Dancin’, chowin’ & morality cops 

DISCO FROM THE DEAD

Last Friday, a ghostly air descended upon the Labyrinth; and it wasn’t just a usual night at the tiny goth/industrial club. As part of a presentation from Ghostly International, the Lab was completely reworked for the first-ever “Ghostly Disco Nouveau,” an evening of electronica, liquid latex and dance.

Despite the intriguing title of the evening, there was no resurrected John Travolta in tattered, rotting polyester leisure wear; instead the party was accentuated by models, such as Michelle Williams, in slashed T-shirts. Promotions diva and creator of Boldface Makeup, Barbara Deyo, diligently painted the models’ faces along with her assistant Elizabeth Anne, while Antonio “Shades” Agee worked magic with liquid latex and airbrushing, and Bill, Dane and Neil from Red Salon worked on the hair.

The event featured dirty electronic disco from Adult., and DJs BMG from Ann Arbor and Ed DMX, hailing all the way from London. The music was described as everything ranging from “seedy robot-punk” to “haute-sleaze” — if your curiosity is piqued, be sure to check out the upcoming compilation that will be released by Ghostly International.

In special preparation for the show, Ghostly Crew — Johnnie O, Sam Valenti, Rob Theakston, and Delia Godoy — completely transformed the tiny bar, investing many hours in painting, installing light fixtures and hanging artwork.

Spotted gallivanting on the scene, amid the hundreds of people who dropped in throughout the evening: Emin and Ivana from Clear Magazine, WDET-FM overnight DJ Liz Copeland, Clark Warner, Scott Guy of Universal Music, Tamara Warren, Peter Franco from Detroit Encoding, Stewart Turnbull, who flew in all the way from the UK for the party, Gary Martin from Teknotika, Tim Price of Mono Productions, and Chris Chung, a co-owner of the soon-to-open Panacea club in Detroit.

If you’re kicking yourself for missing this utterly transfixing multimedia event, you can still catch some intoxicating beats Thursday (Dec. 13) with TOUCH, an event at the Necto — formerly the Nectarine Ballroom in Ann Arbor, now under new management. In fact, this new incarnation of the dance club that’s been around for ages is quite the eye-catcher, hosting such Detroit techno heavyweights as Kevin Saunderson, who will be spinning Thursday, along with Ryan Brogan, Tadd Mullinix, Robert Gorell and the aforementioned Valenti.

RADIO RAMBLING

Last Sunday saw the annual WEMU listener appreciation party at Palio’s in Ann Arbor, a token of gratitude from the Ypsilanti radio station to listeners who pledged during the station’s annual fundraiser. Among those spotted scarfing down the yummy free food: volunteers Stuart Karabenick and Gari Stein, former Ypsi Mayor Mike Homel and his wife Nina, WEMU station manager Art Timko, marketing director Molly Motherwell, music director Linda Yohn, hosts David Fair and Andrew Cluley, and DJs Marc Taras, Joe Tiboni, Wendy Wright, Peter Brown and Thayrone, the latter of whose on-air antics were just featured in last week’s Metro Times.

ROYAL JOKE

It seems the Royal Oak Police Department is well on its way to banning anything resembling heathenlike base and vile sinning in the city of all things snooty.

Last week, the Freep reported that two particular Royal Oak venues, the Royal Oak Theatre and the Groove Room, could lose their liquor licenses for hosting Noir Leather fetish shows. The authorities have charged that the shows constitute topless dancing, which is illegal in Royal Oak. However, anyone who has ever been to a Noir fetish show knows that the models are always covered by either pasties, or duct-tape X’s on their nipples. Apparently the Ro-O po-po think this constitutes “topless”; perhaps they should check out some of the backless, strapless, itsy-bitsy cropped tops that are staples at some of the more “high-end” bars.

Let’s just cut to the chase for a second, shall we, boys? This doesn’t have a damn thing to do with a shocking glimpse of the highly forbidden female nipple, or any sort of legal infractions, now does it? This has to do with authorities attempting to enforce their own brand of morality, in a pathetically narrow-minded attempt to keep “lewdness” out of Royal Oak, the city so haughty it never ceases to amaze me.

Ever since Noir Leather opened, Royal Oak has been giving the fetish and clothing store grief for its allegedly smutty panderings to so-called sick and twisted sexual deviants. Never mind the fact that Noir Leather single-handedly kick-started the shopping boutique boom on Main Street; and once that section of the city became the trendy shopper’s mecca, the city turned on Noir Leather. The landlord hiked the storefront’s rent and protesters rallied in front of the store (all the while unwittingly boosting Noir’s notoriety and sales), demanding that the “filth” be evicted from the fair, innocent and distinguished town.

Cue the resounding chorus of “Give me a break, already!”

Again, everyone who has ever attended a Noir fetish show knows the sort of people who attend — a few club kids, a couple of doms, and an overwhelming number of businessmen and CEOs, homemakers and secretaries — everyday people who just so happen to like a little something more than vanilla. I’m sure each and every one of them is completely fed up with Royal Oak’s tireless crusade.

So, Royal Oak, stop searching for minuscule civic violations in a pathetic attempt to justify your moralizing crusades against Noir Leather and anything else you consider deviant, bizarre or just plain evil because you don’t approve — and go catch some murderers and rapists, OK?

Sarah Klein is a proud supporter of freedom of expression. E-mail comments, questions and lame hate mail to looselips@metrotimes.com, or call the tip line at 313-962-5281. Press * then dial

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