Just play "Jingle Balls"

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Scouring the sodden slushy streets of Detroit for that elusive Christmas spirit, this past Saturday afternoon found your intrepid columnist standing in front of the Fox Theatre as hundreds of festively attired children with dutiful parents in tow streamed into the gala movie palace for the annual Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular.

Curiosity duly piqued, I ventured inside, only to be greeted by a Busby Berkeley-style opening number that had me wondering if I had wandered through a time warp into an MGM musical.

The second scene, however, involving a cornball Santa-is-going-to-rock-and-roll number shocked me back to the present (or at least the mid-’80s), particularly when a pint-sized elf wearing sunglasses burst out of a Christmas present and began rapping, a bit that, albeit unintentional, was certainly in poor taste considering the recent untimely passing of Joe C.

Regardless, I doubt if there were many Kid Rock fans in the audience, as the majority looked like either senior citizens taking a break from the casinos or the aforementioned festively attired kiddies and parents.

Although the nativity scene conclusion dragged a bit, most of the show ran like a well-choreographed, extended holiday commercial for the Gap, with Technicolor polyester and chiffon taking the place of Gap T-shirts and turtlenecks. Check out the show if you need a healthy dose of Santa-mania. It runs through Dec. 31.

After it’s over, see if you can go in that tent out back and hang with the camels. Or, if you don’t want to shell out for a show at the Fox, head down to Fifth Avenue in Royal Oak on Sunday night, where numerous Rockettes and their vertically challenged elfin chums have been known to heat up the dance floor on their night off.


Speaking of Sunday night, following almost a week of hibernation (save for that trip to see the Rockettes) and deep contemplation of the true meaning of (choose one) a) Christmas; b) Ramadan; c) Kwanzaa; d) Hanukkah; e) none of the above, I found my brain virtually hard-wired to the Rankin/Bass stop-motion animated specials on Fox Family channel.

At this point, I realized that I had to put one foot in front of the other … walk out the door, and face both the Cold Miser and the Winter Warlock. Yes folks, notwithstanding the fact that the wind chill was 20-below, and everyone seemed to be comfortably ensconced at their office/work/whatnot holiday parties, there was a deadline fast approaching.

Seeing that Berkley’s favorite son Marshall Crenshaw was returning to do a makeup show at the Magic Bag (due to an unfortunate previous cancellation), I decided to give it a shot.

Unfortunately, however, it must be a rough flight from Berkley to Ferndale, as Crenshaw once again canceled the show due to inclement weather. It will apparently be rescheduled “ASAP.”

Caught in a quandary, and facing sub-zero wind chills and iced roads, I kept it safe and headed down the street to the Woodward Avenue Brewery, where a festive contingent of local musicians and folks with nothing better to do were hanging out and shooting pool.

Warming the bar were holiday party refugees Krista Husa and Marvin Shaouni, as well as several folks whose names were in this column a few weeks back (and are therefore ineligible for re-mention under my strict and uncompromising guidelines).

Next stop was the venerable Sunday night sanctuary, Fifth Avenue, where Blackman & Arnold were attempting to thaw the frozen masses with their Brazilian rhythms.

There, I ran into keyboard player Randy Sly and bassist Jim Simonson, the latter of whom was sitting in with the band. Simonson is also in the acid jazz trio known as The Brothers Groove, who have a regular weekly gig on Thursdays at the Music Menu. Sly, of the now-defunct Atomic Fireballs, had just emerged from Tempermill Studios, where Jim Feeney (also of Blanche) was recording a sound track for a locally produced indie movie which will apparently be screened at Sundance.


Local historians may remember that the Detroit Tigers abandoned the historic old Tiger Stadium primarily because, according to Tiger folks at the time, they could not make enough money off such big ticket items as executive suites.

By moving into a new stadium, the theory goes, the Tigers would earn enough from the suites and other added revenues (for such items as, oh, perhaps $8 beers, $12 martinis and charging infants full price to ride the Ferris wheel with their parents) to improve the payroll.

Flush with cash from the new park, the Tigers would then be able to compete with the major markets and go after the expensive free agents.

Now, however, after one full year in the new CoPa, with record attendance levels and revenues from the world’s largest billboard masquerading as a scoreboard, the Tigers now plead poverty. In fact, in an ingenuous bit of Catch-22 reasoning, they claim that they can’t increase their payroll for the very fact that they need to stockpile cash so they can make their loan payments on the new park in the event baseball goes on strike in 2002.

By virtue of that little bit of specious logic, maybe they should just move back to Tiger Stadium, let the Japanese bankers foreclose on the CoPa, and perhaps they’ll be able to shake loose a few greenbacks for some decent free agents and win a few more games than they lose (a rare occurrence over the past decade).


As the hip urban downtown housing market heats up, curious shoppers should check out the old Addison Hotel, in the east Cass Corridor neighborhood across the street from the Bankle Building on Woodward. A Web site has been set up to market the joint, complete with floor plans and prices (www.addisonapartments.com). Also in the works, at least conceptually, is an Italian restaurant for the first floor. Get in now on the ground floor, so to speak, or at the least the second floor.

Casey Coston writes here every other week. Got gossip, shameless publicity requests, party invites? E-mail [email protected], or call the tip line at 313-962-5281. Press * then dial
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