Rock 'n' jocks

Apr 11, 2001 at 12:00 am

Hot divas, full-moon Mathers

The Detroit Music Awards were held this past Friday night, as more than 1,500 musicians, schmoozers, big-headed, self-proclaimed megalomaniacal rock stars and their respective security details descended upon the State Theatre to preen, prance and accept the adulation of their peers. Kudos to DMA organizers for eliminating the much-maligned “Jill Jack Factor” of years past, in which the same artist won the same awards year after year. Now if someone could just explain to me how Immunity wins six awards and who in the hell are the Dungbeatles then I’ll be all set.

Egos were highly inflated for the big night, perhaps none more than Marshall Mathers III and his D12 posse and multifarious handlers. Talk about “Divas Live,” it was all on stage Friday night. Must have been the full moon. Winning the awards for Most Outstanding National Single and Album, the Dido-sampling, platinum-haired, platinum-selling “artiste” declined to accept the award in person, and instead sent down an attitude-enhanced cousin and brother team as he was apparently too busy in the dressing room to come down and accept it himself.

After assisting, along with MT’s Sarah Klein and Steve Kostan of WCSX-FM 94.7, in presenting the Outstanding National Single award to the aforementioned unknown adolescents, I hovered in the stairway backstage as hordes of security folks manufactured their own peculiar brand of chaos and babbled incessantly into walkie-talkies as we all waited for Eminem and his D12 cohorts to descend the staircase and begin their performance. Truly ludicrous. One would’ve thought the pope was coming down the stairs. Once D12 began its performance, I mingled about in the crowd up front, which reminded me of those MTV music awards, where stiff, 40-ish record-company executives and their wives suck up all the expensive seats and act like they’re really into it and pump their fists in the air when the live performances begin. I wisely resisted the urge to lead the yuppies in a cheer (“Representing 2-4-8 y’all ... Birmingham’s in the house!”) and settled in for a thumping 20-minute closer by the D12 crew.

Whilst escaping the stifling overheated temperatures of the State (who set the thermostat?), I sought refuge in the State Bar next door, which acted as an impromptu green room for award show nominees and friends. Ordering up a Harp, I clanged elbows with Town Pumpster Sean Harrington, just back from Rio, who was entertaining UK transplant Cleo Sheehan with his no-doubt witty repartee. Also fuming at the bar was my column cohort Sarah Klein, who was livid at having her camera shmushed across her kisser by a hulking member of the Kid Rock security crew, despite getting the OK to snap the photo by Mr. Rock himself.

Following the awards show, many hipsters trundled up Woodward to the venerable Whitney manse, where Tim Price was putting on a post-awards show featuring DJ Kevin Saunderson. This was no doubt the post-show place to be, as the glitterati and hipster cognoscenti struggled through the elegant cigarette haze to make out the who’s who and who’s-not-so-who in attendance. I caught up once again with a less-livid Sarah Klein, as she chatted with Atomic Numbers drummer Matt Aljian, both of whom towered over B.J. Hammerstein, editor of a local weekly fanzine for entertainers and advertisers which is published in the suburbs. Unfortunately, however, the Whitney doesn’t operate an all-hours venue. As such, this long evening eventually had to end, and folks reluctantly filtered out onto moonlit Woodward Avenue as the 2 a.m. bell began to sound.

Jocks for a cause

On an absolutely dissimilar note, Comerica Park played host last Monday night to the pet charity of Atanas Ilitch, the Osteosarcoma Foundation, which held its $350 per person “Light Up The Park” fundraiser in the Tiger Club. The foundation is dedicated to assisting patients, families and friends faced with the osteosarcoma cancer, which primarily affects children and young adults. Last year’s inaugural event raised more than $500,000 for the charity.

As expected, all of your usual sport jocks were on hand, including former Tiger greats Kirk Gibson and Lance Parrish, as well as current Tigers Damion Easley, Tony Clark, Dean Palmer and Bobby Higginson, the latter of whom, just days earlier, signed a $35.4 million contract. I sidled up near the bar, where Maid Marian Ilitch was bending the ear of Red Wings GM Ken Holland almost the entire time. No mistaking what team she’s concerned with. King Mike Ilitch meanwhile gave an impromptu pep talk to a gathering of Tigers, noting that a lot of people have been “giving me shit” about his skinflint spending habits this past year. Curiously enough, the aforementioned $35.4 million contract recipient Higginson was excluded from the pep talk, leaving a skittish flack to assure him it was an unintentional snub: Mr. Ilitch “just didn’t see you,” she assured him. Higginson didn’t seem to care, he simply went on and posed for the Loose Lips camera crew (but not until after making a disparaging comment about the quality of the camera) along with Tracy Rueckert and Sarah Freihaut, who made the trip from the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York for the party. Also spotted was mythical media figure and current furniture huckster Bill Bonds behind the salad bar-buffet line (new job, Bill?), as well as the physically Engler-esque Detroit News sports scribbler Bob Wojonowski, who was hot on the trail for more cocktail sauce for his plateful of shrimp, and then struggled as the horseradish content gave him a jolt. Apparently, local sports-media types have a weakness for cocktail sauce, as pint-sized, tuxedo-clad Fox Sports TV Tiger broadcaster Josh Lewin was also overheard sniffling about the spicy horseradish content of the cocktail sauce.

While I didn’t go to Opening Day, I did catch a few innings from outside during lunch. Curiously enough, while hanging on the left field fence near statue row, I spied embattled embittered Tiger Prez John McHale stride purposely by us during the first inning, alone in his thoughts. The gentleman next to me who was scalping tix then yelled obscenities at McHale for some unknown reason (perhaps for heading up an inferior team that has low ticket sales and therefore cuts into scalping profits). About five minutes later, two of Detroit’s finest men in blue rode up on Harleys and kicked us all off the fence. Coincidence I’m sure, but as McHale explained when the Tigers lowered the payroll this year, “We have a business to run.” I guess that includes keeping freeloaders off the fence.

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