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February 1, 2006

Body by Fischer, Tits by Hollywood 90210

"Fact: Detroit actually, Pontiac hosted the Super Bowl in 1982. Blond, willowy Savannah can't use that as any kind of a comparison she wasn't born until 1985. But she agrees that local dancers can be a frontline voice for the city as they face down and chat up out-of-town moneybags and pro athletes skulking behind Dolce & Gabbana shades. "It's our time to shine," she says brightly, fingering the strap of her red satin brassiere. Can a push-up bra boost the local economy all by itself? As Savannah leaves the interview to crawl lithely into the lap of another happy customer, the answer seems to be a resounding yes." - excerpted from "Stripper Economics," Metro Times, 2/1/06

When Brian Smith and I had the idea to poll local strippers on their Super Bowl XL thoughts, we weren't sure how the article would even turn out. Originally I just thought it would be fun to make a bunch of jokes about peppermint body spray and turquoise Ford Ranger 4x2's, a classic stripper ride if there ever was one. But the piece became something much more than that, a narrative of the city's strip club row (8 Mile, basically, along with a few other hot spots) as well as thoughts about what counts as capital in an environment where everything's for sale.

That idea translates to the state of downtown during this most zany of Super Bowl XL weeks. Even if you don't live here, you know about the city's curiously, hauntingly vacant office buildings. Grey limestone monuments to industry, looming empty over desolate streets. There's weight to that poetic - it really is weird to see a 15-story office building rendered desolate. But for every empty space there's a thriving one next door, and that goes for the average Detroit week as much as it does for this media-saturated one.

But back to the idea of everything's for sale. The most striking aspect of the media and corporate presence in the D this week are the brand messages and logos projected like luminescent money blankets onto the sides of buildings downtown. Coors, GM, Nextel - the images soar and loom in full color across the stone screens, lending Woodward Avenue a little of Times Square's overkill. Last night the first commercial break for "Jimmy Kimmel Live" featured the comic's dougy mug pushed 17 stories onto a building; switching over to ESPN, SportsCenter's logo hit the same structure for a similar commercial bumper. Welcome to the city where the players play. At least until Sunday night.

These are the most blatant advertisements. Inescapably huge, they're made larger by being a nighttime phenomenon. They literally light up the sky. But in a classic trick of playing both sides, they're also the friendliest. All liquidy color and Kleig light shimmer, they caress steel and limestone with the same cheeriness that defines the Times Square makeover or the brand permeation of Disney. "I'm so huge, you have to love me!" the projected ads say. "Now, go buy a Nextel, and wash it down with a Coors." As unscrupulous as the ads are, they're also exciting and visceral. Particularly for a city used to the occasional building staring back at you with broken dark slits for windows. I don't want to look at a 17-story Jimmy Kimmel forever. But I like looking at him during Super Bowl week. Whatever happens to the D after the Super Bowl leaves, it's been nice having it here.


"Chris Cornell looks over the heads of his offensive line, trying to read the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense. Blitz? the Soundgarden singer and Seattle Seahawk quarterback thinks. No, just a pass rush. I can see Rusted Root crowding my man Mark Arm at left tackle. And sure enough, the loopy Pittsburgh jam band is cheating on the Seahawk snap count, making their rush much less than super unknown. Before Rusted Root or the rest of the Steelers know it, Seattle center Jeff Ament has fed Cornell, who rolls out and hits wide receiver Sir Mix-a-Lot for a 20-yard reception. Touchdown, baby. Put 'em on the glass." - Excerpted from "Team Players," Metro Times, 2/1/06

My think piece imagining Seattle's musical artists vs Pittsburgh's in a gridirion battle of the bands.


Other news:This year's Pazz & Jop is out. Here's my ballot. According to this site, who rates the voters, I come in at #405, notched between Ken Scrudato and Chuck Eddy. I have no idea what that rating means, but there you go.


Ja Rule is playing at my house.


Posted by Johnny Loftus at February 1, 2006 3:50 PM

Comments (2)

I love the idea of interviewing strippers. Friggin' [b]brilliant[/b]! :)


Not sure whether i have this mixed up or not but i am disappointed that you referred to alkaline trio as a form of the killers?