Reminiscing about cleaning the glory holes and peep shows of the old Michigan Avenue porn shop

Back when I used to have the radio show, I would occasionally get messages from a listener in Colorado. For the purposes of this post, we’ll call him Jeff… Well, Jeff, in one of our conversations, let it be known that he’d not only spent a good part of the ‘70s in Ypsilanti, but that he had inside knowledge of at least two of our downtown’s most well-known adult establishments, the Art 1&2 porn theater, and the Michigan Avenue Bookstore. I, of course, was fascinated by this, and started a relentless campaign to interview Jeff for the website. And, now, a few years later, I’m happy to report that the interview has finally happened. Here, at long last, is the inside scoop as to what went on in the basement of the Michigan Avenue Bookstore.

MARK: OK, so you claim to have inside knowledge of Ypsi’s old Art 1&2 adult theater back in the ‘70s. Did you work there? If so, can you prove it? Do you have pay stubs? How about photos?

JEFF: I was the night manager of the Michigan Avenue Bookstore, which was an adult bookstore. The same company also owned the Art 1&2 adult theater at the time, as they obviously had a similar “product” and customer base. I worked primarily at the Bookstore, only going to the Art 1&2 to check the cash drawer and provide what they needed in terms of change. This was kind of a “vice versa” situation, as I also had unique change needs. I can get into that later, if you like.

MARK: So, no pay stubs?

JEFF: Sorry, no pay stubs, but I can tell you that the company issuing the checks was Doc Johnson, a regional/national sex toy/product/porn magazine distributor that owned both the Bookstore and the Art 1&2 Theater. At the time, the company was based in Cleveland, Ohio. Twice a month, an “inspector” would come up from Ohio and inspect the premises.

MARK: Can you tell me a bit about these inspections? I’m imaging big, intimidating guys, asking you questions under bright lights, trying to determine whether or not you were skimming from the peep show take, but maybe I’ve been watching too much of The Deuce lately.

JEFF: The inspections were pretty cursory, primarily checking on how merchandise was displayed, how we handled money and the register, and how we interacted with customers.

MARK: When did you start working there, and ow much did you get paid an hour?

JEFF: As I recall, I started in 1976 and made something like $4.50-$5.00 per hour, which was OK for the time, but I really earned the majority of my income from commissions off of the 8mm and 16mm movies I sold. The more movies I sold to a customer, their price would decrease, but my commission would increase.

MARK: Do you remember which titles were your best sellers?

JEFF: The biggest sellers at the time were films from the Swedish Erotica series.

MARK: Were there any titles that had to be kept behind the counter?

JEFF: All movies were kept in a locked glass display case at the front of the store, near the cash register and quarter dispenser.

MARK: How much did the videos sell for, and how much was your commission, if you recall?

JEFF: I think they sold for between $49 and $99 each. I think the commission was $10 for the first one, and increased $5 for each additional one sold. For example, if I sold three movies, I got $45 commission.

MARK: OK, I just looked up Doc Johnson, and they’re apparently still around. They started in ‘76, currently employ about 500 people, and have been called “the Procter & Gamble of sex toys.” Their bread and butter these days seems to be plastic replicas of porn star anatomy… What were their product offerings back when you ran the shop?

JEFF: There were plastic and rubber replicas back then… both male and female. Other products included full-size male and female dolls (vinyl and more expensive rubber), some S&M stuff, lingerie, condoms, and interestingly, an inhaled amyl nitrate liquid called Rush that supposedly increased orgasm intensity, but I can’t attest to it, having never used it.

MARK: I don’t suspect you’d know the answer, but I’m interested to know how Doc Johnson, which was founded by two men in Ohio, neither of whom was named Doc Johnson, came to decide that Ypsilanti was the kind of place they needed to open an outpost. I mean, property in town was likely dirt cheap at the time, and there would have been a pretty significant customer base, as the factories were still going strong in the mid ‘70s, but I’m curious as to why Ypsi made the cut, assuming they looked into multiple opportunities before making the decision to invest here. I’d also be curious… and you may know this… how many other Doc Johnson operations there were around the country. How many bookstores. How many theaters. [The company was started by Reuben Sturman with Ron Braverman, the latter of whom is still at the helm.]

JEFF: I’m sure the relative low cost in Ypsi was the primary motivator. And you’re right about the factories being important to the business. The typical customer at the time was 90% blue collar, and 90% male. I’d also estimate about 5% of our clientele was couples, and 5% was single women. As for other locations, as I recall, the company had stores in Wayne/Inkster and Detroit, but I don’t know how many others there were, or where they were located.

