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February 13, 2014 - Image 10

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2B - Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

2B - Thursday, February 13, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Looking into Pride
Night at Necto

In this series, three Daily Arts writers
in varying states of mind visit the same
place and write about their experiences.
this week's destination:
Sochi Olympics Opening Ceremony

We found love in a
safer place - the
famed A2nightclub,
Senior Arts Editor
We're all familiar with
straight spaces, even if we don't
know the term. The frat par-
ties, where a combination of
Heaven Hill and Drake creates
the assumption that any boy
can grind up against any girl.
College bars, where ladies pay
half price for shots on Thurs-
day nights, the owners finding
ways to make girls "loose," and
ways to entice the men to show
House parties, social circles
and even classrooms; so many
function under the assumption
that unless you say otherwise,
you're straight, and that's
that. These pervasive straight
spaces are what made the idea
of spending a Friday at Pride
Night at Necto nightclub all
the more intriguing - and, to
be honest, a little disconcert-
The getting ready process
was the same - dashing on
make-up, confirming with
my roommate that my outfit
was the perfect combination
of cute and edgy, consuming
fiery substances from chipped
Costa Rican shot glasses - but
the destination was so differ-
ent from what I knew.
Pride Night was started
in 1984 and has remained .a
nightlife fixture in the gay
community in Ann Arbor since
then, voted multiple times as
the best gay club in the Metro
Detroitarea. The large club,
located on East Liberty, has
two dance rooms, both with
live DJs, with the famous Red
Room downstairs playing ret-
ro-pop hits with accompany-
ing videos - mainly Beyonci
and '80s dance-pop the night I
was there.
The crowd is filled with
closely dancing couples, the
gender composition more
heavily male than any party I
had ever been to before. Both
rooms feature accessible stag-
es and stripper poles, which
guests are encouraged to hop
on to.
Necto touts itself as the
place to be on a Friday night
for the gay community, an
association that comes with
some complexities and some
questions. How do you define
a safe space for gays? And once
defined, how do you success-
fully construct that space?
LSA junior Schuyler Robin-
son believes that a "gay space"
is "a place kind of free of judg-
ment, because as gay people
we sometimes deal with stig-
ma and feel judged solely by
being ourselves."

Robinson argues that while
Necto is a fun place, some-
where to dance and let loose, it
isn't the inclusive safe space it
can be represented as. He has
seen straight female friends
be harassed and targeted with
language that discriminates
them just as props for their gay
friends. In an effort to clas-
sify Pride Night as a common
ground for the gay community,
sometimes other identities can
become marginalized.
"Because people feel so
comfortable and so non-tar-
geted, they almost feel like
their words aren't account-
able," Robinson said. "Because
they are in their space, they
are not the minority there."
Similarly, LSA senior Tay-
lor Portela, a volunteer at the
Spectrum Center, agrees that
Necto is the best place to go
dance, but is wary to define it
as a safe space.
"Necto is a beautiful, ter-
rifying place," Portela said.
"It is a gay space, but at the
same time it's a gay space
with a twist, so when I bring
women of any orientation and
identity they still are actively
Portela defines the distinc-
tion between a gay space and
a queer space, holding that gay
spaces are often dominated by
gay white males, while queer
spaces are more inclusive of
women and racial minorities.
Pride Night, he argues, is dis-
tinctly a gay space - an unfor-
tunate limitation for the club.
"At Necto there are just a
ton of white cisgenders; gay
white men, dancing and doing
their thing - which is fine.
It's good. I mean, I am one of
them," Portela said. "But at
the same time my friends of
color get harassed, women get
harassed ..."
Neither Portela nor Robin-
son believes that Necto nec-
essarily promotes healthy
connections in a way safe
spaces ought to. The pound-
ing music and dark rooms
make conversation difficult,
so the club becomes marked
as the hookup place - though
he's gone many nights, Robin-
son can't recall ever making a
real friend or fostering a rela-
tionship with someone he met
at Necto.
"You walk in (and) there's
music, its dark - it's not so
conducive to welcoming peo-
"It's like the gay version of
Rick's," Portela said.
Rick's: an Ann Arbor bas-
tion of drunken hookups
and texts-from-last-night
anecdotes. But is it problem-
atic when the predominant
nighttime gay space in Ann
Arbor promotes that culture?
Though they reiterate that
Necto is a fun space (a state-
ment I agree with entirely), at

