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  • 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.



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Girls on film

How one man takes the city's prostitutes and gives them their 15 minutes of fame

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

John Juan takes photos of Sarah and Michelle inside their house.


There are two houses standing alone on this side street, surrounded by waist-high grass. Both are whorehouses.

John Juan is here for a photo session. A woman greets him at the door of the blue house on the corner. Her pimp watches from the porch of the white house next door. "He's like the house dad," she explains. "He's a sweetheart."

Two hookers are here today. There's Michelle, 41, the woman at the door. She smokes crack. And Sarah, who's 24. She likes heroin. Both offer the same, simple reason for their occupation. "Drugs," they say in tandem, then giggle. A little mirror with wisps of white powder on it sits on a table.

Several women live here rent-free, in a neighborhood that's become the city's most popular spot for street hookers. All they have to do is pay their landlord, the man on the neighbor's porch, $10 for every "date" they bring home, and they can stay there between johns. 

Their house is old and battered inside after years without house cleaning or basic repairs. It's sparsely furnished, with dingy old couches, a nicked-up dining room table, an old stove and fridge in the kitchen, yellowed curtains torn on their edges, and well-used mattresses in the bedrooms. "This is as ghetto as it gets," Michelle says.

She's blond, too thin and has scabbed sores covering her chest and stomach. She was a mom from Oakland County before her addiction sent her tumbling down to the John R hooker strip five years ago. She matter-of-factly talks about her 19-year-old son in college, and another who's a senior in high school. She doesn't see them much.

Sarah is 24, brunet, not at all skinny, and she's worked the streets for eight years. She's the one who invited John Juan here. Michelle never met him but didn't have any qualms about the photo session. "I don't care what it's for," she says. "No problem, honey." Neither ask him for money in return.

Their workplace is just feet from their front steps, along John R, where they stand and wait until someone stops, which doesn't take long because the road is swarming with single men cruising back and forth. 

Peak hours, the women say, are midnight to 4 a.m., when the drunks pass through; from 3-5 p.m., when everyone's on their way home from their jobs; and 5-7 a.m., when guys are heading into work. "That's the best time too," Michelle notes, "because they gotta be at work, so you can get quick blow jobs for $20 and you can turn them over really fast."

They've taken all their clothes off and stand before a dirty plaster wall, bending over, touching each other and themselves, pouting for the camera, giggling. John Juan shoots dozens of photos and a few videos; some on a camera, some on his phone. When he's done, after about 15 minutes, the two women come over for a look. "Aww, them are cute," Michelle says of the stark photos. Sarah smiles. Both thank him in sing-song voices. And John Juan packs up to go.

Outside, their landlord still watches suspiciously from the porch next door, and there's a tall, thin hooker in a black dress standing with him. As John Juan heads to the sidewalk, she follows him, and the two of them walk off together on a private adventure that, tomorrow, everyone can see for themselves.


Detroitblogger John is John Carlisle. He scours the Motor City for Metro Times. Send comments to

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