MARK: My understanding may be off, but I seem to recall hearing that the Art 1&2 didn’t start out as a porn theater, but began showing “art” films containing nudity, but no real sex. And everything kind of broke loose in the mid ‘70s, when the laws started changing. My sense is that some entrepreneurial folks began thinking, with the popular success of Deep Throat in ‘72, that obscenity laws might start changing across the country… that it was just a matter of of time before porn became legal… and started buying places up in hopes that they could capitalize once the decision came down. And I’m curious as to whether that’s what happened in the case of the old Martha Washington Theater, which became the Art 1&2 with the removal of some letters on the marquee.

JEFF: Sorry, but that was a bit before my time. I was attending EMU around then, but, if that was going on, I wasn’t paying any attention.

MARK: OK, back to my original question… If you don’t have any evidence to prove your employment, what’s something that only a manager of either the Michigan Ave Bookstore or the Art 1&2 in the mid-’70s would know?

JEFF: Well, the majority of the money made at the bookstore was not upstairs where the merchandise was sold, but downstairs in the 16 peep show booths that ran two-minute porn reels. You had to keep feeding quarters to keep the film running. The movies were changed weekly. Even at $0.25 a view, it was not unusual to collect $8,000-$10,000 a week from those alone. The coin boxes were emptied 3-4 times a day.

MARK: Damn, that’s a lot of masturbating. I had no idea we were talking about those kind of numbers.

JEFF: Yeah, it was pretty astounding. But, keep in mind, each of the 16 booths ran three movies each in a continuous loop, so there were a total of 48 movie choices at any given time.

MARK: When you say “downstairs,” do you mean on the first floor, or in the basement?

JEFF: In the basement, down some ugly maroon-carpeted stairs to an epoxy-coated basement floor. The epoxy coat was essential because the floor had to be cleaned so often!

MARK: Would I be right to assume that a lot of your 16mm sales were generated by customers who, having really enjoyed a film in one of the basement booths, decided that they needed to have a copy for themselves? In other words, were the booths a sales tool for the films, in the same way that some records stores used to have booths where you could listen to records before buying them?

JEFF: We didn’t stock many of the movies that were shown in the peep show booths, but we could special order most of them, although it could takes weeks or months to receive.

MARK: Were the peep show booth projectors easy to operate? Did they have to be repaired very often?

JEFF: The projectors were pretty bulletproof and didn’t require much attention at all beside replacing an occasional projection bulb, which was simple. The movie loops were contained both in reels and later in cassette-like modules that were pretty foolproof. The movies were changed out by a third-party person who came into the store with a pretty hefty suitcase full of new movies.

MARK: I just learned that the Velvet Touch, back in 1975, when it was on 4th Avenue in Ann Arbor, offered escort services. Would I be right to assume that you did not?

JEFF: No, we provided nothing of that nature.

MARK: Did you have any issue with prostitution in the space between the Art 1&2 and the Bookstore?

JEFF: No, that was never an issue.

MARK: I know where the Art 1&2 was, but where was the Michigan Avenue Bookstore? Do you happen to remember the address? I can picture it, as it was still here when I first came to town, but I’m having a hard time placing it on that block.

JEFF: I know it was between Washington and Adams on the north side of Michigan Avenue, but don’t remember the exact address. At the time it was next to a butcher shop that was immediately to the east. There was a maze of interior and exterior corridors and passageways from the bookstore to the theater.

MARK: The butchershop, I’m assuming, was the building I first knew as the Green Room, back in the mid ‘90s. It was named for its green facade, which is still there. The address is 206 West Michigan Avenue, and it’s now a venue called Ziggy’s. Here’s a shot from the street from a few years ago. I’m guessing we’re talking about the light grey building, right?

JEFF: Yes, that’s correct. I remember the (light green) butcher shop had the cantilevered sidewalk cover. I seem to remember that we used the upstairs for inventory storage, but don’t think I was ever up there.

MARK: You mentioned that there was “a maze of interior and exterior corridors and passageways from the bookstore to the theater.” I’m curious as to what you mean by this. Do you mean that you remember going out the back door of the Bookstore, and cutting through the alleyways to get to the back door of the Art 1&2, or was there something more elaborate?

JEFF: It wasn’t that elaborate, just going out the back door, past a couple vertical free-standing walls, and in the door of the theater. There were 3-4 door keys involved when going from building to building, though.

