The ongoing influence of Ypsilanti’s Pleasuredome

berkowitztenderA few nights ago, Linette wanted show me something in the book that she was reading. “It’s the new book by poet Amy Berkowitz,” she said, “and it mentions the Pleasuredome.” She handed me the book, telling me how, among other things, the narrative centered around fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and noise music…

Here, for those of you who remember the old Pleasuredome, is the first page of Berkowitz’s book, Tender Points.


I like when local things are memorialized, and attention is drawn to the efforts of people like Patrick Elkins [seen below outside the old Pleasuredome] and Thom Elliot, both of whom were instrumental in making interesting things happen at the little, nondescript house on River Street known as the Pleasuredome. A lot of times, people don’t realize the impact they have, but the little things that we do in life are important. And this, I think, is a great reminder of that. You don’t have to sell out the biggest venues in the largest cities to be impactful. House shows, even if just a few people are in the audience, can put out energy that radiates for generations, and in directions you could never have fathomed. I don’t know Berkowitz, so I can’t speak to the impact that discovering the Pleasuredome had on her as a young writer. Given the fact that she notes the time she spent there on the first page of her first book, however, my guess would be that her experiences there helped make her who she is today. And I think that’s something we’d all do well to keep in mind. You never know who you’re inspiring, and what they’ll go on to do. And that’s really one of the most beautiful things about life, isn’t it?


So, who thinks it’s time to start working on a Pleasuredome display for the Ypsilanti Historical Museum?

[note: Berkowitz is also the woman behind the chap book press Mondo Bummer, which is well worth checking out.]

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  1. Eel
    Posted May 24, 2016 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    We need an alternative history walking tour of Ypsi.

  2. Shoshannah Ruth Wechter
    Posted May 25, 2016 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    It’ll always be the Corn Dog / Banana Tina to me. And how cool WOULD it be to have a walking tour of Ypsilanti with houses like this?

  3. Lindsay
    Posted May 25, 2016 at 7:43 am | Permalink


    Don’t tell the folks at the museum and archives but this is my secret plan for volunteering there once a month as a docent. I am planning on adding lots of stuff to the ypsi archives! and maybe take over after 30 years of service. :-)

  4. MikeB
    Posted May 25, 2016 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Reminds me of The Pearl Necklace on 804 Pearl st.

  5. Aaron Wilson
    Posted May 25, 2016 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    It seems like punk houses are pretty much dying, at least in the state of Michigan. Washtenaw County used to have quite a few, (Meat Mansion, RAW House, and always a few is Ypsi). Bird Alley in Jackson recently was condemned… Trumbleplex and Crow Manor seem to be the last punk strongholds around.

  6. Ian Fulcher
    Posted May 25, 2016 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Ashley and I looked at renting the place this fall. She was hoping to start a family. My plan was to excavate the Michigan basement and look for the corpses clearly buried there.

  7. Eel
    Posted May 25, 2016 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Pleasuredome: I could actually die here tonight

  8. Lindsay Garinger
    Posted May 25, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    aww and it used to be occupied by the volleyball team. i love this house and i heard it is going up for rent. who wants to keep it in the family??

  9. Peter Larson
    Posted May 25, 2016 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Whatever. Buy my record.

  10. Posted May 25, 2016 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    I played some of the worst shows of my life at the P-Dome, but was always accepted with open arms. I probably also played a couple of my best shows there (including one of my favorites:, and recorded multiple collab tapes within those hallowed walls.

  11. Erica Mooney
    Posted May 26, 2016 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    I went to her reading of this at a house in Berkeley when it launched last summer, the same night after running into local poet Rob Halpern’s opening at Omni Oakland Commons! She read that first page out loud and I gasped when she started the sentence.

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