The much-anticipated party was touted as the event of the year; anybody who was somebody would be there. After attending, I am plagued with the pressing question — just what makes you a somebody? Membership to that secret little society of Detroit’s cooler-than-cool? Talent? Complete lack thereof? Or perhaps it’s all relative, and anybody, including a nobody, can be a somebody if they at least know the right bodies.
You follow? Me neither.
Part of the beauty of the past 20 years of the Metro Times has been its ability to meld the elitist with the unassuming — the nobodies with the somebodies, making it a publication for everybody.
In fact, just about everybody turned up for the soiree, making it most entertaining to kick back and watch the diversity mingle, as the highbrow, the lowbrow and the nobrow (no monobrow, however, in this fashion-conscious group) shuffled past one another, sizing up each person’s respective level of “somebody-ness.”
The evening kicked off early with a VIP dinner — only for the somebodies, unless of course you were a nobody who knew somebody. As my entourage settled down to scarf sushi and sip cosmopolitans (whoops, got elitist there for a second, sorry) I was mesmerized by the gorgeous mass of blonde braids that plunked down next to me. They belonged to Gina Sullins, a stylist at Salon Agape in Novi. She was flanked by another Gina, manager Gina Scarpelli, who told me all about Agape’s new multimedia beauty event, Insomnia, occurring the first Friday of every month. For 50 bones, clubgoers can get all dolled up, while DJ Pressure spins the tunes and a light show accents art by Tomiko and Tim Jack. Stylish-impaired? Get thee to Agape Oct. 6 for the debut of Insomnia.
Speaking of insomnia, I made my way over to the Red Bull booth where bouncy, wired reps Gabriel Engeland and Johnna Thomas were pushing the supposedly all-natural energy drink, which packs a whopping dose of caffeine. Espresso is like water compared to this stuff.
Thoroughly energized, I prattled on with the refreshingly unpretentious duo of Cody Ryder and writer Carleton Gholz, who teaches at Dominican High School with Cody’s savvy artist-mom Gail Ryder.
Eventually, all were herded upstairs to hear the bands, which included the Howling Diablos and those wacky guys from Sponge. Many were particularly impressed with the funky bass-drenched sounds of Soul Clique, who helped more than a few of the uptight and rhythm-challenged bring out their inner groove thang. Halfway through their set, the audience was treated to an impromptu guest appearance of Detroit institution Esham — later on I caught him enjoying a cigar and a Red Bull alongside Soul Clique bassist Joe Hayden.
Most amusing activity of the night was watching self-important facades gradually slip away as a few somebodies indulged in a little bit too much of the sauce. There’s nothing more entertaining than listening to a supposed high roller slur, “Who are you? No, I mean who are you?” (Apparently the delicate way of determining whether a person is a somebody, anybody or nobody).
Second most amusing activity was taunting the handrail police; apparently the world will come to an end if patrons of the Roostertail do not firmly grasp the handrail at all times and stay on the side of the stairs assigned to ascending or descending (which managed to frequently change). By the end of the night I just said fuck it and pranced smack down the middle, to the tune of several stern reprimands from the handrail-enforcement squad.
The uniquely named Detroit band Jelly’s Pierced Tattoo found themselves in quite a jam this weekend (yeah, I can’t believe I stooped to that pun either).
The group was involved in the preliminary stages of a deal with VH1, for a show that would document four bands with a competitive slant yet to be revealed; think “Road Rules” meets “Behind the Music.”
Jelly’s Pierced Tattoo made it to the finals and was to confirm with VH1 on Friday; wouldn’t you know it, first thing Thursday morning, the bass player informed the band that due to personal issues, she felt she could no longer be a member. Hence a last-minute whirlwind panic-stricken search for a last-minute bass player ensued.
Here is a blow-by-blow of the timeline, as dictated by the affable Jelly herself.
Thursday morning — Freak out. Scramble together a band meeting. Call everyone in metro Detroit. Beg graciously.
Early afternoon — Freak out some more. Go down to WDET-FM, flyer the Wayne State campus. Call everyone in metro Detroit again, then e-mail everyone in metro Detroit. Scour the Internet.
Late afternoon — Continue freaking out.
Early evening — Relax slightly, after finding three bass players to audition and a drummer to boot.
Late evening — Thoroughly impressed by highly talented bass players, manage to choose one and go with the drummer. Very pleased with outpouring of support and encouragement received from Detroit music community in time of crisis.
Friday afternoon — Call VH1 to notify them of new bass player. Receive typical entertainment biz response: “Whoa! That will make such a great story!”
Friday evening — Rehearse with new members and continue to be impressed. Having averted crisis, attempt to reduce heart-attack level of stress.
The band flew to New York on Sunday evening and interviewed with VH1 on Monday; they will find out if they get the slot sometime this week. To keep updated on the saga, check out the band’s Web site at www.jellysound.com.Sarah Klein writes here every other week. Call the Loose Lips tip line at 313-962-5281. Press * then dial