You don’t have to be Eminem to appreciate the Motor City. Metro Detroit provides a variety of entertaining pastimes.
By Joe Diamond
THE FAST AND THE CURIOUS
Motor City wouldn’t exist, let alone the world as we know it, without Henry Ford. It’s only fitting that the museum complex created in his honor play host to Motor Muster, a colorful celebration of automotive history. During the two-day annual festival at the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, hundreds of classic cars, trucks, and motorcycles fill the streets. “They’re all here,” says a museum spokesman. “From brawny muscle cars to the real straight-out-of-the-showroom cars you and your parents grew up with.” Where brawny muscle cars roam, hot women are sure to follow. (June 18–19; tickets are $22)
WOODWARD DREAM CRUISE
Organizers call the Woodward Dream Cruise “the world’s largest one-day celebration of classic-car culture.” On August 20, more than a million spectators will line a 16-mile stretch of Woodward Avenue between 9 A.M. and 9 P.M. to check out thousands of muscle cars, hot rods, and other souped-up vehicles. It’s like one big street party, and it’s where returning University of Michigan coeds go to let off steam before hitting the books. Oakland County native Leon Norway says, “Car owners cruise, burn rubber, and flaunt their rides for hours and hours. Large crowds watch and root and take pictures. People act up, have fun.” Sounds like our kind of party.
DETROIT APBA GOLD CUP
Cars aren’t the only things that move fast in Motown. Each summer Detroit hosts the American Power Boat Association’s Gold Cup, the “Super Bowl of power-boat racing.” The first Cup was awarded in 1904, and today, boat racing is a major event in Detroit. The Gold Cup features turbocharged “unlimited” hydroplane boats that can rip across the water at 200 miles per hour and cover a football field in less than a second. In addition to these modern speed demons, spectators are treated to exhibitions of vintage race boats. (July 8–10; tickets are $15)
HOTEL HOT SPOTS
Part of downtown’s $800 million MGM Grand, V lives up to the hotel chain’s Las Vegas roots with a dazzling interactive light show, pulsating dance music, stunning waitresses and club dancers, and equally beautiful patrons. Resident DJ Whip and such celebrity spinners as Fashen and Sam Young help pack them in. When you’re finished dancing, you can chill out on the red crocodile– and white ostrich–leather sofas.
THE CORNER BAR
Detroit has its Lions and Tigers, but nearby Birmingham’s got cougars. They’ll be ready to pounce at the Townsend Hotel’s chic bar, especially after they’ve downed some of the award-winning cocktails. Since opening in 2002, the Corner has emerged as one of suburban Detroit’s top taverns. The sleek decor—the backlit bar is especially striking—first-class service, and mix of soul, contemporary, and classic tunes draw a sophisticated crowd. The best nights to go are Thursday through Saturday, when the city’s hottest deejays unleash their aural magic.
PENTHOUSE CLUB DETROIT
Michigan’s only premier gentleman’s club features more than 300 dancers, exclusive bottle service, five-star cuisine, premium cigars, and more. Guests experience jaw-dropping entertainment in the form of an aptly named “Dirty Martini” show in which a pair of erotic exotic dancers fondle each other atop a giant Martini glass, not to mention the dancers slithering over the custom choppers that are suspended from the ceiling. Club owner Alan Markovitz knows plenty about showcasing sexy entertainment, including former Pets of the Year Heather Vandeven, Erica Ellyson, and Taya Parker. “I have always been stubbornly insistent on creating the highest-quality gentleman’s club on the market,” he says. The stunning results of his operating philosophy are on display here.
UNCONVENTIONAL PICKUP SPOT
Zingerman’s is an Ann Arbor institution with a global reputation, strategically located in the shadow of the University of Michigan. Food & Wine magazine declared it one of the Top 25 food markets in the world. Not surprisingly, it’s a favorite with tourists and locals who come to enjoy the delicious made-to-order sandwiches, which burst with meaty delights like premium Black Angus corned beef, free-range chicken, and homemade chopped liver. You’ll find plenty of choices to satisfy all your cravings, from farmhouse cheeses to gourmet chocolate to U of M coeds. Open daily from 7 A.M. to 10 P.M.
This huge riverfront civic space, just south of the intersection of Jefferson and Woodward avenues, is a staple for outdoor events in Detroit. On Memorial Day weekend, electronic and techno fans will gather for the Movement Electronic Music Festival (three-day admission is $60 and up). The annual Detroit River Days festival (June 24–26; admission is $3) will feature live concerts by both local talent and internationally known performers. Last year’s festival boasted big-name nineties acts Blues Traveler, MC Hammer, and the Spin Doctors. The Detroit Jazz Festival, one of the country’s top festivals celebrating one of America’s homegrown musical genres, will close out the summer over Labor Day weekend (admission is free).
This converted church is one of Detroit’s leading live-music venues. General manager Amir Daiza claims the club intentionally cultivates a “female-friendly” atmosphere, and lots of bachelorette parties keep the crowd around 55 percent women. It’s only open on Saturdays, which may account for its combustible, do-or-die energy. Although it’s no match for the Penthouse Club, Clutch Cargo’s has been the site of some sizzling bikini pole-dancing contests.
MAJESTIC ENTERTAINMENT CENTER
At one time this was the world’s largest movie house; the modern Majestic is a full-fledged entertainment com plex, with America’s oldest run ning bowling alley, a pool hall, two live-music venues, four bars, and a restaurant. (The Majestic Cafe has what might be the most mouth-watering strawberry-swirl cheesecake in the Midwest.) Despite its fabled past, the Majestic doesn’t try to be anything it’s not, and it’s been affectionately called “crap-tastic.”