Last year when we went Detroit’s Annual Erotic Poetry & Music Festival, we had no time to really explore the city. We left Saturday morning, got there Saturday afternoon, walked around briefly, and then went to the show only to go home the next morning. When K– and I went to Cleveland for the Ohio Burlesque Festival, she made sure to give us at least a day to knock around the city. That was a let down. Sorry, Clevelanders, but your city kinda sucks. This time in Detroit, we were gonna do it right. We were teased by what the city had to offer last year. NOT THIS TIME, DETROIT!
Everyone knows how much I love the “Boss Lady.” Let me insert here, that she now wants a necklace that says, “Boss”, which means I’ll need to get one that says, “Lil Boss.” We sound like rappers. Although she does have a rap song out there… Sorry, I’m getting distracted. ANYWAY!
We know how much I love my partner, which is why I tease her as much as I do. I am all about organization, but K– goes above the call of duty. Our company is comprised of 3 people (basically), with K– doing most of the work. As she made plans, she sent out a mass email of our itinerary for the trip:
Do you see how many “TBD” there are? lol But I can’t really complain, our trips are better this way. She knows that if left to our own devices, Bropey and I would just be standing in the middle of a cross-walk arguing about which way we should go for something to see.
“IN THE BEGINNING”
So let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
After upgrading the rental car to something that had a trunk, K– headed south that morning, arriving here around 2:30 that afternoon. This made the first time K– had ever set foot in Studio Mini K, so I gave her the grand tour. The youngest little boy of the Libidacoria family got off the school bus shortly after, and his face lit up when he laid eyes on his “aunt-dad”. lol
We were able to detach him from her side long enough to strap him down in the back seat and take her on the grand tour of our town…it took 20 min, and 10 min of that was spent missing the same street twice (don’t ask).
After I sent him packing for his own little vacation, K– and I forged for some dinner. We would settle for no McDonald’s or Burger King! No, no, no! That will never do for women of our standing. Our pallets deserved fine dining! So we went to Shoney’s…during a Severe Storm Warning. For the remainder of the evening, I packed, and we watched high-standing television shows like American Idol, American Weed, and Doomsday Preppers. (Had I known she was so behind on the Dance Moms series, we would have watched past episodes of that.)
As the itinerary states, I did have a doctor’s appointment that couldn’t be rescheduled. My plan was to go to the appointment early enough to be among the first to arrive, hoping to be in and out early. Yeah, no, that didn’t work. I’m not a morning person. I don’t know…that whole waking up and getting ready to do anything before 10 proves to be a challenge for me. Regardless, I was done early enough that after a McDonald’s drive thru run for chicken nuggets (with spicy mustard) and iced tea, we were on 75N by 11:30 a.m.
I am in my mid 30′s, a single mom, active in my community, partner in the empire-becoming Libidacoria, who hasn’t lived in the same state as her mother in years. Yet, no trip can officially begin until Saxie calls her mother. After hearing me say, “yeah, uh-huh, ok, thanks, I will, uh-huh, ok, I will, love you too”, K– sees the phone in her face. “Mom wants to talk to you.” Being that K– is seen by my mother as her “redheaded stepchild,” her conversation goes very similarly. “Hey! Yeah, ok, I know, I will, yep, I will, ok, uh-huh, ok bb… I will, ok, love you too.”
THE TRIP HAS BEGUN!
Our first destination is back to her house to get Bropey and grab a few things she forgot.
K– is telling me how she wants to try to get through Lexington before she stops for gas, when something catches my eye off to the right.
“Ha! Did you see that?” I asked. “Too bad we saw it so late, we should have taken a picture, that’s hysterical!”
She pulls into the right lane, slows down, and gets off at the exit ramp with a twinkle in her eye.
Okay, so scratch that.
First destination– Adult Store Warehouse that has a giant cross next to it. We snapped some pics, Facebooked about it (because no trip is complete without a play-by-play Facebook update), and headed back to 75.
That’s when we noticed there were 2 crosses, one smaller than the other.
“Look, it’s like us!” K– says. It really should prove something that K– and I are not struck by lightning on a weekly basis.
We ended up stopping shortly before Lexington because let’s face it, when a midget has to pee, a midget has to pee.
The trip to K–’s house was as most of the first few hours of our trips are. We talked about the festival line-up, Libidacoria, and made a list of all my mother’s relationships that I could remember. Business as usual!
