Special Issues » Winter Guide

Pick your own perfect winter day in Detroit

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It's so cold in the D. - LEE DEVITO
  • Lee DeVito
  • It's so cold in the D.

It's wintertime in Detroit, which means one thing: Seasonal Affective Disorder. That's right. S.A.D. It's dark when you wake up and even darker by the time you leave work. Dry skin, salt stains, and a very high probability that you will get the flu and will want to die. Winter blows.

But lucky for you, your mom got you one of those artificial sun lamps that are supposed to mimic daylight and enhance your happy feelings, and you've been basking in its glow for weeks. You might just have a handle on this whole S.A.D. thing, after all.

So your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to have the perfect winter day. Ah, yes. Like a unicorn or the G-spot, a perfect winter day might seem like an out-of-reach mythical fantasy. It won't be easy. There will be misfortune, missteps, and, yes, possibly even death, because perfection is rarely achieved without sacrifice. Have you learned nothing from Game of Thrones?

However, if you choose wisely, a perfect winter day might just unfold before your eyes.

To begin your adventure, choose one of the options to start your day and then follow the instructions underneath to follow along through page numbers of the "book."

Now, let's start your adventure...






It's snowing outside. It's not a blizzard by any stretch of the imagination, but it's snowing in soft, fluffy, and patient sheets across the sky. So you call off work because you can't remember the last day you took off, and those overpaid vultures don't deserve any more of your time. Once you get the guts up to text your boss that you're sick and/or your grandma died again (better hide your coworkers from your Instagram story, STAT!) you crawl back to bed for a couple of hours. After your first cup of coffee, you feel rejuvenated. Hell, you might never go to work again. But before you resign, you decide to dedicate your day off to achieving an ideal Michigan winter day. Do you ...

Head out on a beautiful, snowy hike? (Turn to page 1)

Hit Crystal Mountain for some skiing and R&R? (Turn to page 2)

Head to Frankenmuth? (Turn to page 3)

Head to downtown Detroit? (Turn to page 4)





Pure Michigan. - SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
  • Pure Michigan.

A long and silent trek through the manicured woodlands of one of Michigan's beautiful metro parks is just what you needed. Whether you've decided to head east toward Lake. St. Clair or west to Milford's Kensington Park, serenity is within reach. You recognize how different everything looks and feels in winter and just how transformative Michigan's natural beauty is. Without earbuds pressed deep into your ears, you can hear everything. The sound of a bird twittering in a tree, the snapping of twigs and brush underneath what you hope are deer hooves. Off in the distance, you can hear children laughing as they soar down sledding hills. You can hear your breath and the soft crunch of snow beneath your winter boots. Not only are you slaying your New Year's resolution to go outside more, but you're also getting those steps in. After all, your mom's new husband bought you an off-brand smartwatch for Christmas and didn't offer a gift receipt. After a couple hours of this meditative journey, you've now worked up an appetite. A bowl of hot soup is what you crave. Do you ...

Head to Ima for udon? (Turn to page 11)

Head to Pho Lucky for pho? (Turn to page 17)





Though a perfect winter day might also involve doing jack-shit while you toggle between three screens (one of which includes binging a show you've already seen), you decide to really take advantage of the afternoon and head north to Crystal Mountain Resort. You've never been skiing, but you promised yourself to try new things just to spite your ex. It can't be that hard, right? When you arrive, it feels like you're in a movie. Families and couples dressed in coordinating snowsuits, laughing, zooming, and tumbling down the mountain. Eager to get in on the action, you buy your all-day lift ticket ($59) and rent your equipment ($45) and very rudely decline lessons and prematurely jump off the lift onto a medium-difficulty trail. Upon the drop, your knees wobble and threaten to give out, but that time you bought and used a Groupon for four spin classes is paying off and, just like that, you're the next Bode Miller. You were born to do this. Sure, you're not 100 percent sure how to stop, but you don't have a care in the world ... except for that tree, which you dodge like a goddamn caffeinated squirrel on I-75 during rush hour. You reach the bottom of the hill; you're sweaty, exhausted, and proud. You're gonna need a break. But it's a bit out of your budget to book a room or spa service. Do you ...

