With the holidays thankfully almost over, now all that’s left to do is fret over which soiree to choose for that much-hyped, normally quite disappointing, supposedly biggest party night of the year — New Year’s Eve.
Given Detroit’s abysmal lack of a real public transportation system, combined with the intrinsic overindulgence in cheap champagne that traditionally comes with the evening, club-hopping is not really a realistic option for celebrants. Thus, party-goers are forced to put all of their complimentary minibottles of champagne into one proverbial basket, unless they actually enjoy stomping around the ice-slicked, snowdrift-piled streets of Detroit in expensive gowns and rented tuxes.
And of course, nothing in Detroit is really in walking distance anyway, aside from the new Triangle of Shwank composed of Times Square, Pure and Bleu, the latter of which is holding its supposed grand opening on New Year’s Eve, despite the fact that it’s been opened twice already. Hmmm.
TALL TALES AT STAFF BASH
In any case, I was so stressed out from the pressure of planning a memorable New Year’s Eve I took the opportunity to chill out with the staff of the Edge nightclub in Ann Arbor, at its annual employee Christmas party (alumni status scored me an invite).
Every year, owner Chuck Jasman invites financial ruin by tossing an open-bar party for his dutiful employees — however, the staffers always present Jasman with a number of generous Christmas presents in thanks for giving them permission to nearly deplete the entire alcohol supply of the bar.
Veteran staffers present included bartender, computer-science student and ladies man extraordinaire Tony Kuclo, resident DJ and hair-dye addict Speed E. Smith, and the man who takes shameless enjoyment in cruelly plunging helpless victims in icy cold waters (aka the beer barrel) on their birthday, Dale “Papa Bravo” Cutshaw.
Significant others included Smith’s squeeze Shelly Swiderek, a nurse at St. Joe’s Hospital, and waitress Alanna Gazlay’s boyfriend Bryan Roach (for the record, they are not married.)
While barback Tonya Hardy (Hardy, not Harding, damn it), waitress Meghan Shipley and Firefly Club employee Scott Cooke were hanging at the pool tables, I was sent on the odious endeavor of acquiring a drink.
The notable aspect of employee parties is that no one is stationed behind the bar, and no one wants to be back there since it’s a party, so one has to do some serious whining, pleading and eyelash batting to get served.
Luckily, someone badgered super-smiley bar mistress Amy Weir and fellow Ypsi High alum Lorne Robertson into slinging some specialty, sexually named cocktails.
And of course one cannot forget stonemason and longtime security staffer William Robinson, who always entertains co-workers with his tall tales that are actually true — such as the time he took Tracy Chapman to Seva, or when he partied with The Dave Matthews Band, subsequently yakking on their tour bus. Hence, story time with “Uncle Bill” is always a favorite with Edge staff members; this particular evening he recounted the time when security at the Blind Pig painted those kooky kids from Gangster Fun.
It seems that back in 1996 when G-Fun was playing the Pig, they were peeved to find they was no room left to sign their names on the completely scribbled-over wall of the green room. Being men of reasonable solutions, they decided to paint the wall and start afresh. However, Pig security was none to happy with the fact that the G-Fun boys had lacquered over the autographs of Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder.
Also being men of reasonable solutions, security rounded up the band after the show under the guise of taking a group photo, and then proceeded to drench them with the remaining cans of paint. I guess you had to be there (although there’s no doubt John Bunkley, lead singer at the time, still wishes he hadn’t been).
SQUISHY AT SMALL’S
As if I hadn’t had enough freaking Yuletide spirit, it was off to the Ritual Whichever December Holiday You Choose to Celebrate party at Small’s. It wasn’t quite as packed as last year, even though the drinks flowed free until 11 p.m.
This also led to a number of men lining up at the bar to do shots and partaking in that universal, ear-shattering “Hey, I’m about to do a shot” guttural yowl — which sent many of the attendees into scary frat-party flashbacks. I also got squished between two really burly guys and was almost scared for a moment, only to be rescued by cute spike-haired boy Dave Ward.
Seated safely away from the bar crunch were Stroker Ace sweetie Jackie O, Matthew Hatch of the Witches, innovator of new clutch purse fashions Debbie Sipes, and all the strapping young bucks of the Trash Brats, who will most likely be gigging in Indianapolis on New Year’s Eve. Ritual was also passing out invites for a Dec. 26 show at the Roostertail, featuring Kid Rock and some other usual suspects.
However, it seemed that most of the thrift-conscious were planning to spend the day after Christmas in Canada for Boxing Day (a day where, essentially, you box up all the lame crap you got as gifts and exchange it for the stuff you really wanted).
According to ancient Canadian folklore, Boxing Day is a day of unsurpassable sales where everything imaginable is marked down to dirt-cheap prices; in addition to the added benefit of the Canadian/American dollar exchange, it’s not America, Land of the Ruthless Shoppers, so you don’t have to worry about anyone blackening your eye over the last discounted pashmina.
This just in: a replacement has been found for The Howling Diablos, who had to cancel their juicy opening slot gig for the Violent Femmes on New Year’s Eve at the Royal Oak Music Theatre. The lucky fill-ins? Those likable, friendly boys from the Unfriendlys.Sarah Klein writes here every other week. Got gossip, party invites, desperate pleas for attention? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the tip line at 313-962-5281. Press * then dial
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