There's no cover charge. Customers can order different strippers out of the company catalog -- a photo album full of seedy-looking Polaroids. Each page features one of his strippers in three poses -- bent over, spread eagle and come hither. There are dozens of girls to choose from."Nothing but a G-string" (Thanks, Heather Sparks!)
Thunderbolt doesn't need a cabaret license like other Detroit strip clubs must have. The city ordinance regulating other places doesn't apply, because it's not a bar serving liquor or food, but rather a private arrangement in a private home. To him it's like having a strip-o-gram sent to your own house...
The club's main room, at the back of the house, looks like a Northern Michigan lodge decorated in the 1970s. The walls are fake wood paneling. The aged carpet is greenish-brown. The seating is an old, thick, sectional couch. A single bed rests suggestively in a corner. An ancient stereo receiver and 8-track tape player sit on a table. A few shotgun shells are lined up along its edge, incongruously. A patron's first visit is an eye-opener. "Usually everybody is shocked," Thunderbolt says, "but I've been in AmVet halls smaller than this."
Before every night's show, customers are given the same introduction. "Listen up," Thunderbolt announces to the room. "These are the rules: There's no licking, sticking, biting or slapping. Can't hurt the girls, gentlemen. Be good to the girls, they'll be good to you. It's 10 dollars a dance with the g-string on, 20 dollars with the g-string off. OK? It's lap dance time..."
He has had the club in several different houses, mostly on the east side. Every time he moves to a new one, he goes door-to-door to explain what's coming to the neighborhood.
"I tell everybody, 'This is what I'm gonna do. Don't be freakin' out.' I have to because the girls put a shitload of cars on the street, but I keep the grass cut, I pay the bills."
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.