Take advantage of your location and snowshoe through Michigan's Legacy Art Park? (Turn to page 27)

Head toward home to grab a drink and read a self-help book at the Old Miami? (Turn to page 8)

Head toward home for some soul-satisfying grub at Jamaican Pot? (Turn to page 12)





Ah, Little Bavaria. You haven't been to Frankenmuth since you were a kid, and even then the only memory you have is puking in the Zehnder's Splash Village after eating a pound of peanut butter fudge. Anyway, you're here to make new memories and couldn't be happier that you chose the most wholesome winter activity for your day off. You take in the sights, take your photo with the Cheese Haus Mouse, and buy one of those dumb souvenir pennies they imprint with a scene of Frankenmuth. When you reach into your pocket to store your penny, you feel something. A tiny plastic baggy with ... wait, a minute. A tab of acid? You try to think about the last time you wore this winter coat and remember that this isn't even your coat. It's your old roommate's and your old roommate was a total wook. The day has given you a gift ... or a curse. Do you ...

Save the acid for Electric Forest and head to Zehnder's for a chicken dinner? (Turn to page 5)

Take the tab of acid and head to Bronner's CHRISTmas Store? (Turn to page 6)





Behold, New Detroit. - MICHAEL SAMSKY, DETROIT STOCK CITY
  • Michael Samsky, Detroit Stock City
  • Behold, New Detroit.

My, oh, my how the city has changed. You're glad you smoked a fat one before venturing through New Detroit, where you finally take the opportunity to see what all the fuss is about. (If your mom's new husband sends you one more article about "how much safer Detroit is now," you're going to scream.) But to your stoned surprise, you're having fun. Campus Martius is aglow with lights, the new H&M is calling your name even though you promised to shop more ethically in the new year, Cadillac Lodge looks warm and inviting, and Winter Blast (Feb. 7-9) is blasting off. But before you do anything, you've got to hit the ice rink. You're laced up and on the ice and you scoff at your high school gym teacher (who just so happens to be your mom's new husband) who said you would never accomplish anything with such weak ankles. You skate laps around everyone, even children, (eat ice, tots!) but are quickly out of breath (likely due to that fatty you smoked). Now it's time for some post-Tonya Harding beverages and a snack. Do you ...

Head to Karl's? (Turn to page 7)

Head to Old Miami? (Turn to page 8)





Mmmmmm.... - JONATHAN LENZ, SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Jonathan Lenz, Shutterstock
  • Mmmmmm....

OK, so your plan to eat less meat in 2020 goes out the window once you get a whiff of Zehnder's famous chicken dinners. But why chicken? To your delight, as you wait for the craft beer list, the menu offers a full history of Zehnder's, their chicken dinners, and — holy mother of god — there's an all-you-can-eat option for $25.99! Do you ...

Eat all that you can eat? (Turn to page 10)

Reconsider the tab of acid in your pocket and hit the slopes? (Turn to page 2)





What is this place? - SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
  • What is this place?

There's no turning back. You took the acid while sitting in the parking lot listening to Ira Glass talk about a mechanic in a small town who claims to be the reincarnation of Elvis Presley, and now you're in Bronner's —  the world's biggest Christmas store, where it claims to be the most wonderful time of year all year long. This place has everything. Ornaments for every interest, political affiliation, and quirky animal obsession. There are inflatable lawn characters, pre-lit Christmas trees, and fellow psychopaths who are actively shopping during the holiday's off-season. This stuff is strong, you think to yourself, as a wall of elf-themed ornaments lean toward you and whisper a series of words that must be code for something. Meanwhile, a Bronner's employee approaches you and asks if you need help finding anything, but you're too distracted by a hallucination of a reindeer walking upright, and dressed like Ruth Bader Ginsburg to answer. Do you ...

Ask the employee to direct you to the North Pole? (Turn to page 9)

Quickly run to your car and head to your happy place — the Creature Conservancy in Ann Arbor? (Turn to page 14)





Steak and eggs. - TOM PERKINS
  • Tom Perkins
  • Steak and eggs.

