Givers, rivers and paczki

Sep 1, 1999 at 12:00 am


Perhaps the hippest-looking person at the Fanclub Foundation for the Arts’ Friday night wingding was Natalie Stavale, the Fanclub’s own PR gal. Her short, black hair and black glasses gave her a fab look. Second hippest could be John Bloom, the foundation’s executive director, who looked dapper in his bow tie as he greeted me and my friend, April Zbikowski (Or maybe it’s just my weakness for bow ties?)

The event, billed as "A Little Night in Havana," offered free Latin dance lessons to early birds. Only four couples stayed on the floor afterward, but as soon as the band, La Sensacional, started there was some serious dancing going on. Casey Coston, who will soon be returning to the Metro Times to share this column with me and Amy Probst, was playing DJ and emceeing the evening.

Michael Simon, assistant to U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee, had donated his time as instructor for the lessons, and consequently danced all night, with a different partner for every song. The paparazzi were out in full force, and he gave a different look or smile for every camera flash.

Of all the people dancing, by far the best were Oscar Zuniga, Jacqueline Hernandez, Maribel Molina and Jorze Gomez, who never missed a beat.

Talk about partner swapping! I overheard four women at the bar laughing at the fact that among them they had been married 16 times. Wow.

The bartenders, who are Compuware geeks by day, proved that even hackers know how to mix Cuba Libres. Speaking of which, Bacardi, as one of the event’s sponsors, served aged rum in small glass snifters printed with its corporate logo. Very classy, huh? Someone thought so – I spied a girl carefully tucking several monogrammed snifters into her purse. Now, wasn’t this a charity event, where people were supposed to be giving, not taking? – A.C.


"Soiree on the River" was a high-end benefit auction (for the National Kidney Foundation) held at the Omni and hosted by WXYZ nice guy Don Shane. I exchanged pleasantries with Patti Smith’s Julie Green and Metro Times’ own Debbie Sipes, swept past expensively coiffed guests, grabbed a Stoli and tonic and went into an enormous chandeliered tent housing the auction items and victuals. Tummy rumbling, I filled a plate with shrimp (Mistake! What bank did these fishy-tasting crustaceans wash up on?).

Mayoral seedling Dennis Archer Jr., ever-so-dapper, earnestly engaged in conversation, appeared every bit a man of the people.

Few things are more pathetic than the upper-crust over-40 singles scene. For one thing, as evidenced by a gaggle of lovelies on the patio, all its members are women; pudgy, sparkly, overly zealous self-help book readers trying desperately to convince themselves options for love wait around every corner. They believe they’ve "learned" to be choosy. Right ... Hang up the romantic ’50s ideals and date one another, ladies.

Co-chairperson Ann Duke of Hour magazine had reason to pat herself on the back for the evening’s success, although she paced and chain-smoked like a stylish locomotive throughout the night.

Back into the big top for the live auction, it was just too silly watching grown women acting like excited eighth-graders every time their husbands bid on airline tickets or jewelry, so I left. What can I say; tasteful soirees aimed at the affluent and classy are lost on me.


The nationwide buzz around Detroit’s indie movie scene is certain to become a roar when Planet Ant’s current production, Garage: A Rock Saga, is released next spring.

Executive producer Hal Soper and co-producers Joshua Funk and Mikey Brown adapted the screenplay from the original musical by Second City alums Funk and Nancy Hayden. The film follows a Hamtramck garage band over the course of 25 years.

On location Saturday outside a Hamtramck garage (scoped out by props coordinator and all-around good guy Joe Lapham), the ensemble, led by Brown and Elaine Hendricks (director and assistant director) exemplified all that is right with Detroit creatives. Location soundman Brian Wolfbauer lived the nightmare of a half-day-long power-tool recital next door, and supporting actor Ron West ("Third Rock from the Sun") suffered a bee sting to the lip at lunch break.

Funk (star, co-writer, co-producer), who has crash-dieted down to a mere shadow of his former self for the part, seemed focused and maybe a little tired; hopefully he’ll have time for rest and relaxation before going back on tour with Park: A Rock Band. Incidentally, adoring fans prefer Funk in his original packaging; someone send this blue-eyed Romeo some paczki!


Late night at Union Street, ex-Motor-meister Steven Sowers, dressed à la Will Robinson, put down his cell phone long enough to pontificate his unsolicited philosophy of masturbation, presenting the query, "If you masturbate, does that make you a homosexual or bisexual?"

His answer? "I say, yes. Everyone is bisexual; it’s all a matter of degree." Sowers’ sidekick of 15 years, Philip Mason, vehemently disagreed and went on to share the details of his manly morning rituals. Meanwhile, designer Stacy Lauers and Rock Star Steve of Control Freq (formerly of Charm Farm) circled each other in obvious mutual admiration, she in a slinky black dress and he in reflective sneakers (!) and a shirt suspiciously unbuttoned to the navel. Are gold chains next, Steve?–A.P.