Blues diva and Motown legend record Christmas song

If you haven’t caught Eliza Neals’ new Christmas single, “On this Merry Christmas Day,” seek it out at Neals has an interesting tough/tender, bluesy style, and because the single was written and produced by Motown legend Barrett Strong (he co-wrote and sang the iconic Hitsville hit “Money (That’s What I Want” and with Norman Whitfield, gems including “I Heard it Through the Grapevine,” “War,” “Cloud Nine,” etc.), the song is a melodic, gospel-infused delight. You can catch Neals and her band, the Narcotics, at PJ’s Lager House in Corktown on Dec. 26, along with the Reefermen and other special guests. And yeah, it’s the day after Christmas, but we bet you’ll hear the song.

Giving thanks for friends

Who invites 120 people to their home for an elegant sit-down meal? Florine Mark, that’s who. On Sunday, the Weight Watchers queen and beau Don Benyas invited that many friends to their stunning Farmington Hills digs to partake in some holiday delight.

“I hold this luncheon every year as a unique way for me to tell all my friends and family how thankful and grateful I am to know them and have them in my life,” Florine explains. “I enjoy having a diverse group of friends, and this allows me an opportunity to bring everyone together so they can greet familiar faces, while meeting new people. This includes my kids, Rick, Jeff, David, Lisa and Hannan, my grandchildren, and my truly amazing friends.” And there were many well-known names among those friends, including Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, WJR’s Paul W. Smith, First Merit Bank honcho Sandy Pierce, and Cass Tech High School principal Lisa Phillips, who brought an ensemble of talented string musicians to entertain throughout lunch. We would be remiss not to mention the wonderful food, prepared by Florine’s longtime chef, Isabella Nicoletti. Save the desserts, all of the dishes served — roasted beef tenderloin with red wine sauce, pan roasted chicken with caramelized onions and sage, spinach and mushroom lasagna — is part of the Weight Watchers program.

High-end leather in Midtown

Will Adler of the highly touted Will Leather Goods, hosted a private VIP grand opening of his Detroit store Wednesday that was taken over the top with explosions of awesome music throughout the entire party. Members of Serieux and The New Fantastic Four performed intermittent a capella sets of Motown and holiday music, interspersed with performances from members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra performing contemporary numbers. Several other entertainers didn’t perform, but came out to party and shop, including the Contours, Arnell Carmichael from Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio, The StubbsGirls, Kim Weston, and the stylish, soulful crooner Kem. Over 300 people came out for hors d’oeuvres and libations and lots of shopping. Native Detroiter Adler has several Will Leather Goods stores throughout the country. T he Detroit store, in Midtown, is his eighth and most recent store.

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