Monkey art and Woodward cruisin'

Aug 25, 1999 at 12:00 am

The Whitney.  You’ve gotta love a place that offers fine dining, Parke Davis midwife training, live rock ’n’ roll and Jerry Peterson’s monkey art – including a curtained booth named "Wolfie’s Peep O Rama" – all in one night.

Peterson (aka Jerry Vile), editor of the soon-to-be defunct piss-and-vinegar rag Orbit, held an outdoor art show Thursday at the venerable old Whitney. It was called "Sham," no doubt because, as Mr. Vile assured me, "My art is shallow." The shallow man was on call to meet and greet Garden Party attendees and art peekers.

C-Pop Gallery sponsored the show, and if one was bored or just arriving, the C-Pop kids (i.e., young guys challenging the concept of maturity) were there to thrill with their displays and distractions.

Thursday they promoted their Oct. 2 C-Pop "Noise Camp."

Warren D. tried to explain: Electronic noise meets wilderness concept, and comes together with "the hollow log – more of an adult drinking game," promising fun on C-Pop’s new outdoor terrace.

Vile, who despite his name doesn’t seem loathsome or disgusting, watched over his display of seven monkey paintings. Some were cute. One had a giant erection. The full frontal naked he/she gargoylish monkey was puzzling.

But Vile seemed like kind of a good egg. He was willing to talk and didn’t try to sell me a monkey face. Among other gems, he identified his mentor as "ice water in his veins" Matt Beer, former Detroit gossipmonger, and defended his dish ‘n’ dirt publishing: "I don’t think we’re telling half the truth" he said. "The truth is funny."

That night I had a dream I was a superhero. Bursting out of the depths of concrete basement reality, I shouted as I flew, "I have POWER … to do GOOD!"

This was weird. Thanks, Jerry. I think.


Serious ozone damage aside, the fifth annual Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise was a gas. Few Rust Belt rust buckets showed their fenders on the avenue Saturday.

Who knew metro Detroit had so many compulsive work-on-yer-car freaks?

Jeannie Kime, a 1969 Detroit St. Anthony grad, sat in a lawn chair flagging down cruisers with signs reading "Honk if you’re horny" and "Cute Butt," among others. Steve Gordon of Utica by way of California, who gave his age as "14 today," rode his oversized bicycle "Monster Cruiser." He’s definitely more than twice 14 but on a day like Saturday, who cared?

Al Carden (owner of Warren’s Tat-Man tattoo shop) and friends, already tattooed plenty, stopped by the "Airbrush Face Painting" booth for more body ornamentation and how-to tips: "You can never have too much knowledge," he laughed.

All manner of vehicles parked or cruised. Though it’s hard to call inching along at 1 m.p.h. – as happened in some places – cruising.

Grandmas and grandpas cruised. Kids cruised on electric scooters. Golf carts cruised, in Birmingham of course. A bathtub, a garbage truck, an Oakland County Sheriff’s Department tank – cruised? Somehow I don’t recall these in the parking lot at Big Boy honking for cheeseburgers in the old days.

Mary Sestok, 1970 Birmingham Seaholm grad, burst the revisionist bubble: "Cruising was such a mindless activity. I wonder why I didn’t do something more intellectual, like Debate Team." Last but not least, the winkable quote of the day from my sister Sue Mossman (a 1961 Royal Oak Shrine grad): "There’s a woody!"

Going silver

The extended WDET radio family was out in full force last Wednesday night in the bar at Harmonie Park’s Intermezzo to eat, drink and be merry with program director and on-air morning host Judy Adams, who celebrated 25 years at the station. Music director Martin Bandyke emceed from the stage; general manager Caryn Mathes shared the joy of being Judy’s pal and boss; Judy herself spoke from the heart: "I love you all so much."

When she first went on-air at DET back in the ’70s, she had no idea she would be there a quarter century later – and the radio station has taken a sea change in the interim.

Former Detroiter and hippie poster artist Gary Grimshaw sent greetings from Oakland, Calif., thanking "Captain Judy" because "WDET became a sound track of my life."

News Director Roger Adams, Councilwoman Kay Everett, mayoral mouthpiece Greg Bowens and even Dennis Archer himself made the scene with congratulations, kudos, plaques and thank you’s. Jim Dulzo took a little time off from planning the Montreux-Detroit International Jazz Festival to make the scene. Johnnie Bassett and the Blues Insurgents drummer Rick Spangler (nephew of drummer and ’70s DET host Bud Spangler) was also in the crowd. As were MT’s George Tysh and wife Chris for a while before they ran off to the Museum of African American History’s kickoff for the African World Festival.

Adams had company in the congratulations department that night. Chris and Sandy Jaszczak, proprietors of 1515 Broadway and big downtown enthusiasts, sat in the crowd beaming and let slip that they had a little club hopper on the way. It should have been obvious; Sandy had that Mona Lisa smile going on.