Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Well here we are, in the last baseball-free week for seven months. And that means it is time to bid Tuesday Nights Doggy Style a fond farewell for the season.
To close things out this time around, we are having a musical extravaganza! All musicals, all night long. I just really wanted to go out with a super gay bang.
Please join us for the downtown gay fun times that can only be Doggy Style!
Sunday, March 29, 2009
This year they've pared down the categories considerably, and a lot of our friends from last year aren't really eligible for any categories this time around. So I've decided to take a different approach to picks for the Supergay Slate. In accordance with my stated objective for this year, I've made choices that I think help raise standards here, and selected places that make Detroit a better place to live for me.
I've selected 19 categories, and you only need to vote in 15. You can use this slate or make up your own - just be sure to vote for me!
Best Place to See An Indie Film: Detroit Film Theater at the DIA
Best Local Film Fest: Reel Pride Michigan, our GLBT Film Festival
Best Local Website: Well MT always wins, but you should cast a vote for our friends at Model D!
Best Local Pop Culture Blog: Supergay Detroit!
Best Abandoned Building: Coleman A. Young Municipal Center. Obviously.
Best Bicycle Shop: Wheelhouse, because I love them.
Best Florist: the guys at Blumz continue to make great flowers accessible to Detroiters with their shop downtown
Best Restaurant Under $15 per diner: Bucharest Grill inside the Park Bar is my default spot for cheap and good eats
Best Restaurant under $50 per diner: Atlas Global Bistro, my perennial fave
Best Restaurant to Impress Out-of-Towners: Slows BarBQ never fails
Best Italian Restaurant: Angelina Italian Bistro is not only delicious, it is deliciously non-smoking. Even the bar. While I can't endorse their blown-glass art installation/light fixture, the rest of the place is perf. If you haven't been, I highly recommend it.
Best Neighborhood Pizza: Does Supino’s fit here ...
Best Gourmet Pizza: ... or does Supino’s fit here? I'm not sure, but they are fantastic and deserve a vote in both categories!
Best Deli: Mudgie’s in Corktown, for a lovely modern decor AND amazing eats.
Best Indie Coffee Shop: With Mercury Coffee Bar out of the picture, Café 1923 in Hamtramck takes this one hands-down
Best Club Night: Fierce Hot Mess has been entertaining us at Oslo all year!
Best Gay Bar: Detroit Guerrilla Queer Bar - because it really is!
Best Beer Selection in a Bar: not too many categories to pick to reward the Park Bar for being the gracious and loving host of Doggy Style, but this one fits!
Best Jazz Club: Cliff Bells, now with a delicious dinner menu!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
If you find this funny without explanation, we need to hang out more.
Friday, March 20, 2009
1. When and where did you start Macho City?
I am originally from Detroit and started the Disco/Secret Sunday party at the Eagle back in 2004. I had returned to Detroit after living in California for 5 years with the idea to throw a slightly sleazy, anything goes, dance party similar to nights that I frequented in LA & SF - Hot Dog, Black Arts, Trannyshack, etc. An alternative gay party for those like-minded boys and girls in the Detroit area.
Disco/Secret was successful but drew a primarily straight audience. I found this odd considering the gay iconography used in our promotion but the disco beardos caught wind of the night and started coming out. I'm really grateful they did but I was also a little disappointed that the party did not attract a larger gay contingent.
About a year later, my boyfriend got a job offer in Philadelphia and we moved. I began spinning in Philly and started a night called Paradise at a club called Key West. This party was named after the legendary Paradise Garage in NYC.
Macho City started last September at the only leather bar in Philadelphia, the Bike Stop. It was the most successful party I've ever thrown. I promoted like crazy and it just all seem to come together. The crowd was an ideal mix - gay, straight, male, female, and the response was amazing. I was only able to throw two Macho City events before we moved but I knew I had to transfer that momentum to Detroit once I arrived here.
2. How did you end up picking the R&R Saloon, and does it still smell like a dirty dick?
I chose the R&R for a few reasons. I actually find it to be one of the friendliest gay bars in Detroit. That being said, it's also one of the most surreal and at times, the sleaziest. It has a great sound system, large dance floor and cheap drinks. It also draws the most diverse gay crowd in the city, hands down. They recently made some structural improvements/updates and it's definitely lost some of it's dirty luster, although fortunately the pit still smells like a pit.
