Sunday, November 11, 2007

Karaoke All-Stars

The Comet Bar is a one of downtown’s finest dive bars, with an interior decked out in an exhilarating mélange of veteran memorabilia, alcohol promo materials, Christmas decorations and dogs. It is located just over I-75 from the “Park Avenue entertainment district” in the last bastion of real old-time 1990’s Detroit, the Lower Cass Corridor. The clientele is a mixed bunch: blue collar/vet types, hipsters, frat guys and the girls who love to be date-raped by them, WSU theater types (they make it awesome), downtown condo types and old-time locals. The drinks are served in plastic cups and, in the grand tradition of the best Detroit dive bars, it’s cash only.

The absolute best reason to go to the Comet is for karaoke on Friday nights. What a surreal experience. You get the aforementioned mix of people, and nobody holds back.

My first trip to the Comet for karaoke was actually for the Guerrilla Queer Bar earlier this year. We really took over the place, but it was strangest mix of guerrillas I think I’d ever seen. A friend of mine said, “I thought that guy over there was looking at me because he wanted to beat me up, and then he winked at me.” (He meant that in the hottest rough trade kind of way, btw.) That sums that night up pretty well.

Subsequently there have been many Comet Karaoke Fridays, and while it’s never the same thing twice, there is a beautiful stable of regulars who give any Friday that characteristic Comet, well, freakishness. This is best exemplified in an evening there early this fall, a night I like to refer to as The Night of the Karaoke All-Stars.

It was a going-away party for a friend, another gay young‘un moving on to pinker pastures. He brought a great batch of his theater-type co-horts, which is exactly the type of catalyst the regular crowd needs to push the evening into the karaoke stratosphere. There were the following genius performances that night:

Domo Arigato, Mr. Vibrato:

The theater world presents “Dance Ten, Looks Three” from Chorus Line. You know it as the “Tits and Ass” song, we know it as DRAMAAAAAAAAAA. Love the laughing girls in front.

The Tranny Frank Sinatra:

Is there anything better than a transvestite who makes commentary on current events by changing the words to old standards? No. "Juice The Knife" coming up!

The biggest star of any karaoke night is Gail. She’s a regular, and words really can’t describe her. What can describe her is this YouTube video:

Her baby loves her the way that she is.

Our last trip was as genius at the first. The Friday of Veteran’s Day weekend was full of guys who seemed to be, well, veterans. Or at least solid, hard-working middle-class Americans, as described by the politicians of the world. Except hammered off their asses.

What was remarkable was the missing hipster/college element. It was very us, and them. And it was beautiful. There was Gail performing Shania Twain’s “Any Man of Mine.” There was the Vietnam vet performing “War.” There was a lesbian performing an awesome version of "Believe" by Cher, among other treasures. By the end of the night she seemed like our very own k d lang. There were those notorious downtown brothers performing “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a performance that actually changed how I think about karaoke forever.

And when it came to my turn, I put in one of my Cher standards, only Terry, the karaoke mistress, called my name and told me she didn’t have that cd with her. So I did what any gay former Boy Scout would do (“Be Prepared”): I opened up my man-bag, pulled out a tambourine, and performed my a capella version of “Ring Them Bells” by Liza Minelli.

All I can say is, it’s a show-stopper.

The Comet is about as gay as any other downtown dive bar, which is to say there’s a smattering. But it’s all part of a bigger picture when it comes to these places. You don’t go there to mingle with gay people; you go there to mingle with EVERYONE. I will say this – as a gay review – there are few places downtown that are as diverse in their clientele and as laissez-faire in their attitude about who’s there as the Comet. Head down some Friday, you will NOT be disappointed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


try to check out the thanksgiving party at The Comet

flyer here:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...