We arrived at K–’s around 3. Now usually when we travel with Bropey, we throw him in the back seat with the luggage that didn’t fit in the trunk. However, K– decided to take the backseat and let him drive. You may say, “Saxie, why didn’t you sit back there? You’re the smallest and would fit more comfortably.” Because I’m a spoiled bitch that hates the backseat! I’m afraid I’ll miss something. I mean I sleep with my eyes open for fuck’s sake. (I really do.)
Ok, so we got Boss in the back, Lil Boss in the front passenger seat, and Bropey, our tech guy, driving. This will be the seating arrangement until the ride home. Buckle up.
Now let me take a moment here and talk about our gadgets. First, there’s our car. Cute little 4-door car that is part computer. Then, we have our phones. While I have been reduced to a crappy old school LG cell, I still have my Droid phone for pics, games, and music. K– and Bropey have music & the internet on theirs. There’s also K-’s flip video camera at the ready.
Now the car had tried to talk to K– and I, but the furthest we got with her, was telling her to shut the fuck up.
“I do not recognize that command,” she would say.
Because of our phones, we had maps and GPS literally in the palm of our hands, as well as a variety of music and games for entertainment.
Hell, by the next morning Bropey had the car all figured out, and they we able to communicate. Creepy.
But the whole thing made me realize just one more way technology has really changed our lives. Do you remember what is was like just 10, 15 years ago being in a car for 9.5 hours? Trying to find a radio station, or dig through your CD’s…fucking with those maps that never fold back up right when you’re in a car trying not to block the driver’s view. Then, if you’re not driving, trying to keep yourself occupied, wondering “how much longer?” Then there’s the bickering with everyone once you’re in the city trying to find your way around. Nope, we had none of that. Hell, Bropey drove around Detroit like a native. It really did make the trip more enjoyable and relaxed.
Anyway, back to me.
We had decided to make a stop for dinner between 6 & 6:30 hoping we would be through Bowling Green by then. We were a still few miles from there when we stopped at a Denny’s “Diner.” Shoney’s for dinner the night before, Denny’s tonight. THAT’S how we do it at Libidacoria! While the diner idea they were trying to pull off was cute, it was not cute enough to make up for their horrible food! We didn’t really complain, but when the manager came by and cleared our plates that were still holding quite a bit of food, seeing the look of contempt on our faces, he gave us 20% off our bill. (That’s also how we do it.)
I didn’t think we would hit Detroit before 10, but we made the hotel by 9 with a Winter Storm Warning forecast to start in an hour. The warning was from 10p.m. until 7p.m. the next day. Grrreeeeaat! Our one day to play, and we’re under a storm warning? The hotel pool better be awesome if we’re gonna be stuck there all day.
Now, in order to have a bit more money to “play with,” we (K–) decided to stay at a hotel on the outskirts of the city, in a lessor-known chain. It was handicapped-accessible, free breakfast, and heated pool, with a 4/5 star rating. Was it as nice as the place we stayed last year in the city? No, but it didn’t seem horrible, even with its fake brick. It was handicapped-accessible by technicality because they had an elevator…as in one.
They did have an indoor heated pool, dimly lit, no posted hours, kinda creepy and full of kids. The room itself was your basic hotel room suite– a kitchenette, a bathroom that had no counter (WTF???), and no hot water pressure in the bathtub. There was a queen-sized bed – for the queens, and a pull-out sofa for Bropey in the “living” area. There was a cushioned bench seat in the window, and what to me looked like one of those two-way mirror’s on the wall above the bed.
The next morning, I sat in my Eeyore pajama pants and Curious George hoodie, smoking my morning cigarette, freezing my ass off!!!
Apparently Michigan, or at least Detroit, is an anti-cigarette smoking kinda area. When traveling I care more about a smoking room than a handicapped-accessible one. So as I shivered and puffed, I took in my surroundings. The storm warning thus far had produced a bit of snow on the ground and drizzle-like rain.
The rest of the crew joined me in the lobby, and we took advantage of the free food. Not a bad gig really. There was an assortment of bagels and muffins, waffles, biscuits, and some stuff on warm in a crock-pot that I believe was gravy under a film of grease. There was instant oatmeal and a dispenser for 3 different cold cereals, and then you had coffee, tea, and OJ. As we ate in the “breakfast room,” that reminded me more of a hospital waiting room, the drizzle rain turned to big fat snowflakes. It would rain/snow for the remainder of the day.
Once dressed and set to go with business in order, it was off for Belle Isle with K– giving us directions. Now here’s something to know about traveling with K–: If there is no direct route from here to there (meaning we have to get off the interstate anyway). K– will take you on a “scenic” route, taking you deeper into the city. We have yet to get utterly lost, mugged or car-jacked on these trips, so there’s no reason for complaint.
