As last week’s Wednesday careened toward an impending weekend, the jam-packed Loose Lips events calendar found itself in a quagmire. The glitzy Fash Bash was rolling into town, replete with its semitrailers and mega-production budget, purported glitzy stars and imported high-priced model corps. Then again, on the same night, an intriguing confluence of music and art was taking place at detroit contemporary gallery, featuring live music by local cowpokes Blanche, southern alt-country troubadours Trailer Bride and a relatively new entry on our local retro-music set, the Filter Kings. In addition, the latter show offered artwork by Tracee Miller of Blanche, Mel Schridde of the Filter Kings and Melissa Swingle of Trailer Bride. In the grand equation of the local nightlife scene, these two events could pretty much be positioned at absolute opposite ends of the social spectrum. After reviewing the pros and cons, this chronicler of nightlife opted for the detroit contemporary show. Not one to rain on the so-called fashion parade, but ... Hollywood glamour ... excuse me? Marshall Fields was putting the major ballyhoo and overhype overdrive into this year’s Fash Bash, trumpeting it as the supreme essence of Hollywood glamour. Brooke Shields? Taylor Dayne? Don McLean? This sounds like the B-list. Let’s see … Brooke Shields, product of a tenacious stage mom ... child soft-porn star ... inescapably wooden actress ... Bob Hope accomplice ... Agassi appendage ... “Suddenly Susan”.... uh-huh. Glamour. Or, apparently, what might appear glamorous to us hicks in the Midwest. “She-yoot Brooke Shields ... she went to Yale-ie ... and I seen Blue Lagoon to boot. Wow.” Um, that leaves us with Taylor Dayne and Don McLean to fill out the Hollywood glamour portion of the evening. Right. Wasn’t Taylor Dayne like, big in the ’80s? Nuff said. Is this what happens when Hudson’s is eliminated from our local lexicon? Like I said, I hate to rain on the Fash Bash parade, but let’s take a pass on this year’s B-list excitement and try something different. The DIA Founders Junior Council will inevitably rake in a ton of cash for the event, which is, of course, a good thing. But they certainly don’t need my blessings, and frankly, we’ve all got better things to do than see a bunch of self-professed wacky suburbanites and urbanites come together in the name of mediocre fashion.
Shrimps and scenesters
As such, your intrepid reporter found himself trundling up past the grass-swept savannas of Rosa Parks Boulevard on the way to detroit contemporary gallery, where a sizable crowd of cigarette smokers was milling about at the entrance. Once through the gatekeeper clouds, the gallery was full of scenesters and art lovers gleefully coalescing in peaceful harmony. As proof of the scenester content, I ran into Greg Baise, who was recently declared a certified scenester(tm). Also roaming about was baby-lugging former Metro Times music editor Chris Handyside, who purchased one of the more popular (judging by overheard comments) paintings by Tracee Miller entitled “Mew,” a jarring black silhouette of a Siamese kitty with a swirling, deep-red background. Speaking of baby-lugging, congrats to Blanche banjo-picker Brian Boyle and wife April on their new baby boy, Graham Henry, now almost 6 weeks old. Miller’s paintings were apparently selling like the proverbial hotcakes, as five were gone fairly early into the evening, including two purchased by Royal Oak “Shine” merchant Pam McLenon. Also roaming about were Chris Dellas and Intoxicat Wayne Pritchard, as well as assorted former members of the Atomic Fireballs, including Randy Sly (now of Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise), trombone man Tony Buccilli (now playing with the Filter Kings), Shawn Scaggs and Geoff Kinde. The Filter Kings, by the way, have a decidedly distinct type of sound going on, what with Gino Fanelli sitting down and strumming the guitar, Mel Schridde strumming an enormous harp, Buccilli playing trombone, and a keyboard and upright bass thrown in for good measure. Also on stage when I wandered in was Eve Doster, belting out “Summertime” with the band. Doster later took a break from the beer line and posed for the Loose Lips camera crew with harp player Schridde. The drawling, banjo strumming-by-way-of-Chapel Hill Swingle had one of the better lines of the evening, lamenting from the rather stuffy stage that “it’s not the heat, it’s the chlamydia.” Amen to that, sister. Seeking a break from the cozy and humid confines of the performance area, I headed back out to the gallery, where I took part in a bountiful buffet consisting of Ruffles, pretzels and some of the tiniest sea monkey-sized shrimp this side of the $1.99 Vegas shrimp cocktail. While not on the grand spectacle of the Fash Bash, the detroit contemporary show had more than enough cultural heft to bring in the scenester cognoscenti on a slightly more cutting-edge wavelength than that of the Brooke Shields-Taylor Dayne-Don McLean axis, which I guess is not too difficult.
Paint by pita
In other unrelated news, a recent lunch at the Small World Café in our fair city’s Cultural Center yielded this curious sight: DIA Director and esteemed head honcho Graham Beal dining beneath one of the many paint-by-numbers masterpieces which are currently being displayed at the Café, courtesy of the private art collection of Billy West. Given that the paint-by-number paintings originated in the metro Detroit area, could a DIA retrospective be far off?
And now this from our local hospital ward — a hearty heartfelt Loose Lips Get Well Soon to Wendy Case, a major media “Beat Girl(tm)” about town, who recently entered the hospital for treatment of a ruptured appendix ... all this after wandering about the indie-rock corridor for the past month wondering what the pain in her side was (insert crude joke here). That just goes to show you, indie-rock kids. Don’t ignore that pain in yer side.
Attention downtown denizens and office bee workers, culinary aid is on the way. The mega-project known as the Wintergarden at the RenCen is rapidly coming into focus, with a planned December 15 opening date (no doubt intended to coincide with my birthday of the same date). Two major restaurants will be located in the Wintergarden, and the names scrawled on the blueprints include Big Rock Brewery and Chop House, Andiamo, Wolfgang Puck and the requisite TGIFriday’s, as well as the nearby Beans and Cornbread. If even just one of these came to fruition, it would improve RenCen dining options by 100 percent. Stay tuned.Casey Coston writes here every other week. Got gossip, essential factoids or party invites? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the tip line at 313-962-5281. Press * then dial