3. Will all the music be so obscure that it all sounds the same, or will there be recognizable artists or songs?
The music will not be too obscure. I've learned the hard way that as much as I love to nerd out on the turntables, it can be extremely alienating to those on the dance floor. You have to throw 'em a bone once in a while. Plan on hearing underground Disco and Italo next to certified dance classics.
4. What will the emotional highlight of the evening be?
The emotional highlight of the night for me usually happens around 1:20am or so. People are inebriated enough that they don't care how they look, just that they want to DANCE! The floor is packed and sweaty and I can't stop grinning.
5. Where did you get that incredible flyer image?
The flyer image is actually the gatefold artwork from a Disco record written by Rod McKuen, of all people. The album is horrible but the image is incredible. Plus that arm belongs to 70's gay porn star, Bruno (link nsfw (duh), but only mildly). The album is called "Slide... Easy In."
There you go, everything you wanted to know about Macho City but were too fey to ask! The party should be a good sweaty dancing time and the crowd, judging from the PR and the buzz, should be a great mix of younger and older, maler and femaler, gayer and straighter.
I really want to encourage everyone to come, especially some of you fellas who maybe feel like your dance club days are behind you. This event is tailor-made for those of us who were born before the original disco era ended!
Macho City, a new monthly disco party
Saturday, March 21
R & R Saloon, 7330 Michigan Ave (bet Livernois & Wyoming)
$2 cover, includes one drink!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
To back up a little bit, it was my friend Keira Alexandra who called me - you may recall she was on the cover of Dwell magazine for her Mies townhouse a few months ago - because our friend Mitch Cope called her and said the producers told him to invite people. Mitch is one of the guys behind the $100 dollar house thing that Toby Barlow, Keira's boyfriend, wrote about in the Sunday New York Times. And AC 360 was running a piece on him during the show. So without knowing exactly what it was about we drove out to Warren to represent.
Oh yeah, Warren! The filming was at a place called J.B. Bamboozle's on 12 Mile Road across from the GM Tech Center. It was a cinderblock pub with an awning, kind of standard issue for the non-chain establishments in that area.
So Keira and I arrived and it turned out the only two seats remaining were at a table right in front. Like seriously front row. Let me be explicitly clear right here: I sat for three hours with an unobstructed view of Anderson Cooper's backside. It did not suck.
J.B. Bamboozle's was kind of a trip. First off they only had one waitress on duty for a packed restaurant, and I will tell you she was awesome. She handled everything, was speedy and kept a great sense of humor about the whole thing. We passed on the shot special, the Super Cooper ("It's Anderson Cooper's favorite shot." I'm sure.) Keira ordered wine (what kind, red or white?) in a tumbler instead of a wine glass, and they brought her a water glass full of of wine. Insane. My beer was in a gigantic mug - seriously twelve inches tall. They really don't mess around at J.B. Bamboozle's.
It was a little slow but we spent time talking with the other folks at our table (and a lot of time drinking giant drinks), one of whom turned out to be a real-life acquaintance and Facebook friend. AC was around a lot, filming little bits leading up to the show. He is a little tiny but not markedly so. And had some very nice jeans on. And his hair is fully white. I wish mine would do that, all I get is this smattering of grey.
This was our tablemate who got to ask a question. Hey Andy, sit with us!My Facebook buddy and I agreed his grey cashmere sweater was really nice. At one point AC grabbed a mike to say hi to the crowd and ask them not to act like complete boobs on television (because America already thinks you are waste of carbon). He then took questions so I got the important one in right away: where is that sweater from? He said he didn't know, but his mother had called to say it looked green on tv. Gloria!
Oh no you didn't.
Oh yes I did.The show then started and it was pretty relaxed. They do a lot of cutaway bits so there isn't this intense focus on AC live all the time. They informed us that they would not be focusing the entire hour on the unemployment crisis in Detroit because of the death of Natasha Richardson. Because obviously the death of a C-List actress pre-empts coverage of the economic demise of an entire region. Yes, this is CNN.
It's the mullet of outfits. Business up top, party down below.They let the first guy ask his question, which I pretty much missed because I was staring at the most incredible mameltoe I have ever seen! It was insane. Right in front of our faces. I did catch the follow-up question that AC asked him, "How does that make you feel" or something like that, and the guy was like, "uhhhhhh" and I think some drool escaped his mouth.
"Please try to behave like normal humans."
Now you know why he had to say that.
