Sugar highs and prurient lows 

Decadent delights

So the time is nearing once again — that day that strikes either abhorrence or delight into the hearts of singles and couples everywhere, the dreaded V-Day. Love it or loathe it, the impending day of commercialism-induced affection is always preceded by the overindulgence binge known as Decadence.

Friday night, the Royal Oak Theatre was literally packed to the seams with droves of people attempting to challenge the limits of their intestinal fortitude by sucking down as much booze and sweets as physiologically possible in the course of five hours. Metro Times’ annual highbrow wine- and dessert-tasting event always brings ‘em out in droves, and this year was no exception.

The crowd voraciously descended upon an array of utterly irresistible concoctions from La Dolce Vita, Lovin’ Spoonful, Zoup!, and the alcoholic delights from Zodiac, Bacardi and Friexenet. As always, the early bird catches the martini and tiramisu; latecomers were forced to ruthlessly compete for the very last truffle. In fact, by around 10 p.m. the crowd had obliterated almost all of the delectable delights — the lines were so long that my starving co-emcee Del Villerreal and I resorted to chomping on cold pizza in the DJ booth, along with Villerreal’s fellow WCBN DJ, Brian Tomsic. The pizza, incidentally, was ever so kindly supplied by the man of the hour, Metro Times’ promotions guru Jason Schusterbauer.

Bartendress Ally Stapleton had her work cut out for her at the Zodiac martini bar, as she was swarmed by the insatiable masses. Stapleton, who is also a fetish show producer for Noir Leather, is visibly expecting a bouncing bundle of joy in the next few months, but the sassy girl has refused to succumb to blasé maternity fashions and was looking quite smashing in her full-length punky plaid gown. Perhaps this could inspire the ultra-hip clothier Lip Service to create a maternity line in patent leather and marabou feathers?

The entertainment for the evening was nothing short of spectacular, featuring the flamenco guitar sounds of the Troubadours and Big Haz, a unique combination of smoky jazz with an accordion. The Troubadours were even graciously understanding when they were accidentally introduced as Big Haz, and the affable quartet — consisting of Jason Pearce, Sean Bondareff, Dave Cocagne and Mike B. — was so kind as to pose for a photo op after their set.

Spotted in the pulsated crowd: Carry Butler, Angela Decker, chick magnet Joseph General, Mo Hollis, and 93.1 DRQ’s morning radio personality Jay Towers (who made a welcome cameo appearance onstage to assist me with emcee duties) and Lynn Clark-Geiner from Detroit’s most visible modeling agency, Traque. If you think your mama was serious when she told you that you were a heartbreaker, go check out Traque at its new location on Nine Mile in Ferndale, and see if you’ve got what it takes to work it down a runway.

I also managed to snap a pic of the soon-to-be-wed Tobi Matwiejczyk and disgruntled graduate student Sheri France pretending to be cute lesbians. (They are in fact extremely cute, but not lesbians).

Rubber to the rescue

Last column I reported that the Frog Island music festival will not go forth this year, due to financial problems. While this remains a fact, local entrepreneur and music promoter Bob Nolan looks to provide an alternative to the three-day music fest. With the help of Ann Arbor News reporter Will Smith, he is working to present a one-day roots music festival the same weekend Frog Island usually occurs. Nolan tells me they are trying to make the one-day fest free (the magic word!) and book an assortment of local talent and roots-rock musicians. Although not officially sanctioned by the Frog Island festival, Nolan says he is working closely with some of the jazz festival’s organizers and that they support his venture. However, no one from the Ark — Frog Island’s primary sponsor — has gotten involved as of yet.

Nolan and Smith are also toiling away on a new music store/coffee bar called Rubber Soul in Ypsilanti’s historic Depot Town; it’s set to open in the next month. The store, which will focus on independent music labels, will also feature a performance space. There are plans for a regular rockabilly/honky-tonk night, which would coincide with the Depot Town’s hot rod/classic car show, which takes place every Thursday throughout the summer months.

All of a sudden, the Ypsi/Ann Arbor area is hot again. The Elbow Room has been consistently booking an outstanding, highly diverse lineup of local and national bands; and the weekly Thursday “Touch” electronica night — brought to you by Ghostly International, Boldface Media and Johnnie O — continues to thrive at the Necto in Ann Arbor. This Thursday, Touch will host the preparty for immedia 2002, a digital art exhibition which runs Feb. 8-18 and features artists, speakers and performers from U of M, Entity and the Ann Arbor Digital Artists Coalition.

It’s baaaack …

… and it’s going to be even more lurid than last year. Prepare yourself for the return of the Dirty Show, the art show that makes no pretenses about artistic nudity and goes straight for the boobies and wee wees. Conceived (in the back seat with a bottle of Night Train) by lovable lowbrow expert Jerry Peterson and lanky eccentric Jeremy Harvey, the show is coming at the end of the month and will once again take place in the old Orbit offices on Main Street in Royal Oak. Previous shows featured naughty photos, paintings and collages from assorted C-Pop notables, and a topless Lady Pain serving hors d’oeuvres. According to Harvey, this year’s show will be even nastier, naughtier, and … well, dirtier than previous years. In other words, it’s going to be so smutty you won’t even respect yourself the next morning.

Sarah Klein writes here every other week. Got gossip, essential factoids or party invites? E-mail, or call the tip line at 313-962-5281. Press * then dial

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