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Inside the ‘Daddyhole’: The Popular Attraction Returns to Detroit's Dirty Show

Attention sexual citizens of Michigan: For the 23rd time, “Detroit’s cavalcade of carnality” promises to turn Motor City mad, for sexual freedom, that is. The Dirty Show is back at the Russell Exhibition Center where for a limited time, visitors can engage with hundreds of pieces of erotic art ranging from “grandma safe” to “someone is gonna burn in hell for this.”

Arguably the centerpiece of the exhibition — the largest of its kind in North America — is the Daddyhole, an immersive tribute to the hardcore leather bars of the 1970s and ‘80s where visitors answer to none other than Tom of Finland.

“Since its initial unveiling a few years ago, it has remained as part of the overall event as it is a fun diversion and has added more kinky diversity to the exhibition,” curator Jerry Vile said. “It transports you while paying homage to an important underground phenom that has had an enormous impact on world culture, music and fashion.  It also is and has been the only area  where patrons can dance, as the Dirty Show has had a strict no dancing policy since our inception.”

Within the enormity of the Dirty Show, which has hosted guest artists among the likes of John Waters, the Daddyhole has been able to survive in large part due to leather, Vile said. He believes that the leather brings a more “intense erotic feel.”

Still, Vile likes to keep it fresh by commissioning different faces to helm the Daddyhole. This time around, DJ Darryl G Gunter will help maestro the bacchanal.

“I still believe that The Daddyhole exhibit is in its infancy and has a lot of room to grow,” Gunter said. “I started working The Daddyhole as the DJ, and a few years later I began to help organize it. Each year I try to bring in a new element of the leather and kink culture to The Daddyhole.”

Gunter says he tries to include local leather groups like ICON, ONX, Mavericks and The Motor City Bears. “This year we are happy to include a few more puppies into the mix,” he said, adding that he is working on a live performance act which, if things come together, “should be very thought provoking.”

As for the intended takeaways, Gunter said that he doesn’t have any.

“When I go to the DIA, there is no one there telling me what to take away from the painting on the wall,” Gunter explained. “It is there for my interpretation. I get to see it and feel all the emotions that it evokes without being told what I’m supposed to think. However, I really hope people come into The Daddyhole and have fun, embrace the vibe of the exhibit and let their inner kinkster out for a little fun.”

Vile is adamant about maintaining the interactive element of the exhibition — it’s the people who make the show, after all. Guests willing to go the extra mile are even able to coordinate details ahead of time on the Daddyhole Facebook group page.

A warning from Jerry Vile — tickets often sell out before opening day.

The Dirty Show takes place over two weekends — Feb. 10 and 11 and Feb. 17 and 18. Learn more and buy tickets at dirtydetroit.com .
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