The sun was softly poking its golden rays through the leafy branches that shaded ornate cluster of graves and headstones.
Rolling along the paved pathway snaking through the cemetery grounds, careening, almost jovially with its accentuated bounces, was a neon orange truck, hauling six large blue plastic port-a-potties, finding a shortcut to the corner of 12 Mile and Woodward.
Only something so uniquely heinous as the gathering known as the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise, could create such a sight…
And so, here we are, the 15th annual gathering of t-shirt vendors, beer drinkers, radio station DJs, helicopters, port-a-potties, and the veritable shutdown of more than eight miles worth of the most widely utilized avenue in the metro area.
Every year, each side of the argument grows in volume, be it the majority-baby-boomers who not only support it, but enter their cars in it, or support their other baby-boomer friends with cars in it, versus the usually majority younger crowd (or also to be noted, older seniors but,) the young’uns who didn’t live through the glorified era in-focus (essentially ’60-’75) and are, thank you very much-trying to be a little bit more green conscious than our parents who not only failed to realize the error of crowding the streets with these gas guzzling smoke belching CO2 emitters for the last 40 years, they now have an event for an honorary reenactment of said “cruising.”
But another beef from the young ones would be, that this event, somewhere around its third or fourth year and onward, began to feel so corporate. And the baby-boomers seem to be so acquiescent to said corporate-ness. The zooming planes with advertisements, the DJs hawking contests, the perverse info-tainment from local news who want to push people to their web sites so they can “click on” their advertisers who have bought space online, it’s all to choked and claustrophobic.
If it just felt more open, freer, cleaner, in some way. Or, if it just felt less uptight. Not drugs and free love in the street, but…shit, not all this tight-collared balloon and sno-cone and exhaust, roaring lunacy. If it were something closer to a Carnival of sorts, (but, admittedly, with cars as still the focus) or something closer to the groovy community-focused vibes of a Dally in the Alley (poster below), or even better, if it felt more like a Woodstock, then maybe the young ones would be down for this… But it just feels like a private block party for the over 40 crowd…Funny that our parents, when they were our age, warned not to trust the over 40 demographic…and now, what does it feel like, from our perspective, now that they are over 40. But then, it seems they have continually succeeded to be the ‘have cake and eat it too’ generation.
And I say this all, as being someone who enjoyed the first two cruises. Because it actually felt like something fun, like a nod to the past, like a recreation of that laid back American Graffiti vibe and a cheer to American manufacturing and ingenuity, and nice old guys with their delicately buffed cars.
Now, it’s just a mess.
It’s now 40 years since Woodstock. A sometimes-overlooked aspect of its momentousness, is that it only happened once.
Well…heh…I guess, technically three times…but then again, if we touch on the ’94 and ’99 Stocks, then we’re back to the corporateness…and more port-a-potties in the cemetery.