Way to go, Kwame. In just a few short weeks, you lost the Covisint headquarters to Southfield, the People Mover proved to be a complete and utter embarrassment on the biggest day of the year (a record-breaking Sunday at the Auto Show and concurrent Wings game), and, with but a dying whimper, the last remaining vestiges of Detroit’s celebrated Paradise Valley neighborhood were quietly plowed under. Sure, none of this was your fault, and, hell, you even looked good not doing it. To be honest, the problem with the People Mover was a little ticking time bomb courtesy of your predecessor’s shoestring funding of our beloved monorail system; meanwhile, Covisint execs ostensibly claim they don’t want to be allied too closely with GM by moving into the Renaissance Center, a reed-thin explanation which ignores numerous other downtown office buildings that could provide space. (Didn’t the 320,000-square-foot, Daniel Burnham-designed 1913 Dime Building just complete a $40 million renovation to Class A office space with T1’s and the whole nine yards?) Paradise Valley, meanwhile, suffered the ignominious fate of succumbing first to an expressway that eventually paved the way for the population of a city to quickly flee, and then to a 2-14 laughingstock professional sports franchise. That’s right, despite earlier wafflings, the Lions have finally plowed under the old Horseshoe Bar as well as the adjacent row of buildings just off Madison, no doubt to make room for a parking lot, access road or some similar Detroit-style urban beautification development. In the meantime, Mayor K. makes the rounds of our city’s nightclubs in a shiny fleet of Suburbans and Navigators that have proved quite popular with the city’s new chapeau-sporting ruling elite. Indeed, back on the Charity Preview night, I was hung out to dry by the ignoramus doormen at the overstuffed Envy nightclub, no doubt due in large part to the overstuffed entourages of the esteemed mayors of Pontiac, Detroit and assorted state legislators hamming it up inside at what was charitably (and arguably) dubbed a “fashion” show. Gee whiz, the mayors of Pontiac and Detroit, as well as state legislators? Wow. Talk about your corridors of power. If I didn’t know better, I could’ve sworn I was at Morton’s or the Palm in D.C. Must have been some real horse-tradin’ and flesh-pressin’ going on there (multiple puns as well as sarcasm intended). Even all that supposed political might, however, didn’t prevent the fire marshal from making a “house call” at the congested Envy establishment. Obviously, whoever’s running that club needs a few lessons in how to operate the door.
Speaking of our new entries on the club scene as well as their respective doors, Envy’s downtown neighbor Panacea has shut its doors for what has been termed a “retooling.” According to some patrons, “retooling” is code word for, like, checking to see if your staff actually did get their GEDs. Envy might be advised to do the same. In any event, getting back to our beloved diamond-stud aficionado/man-child mayor, while things could’ve gone a bit better, at least you didn’t have a snowplow problem.
Speaking of a snowplow problem, this whole springtime in January bit just plain bugs me. There’s simply something wrong about 57 degrees in Detroit in January. If you want nice weather, take a vacation and sit on a beach, but those hardy souls remaining in this city need to be beaten and battered when we’re here. This is Detroit, remember? A gray, cold and depressing winter is part of the inimitable post-apocalyptic frontier-rust belt-wasteland charm of this crumbling megalopolis. I could barely get out of the driveway on Saturday before I saw a moron at the Mobil station wearing shorts, while lunatics are cruising Woodward yet again with the top down. I quickly hunkered down and realized that the weather-induced sunny side of my equilibrium must be balanced by a nocturnal sojourn into the gritty city, where the stench of stale beer, cigarette smoke and the amped-up urgency of our local music will quickly dissipate any false visions of a tropical paradise. Forgive me for not star-trailing Sean Combs around Detroit for his self-hyping party-spin this past weekend; that sounded about as enjoyable as a freshly prepared meal of ground glass. Moreover, a haymaker of a virus was still ravaging my body Friday night, thereby preventing me from attending the birthday “swarm” of one Tina D’Angela at the Magic Stick. This free party was, simply put, one of the finest assemblages of the best that our locally spawned, world-renowned indie-garage scene has to offer, with performances by the Buzzards, the Hentchmen, the Sirens, the Come Ons, the Von Bondies and Ko and the Knockouts, to name but a few. Although I was unable to attend on Friday night, as a consolation measure to myself, I did stop by the Magic Stick on Saturday for the fun-filled performances by Bantam Rooster and Cincinnati’s favorite “Detroit band” the Greenhornes. As fate would have it, I soon ran into the previous evening’s birthday celebrant, still going strong 24 hours later, as she was chatting with Chris Dellas near the pool tables, raving about the previous evening’s performance by Ko and the Knockouts. Tina said that a birthday piñata was brought out Friday night, and located inside the piñata’s fun-filled prize core were two doses of Viagra. Once the prizes came spilling out, D’Angela was the lucky recipient of one Viagra dose, while Ghetto Records impresario Jim Diamond apparently was crawling around the floor to quickly grab up the other. D’Angela proudly pronounced the drug an excellent cure for hangovers, although we’re all still wondering what other side effects might be present. Diamond was also spotted at the Stick show Saturday night, although he declined all requests for interviews (see attached photo). For added excitement, I also hopped over to the Lager House in venerable Corktown, where pretentious local rocker in-joke the Wildbunch were absolutely packing the house in eager anticipation of its patented band of rock ’n’ roll high jinks-tomfoolery. Of course, the throngs may have been there to see local hip hop-by-way-of-1960s Vegas loungecore act esQuire, who brought his patented open collar and go-go act to the beer-stained walls of the Lager House yet again. The Loose Lips camera crew happened across esQuire and a few of his go-go dancers, Si, Erika and Amy, as they squeezed their way past our table, stopping for a brief exchange of pleasantries and flash photo. Thankfully, P. Diddy was not in attendance.Casey Coston writes here every other week. Got gossip, essential factoids or party invites? E-mail [email protected], or call the tip line at 313-962-5281. Press * then dial