It Takes A Village Part Three: Dinner Is Served

8 / 2 / 2022

My post-party depression following the non-stop-dance-a-thon at Deluxx Fluxx the night before was still in full effect as I loaded my gear into the car. There are no scientifically proven remedies for a hangover. I would have tried to give myself some hair of the dog, but I would be hard-pressed to find a bar serving frozen margaritas this early in the morning. Instead, I wore sunglasses the size of a television set to shield myself from the violent sun bursting through the clouds.

Dog walkers strolled joyfully down the sidewalks next to me, stopping to interact with one another and engage in superfluous small talk. They are the enemies of the weekend nightriders; the ones that left it all on the dance floor with me until 3am in order to properly celebrate the anniversary of the beating heart of the Detroit art scene. To these poodle-pushing, early-risers, we probably appeared to be feckless party-monsters, hell bent on chasing a good time no matter what the cost. Who knows… they may be right. They’re still the ones waking up early to pick up shit.

As I parked in front of the home in the East Village of Detroit, where I would be conducting my next interview, I gave myself a pep talk. ‘You’re fine. You’re not actually on death’s doorstep. Besides, you have interviewed people much more famous than this in much worse conditions.’

Part of that was true. There are worse locations than the East Village of Detroit. The history that can be seen throughout the large homes in the area tells the story of an old version of Detroit. Back when the city was referred to as “The Paris of the Midwest”. New buildings and houses that are now arriving in the area may not be as oppolant as the stone mansions that precede them, but their presence isn’t in stark contrast to what once was, and seem to be welcome progress inside a city on the cusp of its current renaissance. Many of these projects and homes have been spearheaded by JJ and Anthony Curis, the two most responsible for my current hangover, attracting a particularly interesting set of creative minds to consider relocating to the area. One of these creative expats is Brian Richer of Castor Design. It was his home slash studio space that I was parked at, pulling myself together to get ready for our interview.

Richer would be joined by his long time friend and current business partner, chef Matty Matheson, to talk about their beautifully designed and built line of cookware, titularly named “Matheson Cookware”. Brian Richer is a proud Canadian, a former restaurateur, a studied architectural stone carver, and an all around mad scientist of sorts (he has built something in his studio to look at protons… or neutrons… or… something). He is also a fantastic conversationalist that has the history of punk music shelved in his brain awaiting reference. The unwavering design aesthetic in his projects marry form and function beautifully and give everything he puts out into the world his own distinct voice. This voice has been lended to brands like Houseplant, Seth Rogen’s famously 420-friendly smoking accessory and homegoods company. That same design-driven idealism that turned ashtray’s into works of art was now doing the same for Matheson’s cookware.

How do I explain Matty Matheson? The dude is a fucking three-ring circus.

He is a mostly-shirtless/mostly-tattooed, two-time New York Times Bestselling Author slash restauranteur slash actor and producer who radiates the energy of a teddy bear. His acting role in the first-season of Hulu’s phenomenal series The Bear does not do his personal persona justice. In real life, Matty leads with intelligence, kindness and wit as quick as a racecar at the Firecracker 500.

Matty arrives to Brian’s studio just as I am starting to feel the effects of the medication I took to alleviate a truly monumental hangover. When the interview starts though, the hangover reminds me who is in charge. As Matty and Brian discuss bowel movements and joke about how Detroit’s soon-to-be-defunct Lafayette Coney Island is Matty’s favorite restaurant in the city (simply because it was the only one he had been to so far on his trip) the room is dying with laughter. I… am simply dying.

In order for me to tell you how the interview went I would have to remember anything but laughing at dirty jokes. I guess I’ll have to watch the video interview we did (shameless plug) to remember how the whole thing went. My three big takeaways were these:

1. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is gonna happen whether you are doing something you love or something you hate. So don’t be a “loser” (as Matty put it) by making shitty stuff just to make money.

2. Keep working with your friends. Brian hired Matty a long time ago to work at his restaurants before Matty had true aspirations of becoming a chef. Now that Matty has found success, he continues to work with his dear friend and mentor making the kind of things they want to make while seemingly having a shit-ton of fun doing it together.

3. Hangover’s suck and I am never drinking (frozen margaritas) again.

After the interview with the two had wrapped up, it was time for my crew and I to leave and for Matty to begin preparing for the real reason he had made it down to Detroit from his home in Canada. That night he would be preparing a special dinner at JJ and Anthony Curis’ home. The founders of Library Street Collective had invited all the artists that had participated in the It Takes A Village exhibition at their gallery the night before to a private dinner at their home in Grosse Pointe.

Finding this out and hearing the word “private” perked my ears up. Suddenly the hangover was quieted by the thrill of an opportunity to sneak into a private dinner at a home that I have wanted to visit since I moved to Detroit. It turns out though, when you have a shit load of camera equipment and you dress like someone who works backstage at a Weezer concert, it’s fairly easy to sneak into events like these.

I arrived at the Curis home that I had seen many times on Instagram a few hours before dinner was set to begin. Through the window outside of the mid-century modern style home, I could see Matty and his team prep cooking in the kitchen. I walked in the front door with an air of confidence that seemed to say “Of course I was invited here, I’m just glad I didn’t have anything else going on so I could make it”.

The Curis’ home is a gallery unto itself. Original pieces by Kaws, Daniel Arsham, Jen Stark, and so many other artists tastefully fill every inch of the home. These pieces live in harmony next to artwork by the up-and-coming artists that the Library Street team have nurtured throughout their careers. Some of these artists were already in the backyard sitting at a long table that was constructed by Brian and his Castor Design team specifically for tonight's dinner. The backyard ends at a private beach, making me feel like I was on a vacation I didn’t plan for as I walked into the backyard.

I had only gotten over my hangover less than two hours ago and already I found myself with a beer in my hand trying to blend in. I was relieved when I saw Tyrrell Winston followed moments before by the legendary Tony Hawk.

The dinner went as most dinners at the unimaginably beautiful homes of gallerists do. JJ and Anthony Curis’ thanked everyone for coming and for supporting Library Street and their other initiatives within the community; Matty cooked the best Wagyu Beef I have ever eaten and then gave a speech where he thank God for the beautiful night and then immediately renounced God in the same breath, and I went home with a free gift bag that someone had accidentally left behind.

Yep… Just another typical, unimaginably beautiful dinner.

Written by:

Kalvin Lazarte

Photography by:

Kyle Powell