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THE BOYS OF

adrieL thornton + bryce gaMper

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO JOAN

another year over and a new one just begun

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Les MisérabLes COCKTAIL CHATTER:

the Kir royaLe


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CONTENTS

January 2012

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BOYS OF DETROiT Adriel Thornton + Bryce Gamper

As of today the City of Detroit is going through a new evolution of itself. With the help of many new imports, people and businesses alike, it looks like Detroit will be …

[continued on page 11]

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THE FAU F lT lT iS ANOTHER YEAR US OVER, AND A NEW WiTHiN Become Who You Are ONE JUST BEGUN... The World According to Joan

Well here we are again, the start of another year. One year on... We’ve had some ups and downs, but how have you been Flamers? How did 2012 treat you? When we spoke last January, I charged you to tackle the year by rediscovering your passion - finding that one thing which gives you …

On December 14, 2012, a senseless shooting occurred in a Connecticut school. In this shooting, twenty children - twenty innocents were murdered. I did not want to write about this; I wish beyond everything I didn’t have to write about this. But I cannot keep silent and be an observer anymore …

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lES MiSéRABlES

THE KiR ROYAlE

I dreamed a dream of time gone by...

What do you do when a horrifying hurricane rips up the Eastern seaboard just before Halloween and the news reports begin to refer to it as the “Frankenstorm”? Why, you take out the bottle of cheap champagne that has been sitting in your refrigerator for lord knows how long and rummage through your liquor cabinet before the power goes off and find that …

At the Movies with Dorothy

Prisoner 24601, Jean Valjean is released from prison after 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread to feed a starving family member. Jean Valjean breaks his parole and with the help of a kindly priest decides to …

Cocktail Chatter

Bryce + Adriel | Photos by: Tony Lowe

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FlAME/ The World According to Joan Written by Joan Stevenson

another year over and a new one just begun... W

ell here we are again, the start of another year. One year on... We’ve had some ups and downs, but how have you been Flamers? How did 2012 treat you? When we spoke last January, I charged you to tackle the year by rediscovering your passion - finding that one thing which gives you that little lift that makes everything in life easier to deal with. So did you give it a shot or did life happen and you got side tracked? If you did, that’s okay. That’s what’s so great about the new year, you can give it another try. I had a lot of challenges to deal with this past year with moving and having to care for my mom who has had some health concerns so I definitely got distracted and discouraged, but I know that I can still carve something good out of the new year; got to keep moving forward. As I have said before about making resolutions, don’t make any lofty aspirations. Keep it simple. Start with something small then if you take a step, take another, and another until your goal, dream, or hope is in sight. I like to make a list instead of resolutions. I make

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a list of things I would like to accomplish in the year kind of like a to-do list. I think carefully about what I want, then write it down. Then I put the list up on my bulletin board or wherever I can see it openly. It’s there as a guide throughout the year as a gentle reminder. Whenever I accomplish something, I cross it off the list. No matter what it is, it feels good to cross something off the list. As an example my list for 2013 includes: • Line up more gigs • Do more recording • Get a show produced • Get a new pair of glasses • Change hair color (maybe) • Go to a concert Now what you want to put on your list is completely up to you. You can keep it strictly serious: quit smoking, go to the gym, or become a vegan, for example. Or you can make it a fun list: buy that pair of shoes, subscribe to that magazine, or say hi to that hottie next time you see them at the bar. You don’t even have to take

the list one by one in order, just go with what comes and cross it off as it happens. Believe me, it does feel good to cross things off that list. It gives you a feeling of accomplishment. If the idea of a list is too strict, make it a cloud structure. The whole idea is to take the pressure off so you don’t feel disappointed with yourself if you break a resolution. If you reach the end of the year with things still on your list, put them on the list for the next year or just start all over from scratch. Isn’t that what a new beginning is all about? Call it a wish list. Give this approach a try and I guarantee you’ll feel better and stronger about what goals you’re trying to accomplish. However you decide to face the challenges that will come your way this year, stay strong and be safe. I wish you and your loved ones a happy and fulfilling 2013. Flame on! Joan Stevenson is an entertainer in the Metro Detroit area. Find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @Lady_J_8 and on Tumblr: http:// houseofwonderandchaos.tumblr.com/


