Society Confidential: ‘Call Me Bill’ excites DIA crowd

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Anup Popat, Ashley Crain and KC Crain

Culminating a festive weekend celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Detroit Pistons Bad Boys championships, Ethan and Gretchen Davidson invited Pistons people, friends and family to a premiere showing of “Call Me Bill,” the story of William Davidson.

On March 31, several hundred people, including several of the Bad Boys, gathered at the Detroit Institute of Arts for the pre-reception, featuring craft cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres by the DIA’s immaculate service staff; the showing of the film in the DIA’s Detroit Film Theatre, where guests were treated to wine, popcorn and candy; and an afterglow with more cocktails, a dessert room, and beef sliders and coney dogs.

Known for his philanthropy, business brilliance and corporate leadership in Guardian Industries, as well as his leadership with the Detroit Pistons and the Tampa Bay Lightning, Davidson’s life was quite fascinating. The documentary features interviews with his widow Karen Davidson, his children Ethan and Marla, and basketball legends Dave Bing, Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars.

The film follows the arc of his life from childhood, the tragic loss of his father at a young age, his leadership in transforming Auburn Hills-based Guardian Industries into the world’s largest glassmaker, and his unmatched achievement as the only owner in sports history to win world championships in three different professional leagues.

This was not your typical documentary premiere. The high level of fun was indicated in the invitation. Keeping true to Davidson’s notorious athletic jumpsuits, the invitation called for “Workout Chic.” “Glam up your vintage Bad Boys attire,” the invitation read. “Bedazzle that warm up jacket... but don’t hesitate to come red carpet ready!! From jeans to sequins, the drinks taste the same!” There were no disappointments.

“Call Me Bill: The William Davidson Story” opens to the public on May 2 in the Berman Center for the Performing Arts of the Jewish Community Center.

Chuck Bennett is the creator of

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