Arts & Culture » Culture

Crawl, slither and swing



One of the more stylish Halloween/Devil's Night parties took place in the appropriately spooky Russell Industrial Center on Friday night. Entitled "The Weirding," the event was put on by the 3+4 Studio, with hosts including, among others, John Dunivant, Lisa Spindler, Tony Gomez and John Engstrom.

With a heavy emphasis on the theatrical and artistic elements of the community, the party attendees were in full costumed regalia. Unfortunately, the overly ambitious smoke machine fogged up almost all of my photos. I was able to filter out one shot, featuring a jovial evil clown known as Atom Kaiser, sandwiched by Dick O'Dow's bartender Sam McMechan and Atwater Block barkeep Michele Crimi.

Kaiser was modeling one of the more popular Halloween costume accessories of the night, the long, forked prosthetic tongue. At one point, it was conveniently used to grasp a lit cigarette between its fleshy forks.


The David Whitney Building on Grand Circus Park looks to be a veritable hotbed of downtown activity in the coming months. Proving you don't need to demolish a building to generate some excitement downtown, former Hudson's building activists Bill Atwood and Shawn Santo will be opening up Pure Detroit, a unique little variety shop specializing in all things Detroit.

Nested in the cozy space which formerly housed the Watkins Cigar Shop, it's a cool spot to navigate some of the best Detroit has to offer, from a $10,000 Vernor's gnome to a 5-cent bag of Rocky Peanuts.

Santo mentioned she's still having trouble extracting one final permit from the morass of bureaucracy at City Hall (pure Detroit!), and is looking for an early November start-up, with a grand opening party sometime in December.

Up on the third floor of the building is the Wayne State University Foundation Gallery, which opened several weeks ago. And the itinerant C-Pop Gallery will be setting up shop in Suite 313, its second temporary home pending completion of the expected mega-bucks makeover of its new permanent home in the old trophy shop next to the Majestic Theater (that'll be sometime in January 1999).

C-Pop's November 14 opening is the annual one-woman exhibit by Niagara, cheerfully entitled "It's My Party and I'll Die if I Want To."

The Larval Orchestra and super-special guest Ron Asheton will also be performing in the picturesque Whitney atrium. Add to all this Niagara's nomination for Details Magazine's Woman of the Year (?) promotion, and one would suspect this star-studded evening is fast becoming a not-to-be-missed event.


Speaking of gallery crawling, another hearty recommendation is fast approaching this Saturday. Robert Maniscalco's Studio Gallery will present a variety of expressionistic styles, from pure abstraction to social satire.

Featuring art by Boyko Asparuhoff of Bulgaria, native Detroiters Ron Zakrin and Robert Hansen, as well as Christian Aldo Sfalcin and Louis Redstone, the opening soiree looks to be a promising stop for any aspiring gallery crawler.

All of the artists will be present, including Asparuhoff, who is jetting in from Bulgaria with an interpreter. The Studio Gallery is located at 17329 Mack in Detroit. Call 313-886-2993 for more info.


Those who missed the 17th annual black tie spectacular at the General Motors showroom in New Center missed the opportunity to engage in some high-spirited bidding, presided over by none other than flamboyant Christie's auctioneer and Grand Haven native Fritz Hatton.

The auction, which raised more than $512,000 for the Center for Creative Studies, was attended by nearly 500 bidders, including GM head honcho Jack Smith and VP Philip Guarascio, who is also a CCS trustee. The Honorary Chairs of the event were Peter Mondavi Sr. and Jr. of the Charles Krug Winery, whose "Grand Lot" (a 68-bottle collection of "Vintage Select" Cabernet Sauvignon from 1951 through 1995) sold for a pricey $24,000. The wine was presented in a hand-crafted wooden wine display cabinet designed by CCS alumnus and furniture designer Dennis Slagle. No word on what the Boone's Farm "Tickle Me Pink" went for.


Any hepcat swingers wondering why the Royal Crown Revue didn't show up for its Ypsi gig need look no further than the Toledo hoosegow. Following the Friday night gig at the Toledo Citilounge, lead singer Eddie Nichols got into what was termed a "spitball" incident at a Toledo Big Boy. Warner Bros. publicist Monica Seide, Nichols and one of the band's roadies were at the fast-food restaurant when three officers allegedly began shooting spitballs at them. Nichols allegedly asked them to stop, and when they didn't, he -- in true rock 'n' roll fashion -- punched one of the officers in the face.

An officer then grabbed a security guard's billy club and broke all the blood vessels in the roadie's eye. It wasn't until then that the officers showed their badges.

According to the Toledo Blade (which said the officers were off-duty and made no mention of spitballs), the Lucas County Sheriff is investigating the incident. No wonder the band's new album is called The Contender.

While I'm on the circuit, congrats to Rachel Heller and Starlight Drifter Rudy Varner on their recent wedding engagement.

Also, be sure to check out Hot Rod Lincoln at Swing-A-Billy Sunday, November 22 at Ann Arbor's Blind Pig. The band played back-up to Josie Kreuzer on her Hot Rod Gal LP. The title track of their latest album, Blue Cafe, was written by Brian Setzer, and the LP was produced by Lee Rocker. Dance Lessons 7 - 8:30 p.m.; band and DJ Del Villarreal to follow.

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