FlAME/ Become Who You Are Written by John LoPorto

the fault is within us O

n December 14, 2012, a senseless shooting occurred in a Connecticut school. In this shooting, twenty children - twenty innocents - were murdered. I did not want to write about this; I wish beyond everything I didn’t have to write about this. But I cannot keep silent and be an observer anymore. In the last few days, I’ve heard many explanations for this tragedy- from removing God from school, the need to increase gun control, the need to allow guns in school, to blaming violence on TV and the Internet. Sorry, but those explanations are superficial; they are wrong and they are ignorant of the truth. If you want to know the true culprit, look in a mirror. We are to blame; we as a people and as a society are to blame. Yes, certainly there are those more accountable than ourselves. And I am not saying we were the psychotic bastard pulling the trigger. But the core of this tragedy is our creation. We did this. We have allowed ourselves to create

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and manage a society where blame is constantly shifting. We have developed, and perfected the capitalistic notion of cover your ass. In the corporate world, this idea governs the American deity called the free-market. But, unwillingly or maybe even willingly, we have let this ascetic idea spill onto our sociological and political structures. Take for example, the string of LGBT suicides that gripped national attention. Instead of realizing that society as a whole suppressed homosexuality, we instead blamed the bullies. Or the plague of obesity sweeping the nation - not our fault for eating poorly and not exercising; it’s the fault of the food industry for creating high fat and high-calorie foods that we just simply cannot live without. This same faulty, distorted logic pervades this tragedy as well. We are the ones electing politicians who cater to special interest, such as the “right to bear arms” coalition. And more surprisingly, we allow it and even expect it to happen. We are the ones that are content in living in an apathetic society. We are the ones with a short-term national memory -

how long did it take to forget the Aurora murders? Virginia Tech? Columbine? Nothing is going to change unless we as a people change. We need to take responsibility and realize there is something wrong at the core of modern American society. Then we can have a national dialogue on how to fix it. I am not saying I have the solution to the issues presented. But I know there is a problem and nothing is going to change unless we stop covering our own ass and start creating a society in which we are a national family and not a conglomeration of separate individuals. The greatest thing is this: we are the ones with the power to change. The men and women in Washington DC derive their power from us. We are the government. We the people then must make a change because this will happen again if the status quo remains.

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As a people, we have some hard decisions to make. But my God it’s worth it. Too many lives have already been lost


BOYS OF

dETrOiT Adriel Thornton + Bryce Gamper Written by: Tony Lowe Photos by: Tony Lowe

A

s of today the City of Detroit is going through a new evolution of itself. With the help of many new imports, people and businesses alike, it looks like Detroit will be back on the map. Bryce Gamper and Adriel Thornton are two men who have brought lots of attention to a bright and shining future as our city evolves into one of America’s greatest. Bryce is a recent addition to the city and the developing culture and has been a very vocal presence about the city and its comeback. Adriel, a longtime resident, has been active in the electronic music scene for which Detroit is well known and also promoting some of the best events in the city. We got together with them to learn more about Detroit and its revitalization.

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What is happening in the city? A: I really see a renewed interest across the region in having a strong, vibrant central city. There’s a lot of movement happening…. A few years ago, if someone was doing something you knew who it was and what it was. Now, there’s so much happening that

it’s impossible to keep up. That’s a great sign that we’re moving in the right direction. B: A lot is happening in Detroit now, so much so I can’t even keep track of it. From new development and businesses coming into the city, to new residents like myself moving into town, there is always something going on. There are very few degrees of separation in Detroit, so if something is happening you are bound to find out about it very quickly – the city is open to everyone a n d easily

accessible. If you want to know what’s happening today, tomorrow or next week all you have to do is ask somebody who lives downtown and they will probably have a list of things for you to check out. There is a bustling art scene – both underground and above, new technology companies coming into midtown and downtown almost daily, new housing being built and old housing being renovated to bring in more residents, new restaurants to eat at, and of course new events everyday to make an appearance at. One of my favorite happenings was a few weekends ago - I was at the Red Bull House of Art, a trendy gallery in Eastern Market with local artists showing off some of their amazing creations, a DJ spinning and Red Bull all over the place, it seemed more like I was in a friendly version of New York.

You guys work with and through various organizations that are helping Detroit to grow, how are they helping? A: Generally, most of these organizations, no matter what they’re specific missions are, have the same general objective. They all want to see Detroit be the best it can be. A lot of people and organizations are doing small things that, collectively, have a huge impact on city living.

