The Players, the snug 1925-era theater and "gentlemans club" on Jefferson Avenue, hosted a fashion show / silent auction / benefit for Arts & Scraps on Saturday night.
As we approached the medieval-like old theater, a shocking royal blue runner out to the street announced that big doings were indeed going on inside those formidable walls. As I entered the stone foyer at the base of a spiral staircase, my eyes immediately alighted upon a stunning nude oil painting behind the bar, entitled "The Beautiful Lady," which evoked fond memories of the Kress Lounge, and, in a bit of foreshadowing, was clearly a sign of things to come.
Sponsored by Absolut, 89X and a local punk-history-challenged free entertainment weekly (Question: "How do you spell CBGBs?" Their answer: "Cibi-Gibis."), the evening was intended to raise money for the charity, whose stated "mission" is to "recycle industrial scraps into art material and provide a creative outlet for the community."
Given their devotion to recycling, perhaps attendees should have just brought some old toilet-paper rolls, construction paper and foam padding and called it a day. That would have spared us the fashion show by local designers, featuring an odd array of "couture" that perhaps should be relegated to the Arts & Scraps recycling heap.
Style, of course, is a matter of taste, and perhaps I dont have any, but I saw one blue two-piece number out on the runway that I swear was worn by Esther Williams in her old MGM musical / synchronized swimming days.
Another number featured a brown skirt cut zig-zag style with a few feathers attached to the front, like Pocahontas meets Betty Rubble.
But enough about the fashions, lets get on with the show, which was ably produced by Pop Culture Media and devotee of the perpetual headset Carole Marvin (I dont believe she ever took that thing off, even long after the models had strutted their collective stuff).
The playful set design was created by local artist and musician Bill Brovold (currently of Larval), a colorful visual vacation from the cold harsh realities of late-January Detroit.
In addition, music was spun during the upstairs pre- and post-party by London-born, camera-shy Planet E recording artist Hannah Sawtell, with the sonic runway backdrop provided by legendary DJ / producer Kenny Larkin.
One of the more prurient highlights of the show occurred when an unidentified model in a scanty top accidentally exposed her breasts to the audience, no doubt a rare occurrence in the male-only club. The impromptu burlesque elicited a few whoops and hollers from those in attendance.
Spotted in the front row was local artist / thorn-in-the-citys-side Tyree Guyton, who has a collaborative show with artist Bill Murcko opening next Saturday at the Scarab Club, entitled "Opposites Attract."
Meandering about afterward were a plethora of singularly named scenesters and models, including party promoter extraordinaire Korie and performance artist Ziam, who noted that she was "here to celebrate another day of the life of art and the art of life," whatever that meant.
Also spotted were the usual smattering of people whose names appear in this column far too often, including a ruddy-faced Steven Sowers, who crowed that he has finally closed the deal to purchase the old Blue Moon. At the rate that project is going, we should expect to see his new club open sometime before the permanent casinos. Also in the mix was Jeff Shovlin, of motormouth.org, an "electronic publication devoted to documenting innovative circles and exposing the Detroit underground around the world."
Shovlin indicated he was participating in the upcoming aptly named "Dirty" art show being put on by washed-out publisher Jerry Peterson in his old Royal Oak offices. The Valentine-themed show will feature no fewer than 34 world-renowned local artists. In a nostalgic nod to Petersons old Orbit days, at least seven artists had their names misspelled on the invite.
Speaking of which, the invitation elicits comparisons to some of the old PR hype before William Castle horror movies, ominously noting that, due to the "disturbing nature of this exhibit, you must be 18 with photo ID."
The red-eyed Peterson, by the way, was up to his merry prankster ways at the Absolut "chair-ity" auction, a silent auction of some rather unattractive art chairs. In a dastardly maneuver, Peterson placed a $1,500 bid in my name for an, ahem, chair that looked like it was dipped in Krazy Glue and then placed in the Arts & Scraps warehouse during a hurricane. Fortunately, a kind soul prevented Peterson from getting my correct phone number, ensuring that I wouldnt receive some anxious phone calls on Monday, looking for a $1,500 check.
CAN BORDERS BE FAR BEHIND?
In yet another sign of the downtown Detroit corporate resurgence, a Starbucks will open soon on the second floor of the Millender Center, bringing the number of their stores currently open or soon to be open within the city limits to a grand total of two, with the other being in the Buhl Building. Another 70 or so and well be right up there with Chicago.
In an episode reminiscent of the old Wixom panther or perhaps the Warren "liger," Detroit police found a nonmilitant black panther locked inside an illegally parked Jeep Cherokee outside the 36th District Court on Friday. Its owner was in court at the time. Note to all big cat owners please park legally when bringing your lions and tigers to court with you.