You've been meaning to check out Detroit's detail-heavy, aesthetically pleasing upscale diner Karl's, where you can order up a stack of $15 pancakes, steak and eggs, and a Manhattan any time of day. The latest venture from chef Kate Williams, Karl's reminds you of your grandma's kitchen (if grandma was alive and on Pinterest) with the added benefit of some awesome Instagrammable opportunities. You fill up on grub, and as you go to pay, feel a small baggy in your pocket. Wait, a minute. A tab of acid? You try to think about the last time you wore this winter coat and remember that this isn't even your coat. It's your old roommate's, and your old roommate was a total wook. Do you ...

Take the acid? (Turn to page 9)

Detox at the Schvitz? (Turn to page 13)





You enter the Old Miami, and you immediately feel at home. You feel so relieved to have settled on the perfect place for a midday drink and, to your delight, they're hosting a pierogi pop-up to soak up the booze. You hunker down with a book at the bar, where you can rest your totally muscular skating ankles on the barstool rung as you're approached by Frank, the beautiful bartender who insists on buying you a shot with your Stroh's. Do you ... 

Take the shot? (Turn to page 23)

Politely decline the shot and decide to check out the VR+Zone in Ferndale? (Turn to page 16)





You're now in a tree. Or maybe you are a tree. Man, that stuff was strong. Or are you just an astral projection? Is this what being born feels like? Regardless, you've climbed a pine tree and somewhere along the way you've lost your jacket, your shirt, and you can't remember where you live or why you live or even if you live or and suddenly you're transported to the set of CATS. You're a non-Jellicle Jennifer Hudson and you begin belting the lyrics to "Memory" to the tune of "Old Town Road" while cleaning yourself with your tongue. Before you risk one of your nine lives by jumping out of the tree, security is notified and you're detained until the ego death wears off.

Better luck next time. Try again by restarting.





Greta Van Fleet are here to tell you that you've obtained nirvana. - PHOTO BY DOUG COOMBE FOR METRO TIMES
  • Photo by Doug Coombe for Metro Times
  • Greta Van Fleet are here to tell you that you've obtained nirvana.

You are stuffed. In fact, the Zehnder's waitress comments that in her 35 years of working there, she's never seen a single person eat that much chicken in a single hour. She makes a phone call, and suddenly the mayor of Frankenmuth and Greta Van Fleet arrive with what appears to be the key to the city, which they award to you for your heroic eating. Greta Van Fleet performs an acapella version of the "Wind Beneath My Wings" but instead of lyrics, they cluck like chickens as you eat your complimentary rice pudding. Could life get any better?

Congratulations, you chose a perfect winter day. To land on one of the other ideal scenarios, restart the journey.



House-smoked salmon with roe at Ima. - TOM PERKINS
  • Tom Perkins
  • House-smoked salmon with roe at Ima.

You've been craving a big bowl of spicy Pork Udon and some warm sake from Ima for a hot minute, and you're not disappointed. OK, so the sake you ordered is technically intended to be shared, but you manage to suck it down in record time like a true warrior. The waitress politely cuts you off and delivers your bill. Do you ...

Stick to the indoors and catch a Wings game? (Turn to page 15)

Try your hand at ice fishing? (Turn to page 20)





Brown Stew Chicken from Jamaican Pot. - TOM PERKINS
  • Tom Perkins
  • Brown Stew Chicken from Jamaican Pot.

So, the family trip to Jamaica was canceled this year because your mom's new husband lost his passport. Thankfully for you, no one serves up fiery jerk chicken quite like Mama Rose and the crew at Jamaican Pot on West Eight Mile Road in Detroit, where everything is made fresh daily. Your appetite is fierce, which is why you order braised oxtails, saltfish, plantains, and a cup of Bob Marley Stew, which is a symphony of beans, scallions, and other veggies steeped in a garlic-ginger sauce over rice. Once you're properly fed, you get roped into a group chat. Do you ...

