Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Drunken Retort

You know those movies about urban adults existing in a world of intellectual cool and spending all their free time in coffee houses talking about how Kerouac wrote at the same bar in Morocco every day for a year and turning their angst into beat poetry you’re not deep enough to understand? You know the ones. I lived it last night.

She just oozes "I'm saying stuff" vibes.

She just oozes “I’m saying stuff” vibes.

Every Monday at Stella’s, this scenario happens and it’s called The Drunken Retort. You will feel your coolness, emotional maturity and white guilt skyrocket after listening to the handful of extremely talented (and sometimes angry) people spout their spoken word. I laughed, I cried and I sat mouth agape in shock. It’s really hard to shock me, but it happened. If I could remember the specifics I’d fill you in but hey, it’s called the drunken retort. Just when you thought Grand Rapids was full of nothing but tan men with rhinestones on their butts (the thought of this just made me roll my eyes so hard I got nauseous) and a penchant for equally tan girls who don’t understand the hilarity of a feminist Taylor Swift twitter account, you’re treated to some passionate people who live, love, hate and holler in the very city you call home. They’re here. And they have a lot to say. If only to increase your street cred, you should check it out. But don’t douche up the place. Don’t ruin it for those of us who long for the urban scenes of the movies at the low, low price of Grand Rapids. If you’re a d-bag, just stay home.

I mean, have you ever even heard “Spoken Word” poetry? It doesn’t even rhyme. The rules are that there are no rules. It’s insane. You are guaranteed to leave thinking you can scribble something as provocative and moving and deliver it seamlessly with a rhythm only matched by Psy. But you can’t. It’s the same feeling I get when I watch hours of a Capella singing competitions on Amazon and then feel certain I can nail that new Rihanna song in my online karaoke community. Which is a thing that exists. And yes, I pay for a membership. Do you see why I need the extra dose of hip? Oops, much like in life, I got distracted by karaoke. Back to the deliciousness of these words. It’s like adjective-porn for your twisted soul.

Do it.

Do it.

One of the men running the show is an old friend of mine (from around the way) and he knows that I’m a blogger. For some reason he thought this would translate to ultra-fresh spoken word and he straight up introduced me as if I was just going to pull an evocative masterpiece out of my bra (although…), grab the mic and say stuff that matters. I was surprised and terrified and quickly declined. Would I love to be able to say stuff that matters? Sure! I have stuff that bugs me. But instead of spinning sick spiderwebs of feelings about race, gender inequality, sexuality and/or other very real “in real life” problems for strangers to enjoy and then subsequently relate to, I’d be up there talking about how my thighs don’t rub when I walk anymore because they’re so big they just stay stuck together. And that confuses me because I don’t know whether to be happy that I can go through the summer rash-free or sad because it’s just gross if you picture it (don’t). Really tugs at your heart-strings, eh? Even as I write this I feel pangs of jealousy that I can’t join in the fun. They’re too cool for me. They’re too cool for you. But they’d still love it if we came to listen to them talk about things that matter.

Nothing but class.

Nothing but class.

So, whether your thighs rub or not, I highly suggest you get down to Stella’s on Monday nights for The Drunken Retort. I’ll be there, douching it up in the back.

Trials and Tribulations of GR Apartment-Hunting

Have you tried apartment hunting in GR? I don’t recommend it. I do recommend having an apartment in the downtown area, I just don’t suggest you go through the ridiculousness of looking for one. They don’t exist. Until they do. And then they’re gone immediately. The only way it really works is if you wish yourself into a decently priced, cockroach-free ground floor with off-street parking and some distance between you and the nearest gunshot wound. Otherwise you’re out of luck. Until you aren’t.

I’ve lived in a few different places in the downtown(ish) area. I’ve done the Southwest side (don’t do it) where I had “get below the windows” night weekly to avoid stray bullets. I’ve done Alger Heights which was a nice block with yuppie couples, but the next block over was gangster-city. And the next block was totally fine. I’ve done Eastown, my current home, and aside from the occasional complimenting homeless person/crackhead and wandering hipsters, it’s been ok. I’m near desirable restaurants and bars (so I’m told) but it’s so expensive living in the trendy area that I can’t afford to eat or drink at any of these places. I can sit in my bedroom (the only room with air conditioning) without pants on and smell the delicious nose-treats (not cocaine, probably pork of some kind) wafting in from the Electric Cheetah, though. Jealous?

Get below the windows!

Get below the windows!

Since I’m unhappy with my current living situation, I’ve been hunting for a cheaper, more centrally located apartment in the downtown area. I might as well be riding a unicorn to the end of the rainbow. There are plenty of one or two bedroom “uppers” on the northwest side for around $500-$600, but come on. Who wants to live on that side of the river? Not me. They say things like, “There are no rules on the west side”. And that scares me. There are absolutely rules on the west side! Last time I was on the west side, a youth in a soccer uniform “holla’d” at me while I was at a stoplight. I’m not even that good looking. These are the standards held on that side. Maybe there are no rules…

Spacious Studio...

