Fashion bashing, rocking on

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What could be the flashiest event in town took place last week in downtown Detroit at the Fox Theatre: The 30th Annual Fash Bash for the Detroit Institute of Arts. The preparty started the evening next door at the State Theatre with glitz, glamour and outrageous outfits. I saw everything from a man wearing silk tropical fish pants and a canary yellow jacket to a woman head-to-toe in black leather wearing a mask and a black-feathered wig. A mermaid stood on the stairs as we strolled by the tables set up to promote area restaurants. Along with my sister, Ashley, I was standing looking at all the beautiful people when a striking woman in all Chanel sidled up to us to share an ashtray. She told us she was sneaking a cigarette. "From your husband" I asked? "No, are you kidding? He doesn’t come here." She has been a closet smoker for years, and she told us, "The ironic thing is, I used to be president of American Lung." Her name is Millie Pastor, and she was Ab-Fab. She said she has been coming to the event for 30 years, mingling and having a ball. I saw her throughout the night making her way around the bar, going from holding a martini glass to a rock glass. She was delightfully eccentric. I overheard this darling little man with glasses and a bow tie asking the bartender for a soda pop glass. He started chatting with Ashley and me. "I look pretty good for 70, don’t I?" he asked. He was only 65. He told my sister and me that if a 30-year-old pinches you, you would slap him, right? An old man does it and you say, "Oh, isn’t he cute?" He said that he tells people his dentures don’t fit right and things come out wrong. He had us laughing, and you could tell that he definitely gets away with a lot. His name is John Bloom, executive director of Fanclub Foundation for the Arts. The club is presenting Caliente Uno, A Big Night in Little Havana, a Latin dance party being held in Pontiac on Aug. 27th. Coincidentally, I had already planned on going. For information call 248-584-4150.

The auction started, and they auctioned off 42 items ranging from a Cadillac Escalade that went for $12,000 to a trip for a party of six to go see Tony & Tina’s Wedding. Later, Tony & Tina were up at the bar and Tina in her wedding dress was leaning on the bar having a cigarette. A photographer who gave his name only as Randy G. said he was shooting for the DIA and took a picture of Ashley and me with Frank Stasa, a Shriner in a kilt. His wife, Mary, was wearing a long baby-blue dress that looked homemade. We walked next door, down blue carpet and into the mass of people going to their seats. To sum the show up, it was imaginative, sexy and moving. Ladysmith Black Mambazo started off, delivering smooth vocal harmonies over entrancing South African beats. The light show and fashion followed. Escada designer Margaretha Ley rocked with bold red fashions.

The bash’s grand finale was smashing. White snowflakes floated down, covering the entire theater, and none seemed to hit the floor. The aura of the entire evening was hypnotic. It was as they named it, A World Odyssey of Fashion and Adventure.

Afterward, everyone piled into the State for the After Bash. It was much more crowded than before, a swarm of loud, excited people. The elegance of the preparty was replaced by MC Rob Base blaring throughout the room. Overall, a night indeed to see people and be seen.

A floating party

Then there was the charity bash in Muscamoot Bay, off the coast of Harsens Island last Saturday. Co-founders Jim Randlett, Macomb County sheriff’s deputy, and Don Koleber, owner of Logo Lite in Ferndale, put together this benefit for The Rainbow Connection, a Mt. Clemens-based charity for families facing life-threatening situations. Michigan Marine Salvage donated a barge and a generator, and the bay filled up with more and more boats as the day went on. There were lines of them everywhere, so close that people walked from boat to boat drinking and partying. People were dancing on their boats and hula-hooping.

There is just something about being out on the water, even if the water is so low this year that people were getting out and pulling their boats in closer to the barge. John, a friend of Randlett and Koleber, rode around on a purple Polaris collecting donations. On stage, Randlett and Koleber played music and gave away gift certificates for restaurants including Fishbone’s, Garwood’s Bayview Lodge and Wild Woody’s. Face and the Howling Diablos came out to jam until the music shut down at 11 p.m. But Randlett, Koleber and the die-hard boaters were spending the night. Next year they plan on getting two barges out there. For early info on next year’s doings, or if you want to give assistance to the Rainbow Connection, call 810-918-3777 or 248-399-4000.

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