Monday, March 31, 2008

Gold, retold

You are a naive fool if you think you can go to a MOCAD event knowing what to expect, and the Gold party this weekend was no exception. What, in the hands of another cultural institution, might have just been a standard gala affair was an evening of highs and lows and defied every expectation, both highbrow and lowbrow.

I was forced to go VIP because that’s how I roll. Just to get the basics out of the way – those valet guys were cute and hyper-efficient, check-in was quick and easy, and the d├ęcor was great. Those are all important basics.

Notably, the decorations committee did a great job with that big space and really gave the space an overdose of hipster glam: enormous gold mylar balloons all over the ceiling in the main room and these freaking awesome dead trees that had been painted gold and planted in cement blocks all over the VIP room. I was hoping that we were allowed to take the trees home like centerpieces from a wedding but sadly, that was not the case.

So the VIP experience … well the way I look at it, if I get dinner and my drinks all night it is probably worth the extra 60 bucks. And it was. The food was for the most part very good and they had a lot of participating restaurants, although I am not a huge fan of the program where a bunch of restaurants get little stations to ply their wares. It’s a little too State Fair for me. But you know, get your donations where you can! And the VIP bar had great bartenders and great vodka so that was sufficient to distract me.

Lest we forget we are at a MOCAD event, there was a video and audio experience that made every effort to remind us this is a contemporary art museum. And by that, I mean it made you want to go fetal.

While the video displays overall were really cool, the one showing in the VIP room was this weird Osama Bin Laden-meets-Wizard of Oz thing that was a little violent and a lot disturbing to this Friend of Dorothy. And the music. Oh. My. God. I know it’s like an art expression but please just drive a screwdriver into my ear. For twenty minutes, I can get into this. But two hours of the sound of nails on a chalkboard, well, that’s not my definition of aural pleasure, mbien?

I was worried that maybe they forgot these things are supposed to be fun, but when the live music started things made a quick about-face. I’m not typically a big fan of live music myself, so I wasn’t expecting much. And at first that fear was somewhat borne out: I never thought of “Eyes Without a Face” by Billy Idol as a very fun song. But somehow one group performing managed to find what little fun was actually there, suck it right out, and perform a perfectly joyless cover. Very postmodern, no?

But then something clicked and all of it started to really work. I’m not sure how it happened but once it did, it was amazing. Maybe it was the cool campy performance by
Esquire. Maybe it was the weirdly homoerotic video installation playing in the background. Maybe it was the crowd reaching previously unseen levels of eclecticism. Maybe it was the Sisters Lucas covering the Go Go’s “We Got the Beat” (finally, some music for my people!) Maybe someone put something in my drink. Whatever it was, once it got there it stayed fresh and fun and interesting all night long.

Here are few quick video clips I took with my really bad cellphone camera, which I apparently somehow set to record in sepia tone. Huh. The volume is really loud on these, I recommend just hitting mute or turning the volume way down.

The homoerotic video art portion of the program.

This was actually a cool performance of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World."

They got the beat!

Like other experiences that feel a little uncomfortable and strange at first, Gold took a little getting used to. But once the strangeness and discomfort passes, you find yourself wanting more more more. MOCAD’s New Wave group seems to have a winning concept on their hands here – I hope they made a lot of money! I’m looking forward to next year’s party already.

Racism on Parade

Well it's Opening Day for the Detroit Tigers, so that naturally means an influx of sports-loving suburbanites rolling into downtown, acting like drunk assholes and leaving their trash behind them.

One of the weird things about being a white male who can pass for straight (when I try really hard) is that other white people feel more at liberty to say their secret white-people things to me. Such as this evening, following the Tiger's game. I sequestered myself away in a non-sports venue, although it was not entirely sport-fan-free.

As I sat there, minding my own business and reading the paper a guy started talking to me. He was down from St. Clair Shores for opening day bar-hopping with a friend. He saw Barack Obama in the paper I was reading and asked me what I thought of him. So I told him, in vague terms (I like to keep it light with strangers) that I thought he was pretty amazing, but I also have a lot of respect for all the candidates this time around.

The guy leans into me and says all subdued-like, "I just don't know if I can vote for a n*gger." I shit you not.

He could obviously tell from my complete loss of composure that this was not something I was ok with, and started back-pedaling pretty quickly. I told him in a I-don't-want-you-to-punch-me way that I found that a completely insane thing to say, and moved to the other end of the bar.

Of course there I was assaulted by some drunk bottle-blonde who, after I told her five times I didn't want to talk to her, turned to whispered conversations with her companion. Initially about my being an asshole (apparently) it devolved into "I'm not being a racist, I'm just saying ..."

Ah yes, baseball season is here. That means the balance of cool vs. asshole suburbanites shifts toward the 'hole. I'm sure it will all go fine and be good for the bars and restaurants downtown. I just hope I don't get called a faggot while walking down the street again.

Hey, is that ... ?

Went to Ann Arbor tonight to see a friend back in town for a bit from NYC. A trip to A2 is always a treat for me, having lived there so long and loved it so much. They get a lot of things right.

One of those great things is the foodie culture that flourishes there, and I was a beneficiary of that tonight having dinner as the guest of two old friends, one of whom works for Zingerman's and one who is a wine consultant. Yeah baby.

Aside from the amazing food there was speed-round witty banter at the dinner table. Seriously, six people all talking over each other and everything making sense like it had been scripted. Loved it.

And just to bring it all home, as we were departing one of the friends pulled out his man-satchel (not a metaphor) and as he put a few things in it I stared as if vaguely recognizing a friend from grade school.

"Hey, is that ... ?"

Yes, yes it is. The J. Peterman Counterfeit Mailbag. Ten years old, looking like I wanted mine to look when I got it.

Guess I should have been patient.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Take the awareness test

Nothing gay about this, but it's a great thing to be reminded of for anyone out and about downtown as spring arrives.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Readers Who Care

To my great joy and surprise, one of you took my shy suggestion for an anniversary gift to heart and actually sent me some paper money! How you got my address is a weird stalker issue I'll have to address sometime down the road I'm sure, but right now I'm just so happy to receive a present!

While not being euro dollars, it is foreign currency, so as long as the U.S. Dollar continues its plummet into worthlessness what now seems to be about a buck and change (were I to exchange it) could someday pay for my niece's college education! Thank you, Neil!

Scans of the actual monetary gift!

Playing around with the pretty currency of other nations got me thinking about what my own currency might look like. When I rule the world, here's our one dollar note:

The Carol Channing dollar.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

You are ... Gold

If you haven't discovered it yet, MOCAD events are always a good time for a fun-lovin' gay guy or gal.

Their opening party back in the fall of '06 was possibly one of the best parties I've been to in Detroit - definitely Top Five. It drew a crowd that was eclectic and cool from all over SE Michigan - moneyed Oakland County types, Ann Arbor intelligencia, Detroit hipsters. You had your techno undergrounders, your junior achievers, your party scenesters and of course, lots and lots of gays.

Subsequent events have been smaller but equally diverse and always entertaining. There was a performance art gig by
Pat Oleszko there one night that was NUTS and ended with an "Emperor's New Clothes" piece ripping on Bush with Ms. Oleszko spraying red, white and blue paint out of her mouth onto a naked man marching in place wearing W mask. It was a little heavy-handed in that old school New York performance art way, but RIVETING, and not just because some dude's schwantz was flapping around for ten minutes.

The greatest thing about MOCAD is that they exist to push boundaries and they aren't afraid to apply that to their events. They also appeal to an edgier crowd than someplace like the DIA might, and their overhead isn't crazy high so they can have a much more affordable ticket price for events.

This Saturday they are hosting
Gold, their first event thrown by the New Wave group, "a MOCAD committee designed to share a common dedication to the arts in Detroit with new audiences." So sort of their young professionals group, although maybe young UNprofessionals group is a better way to put it since there are a lot of hip Detroit entrepreneurial types involved who probably would resent being tagged yuppies. Anyway, lots of hip in that group, and notably some gay representation in there as well!

There's no way this event won't be great and there's no way it won't be swarming with homosexualists. I highly recommend you check it out. Seriously, the entertainment will be local bands covering pop songs from the '80's, how can you go wrong? Show up early because these things can get packed and noisy by later in the evening.

For your enjoyment today, I present the one song they would be crazy to exclude from their playlist:
"Gold" by Spandau Ballet. It was the first thing you thought of when you found out they were playing 80's covers too, right?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ladies Love Doggy Style Too!

Just a little reminder that Doggy Style occurs yet again at the Park Bar tonight! And in case you weren't aware, Doggy Style isn't just chock full o' nuts for the boys, there's plenty of couscous for those of lesbanese descent as well!

The Park Bar is located at 2040 Park Avenue in downtown Detroit. Get there around 9.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Me

Hard to believe, but it's been a year for Supergay Detroit. And what a year it's been.

Year One is the Paper Anniversary.

Feel free to send me paper currency. Preferably euros.



Wednesday, March 19, 2008

No really, the Opera Cape??

Spring cleaning has its pratfalls. Even though the first day of spring doesn't hit for a few days I took to cleaning out my closet earlier this week and oh! the things you come across. Most memorable from this particular revisitation was a particular sweater I've owned for, jeez, 16 years now that I got from the J. Peterman catalog. The Nantucket Sweater.

For those not familiar with the phenomenon that was the J. Peterman catalog let me acquaint you with a bit of retail history. In the late 80's a little ad appeared in The New Yorker advertising a single, simple coat. It wasn't a photo, it was just a drawing and a phone number for a catalog. And somehow it managed to completely captivate the imagination of the Upper East Side and other people who buy clothes as much for the fantasy of the item as for the item itself.

My introduction to J. Peterman is almost as involved as the story of the Hemingway Cap. As a newly-out college student in Boston in the late 80's I became intimately acquainted with a Harvard faculty member quite a few years my senior. It wasn't quite dating, but I thought it was very evolved, very adult. He was handsome, but maybe just a touch past his prime, which of course is hot in its own way.

He was the real deal, in that trying to be the real deal way. He drove a
Saab 900, which wasn't considered classic at the time. He lived in a lovely but small house walking distance to Harvard Square. He was a good cook. He had the perfect little beagle named Toby - I would dogsit/housesit sometimes as a break from campus life. He used Dr. Bronner's liquid peppermint soap before it was a "thing" and turned me on to the Hermes scent that is still my baseline fragrance. He had a sleigh bed. And when the hot Harvard law grad from Puerto Rico showed up randomly one night while we were having dinner at his house ... well, college is for experimentation, right? His walls were lined with photos of him from his world travels and he told me, "You don't have to be rich, just have rich friends."

When we were set to walk up to Harvard Square to see some performance art one night in the late fall of 1989 he pulled out his J. Peterman purchase, the "Opera Cape." It's not offered anymore, but it was really a quite a thing to behold: a very dramatic, heavy jet black wool cape lined with crimson satin. I was fascinated - I mean who wears shit like that? He was the first person I'd met who not only had the J. Peterman catalog, but actually bought from it. Believe me, after that I became a regular reader!

It wasn't until I'd moved to Washington, DC, and was making a sensational $18,000 a year on Capitol Hill that I finally spent money on something from J. Peterman. My boyfriend at the time routinely reminded me that I was a "situational" shopper. I would buy something because "it would be the perfect sweater for an early September weekend on Cape Cod."
Or "wouldn't this be great for skiing in Vermont?" Which you know, I did maybe once.

And indeed I was the perfect victim, because not only was I still hung up on living in New England after my preppy-ass upbringing in Grosse Pointe, but I was the total romantic when it came to shopping. So this Bay Rum sounds fascinating, I'll buy it! (Unfortunately it does not smell fascinating, but I kept it.) The
Counterfeit Mailbag seemed like an amazing purchase from the drawing, but brand new it kind of looked like rawhide (I returned it, after I made the fingernail scratches they recommended ...).

Returned / Not Returned

Ultimately almost everything I bought failed to meet my expectations, and I returned it. I guess that's why J. Peterman imploded when they went to the retail store fomat - nothing lived up to the glorious expectations of the ad copy and the slighty vague watercolors. But the Nantucket Sweater lives on in my wardrobe. It turns out that even though it's actually NOT all cotton, and NOT as romantic-cool-summer-night as you'd want it to be, it's a decent sweater to pair with sweatpants and at this point it's actually vintage American commerce. And now I've had it for almost the full 18 years mentioned in the catalog copy!

J. Peterman still sells some of the same things they've been selling since 1987, and I am sure somewhere right now someone is buying a band-collar shirt. Rest assured at this point that they're straight, and totally Upper East Side-ish, in the academic Woody Allen's Annie Hall sense of the word.

But once upon a time J. Peterman pandered to every prep's fantasy, gay or straight. And the gays, with their aspirations (of romance? of drama? of a normal life?), provided the perfect customer. Or at least, I did.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Oui, j t'aime, Espace Musique

As a homosexual man of sophistication and refinement I like many French things: French bulldogs, French twists, French active, French passive. So it was obviously with great excitement that I discovered the greatest radio station ever: CBJC 103.9 FM, the Windsor, Ontario outpost of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Espace Musique.

Say good-bye to annoying radio "personalities," vapid morning shows, earnest NPR soft-talkers and cheeseball evening hosts and say bonjour! to commercial-free radio with no pledge drives and all host-speak executed in the loveliest of foreign languages, French.

Espace Musique plays a mix of classical, jazz, world and vocal. The classical includes opera, the jazz runs the gamut, and the vocalist selections skew French. The other morning we had some nice accordion Parisian cafe thing going on, followed by a little
Gabriel Yared/Betty Blue type harmonica thing, and then later some hot Edith Piaf action. All of this followed by an hour of Franco-Afro-Beat. Amazing.

Since you can't even get away from annoying radio hosts on satellite radio that you have to pay for, it's nice to have this amazing option where all the talking just blurs into this pleasant background noise you can't understand, five years of French notwhithstanding.

The broadcast range for the station seems to be somewhat limited, the signal was sketchy when I was driving in Dearborn but it's strong downtown. Look, another perk to living in Detroit!

To get you in the spirit, enjoy this video from Doggy Style a few weeks ago featuring Edith Piaf's Non, je ne regrette rien.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Time to do it Doggy Style again!

I don't necessarily want to use this blog solely to promote Doggy Style at the Park Bar, but it's turning out to be really fun and I think you need to know about it!

As you may have noticed, gigantic snowfalls keep happening on Tuesdays in 2008, so that's been a bit of an obstacle to getting people to come out. We've been getting 20-30 folks in for it though, all Detroiters, and it's been really fun! Witness last week's sing-a-longs.

So I need to reiterate: Lovers of fun, come do it Doggy Style at the Park Bar this Tuesday! Stop in to say hello to your fellow downtown gays & lesbos and watch the amazing video programme. This week Bess and Deborah do the most unbelievable abdominal Aerobicise workout you've ever seen, and the Spanish dwarf drag queen makes an encore appearance.

In addition to being super fun, it also helps promote two great gay-friendly Detroit independent businesses, Canine to Five, Detroit's Dog Daycare, and the Park Bar.

Stop in after 8, I recommend closer to 9. Hopefully we'll see you Tuesday!

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Gay Blogroll Expands

It's very exciting that we're coming up on one full year here at SupergayDetroit - only two weeks away! What's even more exciting is that FINALLY there is an expansion in the voice of the gay community in metro Detroit on the internets.

Real quick-like let's review a few additions to the gay blog scene:

Detroit Guerrilla Queer Bar website has been around for years - really it was the first non-corporate Detroit-centric gay presence on the World Wide Web. In the past year it had a total revamp, and now it's not only a gay Detroit social life portal, it's a blog and a forum and a photo gallery featuring your next internet date!