Mameltoe.The second question was from a woman at our table. She asked how she, with an MBA and law degree and recently laid off, can find work in a shrinking economy like this. So CNN's "expert" came up with the genius answer that she should look to her outside interests, and then told a story about a guy who became an event planner after he lost his banking job. OH BRILLIANT. Become an event planner. In the Great Recession. Talk about fiddling while Rome burns. Where do they get these people? Man, give me one shot at that gig, I swear I will do 100% better, and be interesting to boot.
When the camera wasn't on she was using that Blackberry!
Keira, please demonstrate our proximity to Anderson Cooper's butt.Then it all wrapped up. AC said he would pose for some photos so once again front row paid dividends. Keira gave AC a copy of her Dwell magazine with a note that "This is in Detroit," so maybe he would know that not everything is as bleak and depressing as that part of Warren.
AC regards the Lafayette Park issue of Dwell.So I got to be on CNN! It was awesome to get messages from my friends that they saw me on tv. I think I will explore a career as professional local color in news broadcasts. And I got my photo op with AC. That was also fun. But it was the first time I thought to myself that someday I will look back with regret on growing this moostache. Live and learn.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
That means I am going to hit you up again to vote for me again as "Best Pop Culture Blog" - even though I should still be the titleholder for another six months!
As with last fall, I will create the Supergay Slate of candidates so we can spread the love around to our friends and supporters! And to make it easier for you to pick 14 other categories when you vote for me. But I just wanted to get my entreaty out there first: vote for Supergay Detroit as the Best Pop Culture Blog in the Metro Times Best of Detroit 2009!
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
If Detroit's hedonistic young gods could pose any real questions about the state of their beloved underground, what would they be? Does dance music keep any dignity when it's been built-to-order, spit-shined and pumped to within an inch of its life, only to be thrown away? Can it flex some real musical muscle? Such concerns loom large for local DJ's Mike Trombleyand Scott Zacharias with their new disco monthly MACHO CITY at Detroit's leather haven, the R&R Saloon.
As party throwers and vinyl purveyors living in a jaded hypermedia age, Mike and Scott have long built an arsenal of (un)classics gleaned from dusty bins and dingy basements, creating sets that move asses, loins and ears in true rearguard anti-fashion. Strengthening their city's own underground legacy against its current nu-rave/blog-house blandishments, the two have built a cadre of support for overlooked and forgotten dance music, fusing Detroit's own well-hung disco endowment with arpeggiated Italo odysseys and Cosmic slow-burners, minted in supple steel colors.
Make your way to the R&R Saloon on March 21st where you can tap the aural traditions and tough love of Detroit's own seedy back alleys.
The R&R Saloon is kind of nasty, but what a brilliant way to use its nastiness to a good effect. Al Pacino's late 70's gay leather murder flick Cruising seems to be a point of inspiration for the evening, and what a perfect setting to meet someone who will take you home and kill you.
[Ed note: Not to be flip, but 30 years later and it's the same psycho shit. Don't go home with strangers.]
Regular readers will already know that I love my Fierce Hot Mess and my Sass and my Guerrilla Gay Bar and Latitude Wednesdays at Atlas and Tuesday Night Doggy Style and all nature of grassroots gay barring. These nights tend to work harder to get you in, get a more diverse crowd and, although when bad they can be very bad, when they are good they are GREAT.
And by now you also know about my love of obscure disco, old school gay culture, and hipsters. I am hoping that the content and context of this event brings out a slightly, shall we say, more seasoned crowd to complement the hipster element.
All the pieces are there, let's see if it all comes together!
Macho City is every 3rd Saturday from 10PM-2AM
The R&R Saloon, 7730 Michigan Ave., Detroit
Monday, March 9, 2009
One we lost this time around was the Chin Tiki, the old Polynesian restaurant on Cass Avenue. I knew it was coming - once the Ilitches buy a building you can pretty much guarantee it's coming down at some point, but also I saw workers emptying out the building about two weeks ago. Instead of just shaking my head at the waste of it all, this one hit a little closer to home.
Photo the unwitting compliments of Andy over at HotFudgeDetroit.See, back in the day, when hipster meant swing dancing and Combustible Edison instead of skinny jeans and Franz Ferdinand, I was a full retro tiki nut. I was super into collecting tiki mugs, as well as researching the history of American tiki culture. I would do the pilgrimage to extant tiki bars whenever I traveled, including a fantastic birthday at Chicago Trader Vic's. This is ... almost 15 years ago now? Wow. When I moved back to Detroit I used to enjoy driving by the Chin Tiki and imagining how amazing it would be to open a tiki bar (or a gay tiki bar!) in there.
