Detroit Seen


Fifth Estate # 274, July 1976

Our Fifth Estate benefit and party at Alvin’s Back-room on June 25 worked out pretty well for us, both in terms of money (we made about $215 after expenses) and everyone seemed to have a good time. The entertainment was provided by the Acme Theatrical Agency and Primitive Lust satire groups, both who left folks rolling in the aisles. After them, Ted Lucas and the Spikedrivers provided the rock and roll for a night of dancing. Unfortunately, the pressure gauge on the beer tapper broke while we were into our fourth keg and left us with a lot of undrunk suds at the end of the evening. You can hear more of the Spikedrivers every Friday and Saturday nights at Alvin’s after hours from 11 pm to 4 am. Our usual thanks to everyone who helped put the benefit together including Mark for printing and Mike McCoy and Judy Adams of WDET for publicity.

Many thanks to the Ersatz TV & Stereo Service, 4415 Second, right next to the FE office, for donating a 24-inch, color TV set to the FE which we raffled off at the benefit. Ersatz is a weird, but talented outfit that fixes stereos, radios, TV’s and at cheap prices. They pick up old TV’s and radios from back alleys and trash dumps and make them work. They also conduct bizarre experiments and we hope that those reports of missing body parts from the Wayne County morgue is not connected with them in any way.

By the way, the additional money from the benefit helped ease our immediate financial situation, but does little to cut into our long range fiscal problems. The basis of our difficulties is that our expenses are about $600 a month, which includes our printing bill, but we take in only about $200 from paper sales and subscriptions. The remainder is provided by the profits from Ammunition Books and our periodic benefits. The situation gets sticky when we have a month with slow book sales or a benefit that fails to raise the expected revenue. We feel that in some ways keeping an office and bookstore open is a luxury of sorts, but there is no other center for libertarian ideas in the city and we would like to try to maintain them as a public center. If you agree, and have not already done so, subscribe, make a donation or make a monthly pledge. Also, we welcome visitors to our office to discuss the ideas of the paper or just to say hello. In August, we will be holding a one year anniversary open house for Ammunition Books and hope to see as many readers and friends as possible at that time. More on this next issue. If you are planning to come down to the bookstore in the month of July, please call before you come by as several of our staff are on vacation and our hours will be a little spotty.

“The Idea of Detroit,” by Jim Gustafson, is re-printed from Alternative Press packet number 6. The AP (Grindstone City, Michigan 48467) will send you four packets for a $10 subscription. Ken and Ann Mikolowski print up beautiful postcards, poetry booklets & bookmarks on high quality paper from a 75 year-old letterpress.

Tough Shit Department: Detective Sergeant Alan Crouter, who for years was assigned to the Detroit Police red squad and was the pay-off man for an informer planted on the Fifth Estate staff (See FE, January 1976) took a bullet in the hip just two days before he was scheduled to retire from the force after 25 years. Crouter, the agent of the state and defender of Capital until the end, walked into an Eastside bank just as a couple of citizens were making a sizable withdrawal. Crouter moved in to stop the expropriation and got a bullet for his trouble. The bandits escaped.

On July 9th the play “3rd Century;” written by William Gorman and Hank Malone, will be performed for the first time at 8p.m. in the McGregor Public Library, 12244 Woodward Ave.—Highland Park. $2.50 donation.

For once Channel 56 commentator Lou Gordon has sunk his teeth into some real rotten meat. His expose of The Detroit News’ policy of blatant yellow journalism is right on, if fifty years overdue. Gordon got hold of a memo which News editor Mike McCormick issued to his underlings concerning what stories to play up in the front of the paper. The memo directed the copy and layout personnel to put shocking, violent or sexually prurient material up front in order to sell, sell, SELL. Gordon lamented the fact that such sensationalism, besides inflaming already sick heads, is a cheap substitute for the necessary exposes and coverage of the real problems and events that Detroiters have to face.

It’s interesting to note that with all the layoffs of police and emergency medical personnel by the city that the only employees who are in solid with the administration are the meter maids. Because they generate funds, the meter maids are spared the indignity of layoffs and we can be assured as we lay bleeding in the alleys, that our alert and considerate parking meter maids are out there on the streets protecting concrete.

Signs of the Times: a friendly cab driver told us the other day of seeing on Linwood and Clairmount a spritely, middle-aged man dancing naked on top of his car and singing, while spraying himself in the ass with deodorant. While we deplore this violation of the ozone layer we must consider this adrenalin charged display as an inspiring relief from the hum-drum of the repetitious work week, and as an assault by the imagination on compulsive law and order. Unfortunately, the man was arrested and hauled away.

Since not wearing the commodities called clothing is always enough to get you stashed away at Northville State Snakepit, here’s a tip on how to pull it off. An attendant told us that one “patient” who kept shedding his duds and running around the hospital halls only to be grabbed by the guards and strapped to the beds, finally hit upon the idea of covering himself completely with vaseline, making it impossible for anyone to grab him. However, always on guard against deviant behavior, the screws laid an ambush around the corner and when the slickery wildman went streaming by, threw a blanket over him and put him back in straps.

Recently the Ann Arbor Sun ran an article lauding radio personality Martha Jean “the Queen” Steinburg’s “War on Crime in the Name of Jesus.” “Everything we have attempted in the name of Jesus has been successful,” she says. The Jesus Business has been successful, it’s true: the slave trade, conquest of Latin America and slaughter of the North American Indian, Open Door atrocities in China, the Inquisition, not to mention the daily crimes against the minds of people who are taught to fear God, grovel before their “superiors,” and hate their bodies. As far as we are concerned, Jesus Christ didn’t get enough nails. We would relish with the greatest gusto a WAR ON JESUS IN THE NAME OF CRIME.

Compared to What! Community Music Program is still presenting great Detroit artists all summer long. Friday, July 16, will feature jazz veteran Doc Holladay along with Ron English and George Davison on guitar and drums accompanying Doc on reeds. The performance will be at Trinity Methodist Church, 13100 Woodward in Highland Park at 8:30 pm, Admission is $2.00.