Head to Tree Runner Adventure Park in West Bloomfield with friends? (Turn to page 21)

Catch one of the winter-themed shows at Go! Comedy Improv Theater in Ferndale? (Turn to page 26)





A patron enjoys the new Schvitz in Detroit. - TONY LOWE
  • Tony Lowe
  • A patron enjoys the new Schvitz in Detroit.

You've never been to the Schvitz, Detroit's historic 100-year-old bathhouse, so you figure why not give it a shot? When you arrive, you can tell you're about to be transported to a place where email pings are of no concern to you and winter woes melt away. You've selected a wet steam, where people are being whipped, voluntarily, with palm leaves. The whacking sound puts you at peace as you feel all of your stress seep out through your pores. The session comes to an end, and when the steam clears — who do you see standing sweaty and erect in all of his mostly nude glory? None other than your mom's new husband. This is a nightmare. Thankfully, you duck out and find cover at a table hosted by GeminEye Tarot, who are hosting a pop-up tarot session. They pull the Hierophant, the Hanged Man, and the Lovers, and explain to you that your life lacks adventure, and only when you decide to take more risks will you feel fulfilled. They also remind you not to eat the leftovers you forgot to refrigerate. Weird. You heed their advice by continuing your day of winter fun. Do you ...

Head to West Bloomfield to the Tree Runner Park? (Turn to page 21)

Meet up at Lost River for a tiki cocktail? (Turn to page 24)

Time-hop to February and go to the Dirty Show? (Turn to page 25)





The Creature Conservancy of Ann Arbor is one of the city's best-kept secrets. This incredible nonprofit promotes education through conservation, offering programming year-round to help continued care of its many rescued, transplanted, and born-in-captivity creatures, including public viewings and educational stage talks for just $10. This place restores your sense of humanity as you encounter Quinn the injured eagle and Al the alligator, who was abandoned at a veterinary office. Lucky you, it's feeding time for Harper, the conservatory's resident cougar, who gets her very own catwalk above the main hallway. You overhear someone say the word sloth and you stop dead in your tracks. Did someone say sloth? Like, a real-life sloth? You trample children and leap over barriers to discover not just one sloth, but three friggin' sloths. This is the best day of your life. You start crying. And suddenly everyone in the presence of the sloths starts crying. You end up holding one another, basking in its beauty and mystique and cuteness. This might be the most magical place in Michigan. After you've dried your tears, you make a sizable donation you absolutely cannot afford to the conservancy, and the volunteer hugs you and the water works start all over. It's time to either calm or exacerbate your sensitive state. Do you ...

Head to Hot Tub Oasis Gardens? (Turn to page 18)

Lecture ice fishers? (Turn to page 20)





You scored some last-minute free tickets to the Wings game, which isn't hard to do these days. Boy, these guys suck. But it's hockey, and you love hockey, and while this team isn't going to win many games, it's nice to see hockey live. Plus, you're upholding your winter-themed day by keeping it close to the ice. You're already one over-priced Bud Light in when you realize the game is shaping up to be a disaster. The only thing worse is the guy next to you who's trying to argue the arena was worth every damn penny of taxpayer money and that Metro Times should lay off the Ilitches. To make matters worse, you glance in his direction and he asks how you'd feel if Dan Gilbert bought the Detroit Lions, which is weird because this is a hockey game. You don't really want to get into it because he's sporting a Blue Lives Matter sticker on the back of his Android phone. Do you ...

Shove off early and treat yourself to a trip to the Oasis Hot Tub Gardens in Ann Arbor? (Turn to page 18)

Tell the guy you're not from around here and stick around for the third period and then meet some friends at Duly's. (Turn to page 22)





A high-tech getaway. - NOAH ELLIOTT MORRISON
  • Noah Elliott Morrison
  • A high-tech getaway.

You've been meaning to try virtual reality, considering real reality is sort of a drag. Lucky for you, there's Ferndale's VR+ Zone, where you can ward off zombies, defend against an alien invasion, guard a camp against a dinosaur attack, or explore a haunted mansion. A group of people are looking for another to join their team, so you happily accept. You follow them into a room, where you're wired into your VR headset and, before you know it, you're blasting aliens in the face and sweating so much your headset slides off your head and you're shocked back into the real world. Time to refuel. Do you ...