There were so many beautiful homes. Homes that when originally built were part of affluent neighborhoods. Now… Those that were still occupied had been turned into apartments. Most were vacant, burned/charred, boarded up, and tagged with graffiti. It was painfully obvious how our economy has affected cities like Detroit.
We crossed the bridge and entered Belle Isle, and even on a day like this– cold, icy, rainy, it was still so beautiful. It was so easy to imagine that not much of it has changed since it was first created. Time period “costuming,” maybe a bit more pavement, from horse and carriage to cars and motorcycles, but the feel of it is the same.
I was nursing a bum leg, and Bropey didn’t want to really face the cold…but K–, Boss, our fearless leader, not only braved the elements, but braved wet icy marble steps in heels for pictures. She also endured a long slippery walk up the longest ramp ever, so I could roll down my car window and take a picture of her on a stage in a giant clam.
It was on her way back to the car that she was almost accosted by a homeless man.
But the way I see it, I got followed around a gas station (then to the car) by an Amish woman coming home from Cleveland, so it’s only fair. (I know, the irony of the Amish being at a Chevron..go figure.)
From Belle Isle we headed to Motown Museum.
Many thanks to my long time friend Thomas Forbes for the suggestion. And, let me say this: K– and I went to Cleveland, paid $20 for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (because we had coupons for $5 off) to become inspired by their Woman of Rock exhibit…No, scratch that…Really, we paid $20 to wander around 3 floors of clothing and instruments. I’ve told people since, “If you have a chance to go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, pass it and treat yourself to a meal at the Hard Rock instead.”
Now in Detroit, we paid $10 and had a rather attractive man give us a guided, informative and entertaining tour of two of Barry Gordy’s homes that started his empire.
We at Libidacoria are now saying, “Screw Donald Trump, we’re doing this Barry Gordy style!”
And really, it’s his parents who should be given a lot of the credit to his success. A white man and black woman in the 1910s and 1920′s move from Georgia to Detroit with 8 kids, and are able to sustain not 1, but 7 businesses during The Great Depression!
And Motown itself was created by kids!
19-yr-old Smokey Robinson who grew up 5 houses down from Diana Ross. And it was built on “Hey, I know this kid who sings, and they know so and so, and they know so and so.”
There were 5 of us on our tour, another couple joined us a few minutes late. She was from Detroit. He was from NY, visiting Detroit with the production “Fela.” Once we left the museum, we saw this guy on all the billboards in the city advertising the show.
Towards the end of our tour, our guide took us into the recording studio. He pulled the 3 of us gals into the center of the room, and had us sing, STOP! In the naaaame of looooove, before you break my heart. Think it oh, oh-ver… hand gestures and all. “Ladies, you have just stood in the spot where The Supremes did that very thing 50 years ago.” Divas pretending to be divas, how Bropey tolerated us after that, I don’t know.
After grabbing some postcards for some of our own fans in the gift shop, we headed to lunch at the famous American Coney Island. We stood outside the building trying to decide– American Coney Island or Lafayette Coney Island? For those of you who aren’t from Detroit or don’t watch the Travel Channel, these restaurants were started by 2 brothers.
And the big debate is which is better.
However, when a waiter came out of American and pointed us the way to the handicapped-accessible entrance around the corner, and went around to hold the door for us…American it was!
I was surprised by how big the place was, with its retro diner feel. There were employees wearing paper hats, and there were snapshots of all the famous people that have eaten there.
And the food?
Shut the front door!
We all got coneys with everything, and K– added a huge gyro to her order (giving me the opportunity to eat half of her coney). I’m from Ohio originally. Being from Ohio, you have to have a certain respect for Gold Star and Skyline even though your digestion track will make you pay for it a few hours later. Call me a traitor if you will, but American Coney Island has the best conies I’ve ever had…and my belly raised no revolt after. I paid less for K–’s and my lunch than I would have if we had gone to Burger King. And the staff was super friendly with the owner chatting us up as we left. I noticed that the folks in Detroit are a friendly and talkative people in general.
Bellies full, it was back in the car to have a very psychedelic experience at the Museum of Modern Art for a small $5 donation. (2 museums for $15 that were twice as entertaining as Rock & Roll Hall of Fame…just sayin’.)