This was also the advent of the internet age, and on one of my first personal websites (nerd alert) I transcribed a piece that originally ran in Left Bank, the awesome Detroit-centric magazine that Pure Detroit's Shawn Santo published in the 90s (an all-too-rare resource back in the days before you could just google any Detroit history you wanted). After I saw it the building coming down this week I went onto an old backup and pulled it up, so we can all remember the glory days of the Chin Tiki.
[In 1996 The Left Bank Publication published an interview with Dee Dee, one of the female impersonators who used to perform at the old Gold Dollar on Cass Ave. back in the '60's and '70's. In this excerpt, Dee Dee reminisces about the Chin Tiki, right down the street...]
Can I ask you about Chin Tiki? Do you remember anything about Chin Tiki?
Ummm. I was there quite a few times... it was a beauuutiful bar. They used to have a river coming right through the table...it was just beautiful ... and the Polynesian dancers ... none of them were Polynesian - they were all neighborhood girls - but it was a good show. AND THE DRINKS...they used to have this one drink - I can't remember what it was called - but it was served in a conch shell ... with 7 straws and an orchid floating in it. And it cost like, seven bucks ... and honey, four people could suck on this drink all night and get GOONED. I have no idea what was in it but you had to order NO MORE ... it was wonderful and very relaxing, and the food was EXCELLENT ... that was a real bad thing when that place closed down. It's a shame ... I would love to see the inside now, it's been closed for years...
And they had a stage show?
OH YEAH. Oh yeah, they had Polynesian dancers every 1/2 hour - I mean it was just HULA girls and none of them really knew ... I guess if you were really Hawaiian or if you'd ever been to Hawaii, you'd probably laugh ... but when you're sitting there and you're half in the bag ... if was fun ... it was entertaining. You know - it was something to do and most people went there for the food anyways, not for the dancers ... but it was like Greektown and the belly dancers, it was on the same order as that. It was not some elaborate show - I guess the 'Dollar show was a whole lot better than that - but it was a lot of fun ... I really miss it ... I knew everyone who worked there, I guess that's what I miss ... all the girls from the 'Dollar would go down there in between shows ...
Back then too -- half the buildings are gone now -- there used to be a great big Chinatown ... GREAT BIG CHINATOWN .. and there were like, five Chinese restaurants, and the Chinese restaurant that was right next to the 'Dollar - the building's still there, but it's all gutted and everything ... Oh it was wonderful! They had all individual party-like booths, and they were open until ... whenever the people left. The Gold Dollar would close at 2:30, and everyone would go from the Gold Dollar right next door. It would be one great big party booth and everyone would sit in there and order food and just have a great time ... The ladies were all real friendly and they knew us ... it was nice. Mmmm, excellent. And then Chinese New Year - they'd block off the whole street and the dragon would run through and everything...
They did that in Detroit?
Oh yeah, for YEARS! Five or six years, before it started fading out, but oh yeah ... Chinese New Year is a big thing - they'd block off the whole street and bring in a big bandshell down there...
It was wonderful ...
You can see some more pictures and read about the history of the Chin Tiki in this Metro Times article from 2003 (only seven years after the peak of the trend, way to be ahead of the curve MT). And Dee Dee is still a denizen of the Cass Corridor - if you go to Canine to Five you can get your dog groomed by her!
As an aside, the Ilitch demolition of the Chin Tiki as well as this building a block away on Grand River is a perfect example of why there has been no progress in reviving a street level experience in Detroit. How in the world is a small business owner or developer going to open a business if viable spaces don't exist? Chin Tiki may not have been a whiteboxed space, but it was intact and could have been dusted off and reopened, a la D'Mongo's.
Instead all we are left with are spaces that are so blown out that nothing can be done short of a total rehab, or parking lots. That, ultimately, is what discourages me about the possibilities of an organic Detroit revival. If everything has to be built from scratch, it's going to look like the suburbs and cost as much (or more). And then all the interesting businesses that grow out of risk and inexpensive space can never happen. And then I have to move to another city because the douchebaggery makes me nauseous. And then nobody wins.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
I'm actually gonna post this week. Seriously.
In the meantime, why don't you enjoy this scene from the movie Jawbreaker. The first time I saw it was with my (then) 15 year old sister when she came to visit me in Ann Arbor. I probably should have turned it off, but it was so ...