Space-age yeti and hot tips

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The fantabulous grounds of Cranbrook were opened up again last Saturday for the sixth annual Serious Moonlight party, held, as always, on the lush, immaculate grounds surrounding the art museum. Having attended this party for the past five years, I knew what to expect. As always, the party did not disappoint. Then again, with the backdrop of Cranbrook, it’s hard to see how you could go wrong. Unlike years past, when the fete was held around the Triton pools (except when they were being renovated), this party was held in and around the front-lawn area and peristyle, no doubt due to the construction of a new wing at the art museum. As I wandered about the billowing tents searching for sustenance (rather unsuccessfully, I might add), I spied one-time Cinderella’s Attic helper Babe York, sitting at a table with cohort Stephanie Shepard. York’s brother, Paris, was one of the many “Sound Suits” performers dancing about while clad in what appeared to be space-age yeti costumes created by Cranbrook alum Nick Cave (CAA ‘89). To repeat a line echoed by many, no … it’s Nick Cave the artist, not Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. (FYI: All black-clad, cuff-unbuttoned, slack-jawed, cig-dangling Faulkner-esque neo-punk fans expecting the Southern goth-punk troubadour of Bad Seeds fame are advised to head to the State Theatre on Sept. 29.) Getting back to the Cranbrook party, if you haven’t checked out the Harry Bertoia sound exhibit in the museum, do so now, as these sonic rod sculptures are truly a visual and aural feast for the senses. As further proof, none other than Detroit techno legend Carl Craig will be out at Cranbrook on Aug. 17 at a soiree hosted by Liz Copeland.

Craig will be creating music and performing under the peristyle with eight of his carefully selected favorite Betoria sound sculptures. Finally, for all those Serious Moonlight partygoers who missed out on the limited food available, and instead resorted to liquid nourishment and gobbling down chef Jimmy Schmidt’s incredible Smart Chocolates (gingko biloba and ginseng can only take you so far), Hungry Howie’s pizza was hauled out around 11 p.m. or so. Hungry Howie’s, space-age yeti, Cranbrook and thumping disco sounds ... how delightfully discordant.


Speaking of discordant sounds, the wheezing amplified turbine and almost obscene sounds bellowing from the Detroit riverfront over the past weekend could only mean one thing … Coleman Young has been reincarnated as a radioactive sea monster. Oh, wait, no, it’s the hydroplane races. Given the incredible weather, I decided to check out this so-called Thunderfest, notwithstanding the obtuse and idiotic obstacles of the Chrysler APBA Gold Cup organizers, who refused to grant me access. Notwithstanding the snub, John Schoenith at the Roostertail was more than generous and hospitable, and, frankly, the Roostertail is a much better place to watch the races than the sun-baked bleachers and dust-caked official viewing area. While the Roostertail was hosting the 89X-sponsored Royal Plush party on Saturday with bands Save Ferris and Soul Cracker, as well as a sold out Hottiefest on Friday (not to be confused with the Hattie McDaniel-fest, of Gone With the Wind fame, held in Wichita every May), my one foray onto the midway of the official race site bore witness to a performance by a band called Sequoia in what could only be called the battle of the redneck bar bands. It was like Spinal Tap without the irony and tongue-in-cheekiness. I quickly beat a retreat back to the Roostertail deck before I got punched, where, despite the whole WRIF vibe, it was still a decent place to have a beer and watch fuel-guzzling hydroplanes fly across the water. Actual overheard conversation of nearby scantily clad females ranged from breast augmentation options to the inquisitive “You did his friend, right?” While walking out to Jefferson after the race, I stopped to see one of the better musical offerings, Sequoia notwithstanding, in the area, that being Tiffany and Tiara Hill, sitting on the steps of their home in the shadows of the Roostertail and playing the violin for their music-school fund like true buskers. See you next year.


And now these selected popovers of useless information plucked from our fair city’s gossip grapevine, delivered fresh and hot for your reading pleasure: Flash No. 1 — speaking of Cinderella’s Attic, the venerable vintage emporium is closing soon. Yes, that’s right, Heidi Lichtenstein is closing her Ferndale doors at the end of this month and going 100 percent virtual with a future Web site to be called

Lichtenstein is sick of the sturm und drang of daily shopkeeper life, and has forsaken a move back to the high-priced rent of her former stomping grounds of Royal Oak in favor of the Internet realm (less shoplifting, to be sure). The closing of the Ferndale store was precipitated in part by the end of her lease, as well as a somewhat disappointing level of foot traffic.

As Lichtenstein exclaimed, “What, would you want to do business in Ferndale?” The Royal Oak/ SoRo region mourns the passing of yet another classic retailer (Dave’s Comics, Patti Smith et al). Let’s applaud Noir Leather for still plugging away against the theme restaurants and greedy landlords. Noir’s 20th anniversary party is on the horizon.

Flash No. 2 — Steven Tyler of Aerosmith was rumored to be squeezing in a visit to Marshall Mathers’ home studio to lay down some tracks (perhaps another rendition of “Walk this Way”), between signing cars at Chrysler’s HQ and doing a show at DTE Energy Theatre. Speaketh of Em, a recent blab in the New Musical Express opined that our platinum-haired platinum-selling Grammy star had Tourette’s syndrome, thereby explaining away all those naughty, naughty words. Yeah ... um … right. That sounds like something I’d hear on the sweeps month 11 p.m. local news.

Flash No. 3 — In the parturient news department (and speaking of Tourette’s syndrome), congratulations are in order for coasting ex-Orbit-publisher Jerry “Vile” Peterson, who is well on his way to becoming a (shudder) father, with a tipsy hiccoughing stork expected to drop off a baby daughter sometime in September.

Finally, Flash No. 4 — demonstrating the unfortunate power of even the mediocre press, a recent Free Press write-up on the Hamtramck performance space Logic was read by Logic’s landlord, who promptly evicted them. Obviously, the landlord was unswayed by the artistic boundaries being explored in the space. The venue’s operators are desperately searching for a new space to move into by Aug. 1, ideally within the Detroit city limits. At the very least, they’re hoping to find a place to hold LOGICfest, an indie-music festival scheduled for Aug. 3-6. Please contact Colin at 248-789-0588 if you can help in either instance.

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
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