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Undercover uncovered 

The glory days of spanking exposed flesh in Royal Oak may be over. The Royal Oak P.D. cited the Royal Oak Theatre and the Groove Room for violating state liquor laws after taping “fetish” shows by Noir Leather, an erotic-clothing shop in the yuppie suburb. According to Lt. Don Foster, the theaters were cited for violating a Michigan rule that prohibits liquor licensees from allowing a person to perform or simulate performance of “sexual intercourse, masturbation, sodomy, bestiality, fellatio or cunnilingus.” Foster says police suspected that such activity might occur at Noir Leather’s Halloween show at Royal Oak Theatre. Undercover cops were dispatched to videotape the goings on. Alleged violations include a cheerleading skit with women involved in banned activities, a human sacrifice skit in which a G-string fell off a male actor, and models exposing “all or part of their buttocks,” the detective says. The Groove Room was cited for similar violations and for lack of a special changing room. The two venues face Jan. 10 hearings before the Liquor Control Commission, which will determine whether laws were violated and what punishment is needed.

Noir Leather owner Keith Howarth has thrown performance art/fetish shows for nearly two decades, yet, “I wasn’t aware a rulebook existed.”

He says the shows consist of skits of risqué scenarios, such as the cheerleading skit, in which a couple of girls jealous of the main cheerleader ripped up her pompoms, tore off her shirt and skirt and “probably poked and prodded her.” Despite the sting, the show must go on. “I’ll still do them, I’ll just tailor them to meet the liquor control guidelines,” says Howarth. “We’ll just have to have more flogging, because flogging isn’t mentioned in there, flogging and rope-tyings and more suspensions. Maybe a crucifixion here or there.”

Lisa M. Collins contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or

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