MARK: OK, back to the Bookstore, did you sell non-porn there as well? Were there actually newspapers and magazines? My guess, and I could be wrong, is that the business probably started as a legitimate newsstand, but I don’t imagine that you’d know about that…

JEFF: We sold general circulation magazines, such as Time, Newsweek, Popular Mechanics, and so on, just inside the front door, but they didn’t get much activity, or sales. The porn stuff was further back, and bagged in plastic, so people could just see the front and back covers. That was done to discourage browsing.

MARK: So, how was it that you came to be working in this particular field?

JEFF: I had heard from a fellow EMU student, who was an employee, that it was pretty easy work and paid well. I actually got a lot of homework done there while working nights. Prior to working at the Bookstore, I worked at the College Pharmacy on Cross and Perrin, where the Jimmy John’s is today. I was a clerk and delivered prescriptions around the area.

MARK: Was the store open 24 hours a day?

JEFF: No. I think the hours were 10:00 a.m. to midnight, or something like that.

MARK: And when did you first come to Ypsi, or were you born in the area?

JEFF: I first came to Ypsi in 1972 as an EMU student. I’m originally from Dearborn. I got admitted to U of M, but couldn’t swing it financially at the time, so I came to EMU.

MARK: And how old would you have been when you started work there in ‘76?

JEFF: I would have been 22.

MARK: So, what did your job entail at the magazine shop?

JEFF: I checked-in merchandise, placed orders for inventory, bagged magazines, dusted the merchandise, vacuumed the upstairs, mopped the downstairs, made change for the peep shows, reconciled the day’s sales, took the night deposit to the bank, and just did whatever else any retail clerk would do.

MARK: Given that you said earlier that it was kind of like any other retail job, I’m curious if you could talk a bit about customer service within the context of the porn store. Did you direct people toward products that they might like? Did you set things aside for regulars? Did you do other things that people working in retail might do?

JEFF: Yes, I did most of that, at least for customers that wanted it. Women were especially curious, were specific about they were looking for, and were completely open about it, which was kind of cool, and opposite of the typical male customer who often seemed embarrassed or awkward.

MARK: What can you tell us about the owners? What was your interaction with them, if at all?

JEFF: I didn’t have much interaction with them, maybe only twice, largely because I was usually there late afternoons and nights. They struck me as well-dressed regular business guys, nothing out of the ordinary.

MARK: You mentioned in an earlier conversation with me that legendary porn star John Holmes once came to Ypsilanti, while on a tour to promote a film. As I’ve never seen evidence of this visit in the City archives, I was wondering if you could go into a little detail about the event, how it came to be, and what Mr. Holmes did while he was here in Ypsilanti. I don’t imagine he got a key to the City, but was it kind of a big deal? [If I’m not mistaken, General Tom Thumb’s visit to Ypsi is pretty well documented, as was Bill Clinton’s. It’s only fair that John Holmes gets similar recognition.]

JEFF: It was pretty low key. I remember his scheduled appearance was displayed on the Art 1&2 marquee, but nothing much beyond that. He was driven up to the theater in a Cadillac, went into the theater to make a short appearance and sign autographs, and was gone within 45 to 60 minutes tops.

MARK: Did a lot of people come out for the event? Was that the busiest that you’d ever seen things at the Art 1&2, or were they other big draws during your tenure?

JEFF: I don’t recall that event being much busier than usual. For that matter, every day was pretty much the same.

MARK: Did you exchange any words with Mr. Holmes?

JEFF: We just exchanged “hellos” and niceties. He was pretty wasted on liquor and cocaine (I’m assuming), because he was barely coherent.

MARK: Was this film of his showing at the time? If so, would I be right to assume that he didn’t watch the film with his fans while he was here?

JEFF: Yes, he was promoting the film “Eruption,” and it was showing at the time. He did, I think, introduce the movie, but then he left, after signing some autographs.

MARK: Did you have any problems with the City that you can recall? Were there ever protests? Did the police ever hassle your patrons? Or wasn’t that an issue?

JEFF: No, I never encountered any problems while I was there. The front window and door were painted, so you really couldn’t look inside. It was actually a pretty discreet place.

MARK: It was before my time, but there was a period, after the release of Deep Throat in ‘72, when, as we mentioned above, porn kind of flirted with the mainstream, with people who wouldn’t normally go to peep shows and the like, going to check things out. Was that a demographic you were seeing at all in ‘76…

JEFF: Ypsilanti (outside of EMU) at the time was very conservative and blue collar, so we didn’t see many “mainstream” customers in the store or theater.

