Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Arts, Beats & Eats 2013

Every Labor Day weekend, the community of Royal Oak, MI puts on an event called Arts, Beats & Eats, bringing together the arts and crafts, music, and food community in one big festival. (AB&E was formerly held in Pontiac, MI, but was moved in 2010.) This was my first year attending.

I had to work until 5pm, so once I got home, changed, and got a small bite to eat to tide me over, my boyfriend Greg and I hopped in the car and headed to Royal Oak. We had to park a decent walk away, but it was walkable, at least. We were right by I-696 off Woodward. Parking there was $10; any closer and it rose to $15. Admission after 5pm was another $5 a piece, but this went to charity, which isn't so bad. I don't know if the parking fees did or not.

The first I noticed was the bugs. OH. MY. GOD. The flies were HORRIBLE. Everyone was commenting on them. The art booth that were set up along the streets looked, to us, like the same stuff you see at every street art fair, though, admittedly, we didn't look all that closely. We were looking for food.

We decided to get steak bites from Gaucho Brazilian Steakhouse (whose website has a guy talking to you, fyi). The filet mignon sliders from Prime 29 (whose website plays music) were also highly recommended to me. I am glad we went with Gaucho because guuuuhhhhh... That was some damn fine steak. And Greg informs me we'll never be able to afford to eat there ever, so I am glad I was able to try it. We only had a few tickets after the steak left (food was kind of expensive here), so we split a potato pancake from the Polish Village Cafe. It was delicious!

After we ate, we wandered over to hear the last bits of a taiko drum group and ran into two of our friends! Since the drummers were finishing up, we all decided to wander over to Baskin Robbins for some sweet treats. We ate inside because the flies weren't nearly as bad in there.

Then we moved onto the main event! (For us.) I had been alerted by these same friends that Guster was playing that night, and since I had never seen them live, I wanted to go. On stage before them, however, was another band whose albums I own and you may have heard of if you're over the age of 25: Soul Asylum. Not all of the original members, of course, but the lead singer definitely, who sounds more or less the same as he did back when I was listening to him in the 90s. His voice is a little deeper now, but his hair is the same, and he is just as skinny. Turns out they are still releasing albums, and still sound like Soul Asylum. I may have to investigate their latest release later.

Being in that crowd was a little weird. Basically, I was surrounded by guys in their 40s smoking pot and rocking out probably in just same manner they did in their 20s. One rotund gentleman with thick framed glasses was clearly transported back to the mid-90s and turned into a one-man mosh pit. Good on him, I say! Even so, I haven't felt that young in a long while.

For Guster, the four of us sprung for the VIP seating and got right up front. It was great! We also had a lot more room and could occasionally feel a refreshing breeze. The people in front of us were about our ages, though some were still smoking pot, and one guy was led away by cops. Everyone had a good time, though, and my voice was a little raw from cheering. I didn't know all of the songs that Guster played, but I still enjoyed the show, and there were enough that I could sing along to that I didn't feel at all left out. In fact, I need to look up even more of their songs now because I enjoyed them all so much.

So AB&E was good times! I am very glad I got the chance to go. The DIY Street Fair in Ferndale is coming up next. Greg and I went last year. I hope I can go again this year!

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