Party, parking, reservation?

Nov 24, 1999 at 12:00 am


Hipsters of all sizes, shapes and colors converged on a single downtown Detroit block last Saturday, as Orbit magazine threw its heavily hyped bon voyage party at St. Andrew's, Jacoby's and Steve's Place.

The tart-tongued, bile-saturated, spelling-impaired monthly churned out its final issue last month, and the rag certainly went out in festive style. This multivenued hydra of a party featured a cornucopia of live music, food, female wrestling and some rather unsightly displays of random nudity (none of which, fortunately, featured former chief Orbiteer/eminence grizzled, Jerry Peterson).

The foyer of St. Andrew's acted as the congested portal to partydom, as throngs of scenester cognoscenti streamed in from Congress Street, up from the Shelter and down from the Burns Room.

I'll spare you the random name-dropping of people who have been in this column far too many times. Basically, if your name's ever been in this column, chances are you were at the party.

I will, however, deign to name a few people who happened to stray in front of my roving camera lens, including always-stylish couple-about-town Tracee and Dan Miller, as well as Ritual/St. Andrew's über-boss Diana Frank, who was last seen deflating the large dinosaur moonwalk. The moonwalk, a stalwart feature of Orbit parties past, was shunted aside, leaving a rather dubious puddle of moisture on the St. Andrew's floor. Upon witnessing said snail trail, many in the crowd were no doubt pleased that they passed over the chance to take a bounce or two.

While in the main room, I caught a few snippets of the many acts which passed in the night, including a scintillating set by Give, whose frontman Ferris George did double duty, playing the gig on the main stage as well as helping out with the catering in the Burns Room, courtesy of fashionable Ferndale café Christine's Cuisine.

Also cavorting on stage were pyrotechnic rockers the Ruiners, who provided the sonic backdrop for some New Girl Order rasslin-mania. Next up was the much-ballyhooed one-night reunion of the Charm Farmers, a slightly cacophonous and crowded stage jumble of ego and glam.

Those seeking relief from the crushing surge of night owl socialites needed to look no further than next door, as Steve's Place was holding a super-special karaoke night hosted by DJ Top Kat and an array of stars.

Spotted slithering near the bar were AWOL's Pete Wardowski, Michelle Lannoo and artist Glenn Barr, who has a C-Pop show coming up next month. All in attendance agreed that the high ceilinged/lowbrow ambience of Steve's Place is the perfect setting for downtown hipster karaoke. They should make it a regular gig.


After only two months on the job, DIA director Graham Beale has already made great strides in emulating New York City. First up, let's try a little censorship: Beale pulled the plug on an upcoming exhibit by Pontiac artist Jef Bourgeau entitled "Art Until Now."

The installation included a review of some controversial 20th century works, including a vial of urine from Andres Serrano's infamous Piss Christ. Jesse Helms would indeed be proud. Take that, Giuliani!


The Ford family, assorted Detroit Lions and a grab bag of local politicos, sports heroes and dignitaries participated in a slick groundbreaking ceremony last week for the new downtown football stadium in Detroit.

With the rather unimaginative moniker of Ford Field, the future football dome will incorporate the old Hudson's warehouse into its structure, as luxury suites and boxes will be built out from the warehouse, with offices, shops and who knows what else inside. About 500 people showed up for the glitzy groundbreaking ceremony, which was held on the fifth floor of the warehouse.

The Lions spared no expense. Attendees first passed through what could pass for a trendy warehouse/art gallery, with archival photos of old Detroit suspended amid sporadic lighting. We were then herded onto a freight elevator outfitted with Astroturf and football-field markings. Once at the top, with thumping music and enormous flashing video screens, I thought I had wandered into some sort of pigskin rave, except there were a lot of suits and cell phones, people were eating bagels and fruit salad — and it was only 10:30 a.m.

The $300 million stadium is expected to hold 65,000 people. On-site parking at this point is about 950 spaces. The Tigers have a structure for another 1,000. You do the math.

If Hizzoner Mayor Archer really wanted to use his condemnation powers for a public purpose, rather than for Graimark real estate developers and casino interests, he would condemn some downtown surface lots and start putting up a few parking structures. As it is, the pothole-ridden, crumbling surface lots with their ramshackle plywood booths just perpetuate the desolate image of downtown Detroit.

Archer, meanwhile, praised the Ford Field plans, ticking off a list of renovation projects in the city and noting that the incorporation of the warehouse into Ford Field is yet another "thoughtful reuse of historic sites." Right ... Archer the historic preservationist. Maybe somebody should have attached a sports field to the Hudson's building before they imploded it?