MARK: What’s the strangest thing you ever saw while working at the Michigan Ave Bookstore?

JEFF: I think I’ll pass on that one, as there were too many to describe only one. All I can say is that I did enjoy the experience, especially the financial aspect of it, and some of the people I met, but I don’t miss it.

MARK: What was Ypsi like back in the mid-’70s?

JEFF: In some respects, it was much like today. It was relatively laid back, real, and relatable when compared to Ann Arbor. Some places that I really liked, but are long gone, include Hungry Charlie’s on Cross, Bimbo’s on Michigan Avenue, and the Alibi Bar in Depot Town, which was about the only viable business there at the time. There was also a Kroger supermarket on the south side of Michigan Avenue and River Street.

MARK: And what about that block of North Washington where the Art 1&2 stood? Do you remember what was around at the time?

JEFF: On North Washington, there was the Spaghetti Bender, which was a favorite place. They had good food and wine, great prices, and family style/picnic tables inside. I never had a bad meal there.

MARK: Speaking of what came before, did you ever hear of any older folks show up, thinking that the Art 1&2 was still the old Martha Washington Theater, or people coming to the Michigan Avenue Bookstore looking for Larry’s Tropical Fish, which I think used to be in that building?

JEFF: No, nothing like that ever happened to me.

MARK: Speaking of Larry’s Tropical Fish, do you remember any sign of things that might have come before? No coral in the basement?

JEFF: No.

MARK: Well, I just talked with the business owner in the building now, and she thinks she may have found something of yours. Did you ever use “tokens with astrological sex positions on them”? She found some not too long ago and suspect they’re yours.

JEFF: No, we never used tokens for anything, only real coins (quarters) when I was there. I suspect the tokens came after my time. It’s kind of funny that after I quit the Bookstore, I never went back, ever.

MARK: I may well be wrong about this, but I recall hearing, about a dozen years ago, when our remaining downtown porn shops were forced to close down, that the City had been able to do it by citing the presence of bodily fluids, which they claimed were considered a biohazard. While I don’t know if that’s true, I do remember walking by the adult book shop on Cross Street and seeing a crew in hazmat suits dragging out what looked like linoleum flooring… So, with all of that by way of background, I’m curious as to how much you were required to deal with bodily fluids.

JEFF: Mop duty in the peep show area was considered part of the job, and I didn’t think a lot about it at the time. We used gallons of pine scented disinfectant and rubber gloves. The area was cleaned when we knew there was no one anywhere in the store. (We had closed-circuit TV cameras in the basement.) We’d lock the front door when we cleaned. The bigger chore was monitoring and patching the so-called “glory holes” between the peep show booths. This was a continuous process that started with half-inch plywood, which was quickly destroyed. We then went to 2”x6” lumber for persistently breached patches. And, eventually, we started using steel plates.

MARK: Human beings can be incredibly resourceful and persistent… Did you ever catch people coming in with tools?

JEFF: I never actually caught anybody with tools, but the majority of the damage was done with pocket knives and screwdrivers.

MARK: Did you ever catch people in the act of having sex in the building? If so, how did you deal with it?

JEFF: In the Bookstore upstairs, no. In the peep show area in the basement, I saw some soliciting between males and attempts to go in a booth together, but the cameras alerted me, and I intervened with a PA system. Straight couples would come in occasionally, but would just peruse the magazines, movies, and toys upstairs, and never went downstairs.

MARK: Given the amount of business that you were doing, I’m curious as to whether or not you were ever robbed?

JEFF: No, and really never threatened either.

MARK: Do you have any good masturbation stories?

JEFF: A regular customer would come in a get a roll of 40 quarters from me for $10.00, which I assumed would be enough for him to take of business. Without fail, though, he’d come running back upstairs a while later, sweaty, with steamed up eye glasses and untucked shirt, handing me wet, crumpled up dollar bills for more quarters to get the job done.

MARK: So, is there anything else that you’d like future historians to know about the Michigan Avenue Bookstore?

JEFF: It was definitely and literally a different time. More innocent? Maybe, maybe not. I guess the Bookstore served the community for people who needed a sexual outlet for release that didn’t necessarily involve another person. Sounds weird, but that was my take on it… Ypsi was and still is a very unique, welcoming place, and I come back to visit at least 1-2 times a year.

MARK: One more thing… So, why did you leave Ypsilanti?