times its frenetic, hyper-sex-
ualized atmosphere can per-
petuate limiting stereotypes
about the gay community.
"(Necto) feeds into the ste-
reotype that gay people are
obsessed with bodies, about
putting out a good self-image
rather than trying to connect
with someone," Robinson
Portela affirms this, but
doesn't think this depiction
of gay culture is wholly nega-
"Gay culture is very much
built around some stereo-
types, yes, but part of gay cul-
ture - gay white male culture
- is having song-tunes and
Whitney Houston playing in
the background, the'80s synth
pop blast really loud," he said.
"While (Necto) is affirming
of some stereotypes, it points
toward a larger gay culture,
like the club culture that is in
this atmosphere."
Both men were excited
about the opening of a new
gay night in town, Candy Bar,
located at Live Nightclub. The
event premiered last Thurs-
day, and Robinson and Portela
each hailed it as a more inclu-
sive but still fun environment.
On opening night, Candy Bar
had ahost and DJs, and featured
a drag queen performance from
former contestants on the real-
ity show "RuPaul's Drag Race."
"(Candy Bar is a) much bet-
ter space, because at Necto you
can't hear anyone, so I think
people can connect more and
get to know each other better
at that space," Robinson said.
"And it was really fun. The DJ
played great music, all the atti-
tudes just seemed much more
Though Candy Bar only
hosted its inaugural night a
week ago, Portela finds the
combination of this event with
Necto to be promising for Ann
Arbor's gay and queer commu-
"I really like the set up of
Live, so that was, atmosphere-
wise, very enjoyable," Portela
said. "(It's) a really nice space
because it was people of more
than just one or two identi-
ties who filled the space, and
I didn't hear afterwards of any
real threatening or harassment
going on."
With the induction of Candy
Bar, Ann Arbor is growing as
a destination for gay nightlife
scenes, a relief for students
who currently feel limited in
predominantly straight spac-
es. However, the complexity
behind Necto proves that just
the construction of a gay space
is not enough - an inclusive
environment comes from the
clientele and the set up of the
space itself. But wherever you
choose to go, it's Friday night,
it's -20 degrees out, and every-
one just wants to have fun.


I refuse to believe Russia actually looks like this. I also refuse to
believe that we're "bobsledding past these tragedies," Bob Costas. This
floating girl is horrifying. Why does that balloon have eyes? Fuck Putin
Free Pussy Riot. Matt Lauer's beard looks like chaotic pubes. Putin
looks constipated. The people who dress like lights who dress like the
flag are freaking me out. Why are these so long? Cool blue dress it's not
like you blend into the floor or anything. This is really overwhelming.
I'm really tired right now and I want to nap but no space is available to
lay down. Lie down? Become horizontal. The ceremony is getting kind
of shitty. Wait they're skating. Nevermind, great job. This is still real-
Goodnight from Russia.
Matt Lauer always brings us down. The actual Matt Lauer, not the
nickname one. So far we've seen a white horse, some creepy people
dressed in colored light suits, like that movie with Olivia Wilde when
they went to a different techno world. I Googled it, that movie was
called TRON.
Then all of the countries come out. Germany is like a rainbow Care
Bear. My friend Aaron Carter can't stop laughing every time the word
Russia is spoken. That's concerning. Alec has been quiet for 45 minutes.
That's uncomfortable. Putin is so angry cause the fifth ring didn't open.
Bob Costas is telling me that Putin is in total control. I believe him.
Throughout there is a little girl who keeps floating, and I wonder
about her past. She makes me sad. There were some bouncy castles
shaped like mosques for a while, but I was eating my first Pizza Bob's
chipati, so I was distracted.
We fast-forwarded because this is boring and Alec and Aaron are
about to fall asleep. Now these women have jelly fish on their heads,
and the music from Harry Potter is playing in the background. Or from
"Black Swan." I don't know. That's my consensus on this opening cer-
emony. I just don't know. But Meredith Vieira is going to give me the
answers after the commercial break.
Take home: Matt Lauer is a breakfast whore. Goodnight from Russia.
As Aaron Carter and I arrive at Hilary Duff's apartment, it's
clear we are all in for an interesting night. After spending a longer than
necessary amount of time choosing a restaurant to order dinner from,
and lamenting over the fact that Arts Editor @NotAkshaySeth will in
fact not be joining us, we get down to business. With a wine glass in
hand, Hilary looks on as Aaron gets in the right "state of mind" for his
portion of the assignment. Now, with everyone ready, it's time to watch
the Olympics opening ceremony. The first sequence, complete with
sweeping landscape shots and beautiful scenery, confuses each of us
in distinct ways. As Aaron puts it, "this is definitely not what Russia
looks like." As the ceremony presses on, nothing can compare to our
Pizza Bob's chipatis. In Hilary's words, it was the best thing she's ever
eaten. As we continue to chow down, Meredith Vieira's clear animosity
towards Sochi was the only thing we could talk about. No disrespect
to Matt Lauer or the stunning visuals orchestrated by some of Russia's
top talents, but Meredith's consistently passive aggressive commen-
tary overshadowed anything else that happened on NBC - at least for
these three drunk, sober and high students. It's really the only thing
I'll remember when this is all over. And with that, I'll bid you a goodbye
from Russia.




