FRIDAY JOURNAL ENTRY: I think of Mart Crowley’s campy line from “Boys in the Band”: “It takes a fairy to make something pretty.”
Yes, yes: a bevy of fellowshiping aerials . . . The MCC-Detroit Chapel basement is all “glitter and be gay” (another borrowed line, this time from Leonard Bernstein’s musical, “Candide”). Tinsel and Hollywood bunting. Colored lights.
Classical guitar. 70s music. A tasteful potluck — no jello with diced fruit, no tuna/potato-chip casseroles, no KFC finger lickin’ good — but a marvelous feast — enjoyed by 90.
Guest of honor: Rev. Troy Perry, LGBT activist; founder, Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. Sitting next to him, a Man of Mystery. “Trevor”. Thirty-something. 5′ 8″. Handsome. Butch. Pleasant. Observant. Keeps authoritatively to himself. Attentive to Perry. Ferndale Councilman Craig Covey, convivially on hand for votes — and presumably a decent Julia Child meal — blessed with requisite Grace by pastor Mark Bidwell — knows “Trevor”. (It figures.) I leave five pounds heavier.
SATURDAY: Another MCC-D St. Mary-Go-Round. This time: Dearborn Park Place for a formal 35th Anniversary celebration. 150 present, including Mayor Bob Porter, whom it’s my pleasure to sit next to and “talk” about something I know next to nothing about: 9 Mile politics. (He’s stepping down as Ferndale mayor. Covey — highly qualified — wants the job.)
Porter shares that as a 20 year-old he had a close call with total lights out. Encountering teenage thugs on a tree-shaded fringe of the Palmer Park golf course, he was robbed, whacked on the head with a baseball bat. He lay in a coma for a week. It took him months to learn to read again; and occasionally he rereads some items two or three times to get their “sense”. (He does Ferndale’s Proclamation Honoring MCC-D without hesitation.)
Perry, at Table 1 to our Table 2, is with muscular “Trevor”, who appears impressed by the charismatic 67-year-old evangelist. They confab intimately. Laugh alot. After dinner Perry speaks briefly, and everybody gets up to line dance, fox trot, samba, rumba, twist, tango, gavotte, shake their booty — except Perry, “Trevor”, and me. (Good food, two extra desserts, a 10:30 watch check means it’s time to hustle my shy Arthur Murray bod on to bed.)
SUNDAY: 11 A.M.: Service packed. Choir back from summer break. In top form. Five clergy celebrate, all dressed in white robes, highlighted with blue Fellowship logo. Perry welcomes “Trevor” as bona fide, off-duty Deputy Sheriff, and — mystery solved — gay bodyguard throughout Detroit weekend. Perry preaches dynamic sermon with touches of humor, Pentecostal spunk, nanosecond timing.
Hints of Southern drawl. Memorable line: “While there’s no cure for AIDS, there’s healing from AIDS.” (I recall church friends lost: Larry Gaynor, Jim Hohman, Jim Proffit, Tom Bartley, Robert Cunningham; deacons Craig Carver, Darren Weinmueller.)
SUNDAY — 3:00 P.M.: At Orchestra Hall to hear DSO perform Serge Prokofiev’s 1st Piano Concerto (Louis Notre, in shirt and slacks, is soloist); Francis Poulenc’s “Aubade,” and the Detroit premiere of John Corigliano’s 1st Symphony. (Two gay composers; the third, with a gay sounding first name. Sir-gay. Not, Francis.)
The attentive audience — a three-quarter house — is mostly 40 and older. (I wave to BTL columnist John Corvino — he’s 30 — and his younger partner, lawyer Mark.) It’s years since I’ve heard the Corigliano work, now conducted by Thomas Wilkes. He gives a flawless reading. By turns this highly textured AIDS piece shrieks, sighs, blares, wails, weeps, pleads, laments, and touchingly — so softly — mourns those Corigliano knew who died during the — still-ongoing — AIDS crisis.
MONDAY JOURNAL ENTRY: A blank. (“Trevor”. “Trevor” who?)