Monday, January 25, 2010

2010 Detroit International Auto Show

Like it or not, if you live in Detroit, you must have an opinion about cars.  It's the "Motor City", after all.  Since the days of Henry Ford, the city's lifeblood pumps to the sound of welded metal; the monotonous thunder of the assembly line bringing sweet affluence to the Midwest.   

Detroiters generally disdain public transportation.  And it's no wonder since the elevated downtown train, the "People Mover", goes in a circle to little more than four stops, and the public bus system, the "SMART bus", is not intelligent enough to keep a reliable schedule.  Yes, to a local, there is no greater joy than cruising Detroit Rock City in your own set of wheels.  

So it's no wonder that two of the biggest events in the city that draw visitors from other states (or countries) revolve around the automobile.  January welcomes each year by marking the annual Detroit International Auto Show.  Using the word "international" in Detroit is dubious at best as it could simply mean that some Canadians from Windsor drove across the bridge to participate for the day.  Yet, the international auto show attracts the best and brightest steel machines from around the world.  

A family weekend outing to the Auto Show is traditional practice since I was young enough to pride myself on knowing that SUV stood for Sport Utility Vehicle.  And this year I dressed myself in metallic colors: silver and electric blue hoping to play chameleon among the shiny chrome of a new decade of automobiles.  

And so we made the rounds to...

...a Ford demonstration of a car with an automatic parallel park feature.  Practical to the average citizen who just couldn't master the art during driver's ed.

...a rather pathetic display of a new Chinese company to the market.  Several cars of the same color with 10 year old designs attracted only a handful of people, I guessed of Chinese ethnicity wondering what kind of business their homeland was up to.

...the rotating concept vehicles.  These cars are not currently on the market and will not be on the market for some time.  Like a playboy pin-up, these cars along with accompanying sexy female models, are for oogling only.  Dream on boys.

And the highlight of the show:  the 2010 Ford Fiesta.  

While checking out the sleek lines of the machine like the cute guy at the bar, my sister and I were asked to participate our opinions for Ford marketers.  I admitted that the magenta color of the display model won me over.  When have I seen one of my favorite colors on the exterior of a car?  My sister and I agreed that the 40 miles per gallon of gasoline that the Fiesta boosts is especially attractive as no other car has the winning combination of a low price and high MPG.  And our choice of automobile?  

2010 Ford Fiesta it is.  Party on.  

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


"Dance, you motherfuckers!" Given three words to describe my experience at Lady Gaga's live performance in Detroit, these syllables spewed from the fashionista would be it.

I can't attest to be a secret aficionado to the Lady herself, but presented with a last minute invitation to witness glam pop at it's finest? I'm in.

Before jumping on the expressway to meet my friends, was an hour long wardrobe fitting. What to wear to a Lady Gaga concert? Anything but plain. The fake purple hair left. The pleather short skirt stayed. As did the purple iridescent pumps, silver dangly earrings, and spray-on hair glitter. Two spitzes of perfume and I was about to join the ranks as a Gaga fan.

Finding our seats in the Joe Louis Ice Arena converted to Popland, we caught the last songs of the final opening act. A disappointing amateur oozing his thanks for the thousands of concertgoers for bearing the weight of mediocre entertainment.

In the twenty minutes preluding Gaga's grand entrance, it was recorded versions of Michael Jackson that proved better mood setting than any live pop wannabe. As Lady Gaga lookalikes danced in the aisles to Thriller and Billie Jean; the crowd prepared to be dazzled for a historic pop music event. Lady Gaga's Monster Ball.

The little monsters roared in applause, screams, and cat calls as the platinum blonde strutted her stuff for the first song and continued to do so through the...

costumes...Gaga in a rhinestone studded bathing suit with half naked male dancers wearing masks.

and the dancing..."Dance you motherfuckers" Gaga screamed. And dance they did, fans shoulder shimmeying and booty shaking in the aisles and into the little monsters next to them.

and the bizarre...a repeated moving image of Lady Gaga dressed ala Marilyn Monroe with a brunette self-inducing lime green vomit over her pristine lap. Perhaps an unscrupulous display to the destitute life of a wannabe?

The noise did not abate until she walked offstage hand in hand with her backup dancers after the final act. Show's over. And so the parade of mainly female fans reluctantly exited into frigid temperatures, most still humming the "Bad Romance" bridge.

Waiting amid the sidewalk slush for our ride home, a car full of four young teenage boys stopped next to us waiting at a red light. Gaga beats blasting, the four of them were head banging, clawing the air. As the driver caught our stare he sheepishly shouted, "I have to apologize for my friends!" I laughed.
"Dance away you motherfuckers!" I replied as the car sped away.