Keep up with the abstract vibes and head to the Castalia at Sfumato? (Turn to page 19)

Head to Jamaican Pot? (Turn to page 12)





You walk into Pho Lucky, one of the most non-pretentious, straightforward eateries in Midtown. The local chain, which opened in 2012 in Redford, is the perfect spot to warm up, slurp some Vietnamese noodles, and take in some of the longreads from The New York Times you keep bookmarking, even though you'll likely stop reading after the first paragraph after Instagram temptations arise and you end up mindlessly clicking through everyone's stories. Your pho comes piping hot, and you pile on the cilantro, lime, bean sprouts, hoisin, and sriracha to create a spicy symphony in your cavernous belly. Before you leave, you order an N3 to go, a Vietnamese iced coffee that, after one sip, makes your heart flutter with caffeine. You hit a joint outside and you're feeling great. Next up ...

Head to the Shvitz? (Turn to page 13)

Head to Campus Martius? (Turn to page 9)





Your bathtub at home is clogged with hair, and it's super gross so you haven't been able to take a relaxing hot soak in months. That's why booking a steamy two-hour session in one of Oasis Hot Tub's many themed gardens is the perfect way to wind down after your busy winter day. To your dismay, the Japan room is booked. Bummer. So you settle on Santorini, which comes with a fireplace. You rinse off before tip-toeing into the bubbling waters of the hot tub, and soon you're chest-deep in pure pleasure. Your muscles are massaged by the hot-tub jets, and the tranquil tones of the pre-programmed ambient-sound radio puts you at ease. This might be the most relaxed you've been in a long time. You close your eyes and allow yourself to deconstruct negative thoughts and worries one at a time until your mind grows completely still. The soothing sounds of a babbling brook over the soft stylings of a Shakuhachi flute are enough to put you to sleep. A very deep and dangerous sleep. You have fallen asleep in the hot tub and are being resuscitated by a paramedic. You really regret not wearing a bathing suit.

Better luck next time. Try again by restarting.





Upon arrival at Castalia de Sfumato, it's clear you're not at some action-packed hipster sports bar. You're in what feels like an upscale New York apothecary. Described as a "sanctuary" for the senses, Castalia de Sfumato is the world's first scented cocktail bar. In the daytime, the space is dedicated to Sfumato's signature craft fragrances made from flowers, herbs, and spices. At night, it transforms into Castalia, a cocktail bar that offers drinks that pair with the scents, using house-made bitters, sodas, and tinctures. You follow your nose to a cocktail called the Quantum Leap, which uses vodka, grapefruit simple syrup, quinine vermouth, and woodsy tinctures, and pairs with their cedar-heavy Survival Instinct fragrance. You feel incredibly sophisticated when your trashy friends text you. Do you ...

Head to Duly's Place with the gang? (Turn to page 22)

Head to Lost River with the gang? (Turn to page 24)





With close to 11,000 lakes in Michigan (and only five of them being Great Lakes), you'd be an idiot to not take advantage of these frigid temperatures and try something new, like see what all the fuss is about ice fishing — and maybe convince everyone to put the fish back because despite what that Nirvana song says, fish do have feelings. You drive to the east side and find a cluster of ice fishermen and fisherwomen on Lake St. Clair. Surely someone will welcome a newbie. You waddle across the ice and meet Roberta, who offers you a sip out of her thermos. She promises you it's the "good stuff" and shows you how to use an auger, what type of bait is best, and man, you are in over your head and did not dress appropriately for this bullshit. However, Roberta seems all too eager for company, and gets a little handsy. Plus, she mentioned something about wanting to talk to you about her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. While Roberta refills her thermos, you make a run for it. Do you ...

