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Visual arts > Fly on the Wall

Niagra falls, mall crawls

Niagra and Ivana Trump.
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Published 11/18/1998

MANHATTAN LAPDANCE

The David Whitney building was the place to be on Saturday night, as chanteuse/artist/hobnobber-with-the rich-and-famous Niagara held her opening at C-Pop's temporary space on its third floor.

Albeit temporary, it's a great place for a gallery, and an even better place for a party. Scenesters young and old hung out in the open-air atrium, puffing away on the latest tobacco products and listening to the mellifluous strains of the Larval Orchestra below.

Inside the gallery, the free refreshments were a decided improvement over the usual C-Pop fare of Vienna Snausages, meatballs and a relish tray.

Niagara had just returned from New York City and the Details magazine Woman of the Year gala (Who won? Who cares!), where she made her presence felt within Manhattan's society circles.

Ivana Trump, former wife of Donald, is a big fan, and beckoned for Niagara to sit next to her at the gala. Unfortunately, Details sex scrivener Anka, possibly sensing that Trump's attention would be diverted away from herself for more than two seconds, "accidentally" tripped Niagara, who toppled face-first into Trump's lap.

The strange thing, Niagara recalled, was how Trump remained somewhat unfazed by it all, and was more interested in the smallish size of Niagara's hands, which had at that point been removed from Trump's thighs.

That's one way to sell some paintings.

Look for C-Pop's Rick Manore and artist/business partner Tom Thewes to open their glittering new art emporium next to the Majestic Theater some time in January. The Niagara show runs through December. Call 313-964-0911 for more info.

SCENES FROM A MALL

Last Tuesday provided perhaps the best opportunity to check out the new megalapo-mall known as Great Lakes Crossing. Why? It wasn't open yet. At the time, the invading hordes who descended at Thursday's opening were still sharpening their elbows, polishing their credit cards, and putting bricks in their purses.

Emboldened by such thoughts, I ventured out to the Tuesday night Hospice of Michigan benefit at Gameworks, a virtual arcade for the next millennium, which promises to virtually consume every dollar in your bank account before you realize all that money you spent on skeeball just won you a fluorescent Bic pen.

Gameworks is brought to you by such corporate entertainment luminaries as Universal Studios, SEGA and Dreamworks.

Utilizing plenty of Detroit Red Wings, the event did not fail to deliver, probably because Hospice of Michigan is one of Maid Marian Ilitch's pet charities. In fact, the whole Ilitch clan was there, from papa bear all the way down to little Atanas-bear.

I think I spotted Mike in the VIP room before the upper torso of a beefy doorman asked for my ID (sadly enough, media credentials just don't cut it).

Content to put my unlimited game card to the test, I tried to push through the hordes of omnipresent Red Wing fans, who apparently thought 75 bucks was a small price to pay to get within salivating distance of their favorite Wings.

There were plenty to choose from: Brendan Shanahan, Sergei Federov and Larry Murphy were hogging the Vertical Reality game, Darren McCarty was hopping on a Jet Ski game, general manager Ken Holland was taking time out to autograph some earnest fan's jersey (that'll be worth some money).

They even trotted out Barbie-doll anthem singer Karen Newman to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner."

For added soporific pleasure, Paul W. Smith did a quasi-MC shtick throughout the night, which reminded me again why I don't listen to him on the radio, along with high-pitched commentary by Ken Kal for the Indy Car races.

I went expecting high tech, but the place is basically a glorified arcade -- although just about every employee sported pseudo-high tech communications headgear (of course, they wear those things at Old Navy as well).

In any event, this is a great place to seek refuge from the shopping frenzy outside while simultaneously blowing a lot of greenbacks. Added bonus for nostalgia freaks, they do have Frogger, Asteroids and Donkey Kong Jr.

GLAM BAM

Sunday night offered a veritable cornucopia of glamorous cross-dressing options, beginning of course with "Personality Crisis," the opening Glam-night party at Lush.

Stripmining the velvet goldmine, the folks there have decided to put a whole new spin on Sunday evening nightlife in Detroit.

With music by DJ Top Kat, the glittering event offered a prime opportunity for all feather-boa-wearing sequined hipsters to strut their stuff.

Spotted sparkling in the midst were Maria Galante, Bruce Scott and Greg Patterson, as well as crimson-haired former Fly Amy Yokin.

Motoring on down I-75, the next gender-bending, cross-dressing opportunity came at St. Andrew's Hall, for the first ever Bartender's Drag Pageant.

Put on by St. Andrew's and those good folks at Camel, the party featured approximately 20 area bartenders strutting their stuff on the catwalk, including a voluptuous Perry Lavoisne, as well as Louise Brooks lookalike flasher/flapper Brad Cousens.

Among the "celebrity" judges were Stacy Lauers, Camillo Pardo, Linda Groblicki, Scott Ross, Dianna Frank, Brett Carson and yours truly.

Also in the smoky mix were Tre Wallace, Abe Pilkington and Lana Zuyus, all of Motor, as well as Jeff King of Double Door/Speedball fame and Jeff Hole of Fifth Avenue.

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