercury?? Of all the horribly named places in this area (Detroit Breakfast House and Grill comes to mind) you get handed this really glorious name by virtue of your location and you decide to change it to the wholly-uninspiring initials "MCB"?
And secondly, MCB is kind of already taken in Detroit - it's how everyone seems to refer to Motor City Brewing Works.
I feel like I will just call it Mercury all the time and maybe "MCB" won't catch on. Otherwise, I love it.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Those Hamtramck United folks worked their butts off though, and according to council member Scott Klein in this article in Between the Lines, they will keep pushing the issue. So we all need to thank them a lot, and maybe offer them a non-sexual massage the next time we see one of them.
Jay McNeeley. Jay McNeeley. Jay McNeeley.
(thrice for Google Image searches)
Enjoy my bitching about all the things I love to bitch about on here AND hear about the disco cocktail party I threw last month in this piece that aired on Election Day!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Fred Phelps and his caravan of crazy (www.godhatesfags.com) are coming to Grosse Pointe (of all places) to protest GP South High School's production of "The Laramie Project" next month. Read Detroitist's report here.
When Phelps was in Ann Arbor a few years ago Martin and Keith at the /aut/ bar came up with this idea to get people to pledge money for every minute that Phelps and company protest. "Every Minute Counts" eventually became a popular counter-protest to the Phelps brigade all around the country. Nice job, fellas.
Here's the picket schedule comment - you can't make this shit up!
11/21/08 - 2:45 - 3:30pm Grosse Pointe South High School - God Hates You! 11 Grosse Pointe Blvd That's right, these little turkeys believe they can change the fact that Matthew Sheperd is in hell, 10+ years now. Lot's of luck on that one. If you wanna go to hell, then follow his example! Mt 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: AMEN!
Maybe we should do an "Every Minute Counts" for this? We can give money to a worthy gay charity, like Supergay Detroit or something! Or maybe something possibly more worthy, like Triangle Foundation or Ruth Ellis Center. I dunno, just tossing that out there. What do you think?
I did not make this graphic but it's funny as hell.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I went to Ann Arbor to my friend Eve's house to watch the election because (a) I spent all the Bush years in Ann Arbor and thought it would be nice to celebrate a shift back to reason in that town, and (b) she owns the amazing restaurant Eve and I knew the food would be worth traveling for.
It was, of course, a lovely time, and so great to see an awesome collection of people I've known over the past ten-plus years. And even more exciting to see the Obama win! Yay America.
It wasn't until the way home, when I received a text response from CA friends to my inquiry about the status of the gay marriage ban that the whole night imploded. California was set to ban - and abolish - gay marriage.
Furious doesn't even begin to describe my reaction. I can't tell you the last time I pounded my steering wheel and screamed in rage, mostly because it has never happened before. It was only a stop by the Park Bar and touching base with some unaware but sympathetic friends that prevented this from being a post that consisted of the giant words "straight people, go fuck yourself." Sorry, but it's true.
You have a straight, white, wealthy, Mayflower-family, Yale-educated male to thank for talking me down.
So straight people, don't go fuck yourself. But please pay attention to what is happening. Michigan was disappointing. Arizona, Florida and Arkansas not surprising. But California was really unexcusable.
At least their "Stop Animal Cruelty" inititative passed by a 3-to-1 margin. Oh yeah, and Obama won.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Not to belabor details, but since it was on Halloween night the New Wave Committee thought they'd maybe get 500 people. Instead? 1000 people showed up (an exciting fact only mitigated by an overwhelmed bar). Only a handful of people didn't show up in costume, and the costumes were tremendous! You go hipsters!
The music was a great Dorkwave vibe, the decor so cool. Since I was the emcee for the evening (it's a living) I'll just give you some photographic super gay highlights instead of bogging things down with prose. Good job MoCAD!
The trash monster was awesome when he danced!
Big bats and bubbles.
Well, here's what happened to her.
Clearly inspired by this blog.
Have you a little fairy in your home?
It takes a village of dj's.
You have to admit, this is not a costume the hoi polloi would appreciate. Well done!
Something for the ladies.
It's not real. I checked. *sigh*
With a Z!
Making it work!
Nothing gay about this except how cute I thought this boy was.
Winners of Funniest Costume - the Ren Cen was amazing!
The view of an awesome party from the stage.