Ah, the holidays. Once again, it’s time to gather with relatives and people you really don’t like any time during the other 11 months of the year, pack on 10 pounds and empty your wallet on token gifts that will inevitably be returned or sold on eBay. Right about now is also the time all the bah-humbugs officially adopt a perpetual bad mood until Dec. 26. This includes me, so consider yourself forewarned.
After consuming way too much turkey on Thursday, I fell into a deep tryptophan coma, not coming to until sometime around Friday afternoon. After a slight struggle, I managed to squeeze myself into a pair of bar pants and trudged over to Hamtramck to check out the Carbon Lounge.
Carbon has been around for 2 years, but given that Hamtramck is something like the nation’s leader in the highest number of bars per square foot, sometimes places get overlooked. Owner Simon Nikprelaj is doing his best to create a comfortable little niche in bar central; Carbon has the same sort of upscale house format that’s so popular these days, but the cozy atmosphere is reminiscent of the old Velvet Lounge. This would be an ideal little spot to curl up and down a few premium cocktails before heading out to louder, bigger ventures.
The smiley staff includes brand-new waitress Brandie Mabry and requisite suave male bartender Jason Mittler, who was working the charm with college-students-on-the-lam Lori Brent and Joleah Jokinen, and hairstylist Becky Podolski of Bocci’s Hair Salon in Sterling Heights.
Next up, my compatriots hustled me off to the Magic Stick so they could check out the cute tushie belonging to the drummer of the Atomic Numbers, who were playing along with Fletcher Pratt and those gosh-darn cute gals from Blush.
Still trying to burn off calories, I traipsed up and down the stairs from the Stick to the Garden Bowl lounge — repeatedly passing the very welcome new staff members, Trent Teachout and Jill Smith.
Hanging out next door in the Majestic Café was self-proclaimed wine snob Alynna Jennings, who was not in fact tasting wine, but the products of a microbrewery. Her horizons were being broadened by the influence of beer-connoisseur Jon Cox, who one day hopes to make his living as a professional sky diver. Doesn’t anybody have a normal job any more?
On lap 10, I bumped into further proof that Detroit is the new mecca for cool chick musicians: Melody Licious and Jackie O of Stroker Ace were doing flier duty for their upcoming Gold Dollar show this Friday.
Also on hand — not chick musicians, but still cool — Tempermill Studios impresario Dave Feeny, and former Charm Farm guitarist Steve Zuccaro who also works as a talent scout for himself. (I neglected to ask precisely what sort of talents he was looking for.)
Meanwhile in the lounge, Rich Hansen and teacher Tessa Basirico of Oakwood School in the East Detroit district were keeping barmistress Ko company. At this point, I discovered there was an influx of academics — and those with creatively bestowed academic titles — out at the bar for the evening. They included raconteur and chevalier-at-large Giovanni Van Bruckhorst, archaeologist Margarot Radnick, engineer Michael Marks and geologist Anthony Buccellato, who has perfected the ultimate geek pick-up line. When I inquired as to what was new and exciting in the field of geology, Buccellato quipped that he was currently specializing in “cummingtonite.” Yes, this is actually a mineral found in Cummington, Mass. At least he gets a few points for originality.
BIG PLANS, BIG MONEY
Following the saga of the ongoing Detroit renaissance, there are more rumblings of development in the downtown area. Engaging in the tease marketing strategy, the new nightclub Times Square (located in Times Square, duh) has been plastering ads all over the place but has not yet released an opening date. Also, the new Saturdays-only Backstreet, located next to St. Andrew’s Hall, has been booming ever since its opening a few weeks ago, and this weekend will see the grand opening of the new Friday night theme, entitled Space.
And what better place to live than mere stumbling distance from all these new hot New York-style nightspots? The Kales Building, formerly an office building in Grand Circus Park, is apparently going to be converted to 85 residential lofts, in a $10 million redevelopment project. And what a bargain — one-bedrooms start at a mere $950. Let’s hope Detroit doesn’t look into adopting New York City-style rents as well. In any case, you’d better start saving your couch change, what with the $10 and $20 covers the new bars are charging, not to mention the mind-boggling prices being charged for parking.
IN REAL DEEP
For the latest round in the Detroit Celebrity Death Match, we have Jerry Peterson, of the defunct Orbit magazine, versus John Badanjek, of a still-funct weekly rag, Real Detroit. It seems that Peterson, who indicated in court documents that he has been a silent partner in the publication since its inception, has filed a lawsuit in Oakland County Circuit Court against Badanjek for a number of complaints including supposedly holding out on profits. Peterson seeks a settlement of more than $25,000.
The Detroit News reported that Peterson is hopeful a settlement will be reached soon. Then again, it also reported that he is 29 years old (surely not?). Who will be the winner in this particular tête-à-tête? Hard to say, but I have a better solution than a lawsuit: The two should just duke it out in the street, à la extreme backyard wrestling, and sell tickets. Winner keeps the profits.Sarah Klein writes here every other week. Got gossip, juicy details, party invites? Write email@example.com call the tip line at 313-962-5281. Press * then dial