Challenge Detroit, Spire Integrated Systems

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B: I am a Fellow in the inaugural year of Challenge Detroit, an initiative of the Collaborative Group. The founding principle of the program is that Michigan has some of the greatest higher-education facilities in the nation, and we attract a lot of top talent to be educated here, but we lose all of that talent the minute they graduate. It’s what has been referred to as the “brain-Drain” in Michigan, and it is something that we are working to reverse. If we can attract companies to open offices downtown or to support their employees living downtown and then connect those companies with talented recent graduates we can attract a younger population into the city to live, work, play and give back in Detroit.


There are 29 Fellows in the program all together, not just from Michigan but also from all over the US. We work with various companies in the Detroit region and we all live in the city. Every Friday we come together outside of our normal jobs to act as consultants for multiple non-profits working downtown, through this collaboration we offer proposals and solutions to the various initiatives and opportunities the non-profits ask us to work on. There are a lot of great non-profits working to make positive change in Detroit, by allowing Challenge Detroit to come in as consultants the groups are able to target our abilities to aid in their goals and further their achievements when they may not have had the staff or manpower to dedicate to those tasks before. The scope of the program is to bring talent back to our city and help it thrive again. By working, living, playing and giving back in Detroit the fellows are able to make new connections, network and make an impact. We serve for a year as Fellows and then move on to our respective positions, either at the companies we worked for during the program, new companies in the city, or by starting our own companies downtown. Through the experience I’ve been able to start the foundations of my own company and I know that many other fellows have started to do the same. By sharing these experiences through social media and other outlets we are using our stories to show others how great living in Detroit really is, and attract others back to Detroit as well. You can check out more about Challenge Detroit at www.challengedetroit.org

B:I studied architecture in college at Lawrence Tech, I did a lot of work in the city, both theoretical work and community service during school. When I got out of college I started looking for a new place downtown because I was just drawn to the city, when I was accepted to be in

Challenge Detroit it kicked me into gear to sign a lease. What drew me to the city is the diversity of it all, the different neighborhoods, and how it seems to fit together at the end of the day. Detroit has this combination of a complicated history - full of various cultures, religions, and stories that brought us to where we are today; at the same time it has this raw resurgence ahead of itself – lending itself to opportunity for those who are willing to take a stake in Detroit’s f u t u r e . The most important part is to remember that history the city comes from, Detroit isn’t a ‘blank slate’ to start anew; it is a place where to be successful you have to be vested in the city’s success as a whole

You both were drawn to Detroit, why? A: There’s something about the vibe, the energy in this city. Detroit’s always had a strong creative class that feeds off of and into the intangible Detroit spirit. This kind of environment allows people to start projects easily and see them come to fruition.

FreshCorp, Wink (www.winkdet.com)

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and not just your own. Sure our city might not be perfect but there are a hell of a lot of amazing things going on that we could be focusing on instead. When I moved downtown I heard “Detroit is big enough to matter in the world, but small enough that you matter in Detroit” and that is the best thing about the city. You make connections quickly and easily as long as you put yourself out into the mix.

How is the queer culture represented in the city and what is there for them? A: The queer culture represents itself in many different ways. From Motor City Pride moving to Hart Plaza to club events, queer culture is alive and well. Most of the bars and clubs are located in the city. Additionally, the largest numbers of gays live within the city limits. There’s also a whole movement of queer expression happening, from art shows to more underground parties. People are becoming more interested in what big, dense, central cities have to offer. As Detroit’s retail, restaurant and housing clusters grow more gays will follow. B:The queer culture in Detroit is a very laid-back social scene. It isn’t party central (though there are some fun parties here and there) but it is a place to meet new people in the queer community and come out of your comfort zone. Gay Detroit is a lot friendlier and inclusive than I’ve noted it to be in the suburbs or in other cities – if you’re new here people want to get to know you, hear your story, hear about what your doing in Detroit, there aren’t any real cliques, just a bunch of gays who really love living in the city. Doggy Style Tuesday nights at Park Bar means it’s time for a drink with your gay friends and you get to bring your dog into the bar too (who doesn’t love getting to pet a cute dog and drink a vodka soda at the same time?). Macho City means dancing to some old-school beats on the west side. In-between someone is always hosting a house party or social event to keep the gay socialites happy.

