Friday, February 26, 2010

I'm sure you can relate

Ladies, we all have the Sassy Gay Friend.  For me, it's actually my friend Laura who lives in Chicago and apparently someone from Second City was sitting next to her at the bar and stole her entire schtick.  Watch it here, it's hilarious.  I'm sure you've got someone around like this too - or at least I hope so, for your sake.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Talented Mr. You

I am particulary excited about this Talent Show going on tomorrow night.  I am not exactly sure why, maybe because it is something different than karaoke, maybe it's because it's bringing together social groups who don't always mingle in the city.  Maybe it is because it will be a full-on freakshow.  I just don't know, but I am really looking forward to it.

I scrounged some more details of the show, so I'm just going to give a little narrative for you.

Doors open at 9pm at the General George S. Patton Polish Village Veteran's Hall.  This is located at 4930 Central Avenue, which is between I-94 and Michigan Avenue.  There is an actual Central Avenue exit on 94 so you can get off the freeway, head south and you'll drive right into it.  I have never been to this spot, but it's also on the way to the R&R Saloon so clearly I've passed it on my way to Macho City.

There will be warm-up karaoke from 9 to 11.  This is casual and all should feel free to perform their alternate numbers at this time.  There will also be booze, which should help things get rolling once the talent show starts about 11.

What can you expect at the talent show?  Well, lots of second-rate talent.  If you have reservations about performing, let me just pass along the word that ANYTHING GOES!  Without giving anything away, you can expect to see things like Dave Mancini's 30-second talent that got him all the girls in college, or hear Liz Isakson turn happy songs into sad songs (they say so much).  You can hear me - yes me, Supergay - perform the lullaby my Aunt Liza used to sing to me when I was a gayby, and we will even be blessed with one of Robert M. Nelson's famed spoken-word performances! (Robert is also the Cafe D'Mongo's advice columnist and a real card, you're gonna love him like I love him.  Which is platonically.).

You don't need to know who all these people are to know that any doubts you may have had that your performance doesn't rate were completely unfounded.  You should feel free to sign up with some confidence that you actually might win!  And seriously?  Sign up!  Sing a little song, do a little dance, play the piano, photoshop Brad Pitt together with Anderson Cooper - whatever!  It's all a talent to someone!  You have nothing to lose but your dignity!  Call 313-615-3425 or message the organizers on the Facebook page!

 It's a talent!  Call now!

Now the admission is $20, and yes that is US currency, unless you are performing in which case it is $10.  The whole shebang is to benefit Astro Coffee, which you may have read about in this week's Model D.  Don't worry, the owner is not funding the entire start-up through janky talent shows.  This is just to give things a little extra jolt, just like Astro Coffee will do for you once they open up!

Marvin with Model D took this great photo of the future Astro Coffee!

Advance conversations with everyone I can talk to about this lead me to believe this event with have a MoCAD event-like eclectic quality to its crowd:  a dash of hipster, a dollop of gay, a smidge of cool suburbanite and a smattering of Detroit scenester.  It's going to be awesome! 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Drinking Expert

A last-minute leaving-work IM from a friend drew me to Roast for their Cocktail Hour yesterday, which never disappoints.  It ended up being a bit of a foodie gathering at one corner of the bar, as you will sometimes find with bargain-priced delicious food in Detroit.

After the Cocktail Hour ended there a few of us moved on to Martini Monday at Atlas Global Bistro where the cocktail hour never ends.  I grilled Dave Mancini (of Supino Pizzeria fame) about what exactly his talent will be in the show on Friday (it's good); and I got to chatting with Putnam Weekley, a man who is possibly one of the most knowledgeable "wine guys" in town.  Specifically we talked vermouth (you know how these things happen.)

I learned that Martini & Rossi vermouths are lame, instead opt for Stock brand vermouth which is less expensive and actually better (to the informed palate).  At least if you are going with a basic vermouth.  If you really want to wow yourself you have to try Carpano Antica red vermouth.  Putnam swears it is the best, like eight times over.

Well, for sharing this information I promised Putnam I would dedicate the following videos to him.  Martini & Rossi may not be the best vermouth on the market, but they hands-down had the best ads in the 70s!

Angie in a white mood.

Jaclyn feeling red.

File this post under "raising standards" ... the more you drink the more you know!  You can glean some of Putnam's extensive knowledge on his blog (being added to my blogroll as I type this) and in the bar zone at El Barzon, where he is charge of their excellent beverage selection.

And now I will expect that I'll be enjoying a glorious manhattan the next time you have me over for cocktails!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Three Important Events

Thre are three important events in Detroit this week I need to tell you about, and there are two alternates for you Washtenaw County-based folks.  Sorry for the double-posting today, I don't want to confuse all of you, but really, who doesn't enjoy a little DP every now and again?

