Intrigue and insects 

FERNS AND FLIES

Yes indeed, it's time for yet another update on how Ferndale (i.e. SORO, or south of Royal Oak) is even more hip and happening than it was last time you were reminded how hip and happening it has become.

Get it? You will, and there'll be even more drooling press as the Pronto boys convert the old Elks Club on Nine Mile into their nightclub playground, a perfect pansexual bookend for the Cobalt club over at the old Doug's Body Shop. For my money, however, this burg won't truly be swingin' until someone reopens the Rialto Café as a cocktail lounge.

In any event, you'll need something to wear, and into the breach has stepped Dragonfly (dragonflies are now, apparently, hip), a slightly minimalist club couture boutique which recently had its opening shindig.

It's piloted by Heather Matteson, the steady arm accompaniment of Dan Sordyl, he of the Motor Lounge and Hamtramck bar-of-the-moment Small's. Sordyl was spied admiring the store's dragonfly-inspired tilework, all of which was supposedly done by Matteson.

Ably assisting Matteson is best friend and store manager Tony DiOrio, a former backstage wardrobe denizen at the Fox Theatre.

With impressive sushi rolls by Nami (including a California roll centerpiece with dragonflies displayed inside) and catering by Dish, this party had, according to hirsute digital camera buff and professional freeloader Jerry Peterson, better grub than most overpriced charity gigs.

I could just envision Peterson stuffing sushi rolls into his beard, a la Dan Aykroyd in Trading Places, but I digress.

The crowd was a bit pretentious, judging by all the no-doubt-very-important cell phone yammering, while the clothes were of the clubwear-streetwear ilk, with generally reasonable prices.

Spotted on the cell phone was Perry Lavoisne of Ritual Promotions and Small's, and also in the mix was DJ Urban Kris, Carl Boston and Adrienne Looper of Motor.

With Mother Fletcher's, House of Chants, Cinderella's Attic and now Dragonfly all buzzing on Nine Mile, it appears that Ferndale is now way cooler than its neighbor to the north, which has become a giant mall of Crosswinds condos, mediocre restaurants and coffee shops.

YES, PETER, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS

It was always humorous to watch Mayor Dennis Archer and company wooing Compuware to come downtown, standing on their heads, spinning tales of a resurgent and vibrant city, and generally prostrating themselves before the shrine of the almighty corporate investor.

In the face of such brazen desperation, company CEO Peter Karmanos always harked back to a similar altruistic theme: Compuware doesn't want or need any tax breaks or special treatment for the downtown move.

While it will undoubtedly be more costly to build in the city rather than in the suburbs, Karmanos and company, true to the Horatio Alger background, were prepared to nobly shoulder the added costs themselves, as the new business generated by the downtown location would more than make up for the added costs.

No sir, no special deals for us. Then, gosh darnit, the state Tax Commission went and gave Compuware a $70 million personal property tax break.

Now, to make sure the tax break doesn't get eviscerated by some Lansing politics, the Downtown Development Authority agreed to indemnify Compuware in case somebody tries to pull a fast one on the tax exemption. Merry Christmas Peter, from Dennis, Beth and all your friends!

TWINKLE, TWINKLE, LITTLE TWINGO'S

Attention all Cass Corridor taste buds! Those who haven't visited Twingo's in a while will notice a few changes.

One, those quirky, quaint and highly uncomfortable plywood seats are gone (perhaps due to too many elderly matinee-goers missing curtain times on account of unscheduled trips to the chiropractor).

Two, the long-awaited addition is finally on the horizon. Despite the fact that, about a year ago, there were signs promoting the opening of the new addition, it has taken a little longer than originally anticipated (actually, about a year longer).

Nevertheless, the moment will soon be upon us when Twingo's will actually have a liquor license, barring any last-minute problems with state authorities. Jan. 2, 2000, is the target date. Call ahead and reserve your place at the bar now.

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