SHADY LADIES present …
ETAF RUM & “A Woman Is No Man”
June 2019 | ELMWOOD CEMETERY
(scroll down to see all the photos!)
For our second birthday, we were so excited to be back where it all started: Elmwood Cemetery. In two years and 10 events, Shady Ladies Literary Society has grown from 35 friends to nearly 2,000 women – all becoming new friends.
Our afternoon with Etaf Rum was a perfect day for celebrating her book, A Woman Is No Man, and our community and mission to elevate women’s voices. Plus, cocktails!
Leading up to the event, we crossed our fingers and toes and prayed to the rain Gods to, please, please, please keep the storms away. And they did. As Shady Ladies sashayed down the hill and into the lush, quiet green of Elmwood Cemetery, lazy clouds floated across a cerulean sky.
Mallery Heise, mixologist extraordinary at the Detroit Foundation Hotel, greeted guests with her “One for the Afternoon” cocktail created just for the day. For this shady sipper, Mallery paired fig-infused vodka with pistachio syrup, rosewater and lemon/lime juice. Then she decorated the glasses with confetti of pistachio and rose petals.
Our founder, Amy Haimerl, welcomed everyone and almost got through her remarks without crying. Almost. As one Shady Lady later joked: “Is it bad that we now take bets on when Amy will cry?”
After the tears, cemetery Executive Director Joannie Capuano led the nearly 100 guests on a tour of the grounds that sprawl across 86 acres. It is the final home of nine Detroit mayors, six Michigan governors, the founder of Stroh Brewery and Fred “Sonic” Smith – best known to Shady Ladies as the late-husband of Patti Smith.
As the cool of the evening started to settle, Shady Ladies strolled across the bridge to dinner, which was nestled in a stand of trees along the Bloody Run Creek.
Chef Ederique Goudia of Gabriel Hall presented a picnic menu that contemplated the Palestinian flavors found inside Etaf’s book as well as the idea that A Woman Is No Man – she’s stronger. Working with her were three young women from Detroit Food Academy, a nonprofit that teaches food entrepreneurship to Detroiters ages 10-24.
Shady Ladies packed their plates and buckets of wine and settled onto blankets and Adirondack chairs to listen in on a conversation between Etaf and Amy about writing, imposter syndrome, belonging, abusive relationships, and who gets to tell stories.
And then, as the light started the fade, our evening drew to a close and Shady Ladies who arrived as strangers left as friends. A beautiful dream made true.
appetizer: Black-eyed pea hummus AND roasted-beet hummus
served with grilled pita
salad: Black bean falafel served with salad greens and pickled vegetables dressed with tahini-citrus dressing
entree: Lamb-stuffed or vegetable-stuffed grape leaves
Bamia (tomato & okra stew)
dessert: Helbeh cake
wine service: Motor City Wine
all photos by Valaurian Waller of VW Photography