Tuesday Nights Doggy Style at the Park Bar continue unabated, although I know you know I know you forgot.  It's been a mixed bag this season, some nights are me and Jack (Daniels) and some nights, like last week, are cram-packed with life-affirming Detroity-crowd goodness.

I should probably tell you that when this season ends the first week in April, Doggy Style is being taken out back and shot. It takes a lot of time to do these video compilations, and while I do enjoy hanging out and watching them with my friends and the intermittent crowd (the straight guys at the Park Bar seem to particularly enjoy them, oddly enough), I don't see a regular season down the road.

One friend suggested just playing re-runs to take the pressure off, and I tried, but it went against everything I set out to do here.  This is supposed to be the anti-Pronto - new videos all the time, more informed, broader in appeal, more fucked up.  Even though there is now a library of 30 compilation DVDs, it just felt wrong.

So come and enjoy the tail end of Doggy Style on Tuesdays this month.  It actually is fun, even if you just sit and watch tv and get a buzz.

Alternate:  If you can't or won't make it to Doggy Style, maybe you should check out Elbow Deep at the Elbow Room in Ypsi this Tuesday!  It's Ypsilanti's own indy gay night, put on by DJ Humanfly and Push/Pull productions the third Tuesday of the month.  They really go all-out and have fabulous production values and great music and drag queens and kings. I will write more about them in the future, because I went in December and it was a great time, but put it on your list of Ypsi things to do this week!

I have been involved with the Detroit Institute of Arts through the Founders Junior Council - the young professionals auxiliary - since long before I moved from Ann Arbor to Detroit.  It's a wonderful group of people whose goal is to engage the under-40 (and sometimes over-40) set at the DIA, as well as to raise some cash for the museum.

Attending their events regularly was a fantastic way for me to extend my network of friends outside of downtown, since it's a mix of city and suburb, east west and northside.  It has also been an opportunity to dress up a bit for events, which every once in a while is a refreshing change for a downtowner.  I have met some of my best friends in the area through the FJC.

Membership in the FJC is an auxiliary membership that you purchase in addition to your DIA membership, and it provides member-only events and an additional level of support for the museum.  This Thursday at 6:30 the FJC is hosting the first-ever (in my long history) promotional membership event in conjunction with the Detroit Film Theater.  For $57.50 you can get your DIA membership AND your FJC membership, as well as attend a members-only screening of this year's Oscar-nominated film shorts.


If this is remotely your bag, I really cannot recommend taking advantage of this strongly enough!  It's basically a free FJC membership!

AlternateThe Last Bookstore Standing is an event to help increase awareness (and cash flow) for the Common Language bookstore in Ann Arbor.  With the internets and the rise of the big booksellers and increased acceptance of gays et al, the GLBT bookstore is becoming an increasingly rare asset to the community.  (This really deserves its own post as well, all in due time.) We are fortunate to have a full-on literary-focused bookstore in our area, but the times are tough. 

For the price of just a few pounds of coffee you can help invigorate Common Language and enrich your own GLBT life, and this special event is a really good opportunity to do that. Won't you please show your support (in person or online?)  If Common Language goes, it's gone for good.

Hey remember Mercury Coffee Bar?  There were a lot of awesome things about it, but the best thing was the coffee.  It was amazing.  AMAZING.  Well the good news is the coffee guru from MCB is working on opening a new coffee outpost across the street on the Slows block, called Astro Coffee (read his blog here), and there is a fundraising event 9pm this Friday at the Polish Village Veterans Hall to speed things along.

Admission is $20, $10 for performers.  Motor City Beer will be provided, and there are prizes!  Naturally I am thinking of performing because I can save $10 and, well, there is a stage.  You should think of performing too, or at least attending, because I predict this will be some homegrown good times.  And I suspect it might have a bit of a Gong Show vibe, which is always good!

Well that's it for recommendations this week.  Quite a variety I'd say, and you can't go wrong with any of them.  Make the most of your February, and see you out and about!

Charles in Charge

City Council President and avowed homosexualist Charles Pugh made some good news this past week when he took a stand for commerce and tax collection in the City of Detroit by standing up to churchy calls for pasties and Shirley Temples at strip clubs.  To control crime, you see.

Now, strip clubs are rarely (but sometimes) on my radar, and I can understand a person not wanting to have one perched on the corner of his or her residential street.  But crime in these areas does not start at these strip clubs ... frankly, like good manners, it starts at home ... and Pugh rightly pointed out that they do have a right to exist.  And then he landed a zinger on the Right Reverend Marvin Winans (of the Winans gospel dynasty) that went something like: 

Winans - These club owners don't even live in the city! 
Pugh - And where do you live? 
Winans - *grimace* *scowl* Don't play that game! (actual answer: Bloomfield Hills.)

