In my time in Detroit I have gone down many interesting paths, but I think the most unexpected has been my role in what I like to call the alternative downtown gay scene.
It's not really a new phenomenon, the way that dance parties and "gay nights" pop up outside the standard gay bar scene, but what is a little different here is that it's actually become a series of recurring events and a scene completely detatched from the regular gay bars. With downtown rather underserved in the gay bar department, it's turned out to be a terrific way for locals to get together and socialize, in a geographically-specific kind of way.
To put it a different way: it's really nice to not have to explain what Lafayette Park is to a homo who just told you all about the Barcelona chairs in his living room.
On a monthly basis you can experience the hipster joys of Fierce Hot Mess, which is held the first Friday of each month at Oslo (except in November when it is Saturday the 7th!). You can read how I have enjoyed FHM here, and while I sometimes feel a little old when I go, I do get over it pretty quickly. And the youngsters love it.
The underground disco celebration Macho City, held on the fourth Saturday of every month at the R&R Saloon, is a bit more my speed - partly because I am squarely in the middle on the age scale, and partly because the "old songs" being played weren't popular when I was in high school. I recently wrote about my love for Macho City here, and I am pretty sure that (and a few carefully chosen disco titles dropped casually into conversation with organizer Mike Trombley) landed me a spot as the guest DJ this month!
I honestly have to say this is one of the most exciting things to happen to me in my adult life. If you are not a control freak like me then you can't imagine how many times I've fantasized about being the DJ. Well this Saturday night, you (and I) can find out how that goes! I will be playing two sets, and let's just say I am probably gonna pull the "macho" right out of Macho City. I love a big gay disco song.
Dreams can come true, I'm living proof!
On a weekly basis Latitude, the Wednesday night at Atlas Global Bistro, has been pretty bustling this summer! It's a sophisticated setting that usually keeps things classy, and you can have your lovely pinot noir or top-shelf martini, or you can have the weekly "$3 Bill" gay drink special!
My own little contribution to this, Tuesday Nights Doggy Style at the Park Bar, has been a much bigger hit than I ever expected. I hesitate to use the word "sensation" but you know, only slightly. Doggy Style enters its third season this coming Tuesday with a special Halloween Edition!
Doggy Style is really more of a "gay-er" night by design - we didn't want to take over the Park Bar, just switch the perspective. Every week there is a fun video compilation and lots of great downtown residents (gay and straight) come and hang out.
I do have to tip my hat to the Guerrilla Queer Bar, which (along with the now-defunct Sass dance party) was my first exposure to an alternative gay scene with a downtown sensibility. GQB still happens from time to time, like this Friday at the Midnight MASSacre party! Sign up to be on their e-mail list!
So that's what we've got going on, for everyone who doesn't already know, for people desperately looking for someplace suitable to send out-of-town guests, and for new residents still searching for signs of intelligent gay life. Come and hang out sometime.
[And for you Washtenaw County-based folks, be sure to check out Elbow Deep in Ypsi! It's the fourth Tuesday of the month (or is it the last Tuesday? Sometimes it's not the same) at the Elbow Room. The guys in charge are some pop-culturally-enhanced faggots so you know it'll be a fucked up good time!]