Here's what LA Weekly has
to say about Jonathan Glazer,
director of "Under The Skin":
"We may
finally have
an heir to
Kubrick." Under
That's a
Compli- the Skin
ment with A24
a capital C.
Out in April,
"Under The Skin" looks
intensely unnerving with
a sort of slow horror that's
heavy on creepy imagery,
including dark waters and
close-ups of Scarlett Johans-
son's lips.
Johansson ("Her") stars as
an alien sent by an unknown
organization to prey on lonely
hitchhikers through seduc-
tion, but the film doesn't
seem to just be horror. It's
hard to pin down its genre,
because the trailer shows
very little regarding the
plot. It seems to engage
itself in a challenge to show

After its lukewarm premiere
last month, "House of Lies" has
been on a fast, furious andfunny
course cor-
the red- House of
hot fourth
season of Lies
"Shame- "Soldier'
"House of Showtime
Lies" is a
on-brand comedy - Showtime's
smartest and best half-hour
offering. Its latestepisode, "Sol-
diers," was a welcome return to
form, promising a bright future
A24 aswe hit the midseason mark.
the current trend of trailers Perhaps no episode of
giving away as much plot as "House of Lies" showcased
possible - so much that we the strange, amiable antics of
often feel as if we've already Doug (Josh Lawson, "Romanti-
seen the entire movie after cally Challenged") better than
watchiig the preview. For "Soldiers." Alongside recurring
"Under The Skin," our sole guest star Jenny Slate ("Kroll
takeaway is a deep, in-the-gut Show"), Lawson was laugh-out-
sense of dread and unease. loud funny, even overshadow-
-KAREN YUAN ing his formidable costars Don

a series of images each
eerier than the last. There
are hints of romance, sci-fi
thriller and even drama, all
wrapped up in an art-house
Though we may not
understand the storyline,
"Under The Skin" 's trailer
is a refreshing break from

Cheadle ("Iron Man 3") and
Kristen Bell ("Frozen").
"Soldiers" takes Kaan and
Associates out of the office
and onto the golf course, as
they work to break up the
moguls of a profitable clothing
company. Elsewhere, Clyde
(Ben Schwartz, "Parks and
Recreation") enlists the help of
a former flame (Eliza Coupe,
"Happy Endings") to get back in
Marty Kaan's good graces. It's
the first episode of a major arc
for Coupe, whose three seasons
on ABC's "Happy Endings"

solidified her status as a top-tier
sitcom actress. Clyde's move
also brings us another step
closer to reuniting all four leads
after their surprising, tumultu-
ous breakup in last year's finale.
Whereas the future of
"House of Lies" seemed shaky
after its so-so season opener,
the comedy is back on solid
footing in "Soldiers." In fact,
with its authentic drama, intel-
ligent storytelling and frequent
laughs, "House of Lies"has
never been so good.

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