Why were the SATC girls obsessed with enemas?.
As I write this, thousands of gays and lesbians (and our trans siblings) from all over the country are descending on the Renaissance Center for a four-day conference focused on building political, leadership and activist skills in the GLBT community. How amazing is that!!
Oh how I love gay activism. As I've discussed before, the gay community was angry when I came out of the closet, and with good reason. Gay men were dying from AIDS and from all appearances the rest of the world was fine with that. So the gay and lesbian community mobilized and got mad and got loud. The activist voice of the community got quieter as the immediate health threat disappeared, to the point the when gay marriage came up as a political issue it was straight white men taking most of the risks.
The very existence of this conference brings me joy, because it means gay activism isn't dead quite yet, and the fact that it is in Detroit brings me to the brink of ecstacy. No, seriously. 2000 gay people descending on Detroit - it's like the gay equivalent of Superbowl XL!
Naturally the thing I am MOST excited for is the 2008 Awareness Ball - a big drag ball on Friday night! Yes kids, there is a full vogue ball in the Mackinac Room at the Ren Cen. I'm talking Paris is Burning! How can you deny yourself categories like "Female figure performance - You're stuck in an alley with nowhere to go .. now it's time to vogue! Dramatic cats in a taste of red vs. soft kitties in a taste of pink." I was so excited when I came across this info I was running around in circles in my living room texting everyone I knew. Doors open at 9, Grand March at 11. This will be the most fun I have all year, I can already tell!
Speaking of fun, for conference attendees and those seeking to sleep with them here are a few recommendations for gay-friendly socializing downtown:
Atlas Global Bistro (3111 Woodward, Detroit) - Great for lunch, dinner, brunch or just hanging at the bar. Gets a semi regular gay-er crowd at the bar in the evenings (it's hit or miss, Miss) but very gay friendly, upscale nice place for the gay or lesbian professional type. Tell them Supergay sent you so I can get some free booze next time I'm there.
Centaur (2233 Park Avenue, Detroit) - Centaur gets a really eclectic crowd - including gays - and has great martinis in a great space. The owner is the only straight guy who kisses me on the lips to say hello every time he sees me. They have actively courted Creating Change attendees, by the way, and are a seriously gay-friendly spot.
Park Bar (2040 Park Avenue, Detroit) - My love for the Park Bar is well-documented on this blog. There's almost always a downtown gay presence. It's a beer-and-a-shot place, but a nice one.
Cliff Bell's (2030 Park Avenue, Detroit) - Right next door to the Park Bar, it's a restored historic nightlife spot with excellent jazz and a GREAT clientele. Always interesting people and always gays in the house. Such an amazing spot, downtown is lucky to have it.
Slows Bar-B-Q (2138 Michigan Avenue, Detroit) - The epicenter of Corktown's hipster scene, Slows is an amazing restaurant that with its attractive design naturally attracts a gay clientele. The food is great and you get to see one of Detroit's cool emerging neighborhoods. Think Williamsburgh circa 1990. Or maybe earlier. Don't forget to check out the Michigan Central Depot across the street, America's largest ruin.
Avalon International Breads (422 W. Willis, Detroit) - Not a nightlife spot, but a Detroit institution. Owned by a super cool lesbian couple, it's a great spot for morning or afternoon coffee and a carb. Gets a verrrry gay midtown crowd passing through. Tons of vegan options for the lesbian in your life.
La Dolce Vita - (17546 Woodward Avenue, Detroit) - Located in the middle of what used to be Detroit's gayborhood, LDV still draws a heavy gay crowd (despite no longer being gay owned). Italian restaurant with a nice bar area. It's on your way to the bars in Royal Oak/Ferndale too.
As for hitting the gay bars in the city, I'm sure the concierge at the Ren Cen Marriott will have all that info. A few notes - the Eagle here is not what you are expecting, Backstreet is in a strip mall, and Gold Coast is tacky as hell. Have fun, they will all be an adventure!
Now for non-visitors, I really need everyone to come downtown this weekend and welcome all these visiting gays in the best way you know how. There will be every color of the gay rainbow represented - diversity is important in the activist world! Gay Detroiters should come down and see how great it will be when the city has a critical mass of gay people, and as a personal favor I am asking you to roll out the red carpet however you possibly can. The city needs all the good PR it can get right now, and if that involves being the welcome mat then so be it. It is Fleet Week, after all.