Detroit Rock City

Greetings from Detroit, Michigan. It’s our last few hours here and it’s been absolutely fabulously hectic since our friends arrived. They flew in on Thursday and have monopolized Choire’s and my attention ever since. Just now we’ve returned from an excellent dinner at Pronto in Royal Oak—tasty and delicious. Now we’re lounging in our hotel room on the 38th floor of the Renaissance Marriott Hotel gazing out at a country in the midst of a celebration – Canada Day! It’s like the 4th of July, only so much more Canadian somehow.

Afterwards Choire, who has a thing for strip clubs, insisted we take a trip to Windsor, Ontario, to soak up some local Canadian culture and talent. We took the tunnel over, negotiated our way through customs (scary!) and found our way to the infamous Happy Tap. Located just a short distance from the border this little establishment hosts a disco upstairs with a bar and pool table, and the most amazing all nude fully erect male strippers downstairs. Entering to the sounds of The Weather Girls I was reminded that gay culture seems to cross all boundaries, which also reminded me of something Quentin Crisp once said—”A lifetime of disco music is a high price to pay for one’s sexuality.”

Choire and one of our friends were really wanting to check out the hot Maple Leaf man action, but I wasn’t into seeing another strip show. I personally don’t understand the rationale of forking over money to get all “titillated” only to end up more sexually frustrated than you were when you started. But who had to lead the nervous little chickies downstairs so they could take it all in up close and personal? Ahem. I found them a table right on the edge of center stage.

It was a very surreal environment, beautiful actually, rather dimly lit silvers and blues. A parade of Canada’s finest made their way to the stage and much to my surprise presented the single most erotic experience I’ve probably ever witnessed. It was bizarre! These men were gorgeous and while there were many very masculine “dancers” the real highlight of the evening had to be “Jacob, The Vampire Slayer.” Entering the stage in a pair of white boxer briefs, a white fluffy fun fur open jacket and a pair of 70’s rock star glasses, Jacob was obviously trained in classical ballet. His music selection? Kissing You by Des’ree from the movie Romeo and Juliet. I was like, what the fuck, he’s going to perform to one of the saddest songs I know? Sure enough, he did just that, beautifully choreographed, unbelievably poised—he showed me beyond the shadow of a doubt that stripping can be an art. Afterwards I urged the boys to go ahead and pay the 10 bucks (7 dollars Canadian) for a more personal perspective, but the whole experience had already overwhelmed their senses.

I don’t know how we ended up at Vesuvio, the gay men’s bath house in Windsor, but there we were on a sleepy residential side street looking at it. A bearded man with a thorazine slur opened the window on the upper floor, leaning out to see us. “Look, new guys. Three of them! And they’re hot guys too. There’s three hot guys coming in soon,” he announced. I assumed he was talking to someone inside, but then again, I had my doubts.

Opening the door to Vesuvio was like opening the door to the world of David Lynch. Nobody was at the entrance window which allowed us the opportunity to take a further step into the dark paneled world without a sound. There wasn’t any music, just an overweight Latin man naked and asleep on a thrift store sofa and two men sitting at a small table area playing cards. One was in his seventies and was obviously covered in prison tattoos. The other had his overweight highly pimpled back to us. There was clearly something dark and wrong going on here. I looked at Choire and our friend and we quickly made a quick exit.

The rest of our trip has been fun, but certainly not as interesting. We went to a couple of clubs and a rave, all of which were remarkably unremarkable. The key essential has primarily been catching up with old friends and spending some quality time together. We’ve been out to eat at Loco, were surrounded by teenage girls who were downtown to hear N’Sync in concert while we were feasting at Papalis. We enjoyed a dinner with producers of show chicken shows. We’ve taken our own scenic tours. The new developments alongside the city’s ruins create such a juxtaposition that one can’t help but find themselves astonished. I assume many of the burned out and boarded up buildings can be attributed to Devil’s Night, something that makes me feel good about not living here, even though I can honestly say that in spite of it all Chiore and I have pretty much fallen in love with the Motor City.

For better or for worse, there’s really no place like it. Taking it all in with Choire, who makes me laugh like nobody else, has been a trip beyond my wildest dreams. If I’d gotten laid while we were here it would have been perfect, but that will have to wait until I’m safely back in the Bay Area. I’m not looking forward to returning to our bi-coastal friendship experience, though I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed. My flight leaves early Monday morning. Choire’s dropping me off at the airport before returning to New York City in his pickup truck.