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Has a gay borough developed yet? Do you think young people (and gays) are going to flock into the city? A: I definitely think more gays are going to be moving into the city. There’s already a small but growing movement of people taking advantage of the incentives to move into the city. There isn’t a specific gay borough here, but there are neighborhood clusters. Indian Village, Midtown, Palmer Woods, and Boston-Edison all have growing gay populations. Also, many gays live throughout the entire city. B:There are pockets in almost every neighborhood in Detroit, but we don’t have a ‘Boystown’ so to speak. I don’t think that’s a bad thing though, it’s one of the most interesting things about gay life in Detroit - we are kind of everywhere! Which means we seem to be a part of every new initiative, new business, or new non-profit that comes into the city. Young people who are coming into the city will have the chance to experience a lot of neighborhoods with different vibes – trendy Midtown, historic Corktown, urban Bowntown, community life in Lafayette Park, etc. That was another great part about moving to Detroit – I didn’t feel like I had to pick a specific neighborhood because of my sexuality, I felt comfortable and safe in all of the neighborhoods in the city but fell in love with the community feel I found in Woodbridge (and the architecture of all the old houses, including my own) and so I moved there.

Is there a clear separation between straight and queer culture, or do the lines blur? A: There’s definitely a line. (Laughter.) As queer culture becomes more accepted, I think those lines will blur. When people realize that, well, people are people regardless of how they live, we’ll be in a great place as a society. B:The lines blur a lot, and in a good way. Like I mentioned above, we aren’t really segregated in any particular neighborhood and that extends to our culture and nightlife as well. A straight

bar becomes a gay bar for the night, there is a gay artist showing at a gallery in midtown, a bunch of the boys are going out for dinner in Greektown,; nothing is really off-limits or specific to the LGBT community in Detroit

What do you guys want to see in the city next? A: I really would like to see the retail environment continue to grow. City services still need a lot of improvement as does dealing with city government. I would love to see clear city planning again, with a focus on density and environmental common sense. I’d also like to see the culture of the city transform into one of unity. We’re all in this together. B:The architect/urban planner in me instantly says mass public transit. The M1 rail is vital to the continuing development and growth of our city but is only part of the answer. The fact that the Governor just signed the bill for the Regional Transit Authority is a great step in the right direction. Multi-modal transportation is the solution to many of the problems happening in our city: walk-able paths, bike lines, bus routes that actually run and are reliable, and light-rail are interdependent to create a thriving transportation system that can be the backbone of Detroit’s resurgenceMy less serious answer: a good gay dance night on the weekend somewhere downtown or midtown! But I’m pretty sure Adriel’s got that in the works already!

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FlAME/ At The Movies With Dorothy Written by Dorothy Stevenson

les Misérables 5 / 5 stars Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean russell Crowe as Javert Anne Hathaway as Fantine Amanda Seyfried as Cosette Eddie redmayne as Marius Samantha Barks as Éponine Aaron Tveit as Enjolras Sacha Baron Cohen as Thénardier Helena Bonham Carter as Mme. Thénardier

OUT iN THEATERS DECEMBER 25, 2012 I dreamed a dream in time gone by... Prisoner 24601, Jean Valjean is released from prison after 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread to feed a starving family member. Jean Valjean breaks his parole and with the help of a kindly priest decides to start his life over anew, but over time he is relentlessly pursued by police Inspector Javert who is convinced that Jean Valjean cannot change and he should be put back behind bars forever.

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Across the years, as he is trying to stay out of Javert’s watchful eye, Jean Valjean becomes involved with a group of young students determined to make a stand to change the social injustices of the French government. “Les Misérables,” the long awaited movie adaptation of the smash hit Broadway musical based on the Victor Hugo epic, is finally on screen. Fans of this musical, this world wide phenomenon,

should find this presentation all encompassing. I have only seen the stage show once, and I enjoyed it very much as well as the music, but unlike some of my other theatre friends, I was not obsessed with it. I did not know the story very well at all, because I had never read the book in school and I had never seen a movie adaptation. Things were flying by very quickly and it was kind of hard for me to comprehend exactly all of what was


going on. The movie makes up for all of that and presents the story clearly and precisely. The pacing is very smooth and the storytelling is very clear. You won’t have a problem keeping up with the story. The vocals here are superb! Hugh Jackman brings all heart and soul to his portrayal of Jean Valjean, played

is very smooth “and...Thethepacing storytelling is very

clear. You won’t have a problem keeping up with the story...

