Thursday, September 9, 1976
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Thursday, September 9, 1976 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page FIve
Sheyop e: Ann liboi's
Shak ey I__r is.#"Jake: lifetimeeii
of hawkin' and
Somewhere in this town to- tennial, Jake says it was a
day is a 76-year old soldier of and jazz festival in New Or]
fortune who has known the plea- that two million people atte
sures of 5,000 women, played the Jake remembers it well
guitar at Woodstock, and attend- though he was only twelv
ed the 1912 Centennial (the 1912 the time.
Centennial?). "It was nice. We partie
He's Shakey Jake Woods, a three days and had a nice
near-institution in Ann Arbor. Things were better then,
world was different."
Jake's regular haunts are the Jake started playing his
Fishbowl, Dooley's or the front tar e ang in!
of Discount Records on State St., tar at age one, and often i
where he can be found whistling enter at Doe.
at the women and hawking doesn't bother me none.
copies of The Sun. Jake has ap-
parently found his own image « ,
marketable,as witnessed by the "
Shakey Jake T-shirts he also
JAKE THINKS Ann Arbor is x..\.\
the "most hip town there is,"w
but says the young people here
"jus' don't know how to act. .'.
They can't conduct themselves _ ,
in public like the old folks. They
need to be taught to sit and act .
Jake has something to say on
just about every subject, from k
drugs ("leave 'em alone if you
can't handle 'em") to women
("I can get any one I want").
But don't ask him his secret '
for staying young. "My mother'
told me not to tell you," he
AND IF you ask him where
he sleeps or gets his money,
don't expect a straight answer.
"I never worked a day in my v_
life," he rasps, in his peculiar,
high-pitched cackle. "And I'll
sleep where I want to."
Jake feels that a lot of the
world's ills are caused by too
much jealousy, hate, and a love
of money. "I don't like money,"
he says. "I don't care if I don't
Jake was born in New Or-
leans, which he left six years
ago. He now divides his time
between Ann Arbor and Sagi-
naw, where his seven brothers
and nine sisters live.
"They're all married," Jake
says, "but not me. I'm too busy
to get married. And don't try to
keep up with me, you're tooa
AND AS FOR the 1912 Cen-
His slim, naked body is a canvas painted with intricate,
colorful images. Underneath the gray T-shirt, his skin
crawls with designs of snakes, stars and eagles. On a left
bicep, Betty Boop poses coyly. His name is "Painless John"
Ardner. He runs the only tattoo parlor in town with his part-
ner Chris "Stinger" Clarke.
It was six months ago that Painless and Stinger hung out
their shingle on a small, inauspicious, one-room building
that squats between the faded hourses of North Main St.
Since then, the two have emblazoned more than4,000 tattoos
on everyone from businessmen to college students.
"I GOT MY first one about ten years ago," Painless John
recalls and. flexs his shoulder to show an eagle spreading his
wings. He's working on an eagle right now whose wings will
span the width of his chest. One green wing has already been
inlaid, and the outline of the other has been done. "I'm
shootin' to get 'em from the waist up," he says.
Below the waist Painless has got a petite red rose in one
of the most intimate of places.
It used to be 'only the rough sailors and beefy truck
drivers who sported tatoos. But recently, a well-placed tattoo
has become such a chic, "in" status symbol that it is now
predominantly young women who are the ones offering up
their skin to tattoo artists.
played in front of a half a mil-
lion hippies," he said, in refer-
ence to his alleged Woodstock
Jake can only read his own
name, but has a certain street
wisdom beyond even his own
advanced years. Buy him a Coke
or a 7-Up one day (that's all
he'll drink) and get him talking.
But take what he says with a
grain of salt . . . or better yet,
- Jennifer Miller
From the first blustery days of
April to the final rustle of dry Oc-
tober leaves, there's a tiny splash
of scent and color on the edge of
central campus: the flower stand
at South and East University Ave-
It stands in the shadow of the En-
gineering Building archway like, a
transplanted piece of Paris: Daf-
fodils in the springtime, roses in the
summer, asters in the fall'- a n d
hundreds of others all the time,
tied in little mixed bouquets or sold
by the single stem.
