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[Published on September 21, 2014]

In the midst of fine housewares and women’s clothing of Savvy Chic, the new menswear department called Savvy Gents boasted a penchant for catalytic styling by Randal Jacobs. The recent opening festivities offered clothing and accessories as well as grooming products, hors d'oeuvres and beverages lending to Jacobs’ vision of masculinity.

In preparation for the opening in Eastern Market, Jacobs channeled his model management days in London and Milan by recruiting gentlemen whom he crossed paths in Detroit befitting the aesthetic of Savvy Gents. One model accompanied his mother while she was shopping at Savvy Chic when he was approached by Jacobs to help inaugurate the department as a model. There was also a yoga educator, photographer, law clerk, disc jockey, and lively Detroit resident who donned unique ensembles, which blended gender norms and stimulated conversations.

While clothing is a significant facet of one’s style, grooming plays an equally important role in the theatrics of personal presentation. This was reiterated by the presence of the Detroit Beard Collective at Savvy Gents’ affair, which sparked much enthusiasm about the evolution and popularity of beard maintenance. The creator’s infectious energy about quality and adaptability struck a chord of positivity regarding a shift in Detroit’s influence on style.

I met Jacobs at the recent opening of Bask’s highly anticipated return to Detroit after two years. That same weekend, I stumbled upon the Detroit Beard Collective at the Sunday Street Market. Little did I know how quickly we would all cross paths to participate in the city's matchless virility.

[Published on September 23, 2014]

On the way from Ellen Kayrod Gallery, I caught up with a friend and shared ponderous comparisons of beverage availability at the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Arts. Ultimately it didn’t matter as we turned the corner and felt music blaring at the opening of Herbert Gentry and His Contemporaries alongside Adnan Charara and woodcut inspired pieces. As we entered, George N’Namdi was near the source of the evening’s melodies so I shook hands after the gentleman I entered with did the same.

I realized before entering a smaller display area there should have been no mistake missing the eastern wall, which was given life by the inquisitive and worldly glances at the other and the self. Gentry’s work presented this feast of beings and exchange with uncompromising hues to guests who dawdled and were determined to absorb a glimpse of the artist's breadth of talent and travels.

After getting my fill, I went toward the western wall hosting a smaller display area where woodcut made a very strong reiteration of Abstraction and Landscapes: Contemporary Woodcuts. There were a few familiar faces I had seen earlier in the night but there was a particular Mr. K whom I embarked on conversation and transition to the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit since it was the next destination on the evening’s agenda. Just after passing Seva, housed in the same building of the gallery, I made the acquaintance of the remarkable Ms. M who donned a recently acquired cape. She and Mr. K discussed a few matters before we parted ways to explore the music and havens of vibrant expression fashioned by pairs of creators within confined spaces.

The line only took a few minutes to pass and as I wandered to the cubicles of inventiveness, a groovy guitar player of a Brooklyn band prepared for their upcoming set behind a table of merchandise and radiated excitement to perform in Detroit. After weaving through one side of the People’s Biennial, I saw professor Baz Dreisinger standing next to a beam and observing spectators of her collaboration with Hank Willis Thomas. So poignant was the arrangement of writing from students within an East coast prison. It drew spectators closer to connect through sentences of identity and frameworks of improvement. She was exhilarated people were responding so affectionately by acting on the impulse to observe the content and snap an image or two. Ultimately she was firmly grounded in a mission to bolster more proactive attitudes regarding achievement.

Celebrations of growth and accomplishments

took place in more places than the few I

could reach, but as I waited to hear the

Brooklyn band to play, accompanied

by intriguing associates there

stood that fabulous Mr. K.

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