Sunday, November 26, 2006

Put Your Hands Up For Detroit

There's a rash of people going around with too much pride for the very city they have yet to explore. I can not even begin to count the number of guys and girls I've met who have *never* been to a club downtown. I can't even being to estimate the number of people who haven't even ventured to Birmingham or Royal Oak. One of my closest friends lived in Royal Oak for a number of months, and in that time, only went out in Royal Oak once or twice. There is definitely a place for dive bars, sports bars and the like, but there also exists a higher quality atmosphere that needs to be explored. Until places like The Corner Bar (Birmingham), Envy (Detroit), Elysium (Detroit), and Cinq (Royal Oak) start being visited by normal patrons, the potential for these bars will never be fulfilled. Instead, they'll go on being filled by the same trendy clicks and fashion whores who get way more attention than they deserve.

It's time to indoctrinate new people into the Detroit lifestyle. It's time to stir the pot and mix things up. There are plenty of individuals who would enjoy all that our city has to offer, and instead of filtering these people out of the scene, their participation should be encouraged. But let's not confuse the idea of encouragement with upbringing.

The worst thing we could do to the city is to turn any new-found patrons into clones of ourselves. Things need a change, and we're only going to see that happen if we're stuck holding the door open, rather than running around grooming newbies into our own likeness. Bring someone into the club or bar, and let them develop on their own. Let them come in underdressed or overdressed. Don't be shoveling copies of 6 Degrees in their pockets and leaving the latest Ambassador in their back seat. Hopefully they'll be wise enough to realize that every local publication in Detroit does nothing more than preach to the choir.

Open a new bar or club in New York, Los Angeles or Chicago and it's understandable that not everyone from the city will make the trip. For cities so large, even gaining public awareness is an achievement. But in Detroit, when a venue has been open for years, there is no reason for public ignorance. And you can only place so much blame on the public before someone (like us) starts pointing the finger at the entire scene and saying "It's your fault these places are filled with the same people."

So go on. Invite out your friends and coworkers who don't typically enjoy the music. Have them bring their friends. Show them around and help make them feel welcome. But please, don't run them through the gauntlet and pop out another local DJ groupie. If they genuinely enjoy their new nightlife, their personal style will emerge in due time.

We'll hold back on our criticism of this new demographic.