Jams, splooshes & bands 


Well, the dreaded holidays are upon us again, which brings in turn the horrific, atrocious words that make a gossip columnist cringe in terror: “early deadline.” That’s right, kiddies, to fulfill your tireless gossip cravings, your faithful diva of dish had to drag her ass out on a weeknight to dig the dirt, just for you. I hope you, dear reader, appreciate the sacrifices I make (like clutching my head in agony at my desk at 8 a.m.).

So, it was off to the Town Pump for a special night of live music, with an all-star jam session featuring punk goddess Carolyn Striho of Detroit Energy Asylum on vocals, Duminie DePorres of Soul Clique on guitar, Eddie Harsch from the Black Crowes on keyboards, Paul Randolph of Mudpuppy on bass, and Skeeto on drums. 8-ME from Traverse City opened the night, with birthday boy Bill Teo on bass. Up next was Sixty Second Crush, which did a unique and very appealing acoustic performance, quite apropos for the cramped bar — I’m sure the band’s normal ear-crunching set would have blown the glass out of the windows. You can catch the group again — fully plugged in — for its CD release party on Jan. 11 at the Magic Stick.

I took a moment to gab with Crush’s blue-haired bassist, Dana Forrester, who is thrilled about the upcoming grand opening of her new tattoo parlor in Ann Arbor. Forrester and her co-owner pal Erica Koltonow, who manages several local bands including the Orbitsuns, will open the doors to the Lucky Monkey tattoo parlor Jan. 2; it’s located right next to the historic Fleetwood diner, and Mark Stopke will be the tattoo artist on staff.

I also chatted with Jim Beam representative Brad Phillips (whom I cursed for his generous free drinks whilst clutching my head at the aforementioned 8 a.m.), the corresponding Jim Beam girls — Christina Balone and Alicia Woolverton, Stacy “The Motor City Bad Kitty” Lukasavitz, the lovely Rachel Farmer, Nancy Staple, and the ever-mischievous Town Pump owner Sean Harrington, who was entertaining friends Tad Pearce and Mike White, who had just got off a 14-some hour flight from Moscow.


It seems my scathing rant on the scandal involving Noir Leather, charges of topless dancing, and possible liquor-license violations for the Royal Oak Theatre and the Groove Room has generated quite a response of agreement, with readers complaining that Royal Oak has plenty of other serious issues that need tending. Many of you have been harassing me for more details on the matter, so here you go:

Keith Howarth, the owner of the fetish store under fire, said he met with the Royal Oak Liquor Control Comittee, where officials pointed out infractions found on a videotape recorded by undercover police officers at Noir Leather’s 20th Anniversary party at the Royal Oak Theatre. After receiving instructions on just how much T&A was too much, Howarth toned down the fetish show at the grand opening of the new bar Q in Ferndale last week. Howarth’s version of “toning down” meant he eliminated the simulated sex acts, but added a “sploosh” scene. If you don’t know what this is, you probably don’t want to know; let’s just say it’s a simulation scene which involves use of lemonade. The point he was illustrating: It’s not OK for models to rub up against one another, but it’s perfectly legal to pretend you’re pissing in someone’s face. And now you know.

So far, about a dozen rumors have popped up as to the reasoning behind this legal brouhaha; considering that Noir Leather has been doing these fetish shows for about 18 years, why has the city just now slapped down the citations? Some have speculated that this is a thinly veiled attempt either to try to shut down the venues, or to pluck their coveted liquor licenses to sell them to other heavy hitters. You’re reading the unsubstantiated rumor column, remember?

Another reader pointed out that though I was quick to chastise the Royal Oak police department, the cops are only following orders. Did someone else send the po-po on this undercover sting? Perhaps the Royal Oak City Commission, which is said to be hell-bent on forcing a highbrow atmosphere upon the city, and evicting anything they see as smutty, depraved and uncouth. As Royal Oak resident Eric Loughrey succinctly put it, “Somebody really wants Royal Oak to be Birmingham.”

Whatever your take on the matter, you have the opportunity to exercise your civic right on Thursday, Jan. 10, when the Liquor Control Committee will hold a public meeting at Royal Oak City Hall, at 8 a.m. Residents or concerned patrons of the businesses in question will be able to voice their opinions before the meeting begins.


On to Detroit, the city where they have better things to do than persecute women with duct tape on their nipples! A new 24-hour coffee shop is set to open at Second and Prentis, to fuel the late-night caffeinated cramming sessions of Wayne State students. The Detroit Coffee Company is the workings of local fashion designer extraordinaire Benson, who honed his barrista skills managing the high-profile gourmet coffeehouse Kaldi’s in New Orleans. The coffee shop is set to open in mid-January, and will bear a 1920s deco-industrial theme; Detroit’s most prominent green dreadlocked multimedia artist Dethany will contribute to the interior design.


Yes, it’s time once again to begin the massive preparations for one of the biggest, baddest, most mind-blowing musical events that has ever rocked metro Detroit. Plans for the annual Metro Times Hamtramck Blowout are already underway, and the four-day musical smorgasbord promises to be even more amazing than last year’s bash. Once again, Detroit’s undisputed king of event-planning, Anthony Morrow, is at the helm, and has plenty of tricks up his sleeve. Mr. Morrow is upping the ante this year: you can expect 144 bands of every musical genre imaginable at up to a dozen Hamtramck venues over the course of four days, March 6-9. The pre-party will kick off opening night at Motor, which you’ll just have to see with your own eyes.

Many bands have already committed (I’ve seen the top-secret lineup plans myself, and trust me, this will be one festival to remember). But any and all bands interested in playing can submit queries to blowout@metrotimes.com.

Sarah Klein wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season. Send gossip, hot tips and desperate pleas for attention to looselips@metrotimes.com, or call the tip line at 313-962-5281. Press * then dial

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