Time-hop to February and go to the Dirty Show? (Turn to page 25)

Forget your woes and head to Go! Comedy in Ferndale? (Turn to page 26)





West Bloomfield Tree Runner Adventure Park might not be your first choice of activities, but you realize this aerial obstacle course is exactly what you need to shake you out of your comfort zone. After all, you've always wanted to audition for American Ninja Warrior. Here you can tighten up your agility skills, or lack thereof, by mastering the park's hardest course, comprised of zip lines, barrels, cargo nets, and bridges that connect to platforms built within the treetops. You're hooked in, harnessed up, and have been given the safety and rules rundown, and after you zip-line to your first platform, you feel invincible. You're soaring with the greatest of ease. You are Evel Knievel. You are Donkey Kong. You are ... tangled. Oh, god. You are really stuck. That tree wasn't even part of the course; how did you manage to hang yourself? OK, now you've obstructed the path of a group of employees from a tech startup who are on a team-building outing, and they are pissed. As you hang suspended from your safety harness, upside down, spinning like an idiot, waiting for someone to cut you down, you regret ever having left the comfort and safety of your bed. By the time you're released, a video of your embarrassing adventure has gone viral and you're the laughingstock of the world. Winter: 1. You: 0.

Better luck next time. Try again by restarting.





The late, great Anthony Bourdain once declared Southwest's Duly's Place the makers of the best coney dog in the city. This unassuming, cash-only, no-frills diner slings dogs and a modest breakfast and lunch menu 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The elbow-to-elbow hole in the wall is the perfect place to catch up with your gaggle of friends who, like you, are trying to refuel with some classic coneys and take in some spontaneous entertainment via Noah, Duly's beloved counter man, who is known to rock out on his Cifteli while folks dine. Though Duly's doesn't offer booze, you and your pack of lovely weirdos go dog-for-dog and Coke-for-Coke while reminiscing about your college years, making jokes at the expense of old flings, and promising to hang out more, even when work and life get in the way because friendship is the true meaning of Christmas, er, winter.

Congratulations, you chose a dynamite Detroit winter adventure. To restart and find one of the other optimal outcomes, go back to the beginning.





"Frank," you say, "you're my best friend." And with that, he orders up two Jamesons and you cheers. "To you, your family, your kind heart and, most of all, to this historic drinking establishment," you say. Oh, that burns. It burns so good. And Frank turns out to be a lively conversationalist. You learn about why he dropped out of CCS to pursue nursing, which he paid for by selling his pristinely cared for Princess Diana Beanie Baby and some body plasma. You begin to open up about your past relationship and how you blew it by forgetting your ex's birthday when you mistook it for your other ex's birthday. Man, have you had a tough run. You're a mess. Your life is falling apart. You're going to die alone. Holding back tears, you offer to buy Frank a shot. Frank obliges. Before you know it, two shots become four, afternoon turns to last call, and you're calling your ex for a ride home (but, again, mixing up their name with the other ex). This is not what you had in mind for your perfect winter day. You're throwing up in your hands in the back of your Lyft driver's Hyundai Sonata and have been asked to walk the rest of the way home.

Better luck next time. Try again by restarting.





By the time you enter Detroit's kitschy tiki bar, Lost River, your friends are already three sheets to the wind and hovering over a Volcano, which, to your horror, is a bowl filled with alcohol and is meant to be shared. Before you know it, you're doing the limbo (who allowed this to happen?) while screaming the lyrics to "Margaritaville" while drinking some coconut rum out of a ceramic bathtub. You and your friends are hella rowdy, and two Volcanos later, you get a phone call from your credit card company, alerting you of suspicious activity on your account. The woman on the other line informs you that six tickets to the Bahamas have been charged to your account, along with resort suites, spa packages, and apparently a premium Jimmy Buffet fan club membership. The tropical vibes of Lost River turned you into a dang parrothead and you explain to the nice credit card lady that you did in fact purchase those things while drunk and would like a refund. Nice credit card lady regrets to inform you that refunds are only issued in cases of identity theft or digital error. You are now more than $10,000 in debt, and your friends snuck out while you were on hold, leaving you with the tab. You're forced to call your mom's new husband and ask for a loan. Your perfect winter day is a wash.

Better luck next time. Try again by restarting.





