Excessive schadenfreude

Sep 27, 2000 at 12:00 am

Ho hum, another week, another column, another 20th anniversary issue, another instance of a devoted reader writing in to highlight various impertinent instances of improper vocabulary usage in the Loose Lips lexicon.

In this case, it appears that certain unnamed authors of this column have, occasionally, frequently, resorted to a gaggle of über-annoying words (actually, the buzzwords “gaggle” and “über” were signaled out as the prime offenders in this loyal reader’s mind).

Heeding this sage advice, I will promptly forsake any allegiance to the two aforementioned offensive and overused bons mots. They shall instead be replaced by my two new buzzwords of the moment: “schadenfreude,” meaning enjoyment obtained from other’s troubles; and “Brobdingnagian,” meaning, on a gigantic scale.

With these formalities disposed of, we can now move quickly toward the task at hand, namely, one columnist’s singular and Brobdingnagian quest to burrow beneath the veneer of our city’s night-crawling substrata in search of that elusive schadenfreude which propels us all (or, at least this one particular columnist).

While I had hoped, in true coaster-slack fashion, to simply spit out a regurgitated “20th Anniversary best of/greatest hits” column, thereby avoiding any actual work while still getting paid, my eagle-eyed editors put the kibosh on that notion.

Moreover, this column doesn’t lend itself very well to the Smyntek/Lyzak et al. school of journalism, wherein you just pull snippets from the Associated Press celebrity wire and tack on comments such as “yowza,” “hold the presses” and assorted other riffs.


First stop on Saturday night, the venerable electronic haunt of Motor, where Clark Warner and WDET’s in-the-wee-small-hours-of-the-morning DJ Liz Copeland were kicking off the inaugural episode of their new night entitled "Departure,” and subtitled “a new sound system, a new decor a new direction.”

Well, two out of three might not be bad — I could tell from the table saw sitting on the sidewalk when I pulled up that things were a bit behind schedule.

With the big room cold and empty, and the back room featuring an assortment of folks sitting around munching complimentary sushi and digging the sounds from DJ Recloose, I had no desire to sit and fiddle my chopsticks as assorted builders and handy-folk paraded in and out while putting the finishing touches on the new lounge, schadenfreude notwithstanding.

The oddly mixed crowd, raging from artist Tim Caldwell to silver-haired head Roostertail honcho Tom Schoenith, appeared to be enjoying themselves, but the night’s loaded schedule didn’t allow for any unforseen construction delays. As such, we bid adieu to the soon-to-be-packed club, and headed out into the great beyond ... actually, just down the street to Small’s, where everyone’s favorite corner bar was celebrating its first birthday. With sushi available at Motor, and grilled burgers and hotdogs on the patio at Small’s, it was a veritable Hamtown horn o’ plenty for that peculiar breed of folks who enjoy eating food in their favorite darkened nightclubs and bars (curiously enough, I do not).

As I settled back into the corner banquette, with Tom Waits rasping out of the jukebox and the omnipresent second-hand cigarette smoke curling and snaking though my oxygen supply, I was reassured to see that Small’s continues to maintain that comfortable prepossessing aura as if it’s been there forever.

No time for such addled reminiscence and reverie, however, as I was immediately jolted to action. Indeed, it was time to move along to the nascent Brooklyn 2000 gallery, located in a loft/warehouse just off Michigan Avenue, for a multimedia fashion happening entitled COMPOSITE.


The COMPOSITE show featured the fashion designs of Annica Cuppetelli, along with able assistance from former Cubby Bear booking agent Amy Abbott, video-iste Julie Meitz and illustrator/artist/Neptune Records guy Michael Segal.

Upon entering the packed event, I immediately ran into Pop Culture Media promoter-person Adriel Thornton, who refuted the recent rumor that Carl Craig has jettisoned Pop Culture Media from any future Electronic Music Fests. This refutation was confirmed by a call to Planet E Records, where Craig import and fiancée Hannah Sawtell also stated there was no truth to the rumor.

Sawtell also bemoaned the state of affairs where, when something is as successful as the DEMF, people constantly want to take shots at it. Of course, the answer to that, dear readers, can be found in one of our words of today: schadenfreude.

Getting back to the Corktown show, as noted previously, the room was clogged with a dazzling array of fashionistas, trend-seekers, Wild Bunch band members, old-line hipsters and the people who love them all. Spotted behind the DJ tables was Majestic Cafe bartender Emily O’Reilly, who was one of four DJs mixing up the night. I also spied scab paper columnist and self-proclaimed Beat Girl Wendy Case wandering about the catwalk dressed in a tattered strait jacket while howling hysterically. Given her addled onstage demeanor and clothing, I can only surmise that she had perhaps just wandered in from an editorial meeting at the paper’s offices down the street.

This was fashion as theater at its best. It was obvious from the palpable energy in the crowd that these are the sorts of events people in this town are thirsting for, despite the fact that there was no booze and it was ostensibly a nonsmoking venue (that explains the mad rush to the exits when it was over).

Bonus kudos for the wretched swilling-in-a-housecoat excess of the Valley of the Dolls sequence. Let’s hope for everyone’s sake that we see more events of this nature in the near future, lest we all go incurably mad.


In true insincere fashion, I hope to see all of you at this Friday’s Brobdingnagian MT 20th Anniversary party. In a nod to rebellious alt-weekly style, be sure and not hold the handrails when you either descend or ascend the Roostertail staircase. If you’ve been there before, you know what I’m talking about. If not, now’s your chance. Casey Coston writes here every other week. Call the Loose Lips tip line at 313-962-5281. Press * then dial