Most Read
  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    Ypsilanti police are still searching for the person dubbed the “mystery pooper.” Someone has been, as the Associated Press politely puts it today, “soiling slides at an Ypislanti playground over the last six months.” So, of course, someone purchased an electronic billboard along I-94 near Huron St. at exit 183 that delivers multiple calls for action: For instance,”Help us flush the pooper.” The company that purchased the billboard, Adams Outdoor Advertising, knows how to reach the world in the 21st Century, branding each billboard with a hashtag for the public utilize in its efforts: #ypsipooper. WJBK-TV says the billboard also toggles through other rich lines, such as: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper #YPSIPOOPER” “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” You can have the runs, but you can’t hide. They’re still looking for you, Mystery Pooper.

    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



Search thousands of events in our database.


Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.


Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

MT on Twitter
MT on Facebook

Print Email


Different strokes

An old-school porn shop keeps it up in the face of cultural shifts

Photo: , License: N/A

David Julian inside one of his store's peep show booths.

It's dark as the movie begins. You sit in your seat and take in the bright light of the screen, the vivid sounds, the action that unfolds before you. And when you're ready, you pull down your pants and stroke yourself.

This is how movie watching goes at Mini Book Shoppe on Gratiot north of Seven Mile on the city's east side. Although its quaint name suggests otherwise, you will not find the novels of William Faulkner or the gentle verse of Robert Frost on the shelves here. 

Instead you can buy the latest issue of Buttman Magazine. Or the Fat Boy, a dildo as thick as a wrist. Or a blowup doll modeled after a porn star that, when inflated, looks nothing like a porn star. And you can watch porno movies in darkened little cubicles all by yourself.

Mini Book Shoppe is an old-time sex shop and peep show. Its deceptive name vanished from the building's outdoor signage a remodeling or two ago, partly to dissuade the occasional stray innocent who'd wander in looking for comic books or a mystery novel. The sign out front now says only, "Adult Videos. Peep Shows. Magazines. Novelties." Because that says it all.

A peep show might seem obsolete in an age of free porn clips saturating the Internet and adult movies that can be ordered through cable, but this place still serves a purpose, says David Julian, the store's 46-year-old owner.

"Guys that come in here from the suburbs, maybe he's got a family at home and he wants to watch a movie, but he can't do it at home with his wife and kids there, so he'll come here, blow five or 10 bucks, and split," he says. 

Meanwhile, the customers drawn from the impoverished blocks surrounding the shop have their own reasons to visit. "A lot of them around here don't have Internet access, they don't know how to get online and use a computer," he says. "So they still come in and watch their movies."

There are 15 cramped booths in the back, each featuring a rubber mat on the floor mopped daily by some poor soul, a video screen on the wall and a chair bolted into place. Close the door and a little red sign announcing "Occupied" lights up. There are 80 movies to choose from, each on its own channel, with new movie offerings every week. The DVD covers for each are shown in a lit display case on a wall outside the booths, with a channel number indicated underneath each. Feed a dollar into the slot and you get a few X-rated minutes. Most guys are done after about $5, Julian says.

He prides himself on his shop's cleanliness, its friendly customer service, its lack of bulletproof glass around the front counter, where customers can find the store's owner on the job every day. To him it's just another mom-and-pop shop, despite some people's initially uncomfortable reaction when they learn what he does for a living.

"You tell people what you do, they kind of get a little like that," he says. "But to me it's just a family business, no different than owning a party store or dry cleaner or car wash. That's the way I always looked at it."

Mini Book Shoppe is one of the few peep shows still operating in the city. Zoning laws passed in the early '70s grandfathered in existing shops but prohibited new ones from ever opening, making them a dying breed. Few neighborhoods, it seems, wanted places nearby that draw men to masturbate, and the city cracked down.

"The theaters were even worse, though" Julian says. "Them days of the theaters like the Guild and all them theaters, they were way worse than the bookstores ever were. They were swinging right there in the fucking aisles. A guy would bring his wife or girlfriend there, and six guys would be around them, waiting to do her right in the middle of the fucking theater."

Julian's dad Frank started Mini Book Shoppe back in 1971, within one of the busiest shopping districts in the city, where this little porn shop coexisted with Cunningham, Kresge, Sanders and other local retailers that are now just fond memories for older people. A brother-in-law had opened his own peep show, and Frank saw what a jackpot that had become. He followed suit.

Back then, the stock was centerfold magazines and 8 mm skin flicks, both in the booths and on the shelves. "They would sell them and make $40, $50; the ones with the reel — you had to put it on a projector. Some of them didn't have no sound. Some of them were black and white — color didn't come out yet, and they were getting 40, 50 bucks."

By the late '70s, though, stores like his were suffering as cities scared away customers as they sought to clean up sex-oriented businesses within their borders. But home video, and later DVDs, revolutionized the industry, and pornography lost much of its stigma. Business boomed again.

"You know, years ago porn used to be, like, taboo and hidden," says Julian, who started here when he was 23. He gets visits nowadays not only from lone men but also women stocking up for bachelorette parties. "Now it's so mainstream — it's in the movies, it's right on your TV box coming through your cable, it's everywhere, man. I mean, look at MTV, look at the videos that they put out with all that rump shaking they got going on. It wasn't like that back in the '70s and '80s. It really became mainstream when the Internet came out. The stereotype of the guy with the raincoat, them days are over."

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus