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.