We then took a drive down the now famous 8 Mile Road (playing the music of Eminem, of course), driving until it was no longer 8 Mile. Bropey managed to point out almost every coney island restaurant, adult entertainment club, and liquor store establishment along the way. Coming back, we drove through some amazing neighborhoods on the marina.
We headed back to the hotel to relax, regroup, and figure out what we wanted to do for dinner. The night ended with us back in the room stuffed to the point of discomfort from our dinner at Julianno’s, with plenty of leftovers.
Last year we had stepped into the Astoria Pastry Shop in Greektown but never had the chance to eat there. Friday night, before slipping into our food-induced comas, we had decided to do breakfast there. Only with a gun to your head could you make a quick decision from their beautiful selection. I knew then and there that if I become a diabetic, I will most likely have to commit suicide. Death by pastry has a nice ring to it. In awe, you start at one end of their display, and make your way ever so slowly to the other end, only to make the trip back. You fight the urge to get down on your knees, tears streaming down your face in utter thanks to whatever beings made all this possible.
“Debauchery” was to be the word for the day, K– decided as we savored our delectable eclairs, tarts, muffins, and cream puffs.
Across the street from the pastry shop was one of the many casinos in the area. We smoked our cigarettes, freezing to death (it was even colder today) as we made our way across. Come to find out the casinos are the only place in Detroit you can smoke.
I never wanted to leave, “Oooooooh, sweet mystery of life at last I found youuuuuuu”.
Within 10 minutes, a guy asked me to blow on his dice…and I almost did. lol
On the weekends, there are no tables with less than a $15 bet, and since we are budgeted, we stuck to mainly the slots. Being that K– is about to make her debut on Playboy Radio’s Spice Channel SiriusXM 103, we decided to try our luck on those slots.
Although it was a bit embarrassing when a Playboy Bunny ass flashed brightly above me every time I won.
I was the only one that came out ahead that day. I gave a silent thanks to the casino for allowing me to leave there with my pride, and money, plus $18 extra.
So, breakfast at Astoria, brunch at the casino, now for lunch at Hard Rock Cafe. Here’s the part where I should tell you how awesome the Hard Rock was with all it’s memorabilia. How cool the kite fountain in the lobby was, or how tasty the food was, albeit a bit overpriced. However, all I seem to recall is just how wonderful the $9 drink I ordered was.
The Fruitapalooza. It was heaven. I wanted to dive into the glass and risk drowning as I drank my way to the top. A mixture of 3 flavors of my favorite rum in this strawberry juice concoction that overwhelmed my taste-buds with pleasure. I managed to refrain from ordering another (upon another and another) because we had a long night ahead of us.
By the time we left (a t-shirt in hand for my son from my massive casino winnings), I was so uncomfortably full, that all I could think about was how badly I wanted to unbutton my jeans, or better yet slip into some sweatpants, and take a nap.
So it was back to the hotel to do just that before the festival…the purpose of our trip.
25th Annual Erotic Poetry & Musical Festival
This was the first performance of K–’s I’ve been to, that I’ve not seen a rehearsal. I believe it to be one of the added perks to being a partner in the business (and her BFF) to have the inside scoop.
I knew she wanted me to be surprised, so I managed to keep enough composure to not corner her in the hotel’s counterless bathroom and make her perform it for me.
All I knew was, she was coming in with 8 poems, many from the new book, 4play (being published now), a couple from the first book, and a brand new one I’ve not read or heard. There was to be no glitz or glamor (that she doesn’t already possess), music or dancing. It was going to be her in jeans and a microphone.
We arrived to Corktown Tavern as they were still setting up for the festival. Bropey kinda surprised us and did us proud when he jumped right in and helped set up, and then helped throughout the show. Our table was close to the stage and backdoor, which was where Bropey posted himself all night. I couldn’t help but get tickled over how much he looked like our personal bodyguard/bouncer standing in the doorway, arms crossed over his Libidacoria t-shirt.
How this show has gone on for 25 years is beyond me. I will take the blame for any negative comments made, by stating that these are only my opinions.
Last year, there was some great talent there.
And then…there was some…not so great talent.
What surprised me was how many of the not-so-great talents had returned. A woman, who screeched her way through some horrible songs that left many in the audience uncomfortable just watching, opened the show.
There were two female poets (besides K–) that had returned this year. Poets who are quite talented. However, the horrible emcees could only seem to talk about their breasts. It was disgusting!
At one point, I looked at K– and told her, “If you ever let your tits take importance over your work, I will knock your head clear off your fucking shoulders!” She knows my temper well enough that I will make good on such a threat.
