Published: June 6, 2012
"What's your claim to fame?" he asks everyone. His was managing the 20 Grand nightclub, the infamous rhythm-and-blues spot that hosted the top Motown acts every weekend. "We had all the entertainers in the world," he says. "It was so beautiful. It was like, have you ever, when you wake up in the morning and the birds sing and all you hear is music the whole day through? All you hear is just beautiful things? It was like that."
Things went bad for him since, and he's been homeless for years. He's inadvertently funny when offering his biography. "I've been through the Vietnam war," he declares. When did he serve? "I was not there," he replies. "But I went through it."
Then "Cha Cha Slide" by DJ Casper, a song popular at weddings and parties, bursts out of the speakers, and dozens of homeless people gather before the stage and step in sync. "Right foot two stomps. Left foot two stomps," the lyrics announce, and the homeless follow the song's instructions. Davis bounces in his chair excitedly.
"Now you gotta look at all these beautiful people," he gushes. "Everybody out here ain't got no money — women and children. No one has nowhere to go, they got homes maybe, but they're homeless. They're cool. There's no fighting, there's no cops around. All everybody want is a piece of the pie."
He stands up, makes his way to the stage, lifts himself onto it, slides to the left and slides to the right like the song says, and he's the happiest man in the park because he's leading the dance for his fellow gypsies in a backyard party thrown in his very own backyard.
Detroitblogger John is John Carlisle. He scours the Motor City for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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