I am not a Pugh booster, nor am I a detractor.  I've been cautiously optimistic that he won't embarrass us and will be an effective point-person on the City Council.  I do not think his behavior indicates he is the sharpest knife in the drawer, as evidenced in his Black Friday rant on his Facebook fan page back in November.*  Or really any of his Facebook posts. Or waiting a few days to report the damage to his city-owned car (or maybe that was smart, we'll never know.)  Or the fact that he says JoAnne Watson is his favorite Councilwoman (again, possibly smart, keep your friends close etc).

[* For those who missed it: "Charles Pugh will NEVER call the day after Thanksgiving "Black Friday". I refuse. There are so many other things to call it "Friday Frenzy" "Super Friday" "Golden Friday", something!! The media should have thought a lil longer about that. Just a thought." Who wants to break it to him that the term Black Friday has been used since the mid-60s, when the media used completely different words to describe the African-American race?]

Either way, I felt kind of hopeful that he took a reasonable stand and didn't give in to the demands of the conservative religious community.

Some friends were visiting a while back and as we drove around the city they kept commenting on the number of churches.  And it is true, no matter how decrepit a commercial strip may be, the Macadamia Jubilation Congregation probably has a storefront on it.  The power of the pulpit is strong in Detroit.  And no matter how poor the population, these churches seem to have no problem raking in the dough.  And they are conveniently tax-exempt (and/or completely cash-based operations).  So they may provide hope to the hopeless, I'm sure I don't know being as full of hope as I am, but they aren't really doing much to alleviate the real problems of the city.

So it is refreshing to see that, like the national religious conservatives, they have real problems on their agenda like putting post-its over nipples and keeping behavior lewd but sober, and not the smaller nuisances in their community like poverty, single- or no-parent homes, high school drop-outs, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse or the spread of HIV and other STDs.

And I mean, the Reverened may have a point that the strip club owners don't live in the city either, but at least their businesses pay taxes.

Most significantly for Mr. Council President (and the reason I bring this up on this blog), the Churches of Detroit fell all over themselves trying to out-ignore his homosexuality during the City Council race (por ejemplo).  Now that he's in office and actually standing up to them, it will be interesting to see how quickly they do a 180 and start using the gay angle to attack him.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Good Hygiene

While we are on the topic of art and derelict properties, I thought I'd post something purely for fun.

If you get out and about in downtown Detroit you've probably seen the handiwork of the Hygienic Dress League.  We look out the windows of the Park Bar every Doggy Style Tuesday at their mural on the Hotel Charlevoix, which I enjoy mucho.


They also have improved the Grand Army of the Republic Building over at Cass & Grand River.

I came across this video a couple weeks ago, I showed it at Doggy Style last week, and I thought I'd share it with you.  (And to defuse concerns like those in the comments of my last post - that I am a PR shill for my friends or something - yes I do know them, but I am posting this because I think their work is cool and the video is fab.  Although I will say Dorota is also pretty fab. And Steve's mustache is, like, wow.)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Everyone's a Critic

If you read the Time Magazine Detroit Blog, you know there are a couple different voices there.  There's Darrell Dawsey, who's like the real Detroiter voice who tackles the more intellectually challenging issues we face.  Then there is Steven Gray, the embedded Time reporter who gives the "outsider" perspective and is good to follow if you want to see how long it takes someone to start to "get" Detroit (which unfortunately for Time is longer than a year).  And then there is Karen Dybis, who is basically the Detroit Synergy of bloggers with her wide-eyed suburbanite discovery of Detroit and reluctance to say anything at all negative about the city.

So of course it is a post by Karen Dybis that has irritated me today.

Karen has been, in her words, obsessing over the Ice House project.  She's super concerned over the "is it art" question, but apparently also the social implications.  So she goes to visit it.  She is horrified at the "frightening" state of the block, but finds the house beautiful.  And while the artists have been working concurrently to help the neighborhood, she ultimately decides that if she were a neighbor she would want them run out of town.  She would never want to live next to an Ice House.

Seriously?  A burned out block is ok to live near, but God forbid someone create something beautiful or interesting or noteworthy on that block.  What a fucked up perspective.

Karen asks, "Sure, the dazzling ice makes for some fantastic photographs. But who wants to buy a picture that symbolizes the sickest side of Detroit?"  You know who does?  A ton of Oakland County art buyers, that's who.  Just ask the Object Orange folks, they sold a ton of photographs of their Tiggerific Orange abandoned houses at the Paul Kotula Gallery in Ferndale.

I guess it's patronizing to create an art project out of a burned out abandoned home.  I hope nobody tells Tyree Guyton or the Object Orange people.
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