Openings and a closing 


Those rebellious and nutty patrons at Cranbrook stormed the gates Saturday night for the 20th annual Guy Fawkes Ball, a fundraiser for the Cranbrook Academy of Art and its scholarship fund.

The event provides students and organizers with the opportunity to completely reinvent the museum for one night, all in the name of Guy Fawkes.

The theme this year was "Xtreme Platinum," which was, frankly, not quite as glitteringly impressive as some of the makeovers in past years, but nevertheless a beautiful setting for a soiree.

For those wondering, ball namesake Fawkes is not a Cranbrook alum. Rather, he was a British rebel who tried to blow up the English Parliament in 1605 by rolling 36 barrels of gunpowder under the floor. He was thereafter caught, tortured, executed and deemed the country's most notorious traitor. Nov. 5 lives in England's hearts and souls as Guy Fawkes Day, at which time the merry citizenry frolic about with fireworks and bonfires, burning Fawkes in effigy. We have something similar around here (it's called Devil's Night) but I guess the folks at Cranbrook needed to take an Anglo tack to keep things sophisticated.

What this had to do with Saturday's ball is beyond me, unless you consider black-tied society swells puffing stogies by the Triton Pools as some version of an effigy/bonfire.

In any event, the sumptuous spread was provided by Opus One, and the revolutionaries in attendance clearly enjoyed the dual live music offerings, with the Imperial Swing Orchestra upstairs and saxophonist George Benson downstairs.

Spotted cutting the rug upstairs were swing hoofers Terri Baumann and Deor Orzame, who were at times putting on an exhibition for the slightly stiffer patrons.

Moving downstairs, I slid past arts maven John Bloom, who was admiring the Louise Brooks film and art deco slides being flashed through the museum store windows.

Downstairs Benson, accompanied by piano and bass, provided a soothing musical elixir to the claustrophobically mad rush to the bar.

With a waiting list for the $200 patrons tix, this event seemed to be a smashing success. Anyone looking to get in on the list better cut a check for 1999 now or get left out in the cold once again.


Those wandering about the Woodbridge environs have noticed a spike in gallery activity as of late. First, we had the opening of the Confetti group show at Alley Culture on Nov. 1, which featured artwork by more than 20 different artists, including Jim Chatelain, Robert Sestok and Hugh Timlin. The snug gallery, located down a leaf-swept alley south of Willis between Trumbull and Lincoln, is open Friday and Saturday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and the show runs through the end of the month.

This Saturday is the opening of Sight;Sonic, at the Detroit Contemporary gallery. It's orchestrated by curators David Hartman and Aaron (son of Hugh) Timlin. Aaron, who is also the proprietor, mentioned that the opening will be a virtual event for the ages, seeking to link up both the visual and aural elements of the local arts community, with 26 visual artists exhibiting works in a variety of media and styles. Included among the many artists are Doug Coombe, Meighen FitzHenry, Jason Phillips and Ed Sykes. There will also be several on-the-spot (Art-while-you-watch!) creations, intermingled with live music by a variety of performers including the Immigrant Suns, frequent gallery-opening performer Frank Pahl, and the Universal Indians.

The opening is this Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Detroit Contemporary is located at 5141 Rosa Parks Blvd., west of the WSU sports fields and two blocks north of Warren. Call 313-898-4ART for more info.


After all this gallery stomping, mosey downtown to Jacoby's, where 313jac is having a quasi-official C-Pop Gallery after-party upstairs. The event will be a CD release listening party for Pop O.D., a local Stooges/Iggy Pop tribute album, which features 22 local bands (including Princess Dragon-Mom, Bootsy X and The Impaler) covering their favorite Stooge-Pop tunes, as well as classic video footage. There's no cover, so head over after the kegs and wine boxes run dry at the Whitney Building's C-Pop opening, probably around midnight.


The rumor mill has been grinding with whispers of unrest at the Motor Lounge as of late. Apparently, taller blonder partner Dan Sordyl plans to buy out shorter, darker ex-Motor impresario Steven Sowers, who was last seen dancing up a late-night storm at Better Days. Sources tell me Sordyl grew weary of Sowers' partying club-owner antics. Observers, who choose to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, reported that Sowers' parting words were, "It doesn't matter, I'm worldfamous anyways."

Hopefully, the "King of Clubs" will still be playing with a full deck after things settle down.

Also on the clubworld front, this Friday is the closing night party for Industry, which is shutting its metal doors after more than eight years on the "New Pontiac" scene. VIP Blue Cards will be honored. Show up and get a piece of the Saroki Room while you still can.

Supposedly, a nationally established company with more than 26 nightclubs and similar venues will be taking over. Hopefully, they'll inject a spark of life into the old Industry, which has been an albatross on the night life circuit for the past several years. Good luck and good riddance.

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