JEFF: Finally made it to U of M, got a mechanical engineering degree, and moved to Colorado. I moved here because I didn’t want anything do do with the automotive business. (I won’t bore you with the details.) I’ve now lived here for almost 40 years, but still miss Michigan and the midwest. So much so, in fact, that I’m now thinking of moving back to the area that I still consider home. Strange, but true!

update: When I first posted this, I hadn’t been able to find a photo of the Michigan Avenue Bookstore, so I’d used the above photo of the old Art 1&2 to introduce the interview. Well, Barry LaRue just came through with a photo of the old storefront, circa 1982, so I made the switch… And, here, for those of you who might be interested, is how I’d originally ended this post… “I tried pretty hard to find an image of the old bookstore, to no avail. It seems like, given the fact that it was in operation for decades, there would be some evidence of it, but, if there is, I can’t find it. I know I’ve said this here before, but it’s amazing to me how fleeting things are. I mean, I walked past this old porn shop for years, and now it’s just gone, without a trace. There’s something really sad about that… Anyway, if you want to cheer me up, send photos, or drawings, OK? I’ll accept anything.”

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25 Comments

  1. stupid hick
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    In the 80s and 90s there was also a porn shop on Michigan Avenue, East of Ecorse. Back in the days when we read our news printed on paper there was a story about a guy who worked there who was shot by a customer because he refused to change pennies for a quarter to use a booth.

  2. Eel
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    This leaves me wondering if any glory holes still exist in Ypsi.

  3. Concerned Michiganian
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    This is why we need to clean up Ypsilanti. There is no place for this anymore.

    Sick.

    #NoDejaVu #CleanYpsi #Whitmer2018 #BlueWave2018

  4. iRobert
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Well done, Mark. You give good interview.

  5. Stewart Beal
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    My friend and I did the demolition back in 2004. I was ripping down the ceiling with a crowbar when BANG my fiend Eli got hit in the head with something. I picked it up and it said “ANAL LUBE 80 oz” on it. Then, a few hours later, we were tearing into the wall and found a VHS tape called “OFFICER DICKSMEN.”

  6. Posted October 9, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I lived in Ypsi in the early 70’s. Some of my commune mates went to EMU and knew the fellow who ran the campus film series back then.

    I can’t remember his name, but after he stopped doing the campus film series, he went on to run (I thought he owned) the Art 1 and Art 2.

  7. Eel
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    “An Officer and a Dicksman.” One of Richard Gere’s finest films.

  8. wobblie
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I had a couple of friends, (both now dead) who worked in the local porn industry. MM serviced the change machines and the video reel machines at the Cross St. porn shop. The owner’s wife owned a second porn shop out on East Michigan up towards the old drive-in which he also serviced. He owned a number of video and pinball machines around town-mainly in the old bus station on Cross St. Same coin mechanism as in the porn video reels. So he had the skills to keep the video reels running. This was the early to mid 80’s he thought it was a pretty good job until the husband/wife owners had a falling out. Of course he was also heavily into porn and so liked the perks. I think the husband went to jail. MM’s family had been big in the local drive-in movie scene (had a couple in the Dearborn area also owned some theaters in around the metro). So MM kinda thought he was just pursuing the family business in entertainment. MM inherited some money and moved on.
    JG, worked at the Velvet Touch on 4th Ave. The owner of it also went to jail. I believe because of the prostitution run out of the massage parlor, but it might have been related to cocaine. He told JG to keep the business open and to hold onto the money for him. JG, kept the video reals and bookstore going (I think the massage parlor got closed down) for several months. Had thousands of dollars in quarters. Put up a closed sign, grabbed the cash and spent the next year in Chicago-pretty much drinking all the time. JG swore by the amil nitrate, and seemed to always have a couple of containers with him.
    Heard lots of stories from both over beers (though JG only drank vodka or gin).

    Those were the days, armed vigilantee’s in the employee of the Housing Commission rousting folks in the projects, 3 shifts of factory workers both at Ford and Willow Run. Parts suppliers all over the place. Something like a dozen bars on Michigan between River St. and Ballard. Folks were making some money in those days. And then the layoffs came, the whipsawing of the local unions, Electric Wheel (the Corner Brewery now) closes, Willow Run closes, and thousands of jobs disappeared.

  9. Chewie
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    What a read! Even the comments added to the story.

  10. Steve Swan
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Best glory hole in town, hands down, is at that Big Sky Diner, 1340 Ecorse Rd, Ypsilanti, MI 48198.

  11. J.P.
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to see a penetrating expose (pun intended) on the adult store that used to be on Cross Street near EMU. I saw one of my profs duck in there once as I walked past…awkward.