PrideSource, the publishers of
Between the Lines, have finally tapped into this whole new "blogger" phenomenon. In December they launched a blog that comments on ... well, I'm not sure. It maybe seems a little bit like a blog written by someone who gets a lot of press releases in his/her email inbox. But shit, I found out on there that the True Colors tour is actually coming to Metro Detroit this time around, so it can't be all bad!

Even newer is the
Michigayn blog, which looks to review gay bars and nightclubs in SE Mich. I only found out about it from an email forwarded to me about an exciting survey. They are new, but I like their writing style. Maybe they will end up being awesome.

Also new and not explicitly gay (but LORD gay-friendly) is the
D-Tales blog. Billed as a Detroit gossip blog the author invariably finds herself surrounded by her gays or trying to get to Doggy Style at the Park Bar. Funny in many ways. And a little wordy. The current "After 5" post could be considered a highlight.

Here's hoping these sites bloom and grow into distinct voices that contribute to the visibility of the gay community in our sometimes-backward (sometimes! ROTFL!!!) region.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Would you like to touch my Survey Monkey?

Are you bored and looking to kill a little time while potentially helping the community? Why not take a survey about gay bars in Detroit/Ann Arbor?

I don't know the specifics of the site that came up with this survey,, and I don't know their intentions, but it was a great opportunity to praise bars I like and condemn bars I don't (a free SupergayDetroit gift for the first person to guess the three bars I said I didn't like). I am sure you are working to create a better gay Michigan if you take it!

Take the survery here.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Cirque de So Gay

There are several great fundraising parties geared toward the younger professional that benefit Detroit's cultural institutions, but none are as eclectically exciting as Cirque, the DIA benefit thrown by the Founders Junior Council.

(Click for full-size invite.)

Now in its eighth year (measured in internet inches, by the way - I'm pretty sure it's really more like the seventh), Cirque is a formal masked ball that injects a little creativity, sexiness and fun into the dark winter months. It is a revival of a masqerade ball originally held at Detroit's Scarab Club in the 1920's. Masks or disguises are strongly encouraged, and the idea is that creative expression rules and anything goes.

In the past few years Cirque has really gone into overdrive, moving from its original location in the Scarab Club to a hot gothic party at the Masonic Temple two years ago, and a hedonistic Studio 54-themed event on the top floor of 1001 Woodward last year. This year is a kind of Louis XV pre-French Revolution theme, so I imagine a powdered wig is in order. Wait, did someone say wig??

The Cirque party, like Fash Bash before it (also thrown by the Founders Junior Council) has tremendous gay appeal. Not only is there a costume element (if you aren't in Marie Antoinette drag, you can at least create the most fabulous mask ever), but past years have had strong - and hot, I might add - gay attendance, and featured a drag queen for the first time ever at a DIA event.

A view from Cirque at the Masonic Temple
(photo swiped, er, courtesty of Dave Kreiger for Model D)

Tickets are $75 for general admission ($100 at the door) and $125 for VIP, which features a faboo pre-party and a private VIP area (mostly notable for raw bar champagne pre-party, balcony view of the main event and private, ie: faster, bar). It's held at the Colony Club on Park Avenue, and I guarantee none of you have been there yet. Well, unless you were at the ESPN party during Superbowl XL.

As Detroit fundraising cultural events go, Cirque is top drawer. With food and premium booze involved (well hello Grey Goose! It's French.), and a tasteful minimum of overt sponsorship branding, you will be drunk and debauched in high style.

Just gone?

I am sure the Metro Times is extraordinarily popular, but has anyone noticed how every issue of the current MT seems to be missing from downtown Detroit? I guess everyone just really wanted to read the editorial about recalling Kwame, so much so that almost all copies were completely gone from regular distribution points two days after publication!

Let me know if you find any, but this issue seems to be the subject of an unofficial recall.
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