Spacious Studio…

Where you want to live, or at least, where I want to live is on the southeast side. Specifically Heritage Hill, East Hills, Cherry Hill or any sort of hill. Those are the coveted neighborhoods and the landlords and property management companies know it. They know they can offer a “cozy, charming studio” with 200 square feet of living space, no storage space and no parking for $700 a month and you’ll rent it. You will. You’ll say it’s fine because you’ll never be there anyway. You’re so close to all the excitement of the blossoming city that you’ll be out and about enjoying it instead of sitting cross-legged on the floor of your kitchen/bedroom. But you won’t. You’ll be at home eating ramen noodles out of your only coffee cup and trying to balance your laptop on the windowsill to get one bar of unprotected wifi from your jerk neighbor who has an actual bedroom. You will.

I have found a total of two affordable one-bedroom apartments in Heritage Hill. One was rented immediately and the other was rented immediately. Those things fly off of craigslist faster than the Twitter-police can extract an apology from a racist/sexist/homophobic celebrity. To combat this never-ending search for something I can afford on my own, I’ve struck out to find a potential roommate. I found one. A potential one, at least. I’m giving her a lot of credit because she found the holy grail of Heritage Hill apartments. It has three bedrooms. It’s on the ground floor. It has a dishwasher(!). It has TWO bathrooms. It allows pets. It is walking distance to anywhere downtown. And it’s affordable. I know what you must be thinking. It’s haunted. That was my first thought as well, but after all this I’m totally willing to live there depending on how haunted. On a scale of Patrick Swayze to soaking wet Asian child, what are we looking at? Am I going to learn pottery or am I going to end up strapped to a cot in a mental hospital? I think there’s some wiggle room there.

What the potential apartment looks like in my head

What the potential apartment looks like in my head

I’ll be viewing this unbelievable apartment on Tuesday after someone else sees it earlier in the morning. Fingers crossed that person is insane and passes on the place so that I can sink my poor, poser teeth into it.

The Wonderful World of Adult Boybands

Can we just talk about this new phenomenon of adult boybands?

I, of course, am totally and utterly for this movement. In recent years I have been able to check New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys and Boyz II Men off of my boyband-bucket-list and I am eternally grateful for those men who decided to capitalize on the nostalgia fad of today. Because it is a fad, isn’t it? I mean, if you look back at pop music history there isn’t another instance of 80s and 90s boybands or other pop groups coming back to life with such fire and fury and doing it successfully and without (too much) novelty.

My theory is that those of us in our late twenties and into our thirties are yearning for the ease and excitement of our teen years and childhood. Our lives aren’t that great as is, at least mine isn’t. This isn’t what I was promised as an early teen in the affluence of the 90s. This is a joke. So I love to check out of my daily grind and lose myself in a crowd of 17,000 screaming women who are all age-appropriate for the act on stage. I really can’t go around ogling The Wanted or One Direction, now can I? Not outside the privacy of my own home, anyway. It was only a matter of time after so many successful 80s and 90s-themed parties and bar nights, before wildly popular acts from those eras (those who are still marginally attractive) resurfaced and capitalized on the niche. It’s here, we’re queer, get used to it.

Dapper dudes from Saturday's show

Dapper dudes from Saturday’s show

Before you launch into a fit of disbelief about the alleged success of these Adult Boybands, I should mention that I’m biased, but I intend to prove it regardless. So shut up.

I just attended the most recent of the three tours on which NKOTB has embarked since gracing us with their presence in 2009 and it was a sold out show of 17,000 people (women) at the Palace of Auburn Hills. So there. In fact, every show on their tour with Boyz II Men and a super-awkward 98 Degrees is sold out or is well on its way. Their respective cruises, VIP Parties and fanclub events sell out as well. I know…I’ve tried to get tickets. You can’t even hope to breathe the same air as these sex-monsters of teenage dreams unless you’re willing to drop a few hundred dollars and a little of your dignity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fine with throwing my dignity out the door if it means I’ll get to hold on to Donnie Wahlberg’s sweaty bicep, and I have. A few times. I just can’t afford to spend $500 to sit in the first few rows and get my picture taken with nine other women and the five guys. Can’t and won’t. Instead, I employ cheap-ass stalker methods and they generally work. You just have to know how to work the system.

Photo Credit: Rhonda Borst (fellow Blockhead)

Photo Credit: Rhonda Borst (fellow Blockhead)

Saturday’s Detroit stop on the aptly named “Package Tour” was my favorite of the New Kids tours. Because yes, I’ve seen them all. They have really figured out how to transition from a boyband to a manband. The first couple of times, it was pure novelty and nostalgia that brought us in. They did their old songs, their old dance moves and sure, it was a little awkward. So I’m told. I couldn’t see through my “Please Don’t Go, Girl” tears. Now, however, they’ve realized that their fans, the “million sisters” they so often reference, pretty much want to see them get all “Magic Mike” on us.  They can get completely naked and just walk around the stage for all I care. Let’s just play a track in the background and let them gyrate for 2 hours. I wouldn’t mind. I’ve gotten a little off track. My point, I think, is that they understand their audience and they give us what we want. Pelvic thrusts, shirtless chests and plenty of sexual suggestion.

Photo Credit: Renee Drummond (Fellow Blockhead)

Photo Credit: Renee Drummond (Fellow Blockhead)

Do we believe that we’ll ever be on the receiving end of their thrusts? No. Of course not. But isn’t it fun to pretend?

So jump on board the Manband train, ladies and gays! You won’t regret it. It’s super-fun to remember the lyrics to the songs of yesteryear, and even more fun when those lyrics are accompanied by a subtle junk-wiggle and a glistening pectoral muscle. Trust me. I’m an expert.