Best of Detroit 2011
Photo: Marvin Shaouni
Spend the Night - Staff Picks
From upscale cocktails to dives to rawk 'n' roll, our fave nocturnal haunts
Published: April 27, 2011
Best candlelight creepy-crawly that connects Southfield to Charles Manson, Hollywood and the death of the '60s
Jay Sebring Gravesite
Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 25800 W. 10 Mile Rd., Southfield; 248-350-1900
It was America's crime of the century, one that absolutely horrified the country, killed its innocence and any idea of peace-and-love utopia. It said: You're not safe, not even in your own home. The murders also terrified Hollywood's music and acting elite, many of whom thought they were next.
Early morning on Aug. 9, 1969, at the behest of the 5-foot-2 Charles Manson, four fucked-up all-American kids — Susan Adkins, Charles "Tex" Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel and Linda Kasabian — scaled the fence at Roman Polanski's rented Beverly Hills house and remorselessly murdered Southfield's Jay Sebring, along with Polanski's pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate, socialite coffee heiress Abigail Folger and her beau, and supposed drug dealer, Wojciech Frykowski, plus a teenager, Steven Parent, who happened to be leaving after visiting the groundskeeper.
Doris Day's son, Byrds producer Terry Melcher, had recently moved out of the house and has long been rumored to be the Manson family's original target. Melcher, at one point, offered to help Manson's budding music career at the behest of Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, but had pulled out.
Born in Birmingham, Ala., Oct. 9, 1933, Sebring (real name: Thomas John Kummer) grew up in Southfield with his parents, two sisters and a brother, and graduated from Southfield High. After a Navy stint in the Korean War, Sebring moved to L.A. His hairstyling skills soon transformed how people looked at the barber shop, and Sebring became the first male to ever open his own men's salon, which quickly expanded to Sebring International, with hair care boutiques in San Francisco, New York, London and West Hollywood.
Sebring set male coif standards, which became high-art in his hands, and he singlehandedly invented the idea of the hairstylist as international Playboy (he lived in Jean Harlow's old mansion, where Harlow's hubby Paul Bern had committed suicide), while fashioning the dos of Hollywood's who's who, including Warren Beatty, Kirk Douglas, Paul Newman, Frank Sinatra, Cliff Robertson and myriad others. He's the one who shaped Jim Morrison's mane into total rock-star perfection.
Sebring worked hair on film sets (including Spartacus) and helped launch Bruce Lee's career (Sebring introduced the unknown martial arts expert to TV producer William Dozier, who then cast him to star in TV's Green Hornet). Sebring even played himself once (as Mr. Oceanbring) on a Batman episode.
He married and divorced once (Cami, a model), and was later engaged to Tate, until she met Polanski on a Euro film shoot (The Fearless Vampire Killers). Sebring and Tate stayed close — it's said she was the love of his life.
During the murders, Sebring pleaded vainly with Watkins and Adkins to be gentle with Tate, who was 8-1/2 months pregnant, before he was shot, kicked in the face and stabbed seven times and had a rope tied around his neck (that connected to Tate's neck) while his ex-fiance could only watch in absolute horror. She then begged for her own life and that of her unborn child.
Sebring was buried at Holy Sepulchre in Southfield on Aug. 13, 1969. A fearful and gun-toting Steve McQueen eulogized the star-studded crowd. —Brian Smith
Best New Night in Royal Oak
Exchange Bureau Presents at Goodnite Gracie
222 S. Sherman Dr., Royal Oak; exchangebureaumusic.com
Joshua Adams has held a Wednesday Night residency at this intimate cocktail club for a hot minute now, but he's breathing new air into the evening by showcasing his internationally recognized record label, Exchange Bureau Music. The evening is now a showcase of revolving musicians from the label's stable, with Adams himself on hand to lend two when needed. They've already featured DJ Godfather, DIAL81, Andy Toth and Brian Gillespie. In the coming weeks and months they'll feature none other than Piranha Head and Sinistarr. And we're keeping our fingers crossed for some SelfSays, Quest MCODY and Guilty Simpson. Hey, EXB, that sounds like a pretty dope set, come to think of it. ...
Best Rock 'n' Roll Venue for '80s Reminiscence
14238 Harper Ave., Detroit; 313-824-1700; harposconcerttheatre.com
In the last 12 months, Faster Pussycat, LA Guns, Ratt, Stryper, Trixter and others of similar vintage and ilk have passed through the long-standing, tough-as-power-chords Harpos. Not exactly up-to-the-moment shows, are they? But so what? The club doesn't give a shit. Besides, Harpos knows you can't argue that their aging followers are steadfast in their undying loyalty and agree that it's far too lazy (and easy) to pick on '80s bands (and their retreating hairlines). And this venue — with it's arena-like sound, lights and killer sightlines — is so delightfully uncool that it's gone completely full circle and is now cool again. It's a proper rock 'n' roll venue. It's heaven for some, hell for others, but it is, as old Rob Halford would say, heaven and hell.
Best Place to Get Thrown Into (Not out Of)
3736 Third St., Detroit; 313-831-8949
The drinks are either weak or strong and it's advisable to gulp a series of shots down before venturing through Jumbo's doors (let's not even talk about the poopers), but there's certain charm that not even the cantankerous glass-empty day drunks, Wayne State "chill" hipsters and nightly regulars can argue doesn't exist. The bar staff is wink-wink friendly enough without being exactly warm, and like many heady Detroit neighborhood taverns — even those deep in Cass Corridor's bowels — the juke box is killer, as is the karaoke. We live in a city that has its priorities right, now don't we? For the record, this place has long been an MT fave.
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