Returns and departures

Hear ye, hear ye! The back page court of public opinion, spurious rumors, titillating innuendo, ear-bending gossip, specious logic, glittering nightlife reporting, unrepentant name-dropping, gratuitous compatriot plugging and all-around bile-induced bon temps is now in session.

Yea, after a well-nigh nine-month sabbatical, I have rejoined the cozy confines of this back page hemisphere, and all the high-spirited hilarity and ribald frivolity which will no doubt ensue.

My departure from the scene was due, in part, to the rigors inherent in the weekly grind of squeezing out some semblance of excitement from this often torpid and predictable cityscape.

More importantly, however, my furlough from the fold allowed me to "sow my domestic oats," as it were, fathering a child back in February and taking a flying leap into matrimony this past August. This is not to say, however, that my new Ward Cleaver home life will in any way tie a rubber band around my forked tongue.

In order to keep things fresh around here, however, the column will now be rotated with two other writers – Amanda Crosena and Amy Probst – thereby ensuring an impertinent and cheeky perspective each and every week.


As the first snap of fall brings our summer to a close, one can’t help but notice an ever-so-slight tremor in the social pulse of this fair city, a perceived shudder in the cosmic landscape of our nightcrawling pecking order.

In my absence, a certain ink-smearing, spelling-impaired monthly has folded up shop.

Jerry Peterson, its craggy hirsute publisher, has apparently decided to point his dented Maverick in the direction of La La land and pursue his Barton Fink-like ambitions of being a screenwriter. From the sounds of things, it looks like he’ll be leaving a few skid marks on the local landscape before he hits the state line.


Meanwhile, the Dennis Archer administration, a plaintiff in a lawsuit against gun manufacturers, is also being exposed as a major gun dealer round these parts. (It’s a great gun-peddling time in Detroit!) As Archer press secretary Greg Bowens dryly observed during a recent spin session, "The irony of the situation is not lost on us." Now that’s a slogan for these fin de millennial times.


Oh, but it’s an exciting time in Detroit, just ripe for gossip columns. Deals are being cut left and right in the downtown environs, and one can taste a palpable trace of construction dust in the air (or is that just leftover from the Hudson’s demolition?).

The downtown development pace has picked up, as cash-fueled casinos miraculously leapfrog Detroit’s infamous red tape in a single bound. It’s evident that these casino companies are truly masters of illusion: They’ve convinced the local media and general populace that structures such as the windowless former IRS computer center and abandoned bread factories are glitzy and glamorous. What’s next, a refurbished box factory? (By the way, the irony of a former IRS building becoming a casino is not lost on us.)

In addition, we have restaurants such as Tom’s Oyster Bar heading into the Buhl Building in downtown Detroit, the swanky Pure Detroit Bar Room in the Wright Kay Building on Woodward and John R and a sushi bar/luxury hotel supposedly going into the David Whitney Building.

On the downtown hipster front, one need only point to the much-ballyhooed official grand opening of the new megabucks C Pop Gallery (not to be confused with the much-ballyhooed unofficial opening a few months back), scheduled for the weekend of September 24 and 25, as well as the opening on the same weekend of Hamtramck’s new "shot-and-a-beer joint" Small’s, which, when last we heard, was headed up by Ritual wünderkind Perry Lavoisne, Speedball’s Jeff King, and a certain local promoter known as Amir. Add it all up and, by gum, you’ve got some excitement on your hands.


Speaking of the C Pop shindig, I recently babbled with Rick Manore, the gallery’s co-owner and all-around smooth-pate Svengali, who offered up the enthusiastic prediction that a few major "A-list" stars would be trucking into town for the event, including, oh ... say perhaps James Iha and (the pride of South Haven, Mich.) D’arcy of the Smashing Pumpkins, Nicolas Cage (stop!), and (swoon) Lenny DiCaprio (I kid you not).

Taking these optimistic predictions with the proverbial grain of over-agitated Manore-style salt and hyperbole, one can probably expect the usual smattering of local scenesters, radio personalities, gossip columnists-freeloaders, artists and the suburbanites who buy their art.

Nicolas Cage? Right. I’ll believe that when Manore grows a Mohawk.

That said, it is indeed true that esteemed lowbrow minister of kultura and revered artist Robert Williams will be trucking into town for the event, which should be a celebrated event in any civilization. And Cage is a big fan of Williams ... and Cage’s old girlfriend Kristen Zang is from the local burbs ... hmmm, and wasn’t DiCaprio pursuing her scent for about two milliseconds a few years back?

The irony of this situation is not lost on us.


OK, consider this the clarion call for the official kickoff column. Start sending in those invites to gala parties, swingin’ affairs, grand club openings and miscellaneous gossip and rumor mongering. Our troika of back page columnists will divvy up the spoils. The Hotline is up and running, so call now, at 313-962-5281. Press * and then dial 8056. Keep those calls, cards and letters a-comin’.

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