A return to abnormalcy

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OK. I will spare you the tortured machinations of a hack scrivener masquerading as a hack journalist-gossip columnist masquerading as a newly converted hack commentator on global tragedies, geopolitical conflicts and all around jihad-style insanity. It’s been done, that’s fine, and, in the spirit of the superficial pap and piffle with which I fill this space, let’s move on. But not without a soupçon of snarkiness, which I shall dispense in the direction of our local corps of putative media pundits. This whole “return to normalcy” agenda is undoubtedly a welcome exit strategy for many in our often ill-equipped local media. Frankly, they have all too often been put in the awkward and publicly uncomfortable position of commenting on world affairs and the senselessness of the events of Sept. 11 from the constricted maladroit perspective of a) sportswriter, b) local-news talking head, c) sports radio commentator or, most importantly, d) a once-powerful newsman-refugee from Escape From the Planet Apes (cameo as a newscaster) now reduced to Gardner-White Furniture huckster. Yes, that’s right, the warped apex of our local perspective was elevated to absurdly stratospheric proportions when Bill Bonds weighed in on the whole issue from his slightly shaggy bully pulpit, i.e., the Gardner-White Furniture commercials. As Bonds intoned: “Congratulations, bin Laden. You just bought yourself a one-way ticket to hell. You’ve got your wish, bin Laden. Very soon you will meet your god.” Regrettably for those who missed it, the jingoistic, quintessential Bondsian Gardner-White ads were pulled after a brief airing. Once again, “Bill the Mill” (self-conceived nickname for Detroit’s first million-dollar newscaster), has demonstrated his true TV pioneering spirit in the burgeoning field of huckster-commentators. Then again, many would probably prefer to hear Bonds’ shoot-from-the-hip polemics as opposed to the coverage at Channel 4, where honchos, as the fateful day’s events unfolded, insisted on pre-empting NBC’s national coverage to bring us the remotely discernible parochial angle, notwithstanding that a credible local angle did not surface until days later. Consistently over the day and night of Sept. 11, whenever one of my remotes touched upon Channel 4, I constantly saw Carmen Harlan and Devin Scillian where Tom Brokaw should have been. As if I care about their analyses and turgid prose on the horrors unfolding before us ... excuse me while I zip over to CNN and MSNBC. Local news should stick to the weather, sports and nude-golf outings, while leaving the “real” news to the big kids (and Bill the Mill, of course).


As the mercury dips and the mornings grow darker, those seeking sustenance and warmth begin to seek refuge in our local restaurants and finer dining establishments. Fortunately for us, a relatively new entrant on the culinary scene has more than enough succulent sustenance and savoir-faire style to last us through the fall and winter seasons for years to come. Cuisine, located just north of the Fisher Building in the former Il Centro, has a French-American menu penned by talented Whitney veteran Paul Grosz, and, while the name of the establishment isn’t exactly overflowing with originality, the same cannot be said of the menu. I dined at Cuisine this past Saturday, intending on pursuing a night on the town, with possible stops at the Female Pressure DJ gig at St. Andrew’s, as well as the El Vez-Gore Gore Girls fire-dancing escapades at the Magic Bag. Despite such lofty aspirations, my evening essentially began and ended at Cuisine, which was fine with all concerned. The evening’s fare ranged from a cold pâté/charcuterie plate to seared scallops with lobster whipped cream and foie gras to mouthwatering bouillabaisse to a Grand Marnier soufflé.

Judging from the crowd on hand, it’s clear that Cuisine has fast become a stalwart stop on the post-50 theater-going gourmand crowd; however, the outstanding food, cozy bar and inviting atmosphere should draw in epicureans from all demographics.


Unfortunately, however, this is a gossip column, not a food column, so I couldn’t just take a few snapshots of my meal and call it a weekend, as enticing as such a prospect appeared at the time. As I awakened Sunday morning I realized that the Loose Lips camera crew still had a full roll of film and the weekend was almost finished. Desperately seeking excitement and unending thrills, I resolved to dig out from my culinary coma and mine our city’s soggy and steamy nightscape. My initial stop was the Motor City Brewery’s Tap Room, where the usual assortment of folks could be found sipping a new lager and gnawing on stale pretzel rods. At his usual post was DJ Greg Baise, who, along with bartender Amy Abbott, was playing a handcrafted version of the “Detroit Scenester Game,” featuring homemade dice and little cards with such instructions as “You Survived a Jam Rag Review — Advance 3 Spaces” and “Passed Out at a Wild Bunch Party — Lose One Turn.” While a fine lager, stale munchies, and a chance to win Scenester for a Day was no doubt beguiling, my own scenester radar began picking up a signal from far across town, in the direction of Eight Mile and Lahser. I quickly hopped off my stool and headed for the car, as these signals could only mean one thing: Karaoke night was up and running at the Golden Buddha Lounge (formerly known as Buddha Bar). As I entered, my ears picked up on the familiar strain of a synthesized, ’80s-style thumping. As I focused in on the small corner stage, I spied karaoke operator Jeremy Harvey and a gentleman who identified himself as Tim Booze Anderson, the latter of whom was belting out his own unique rendition of the Ghostbusters theme song. “Ah yes,” I thought to myself, “karaoke.” I settled in at the bar next to certified scenesters Barry and Laura Harper, and began to thumb through the karaoke selections. While I had high hopes of belting out the trucker anthem “Convoy,” I was disappointed to see C.W. McCall missing from the selections, and quickly moved on to Sinatra’s “Luck be a Lady.” Jarred back to reality by some off-key warbling, I quickly removed my spectacles and held them tight to prevent any shattering of glass, as Jessica Bates and Jeff Bond performed a version of “When I’m 64,” with assistance from Laura Harper. For those of you who missed it, the hipster karaoke show goes on every Sunday at the Buddha. Who knows, perhaps emboldened by that odd Korean liquor that Dean pours into your shot glass, you too may find yourself up onstage clanging your way through “That’s Amore.” And that’s a return to abnormalcy.

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
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