And then, it was her turn. The room was at its peak of attendees, and it was just her, a microphone, and a beer at hand.
Regardless of the type of performance she’s giving for whatever occasion, they have a certain rhythm to them – much like sex (obviously). She grabs your attention with the first few lines. Your ears are perked. You stop your conversation and tilt your head a bit. Now that she has you, she pulls you in closer, deeper, and it climbs and builds. And then BLA-OW . You look at your neighbor, eyebrows raised, and say things like, ‘Wow,’ ‘hell yeah,’ and ‘damn!’ Some can find no words and simply whistle and cry out. Finally, she brings you down and lets you go, and as she steps off that stage, you know you’ve seen something amazing.
We left shortly after yet another disappointing performance and an absolutely uncalled for, unprofessional comment to the audience from a certain burlesque dancer who for this blog will remain nameless. Shoot me an email and I’ll tell you her name. It’s too bad really, because she was among the few talented people at the show.
By the time we headed back to the hotel, my bum leg was killing me after having climbed a long flight of stairs, and I was suffering from nicotine withdrawal from not having a cigarette in 4 hours. I did get some satisfaction over the fact that I hadn’t had to pay for a ticket to the festival and only gave a $5 donation for the animal organization they were raising money for.
After sleeping on the couch, a.k.a. the fish bowl, for two nights, Bropey (feet killing him from standing all night) decided to pull out the bed. Yeeeeaaah. The mattress was busted and torn, and he practically fell though it when he tried laying down. He spent the last night in that window seat I mentioned earlier.
“This is the end, my only friend the end”
And by now you’re probably saying to yourself, it’s about fucking time!
We packed our things, loaded in the car, and this time K– drove and I took the backseat. We were all exhausted and just wanted to get home.
As you read in the itinerary, K– was to put my ass back on a bus late Monday morning.
Whoopsie, we missed it. Although technically, it was still there when we got to the station; however, the check-in line was long, and there was only one person working the counter. By the time it was my turn, I had to exchange my ticket (at no charge, thank you, Greyhound) for the bus leaving the next morning at the butt-crack-a-dawn. I wasn’t about to hang out there until the midnight bus and hope to get a ride home once in TN at 5a.m. I’m loved, but not that loved.
It worked out well, K– was going to work from home that day, and I was able to get my little man covered back in TN. So for the rest of the day, we were a vision of the Libidacoria Corporate Office. Studio K– has two black desks facing each other making one large desk. She sat working at her computer, and I sat at the other starting this fucking endless blog. Yeah do the math, that was February 27th and this is now March 9th, that’s how long it’s taken me to get this published. So quit your bitching on how much you’ve had to read!
Tuesday morning came at 4 a.m. and we made our way back to the station. I had just enough time to buy us a cup of coffee before it was time to board. I’ve learned when riding the bus to sit in the sit directly behind the driver. It offers no leg room, so I’m almost guaranteed a seat to myself. While my plan didn’t work because the bus was so full, she was thin and quiet and slept until she got off the bus in Lexington. As the sun came up over the Ohio River, we pull out.
However, we merely crossed the bridge into Covington when we had to turn around because something was wrong with the bus.
Back to the station to get on a different bus.
So, an hour later we were off once again.
Once back in TN while waiting for my ride to show up some guy came up to me and asked for a cigarette. I gave him one, and as I’m searching for my lighter, he asks me, “Hey, you got any cigarette papers in there?” I looked at him with a quizzical look on my face.
“You smoke pot?” he asked.
I chuckled a bit, finding my lighter and handing it to him, “Why?” (Notice I didn’t say no.)
“I got some to sell.”
I took my lighter back from him, smiled, and said, “Naw, I’m good thanks.”
It didn’t bother me that I must have this air about me that says, “Pot smoker.” What bothered me is that he took me for one that would buy some from a stranger at a Greyhound Bus Station.
I may not be a Pot Snob like Mamakind describes in her book Sex Pot, but I sure as hell have more class than that!
However, a fellow passenger, it seems, did take him up on his offer.
My ride arrived, and I finally made it home exhausted.
The past two weeks have been spent trying to recover from all the fun and get caught up in my day-to-day life.
Why is it that nothing happens in life until you leave it and come back?
So that is Saxie’s take on Libidacoria’s Detroit Trip 2012. While I don’t think it will be our last trip to Detroit, it may be our last Annual Erotic Poetry & Music Festival…only time will tell.
This is just a Saxie blog, not a Moment With A Midget, so you will have to draw out the moral on your own. I’m sure you can.