  12. Elviscostello
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    The meat market next door to the porn shop on Michigan Avenue was Bazely’s. Great butcher shop, and they had really fair prices. One of my friend’s Mom worked there.

  13. iRobert
    Posted October 10, 2018 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    EOS never comments on these threads. That’s because he has no experience with such things and has nothing to add. Uh huh.

  14. Jean Henry
    Posted October 10, 2018 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Given the pervasiveness of porn use as well as anal sex, it seems the ‘ick factor’ here is engaging in such activities in a public place, not the actual behavior. Getting rid of sex shops, XXX cinemas and strip clubs won’t clean up Ypsi or anywhere, neither will it slow the objectification of women or their abuse, nor prevent perversion. So it seems, what actually repulses or embarrasses or causes amusement here is not the behavior itself, but that others know you’re doing it. No one really wants to stop engaging in the behavior. Basically, this is a story about shame. Getting rid of deja vu will do nothing to clean up Ypsilanti. If anything Ypsi should have a greater diversity of strip clubs and certainly sex shops. Sex shops, in particular, serve a public good, providing shame-free information about sexual behavior that is much needed in today’s repressed society. Puritanical attitudes have never made America safer for women or reduced the level of ‘perversion’ or sexual activity. I believe they make them worse. I have no idea who “Concerned Michigander’ wants to clean up Ypsi for, but it seems clear who they want to exclude. Ypsi isn’t doing enough to preserve its diversity or its acceptance of the weird. The weird is the fount of culture. Please don’t weed it out. As for glory holes, if you haven’t attempted a sexual behavior then best not to criticize or make fun of it. It makes you seem like 5th grade boys tittering about oral sex. Who knows?–you might just be missing out.

  15. Jean Henry
    Posted October 10, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Someone should propose to the Ypsi DDA that they market the city as a shame-free zone and encourage the celebration of general weirdness and positive sexuality. It would be good for business and the community culture. Ypsilanti: City of Fun and Filth. Ypsi could become the city of John Waters’ dreams.

    Man, if you really want to boost the creative and local economy and slow gentrification and homogenization, that’s the ticket.

  16. Jean Henry
    Posted October 10, 2018 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Nothing scares away the bourgeoisie like an open and accepting culture.

  17. Jcp2
    Posted October 10, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    In which manner are you using bourgeoisie?
    Non rural person, artisan, middle class, intellectuals, ruling classes? It can mean whatever you want.

  18. Jean Henry
    Posted October 10, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Bourgeoisie means either the comfortable/conventional middle class (from the French meaning) or those who have wealth (Marxist). Either works in this case.

    bour·geoi·sie
    noun: bourgeoisie; plural noun: bourgeoisies
    the middle class, typically with reference to its perceived materialistic values or conventional attitudes.
    (in Marxist contexts) the capitalist class who own most of society’s wealth and means of production.

  19. Jean Henry
    Posted October 10, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    An artisan, an intellectual or an artisan can be bourgeoisie but they are not inherently so. Even for the middle class, this is true, as the larger connotation is conventionality and materialism.And that connotation is relevant here. Sex is good for producing revenue but in public spaces, it detracts the conventional. It has a cultural editing function in public spaces that might actually be useful for a community that wanted to stay weird.

    I’m entirely serious about this. I think it would be an effective strategy to dissuade gentrification without crippling economic productivity.

  20. Jean Henry
    Posted October 10, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    PS a survey of the Dutch or Scandinavian societies would make clear that positive and open sexuality is not unhealthy for children or society or the economy.

  21. Lynne
    Posted October 10, 2018 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I keep telling the DAY people to start breaking into people’s homes because crime is especially good at keeping the bourgeoisie away! LOL

    I don’t feel a need to run the bourgeoisie out of town although, fwiw, I dont feel a need to discourage sex businesses either

  22. iRobert
    Posted October 10, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I wasn’t sure until now, but Mark, you have a problem.

  23. wobblie
    Posted October 10, 2018 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    JH, for all my cheap shots at you, I love you. I’ve always thought Ypsi, with the right forward looking city government, could become the New Orleans of the North. We have it all.

  24. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted October 11, 2018 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Was that you who used to be at the IWW office downtown, wobblie? Might have run into you back in the day if that is true.

  25. wobblie
    Posted October 11, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I spent a lot of time there, but you are probably thinking of chain smoking Fred

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  1. […] how, a few days ago, we were reminiscing about the peep shows and glory holes of the old Michigan Avenue Bookstore, and how upset I was that I couldn’t find any photographic evidence of its existence online? […]

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