Wednesday night brought about the cozy shindig in honor of the 19th Annual Metro Times Photo Contest and Exhibition, held at the airy Furniture Factory in Detroit. The open reception/awards ceremony/excuse to freeload on free booze and chow was well attended as no-nonsense schmooze veterans got down to business and scarfed as much food as possible before even bothering to check out the assemblage of photos that were hung on both levels of the building. Rhythm and Rain performed as art-lovers wandered the space to gaze at the photographs, occasionally stumbling after being blinded by spotlights directed precisely at eye level. After my temporarily scorched retinas recovered, I was able to spot DEMF performer Matt Taplinger, who won third place in color and an honorable mention in black and white, on the arm of his girlfriend Rebecca Solano. Also spotted: Ann Delisi of “Backstage Pass,” contest judge Angie Baan, sociologist Mary Mans, and assorted Metro Times employees hanging out in the Metro Times clique — outside, chain-smoking, of course. I discussed some local music with hairdresser Melanie Sweeney from Bardha Salon in Birmingham and Lee Jackson, owner of P.F. Galleries in Clawson, which was responsible for hanging the photograph display, and also talked shop with Elaina Bierlein, honorable mention in black and white, and Amy Ronelle Cramer, first place in color. Both the ladies take classes at OCC, and were exceedingly pleased to have earned recognition in the contest.
HOT BLACK SPOTS
Friday night it was time to bust out the cowboy hat and check out the scorching psychobilly stylings of the Rev. Horton Heat at the Majestic. For the second year in a row, heat was the operative word for this particular show. Oversold, overheated and overcrowded, simply getting from one side of the theater to the other was an unspeakable challenge. In fact, the concert was more akin to an elaborate obstacle course, sort of an extreme version of the Bar Olympics, where you were simply competing to stay conscious, upright and relatively unscathed. Challenge No. 1 — not passing out from the insufferable heat. I actually saw a few wilted waiflike young lasses crumpled up in the far corner near the only fan in the place, and even I felt my knees begin to buckle at one point. After I grabbed one of the sickly looking young ladies, Jennie Graham, and dragged her to the bathroom with me to slurp down massive quantities of water, we both felt a bit more sprightly and returned to tackle the course. Challenge No. 2 — avoid the mosh pit at all costs. Even though I thought I maintained a safe distance, huddled behind WCBN DJ Del Villarreal and gothabilly man Alan Contino, we were suddenly ambushed by a roving pack of idiots. I ended up on the ground, and Villarreal got a nice shower of Labatt down his back. As he was attempting to dry off, he filled me in on the details of GreaseFest, an event he’s hosting Aug. 11 at the Royal Oak Theatre, featuring Bill Haley’s original Comets, The Racketeers from Boston and Nick Curran. And in true greasy tradition, the gala is being sponsored by White Castle. I was starting to see little black spots again, so it was off to garner more H20. Challenge No. 3, and perhaps the most difficult of all — negotiating your way through the packed solid, nearly pitch-black room without tripping over the scads of beer bottles that littered the floor. Shuffle, shuffle, trip, stumble, fall down, go boom. Repeat numerous times. This is also exceedingly difficult when you can’t see because you have glitter in your eye. I finally gave up in defeat and meekly retreated to the back of the theater, where I chatted with Angela Crouch, the fabulously dressed Cyndee Mair and Johnny Pruitt, the newly married Wayne and Julie Pritchard, Heather Haase, Mary Mullen from the ab fab modeling agency Traque, and the trouble-seeking trio of Tim McCauley, Derek Nestell and Paul Linkowski. Now desperately claustrophobic, soaked with sweat and feeling thoroughly icky, I fought my way out to the lobby where I encountered Melody Licious of Stroker Ace and The Gore Gore Girls, who created an innovative new beverage — a half-eaten piece of pizza dumped into a half-full gin and tonic. Mmmm! We meandered outside, where I came across four ladies soaking up the cool evening air — Nikole White, Krazy Kristin, Bad Brook and Mary Jane. Krazy and Bad were truly living up to their nicknames, to the point where I actually got scared and literally ran away — and that, ladies and gentlemen, takes a lot. I fled to the Majestic Café, where I bumped into the always entertaining MCC instructor Philip Fortier, and we hustled off to Numbers to dance the night away with the likes of Elliot Washburn, Danielle Delaney, Jay Sykes, and a host of other pulsating, sweaty bodies. I can only imagine how fun this sort of thing will be when it starts to get really hot. Cripes.
Saturday evening definitely called for something a little more low-key, so I suited up and headed off to a surprise 21st birthday party for Will English, at the house of his big sis Melissa Emily, the deathgirl.com Lolita extraordinaire. As partygoers crammed into the basement of the house Emily shares with boyfriend Alex Tear of WDRQ-FM 93.1, we all tried to silence the giggles and stay quiet as the birthday kid pulled into the driveway. This silence was hindered by some badly timed bodily function noises — boys will be boys. We managed to stop snickering just as English descended the stairs, and I think we scared the bejesus out of him. Handing out leis (insert assorted “get lei’d” comments here) and drinks garnished with multiple umbrellas ensued, after we chased off a few neighborhood preteens who wandered over in search of beer. Party attendees included Emily and English’s super kick-ass cool mom, Anita English, his equally super kick-ass cool girlfriend Katie Conner, the usual deathgirl crew of Tony Hamera, Dino Zoyes and William King, Amy Anselm of Blush, WDRQ-FM 93.1 intern Bill Bell, Brent Battles of Reprise Records, a smattering of other record-label reps, and attorney Mark Masters. Ah, to be 21 again.Sarah Klein writes here every other week. Got gossip, insider info, outrageous cries for publicity? Write [email protected], or call the tip line at 313-962-5281. Press * then dial