Smash bash, cash flash 

BASHIN’ IN FASHION

Last week, one of the longest red carpets without moth holes in all of downtown Detroit was unfurled between the Fox and State Theatres, as Fash Bash 2000 made its debut in the coveted Friday-night timeslot.

Traditionally, the Hudson’s-sponsored DIA fundraiser occupied the more innocent Wednesday-night slot on the summer calendar, thereby ensuring a rather anticlimactic and deflating post-party dominated by clock-watching party-goers trying to figure out how they’ll minimize their hangovers and get up for work the next day.

By making the move to Fridays, the organizers hoped to rejuvenate the nattily and not-so-nattily attired attendees (the latter of which were there in the thousands) to adhere to this year’s (rather elemental and amorphous) theme of "Nightlife."

Apparently, such a theme means trotting out an aging disco diva (Gloria Gaynor), an amiable Queen Latifah, a Kiss cover band, and an array of disco glitter balls and Studio 54 imagery (sans the spoon).

The formula worked exceedingly well, judging by the pedestrian throngs which jammed both the State Theatre after-party as well as the more tony patrons’ afterglow at the Tiger Club across the street at the CoPa.

While the patrons’ party had a lot of the inevitable stuffiness that accompanies the big-ticket party-goers, it also featured the amusing sport of watching members of the Kiss cover band attempt to (apparently unsuccessfully) pick up the imported Amazonian models, the latter of whom huddled together with their cocktails in a defensive manner.

In reviewing my past comments regarding these Bashes of Fash, it seems, as least as far as the show’s production is concerned, that they have grown more favorable (and, coincidentally, less disparaging) with each passing year, this year being no exception. The extravagant fashions and top-notch production were impressive, as well as the almost 100 percent imported-from-out-of-town modeling contingent which prowled about the Fox catwalk.

Among the fashionistas in the crowd making the lunge for the Loose Lips camera were Marisa Pleschkov and Kymber Blake, as well as Melanie Mikolas and Russell Baltimore.

I also spied local art scene enthusiast and legendary Fash Bash empress Louise Hodgson on the arm of escort "Andrew." Hodgson, renowned for her Bash apparel in years past, was sporting a white jumpsuit, in keeping with a Warholian Factory theme. Her 15 minutes seem to reset just about every year at this time.

Other attendees grabbing their allotted 15 included that Jack Nicholson impersonator who has been Bashed in this column before, as well as Fanclub Foundation gadabout John Bloom, who was cavorting and discussing the latest big Fanclub party dubbed "Caliente Dos — A Big Night in Little Havana." The Latin-themed event will be held next Friday, Aug. 25, in the old bank building in downtown Pontiac, and features, among other delights, a 16-piece Latin jazz band known as Orquesta Sensacional. The sangria is chilling even as we speak.

SKYJACKING

Speaking of sangria, the Sunday night party known as "Overdose at Sky Club," located just upstairs from the Royal Oak tapas palace known as Sangria, has generated a bit of a buzz as of late.

Advertising consigliere-by-day/promoter-by-night Steve Zeff has been putting together these Sunday night shindigs for a few months now. Among those spotted in the club recently were several Detroit Tigers including Bobby Higginson and Jeff Weaver, as well as Detroit Red Wing Darren McCarty.

In order to, ah, investigate the scene further, I will be making a brief appearance as a guest DJ this Sunday night, spinning a sonic background aperitif of 1960s and ’70s loungecore Eurosleaze. "World famous" DJ Thomas Barnett, who spins Friday nights at the Pure Bar Room, will no doubt quickly call security and take over once I begin driving the crowd to the exits. See you there.

PUMP THE VOLUME

Among those not so thrilled with Fash Bash’s move to Friday night were the promoters of Pumpstock 2000, located behind the Town Pump and a few short blocks from the Fox Theatre. Right about when Fash Bash was opening its doors, a rap/rock band called Black Magic Crossing was finishing up its Pumpstock set to a crowd which, although scanty, included an enthusiastic and vocal groupie contingent made up of local motorcyclists.

The scheduling didn’t stop those in attendance from enjoying themselves, as evidenced by the mock fellatio ensemble photo-pose struck by the hog-driving band groupies backstage.

In any event, I also stuck around to catch a few stellar songs from local group Give, but a setting sun, an oncoming chill and the blowing dust drove me back to the Fashion show for warmth and freeloading.

HUFF AND PUFF

In the urban-beautification department, many downtown observers have watched the Greektown Casino quickly spring up from the ruins of Trappers Alley, a rather dignified (at first) brick-clad monolith fronting Lafayette.

Upon gazing at the structure, I can’t help but hearken back to the story of the "Three Little Pigs," or, more accurately, the "Two Little Greeks and one big Chippewa Tribe," who built their little casino of something like foam-core exterior moldings and Lee press-on bricks, which occasionally blow off to reveal the blue Styrofoam underneath.

Obviously, this building was not built to withstand the ages. Hopefully, the Big Bad Gaming Commission won’t be blowing too hard at that structure, now that soon-to-be ex-owners Gatzaros and Papas will be cashing in their $278 million in chips and heading for greener pastures.

Unfortunately, however, while the Casino previously had an understated Z-brick look to it that meshed in well with its surroundings (relatively speaking), they have now plastered the exterior with some of the most annoying-looking blinking neon signs this side of Branson, Mo. Casey Coston writes about development in Detroit. E-mail him at letters@metrotimes.com

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