Oh my. - MIKE PFIEFFER
  • Mike Pfieffer
  • Oh my.

You're a bit dizzy from the time travel, but once you're re-oriented, you see that you successfully transported yourself to the Russell Industrial Center for Jerry Vile's annual celebration of erotic art. The Dirty Show is serving up everything your totally non-erotic life is lacking. You don't know where to look (or where not to look). There's titillating paintings, photos, sculptures, and other odes to erotica, and major babes performing arousing and magical burlesque routines. There's the Daddy Hole, a pop-up leather daddy bar, and the Cinerotic Film Festival. You're in over-stimulated heaven and you're feeling sexy as hell. As you wander through the show, though, you find yourself accidentally in line — and next up — for the spanking booth. Before you know it, you're voluntarily bending over for a stunning, leather-clad dominatrix who is calling you a bad baby. Thwack! Thwack! It hurts so bad, but you ask for another, and another. People are cheering at your incredible physical endurance, and you are suddenly deemed Dirty Show royalty. And more than that esteemed title, you have leveled up in your sexual life. BDSM is your world now, and you never would've been exposed to it if you hadn't gone out in search of the perfect winter day.

Congratulations, you chose a great Detroit winter adventure. To find the other optimal outcomes, restart the journey.





Nothing says, "suck it, S.A.D." like getting your laugh on at Go Comedy! Improv Theater in Ferndale. This hub of funny has been a staple to the improv community for over a decade. Offering classes to aspiring improvisors and sketch writers, as well as reasonably priced nightly programming that ranges from interactive, short-form improv games, to long-form musical sketch shows, Go Comedy! does a little bit of everything. On this particular evening, though, you're treated to what is being billed as a double feature. One performance is a sketch show inspired by the most ridiculous news headlines. The other, well, you're not told what the second show is, which is sort of exciting. You start at the bar, where you're handed your drink by a woman who made direct eye contact during your entire interaction, even when pouring your drink, which was impressive. You continue into the theater, where you find an open seat that just so happens to have a placard with your name on it — even weirder, considering you just bought your tickets at the box office. You settle in and realize maybe you're underdressed, as everyone else appears to be in a uniform gray-and-white suit combo. Maybe it's just been awhile since you were last here. Within minutes of the first program, you find yourself laughing deep from your gut at an improviser who was acting like that news anchor that slipped on grapes live on air while making wine at a vineyard, and you're on the verge of choking because it's so funny. You've never laughed harder, and you feel pure euphoria by the time the second show begins, and that's when things start to get hazy. Your body and mind are no longer cooperating in unison. Maybe you need to eat something. You should probably go home, but you can't find your keys. Or your phone. Suddenly you realize the entire theater has been emptied, except for you and the dozen improvisers on the stage, all in uniform, all staring. They reach to you. They call to you. They ask you to name something you might find in your parents' medicine cabinet and a location you most wish to visit. Like a magnet, you are pulled onstage. "One of us, one of us, one of us. Gobble Gobble, one of us," they chant. Suddenly, a maypole rises from the stage, and you are festooned in a white gown and a flower crown. You begin to feel lighter. You start to mime opening a very difficult jar, but you're not doing it. You've lost control. The performers surround you and welcome you home. "One of us," they continue. You have been inducted into a cult. A very funny cult, but a cult.

Better luck next time. Try again by restarting.





On your way back from killing it on the slopes, you decide to make a detour and take in the sights of Michigan Legacy Art Park. The 30-acre wooded preserve is also an outdoor art gallery that fuses hiking and art snobbery in the best possible way. In winter, they offer snowshoe tours of the park's 40 outdoor art sculptures, including an oversized bear trap, which is legitimately terrifying. Once the tour wraps up, you decide to make your own moment of zen. When was the last time you just sat and soaked in nature, art, and not, you know, post under fake usernames on The Bachelor message boards? It's getting dark, and you should start the trek back home. You've got food on the brain. Do you ...

Head to Duly's Place in Southwest? (Turn to page 22)

Head to Jamaican Pot? (Turn to page 12)

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