originally in the Broadway cast by the fabulous Colm Wilkinson, who makes an appearance in the film as the priest who helps Jean Valjean begin a new life. Russell Crowe is absolutely stunning as the relentless Javert who dogs Valjean’s every step. His booming voice and commanding presence are just what the character calls for. Fans of the film “Ella Enchanted” will not be surprised at Anne Hathaway’s

vocals and the spirit she brings to the character of Fantine, a young woman who because of circumstance is forced into prostitution to pay for her child’s care. Amanda Seyfried, who starred in the movie version of the musical “Mamma Mia” lends her gentile voice and surprising range to Cosette, Fantine’s teenage daughter. Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen play the bawdy, thievish innkeepers, the Thénardiers. They previously starred in the movie version of the musical “Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street.” Samantha Barks reprises her role as Éponine from “Les Misérables: 25th Anniversary Concert.” Young award winning stage and screen actor Eddie Redmayne is passionate and sincere as Marius, the young man who falls for Cosette. The film is presented just as it was in the stage show, in the sing-through style. There is very little or no spoken dialogue. Every character’s scenes are mostly shot as a close-up, letting you see as well as feel all the emotion and the passion in their performances. And the

performances are passionate; the actors trained and rehearsed extensively. Jackman and Hathaway dieted and starved themselves to look their parts. Hugh deprived himself of water for 36 hours to change his appearance for Valjean’s later years. Anne actually cut her hair. A bit of trivia: In the scene where Anne’s hair is cut, the person cutting it is actually her male stylist disguised as a woman. Academy Award winning director Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech”) has done a fabulous job of bringing this massive musical to the silver screen. And it is massive! This film has a run time of 160 minutes – that’s two hours and forty minutes, so be prepared for that. Go to the bathroom before you get seated! You won’t want to miss a minute. You will also probably need to bring a box of Kleenex. I’m not ashamed to say I cried like a baby in places. I can finally say to all of my theatre people out there who were so stoked on this show, I get it now! I totally get it! I will be going back to see this film again and will be in line to buy it when it comes out on DVD

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december january 2012

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FlAME/ Cocktail Chatter Written by Ed Sikov

The Kir Royale W

hat do you do when a horrifying hurricane rips up the Eastern seaboard just before Halloween and the news reports begin to refer to it as the “Frankenstorm”? Why, you take out the bottle of cheap champagne that has been sitting in your refrigerator for lord knows how long and rummage through your liquor cabinet before the power goes off and find that bottle of Crème de Cassis you bought lord knows when, and you make yourself (or selves, as the case may be) a lovely Kir Royale or four. With its elegant name and mystifying ingredients – the name is obscurely derived – the Kir Royale lends a festive, Frenchified air to a night of electrical failure and potentially lethal weather conditions. Dan and I began to enjoy ours at dusk the evening that Hurricane Sandy arrived in New York, its winds picking up to a howl that was less Frankenstormian than Werewolfesque. It was thoroughly creepy to hear prolonged and violent gusts of air forced through the skyscraper canyons of Manhattan. I was profoundly unnerved. Dan was nonplussed, which made me even more jittery.

“What?” he demanded with a certain smugness. “You think it’s like the Big Bad Wolf threatening to blow our 22-story apartment building down? Whoever built this place was one smart piggy. Brick, don’t you know?” “You won’t be so cavalier when a beam from that monstrosity they’re building across the street comes flying through the window and impales you like that guy in The Omen.” “Never saw it,” Dan replied irrelevantly. “Why don’t you distract yourself and make us one of your obscure cocktails? And by the way: I read your last column. Thanks for informing the entire planet that I shaved my chest.” “Your life is an open book,” I remarked as I headed for the kitchen. We had that bottle of cheap champagne, and I dug out that bottle of Crème de Cassis, and moments after that satisfying pop of the cork we were enjoying our Kir Royales. “What’s the plural form of this drink?” I asked Dr. Three-Degreesfrom-Harvard.

“Kirs Royale.” “Like The Mothers-in-Law, starring Eve Arden and Kaye Ballard?” “Precisely.” As if on cue, our building’s power went out. “Do you think God is a television critic?” I asked. “That was a good show!” Dan protested. The wind howled what we both took to be a dissenting view of the old sitcom, I carefully made my way across the room in the dark, and we snuggled on the couch for a while as the storm built. By morning, the power was still off, but neither of us had been impaled like that guy in The Omen, so the night can only be called a success

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The Kir Royale (serves one) 1/2 oz Crème de Cassis Champagne Pour the Crème de Cassis into a champagne flute or any wine glass and add the champagne slowly enough that it retains its fizz and the glass doesn’t overflow.

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