Butterflies & broken glass

Feb 20, 2002 at 12:00 am


February sure does suck, eh?

By now we’re all suffering seasonal affective disorder, as the midwinter blues hit their peak, and everyone is just damn tired of being cold.

And as if the sunlight deprivation and cabin fever weren’t enough to make you utterly miserable, there’s Valentine’s Day, or, as it is frequently referred to by the more bitter, VD.

On the bright side, Valentine’s Day marks Niagara’s annual “Heavy Metal” show at Padded Cell, the custom jewelry and handbag boutique owned by Jeff “J.R.” Richards and Dan Banda.

The focus was on the Padded Cell’s specialty: gorgeous metal purses, which cost a fortune and could easily be used as a weapon in a pinch. Niagara’s creations included a clutch bag decorated with a syringe, and an uber-goth coffin purse with handles lifted from a real casket.

Bartendress Liz Gerrity was busy deftly whipping up the cherry- and apple-flavored martinis, despite the fact that the vintage drink shakers from Deco Doug were leaking. An enormous spread of sweet confections was provided by Hagelstein’s Bakery. So we had lots of booze, lots of chocolate and plenty of Niagara’s trademark images of femme fatales on the edge … what better way to spend VD?

Also on hand: Frank Hobrecht and George Gomez, Nina Friday and Bryan Cunningham, Cara Lundgren from Dolly Rockers, Art Lyzak and his fiancee, Christine, fire-breather Giles Rosbury and Tim Caldwell.


Next on the evening’s agenda: a trip to the Detroit Zoo, for “Wild at Heart,” a special VD-induced night of romance and intrigue. Uh-huh, something like that anyway.

Upon arrival with my arsenal, we discovered the security for this shindig was particularly tight. We had to wait in a stupendously long line in the freezing cold while security frisked, searched and metal-detected every single patron. I haven’t been that thoroughly searched since the last time I went through Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

The main lobby of the Butterfly House was decked out like a nightclub, with bars on each side, accompanied by the DJ stylings of Shortround and Urban Kris.

However, the main draw of the evening was the butterfly room itself — perhaps this is the zoo’s pitch to convince couples to bring their wedding receptions here. For those of you who are Butterfly-House virgins, it’s an enormous, lush garden greenhouse, where dozens of large, exotic butterflies float freely around the room, and, yes, they’ll even land on you.

That was the goal of the evening for my date and me — to get the butterflies to actually land on us. We quickly learned that the delicate little buggers will have nothing to do with you if you actually want one to land on you. Instead, the butterflies chose only to harass those who were grossed out by butterflies — one woman was even seen swatting at the creatures. I’m sorry, but if you don’t want butterflies to land on you, get the hell out of the Butterfly House, lady!

Each time a delicate beauty floated down and landed on some ditzy flake who screeched in a Flipper voice and went, “Ewwww, like, get it off of me, like now!” my date and I winced and attempted to convince the poor, unwelcome butterfly to land on our outstretched, welcoming arms. Well, eventually our arms got tired and we retreated back into the lobby in defeat, but not before extending our jealous glances at lucky butterfly roosts Chris Nall, Kitty Kittides, Kristina Boos and Nicole Jacques.

Next up, we ventured into the outdoor tents, so I could chain-smoke. Here, we encountered Jason Tyler, Janyce Platt, B.J. Hammerstein, Joyce Ward, Jesse Jarvis, Lora Basilico, Stephen Dakis and a whole bunch of bigwigs and scenester slaves. The whole place looked a bit too much like the $20 cover bar of the week, so it was time for a fast exit out the back door.


Friday night, it was time to drink away that post-VD depression/butterfly rejection hangover and tear some shit up over at the Lager House, for the triple bill of Detroit rock, Hot Wool Rat, Peter Torque and Hemigod.

These days the Lager looks like what the Magic Stick once was: a hangout for regulars who just show up on a random night to check out whatever local band happens to be playing.

But, be warned: This can be dangerous. It can be deadly, I tell you!

OK, not exactly deadly, but I did get hit with a drumstick, and it really hurt.

However, I didn’t get it nearly as bad as birthday boy Scott Hinsin from Erratic Gomorrah. The wayward drumstick (flung by Hot Wool Rat) ricocheted off my collarbone and shattered the glass Hinsin was holding, causing the glass to fly in his face. The poor kid’s face was actually bleeding, and he had to spit glass shards out of his mouth. However, this couldn’t have happened to a more easygoing guy — when he realized the extent of his injuries, Hinsin thrust his broken pint into the air and shouted, “Hey man, I’m bleeding! Punk fuckin’ rock!” Luckily, his very sweet girlfriend, Lauren Kovacs, was kind enough to mop the blood from her sweetie’s face for the rest of the evening.

Aside from the drumstick incident, the other big excitement was a surprise visit from Kid Rock, who came out in a show of support of his new labelmates, Hemigod.

Spotted in the mix: mommy-to-be Kim Leitz, Scott Ruiner (masquerading as Scott Wool Rat) and wife Melanie Addison, Sasquatch, fetish model Sinnamon and Dee Sparkles with his wife, birthday gal Karen Neal.

Sarah Klein writes here every other week. Send sympathy letters, hot gossip and party invites to [email protected], or call the tip line at 313-962-5281. Press *, then dial