Finally, November has at long last arrived, a frosty clarion call to put down our rakes, stow away our summer togs, gird up in our armor of cold-weather attire and hit the streets, bars, parties and soirees scattered about metro Detroit over the course of the ensuing holiday season.
No more lightweight affairs and garden parties, no more outdoor concerts on Oakland County hills; it’s time to hunker down and prepare to be battered by the incessant cigarette smoke, subterranean street steam and chilling winds which come howling down Woodward Avenue and through the Cass Corridor. But of course, before we do that, we still had to deal with Halloween this past week, and all the revelry that entails.
Halloween is usually like New Year’s Eve. The bigger the buildup, the more likely it is to end in utter disaster and failure, which is why many professional nightlife aficionados just bag it or opt for a low-key affair and let the amateurs have their night on the town.
Heeding such concerns, I ventured out onto the mean streets of Detroit for a bit of nocturnal sightseeing, stopping first at the CPop Gallery to check out the live bats on display courtesy of the Organization of Bat Conservation of Haslett, Michigan.
“Holy Mutual of Omaha,” I proclaimed, in my best Adam West voice, as I witnessed bat fans both young and old converging on the gallery (as well as art fans, one of whom reportedly purchased a large Niagara piece for $10,000).
Speaking of “Wild Kingdom,” while there was no Marlin Perkins mixing me a martini in the tent while Jim Fowler wrestled an alligator, an enterprising young lad in a Prince Valiant haircut did try to sell me a Coke (no ice) for 50 cents, which I politely declined due to the fact that the drinks were free over at the bar.
Meanwhile, bat master Rob Mies employed that familiar tonality and speaking cadence you hear when you watch nature shows or animal handlers visiting David Letterman — sort of friendly and anecdotal yet academically enlightening at the same time ... “Now this is one of the most endangered mammals in the world ... found only off the coast of Madagascar.”
The animal in question was a large 14-year-old fruit bat; a surprisingly cuddly and furry ball of upside-down cuteness, like a small, shrunken-headed cat with large wings.
Spreading the gospel of the winged furry mammal, OBC executive director Kim Williams and Mies have taken their bats on the “Today Show” (where a bat climbed onto Matt Lauer’s head), as well as a recent appearance on “Martha Stewart Living” (where, unfortunately, a bat did not crawl on her head).
In any event, for those looking for more info on the wonderful world of bats, go to www.batconservation.org.
Moving ever onward and upward, my costumed caravan next stopped off at an elegant Tudor home in the Green Acres neighborhood of Detroit. Billed by hosts Adam Druckman and Audrey Becker as a “scary house party,” I eschewed the candy corns and Kit Kats and headed straight down the stairs to a cozy rec room, as proto power pop troubadours the Atomic Numbers were kicking out their finest jams to a packed house (or as packed as a basement room can be). There’s nothing like sitting fireside and listening to a live performance by the Numbers to kind of take the chill off a frigid evening.
Making my way down the stairs, I narrowly avoided being poked in the eye by a branch courtesy of Sus Kaminski and Adam Faja, decked out in their finest costume foliage-wear. Seeking to defend myself, I quickly pulled out a trusty flash camera to ward them off.
My Halloween horror and shock occurred later, however, as I came to the creeping realization that certain Metro Times staffers and editorial personnel were in attendance at the party … scary indeed.
Keanu Reeves and company rolled into town last weekend to film scenes for the new Paramount picture Hardball, starring Reeves and Diane Lane.
Local casting director Kathy McKee was burning up the phone lines seeking to line up 1,200 extras for scenes to be filmed at Tiger Stadium on Friday night. Our beloved stadium was acting as a stand-in for Chicago’s Comiskey Park — apparently, the film’s producers were unable to get the White Sox to agree to a film deal, as that team expected to still be playing into late October (fat chance).
Enter Tiger Stadium, which is fast becoming a Hollywood backlot for movie companies looking to do sports location shoots. Perhaps this could be the historic new “re-use” for Tiger Stadium: a stand-in for sports movies. Football, baseball, gladiators, chariot races, bullfights … we could do it all.
Apparently, the Hardball shoot went until 5:30 on Saturday morning, but many of the casually attired extras bailed out once the mercury began to plummet rapidly after midnight.
McKee, by the way, is still on the lookout for talent, as she is putting together a local variety/talent/talk show for local cable entitled “Showtime.” Anyone interested should visit her Web site at www.creative-artist-network.com.
In a final note, the Centre Street Pub in Harmonie Park, a new hot spot first mentioned in the June 28-July 4 Loose Lips column, is up and running now. Located in the lower level of the Harmonie Club, the rathskeller-style pub features original Pewabic tile, a putting green and a lounge area with pool tables and personalized cigar humidors. I even spotted one for both Hizzoner Mayor Archer and beloved offspring Denny Jr. How sweet, father and son enjoying a stogie together.
If they do, however, the pub needs to look at getting a better exhaust system, as the grease cloud emanating from the kitchen greeted me at the door even faster than the speediest of hostesses. (Read MT’s full review of Centre Street Pub).Casey Coston writes about development in Detroit. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org