ART SCHOOL student R i c h a r d
Burns, who manages the little stand
with his partner Vicki Honeyman,
claims the "absolutely freshest flow-
ers in Ann Arbor."
'They're sportscar-delivered every
morning," says Burns.
He and Honeyman drive a Tri-
umph TR6 into Detroit each morning
to get the flowers "straight off the
plane" from South America, Cali-
fornia, and Colorado.
"I really enjoy it," he said with
a smile. "You don't feel like you're
selling something shoddy."
Doily Photo by SCOTT ECCKER
Burns and a customer
The theory of the American melting pot is alive and thrving in Ann
Arbor. Where else could you find a houndstooth-jacketed professor, a
freckled Angell School kindergartener, and an evangelist hawking
Jesus . . . all on the same corner? Like Dr. Henry Jekyll, the city is
schizophrenic. But any real Ann Arborite will tell you that's what they
love about their home. And it doesn't take long to become a real townie.
Addiction is a quick and easy process. Before long you too, like the
folks on this page, will be an integral part of the city-campus scenario.
Maybe not as flashy, not as talked about, but an integral part nonethe-
less. Shakey Jake says the young people in this town "jus' don't know
how to act. They can't conduct themselves in public like the old folks.".
And there are other people in the city-the city where rumor has it
youth and students reign supreme-who will say the same. But, like
Jake also says, Ann Arbor is still "the most hip town there is." Now,
meet some of the people who gave it that reputation.
ri :;' : '+..,s.'.'.,S .......
Doily Photo by STEVE KAGAN
key J ake
WHAT MOST of the women want is "a little butterfly or
rose, right around the shoulder," says Stinger.
Since opening up shop, Painless and Stinger has filled some
considerably more bizarre requests. "I put a rose on a
guy's butt," said Painless with a wry grin. "Another fella
wanted his horoscope sign on the soles of his feet. Some
want 'em inside their mouth. You just never know."
Despite the occasional odd-ball customer, Painless John
has been around the tattooing business too long to be easily
shocked." I've seen an eight-ball done on the top of a guy's
head, the Last Supper on a guy's back, ears with little
stars on 'em - it's amazing," he chuckles.
DESPITE ALL their vast exprience, there's one question
that Painless and Stinger have not been able to answer.
Just why do their customers want tattoos?! "I guess a lot
of it is kind of a spur of the moment thing," mused Ardner.
"They see somebody else's tattoo and they say, - 'Hey, I
want something like that."
Stinger thinks it's the machismo influence. "It's sup-
posed to prove that you're a man or a toughie or a rough-
neck," he said.
Whatever the motivation, Painless John and Stinger are
glad to oblige.
.Dr. Diag's dail1y.
He strides back and forth in front of the Graduate Library,
glaring as passers-by. Running his comb through his hair, he
shouts at alarmed onlookers. "Ann Arbor is a zoo, a carnival, a
road side freak show," he hollers to anyone who will listen.
Addressing no one and everyone, he expounds for hours on mat-
ters ranging from Communism to the Bible.
Dressed in the familior maroon pants, red shirt and toeless
shoes, Richard Robinson - sometimes known as 'Dr Diag' -
claims t6 have been born in Ann Arbor in 1941. He also claims
he's been 'giving his Diag discourses for 35 years, which means
he made,his debut on the day of his birth.
"MY MOTHER'S a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolu-
tion), my brother is a pig, the biggest pig I've ever seen, and
my ex-wife is a nut. She's a Republican," he tells no one in
Politics are a large part of Dr Diag's orations, especially
since he decided to "run for town council".
"For the last eleven years I've been running around picking
up pieces of paper and picking tape off lamposts," says Dr
Diag, long a critic of litter in Ann Arbor. "That's why I'm
running for town council."
ROBINSON shows up for City Council meetings every Monday
night, or "whenever they meet".
"I am not a god," heythunders to his Diag audience. "I am
an Ann Arbor town council person."
Occasionally during Robinson's tirade he pauses to recite
the Greek alphabet. "Alphabetagammadelta . ..", he says, the
words running together. His voice drops as he comes to the
end of his recitation. "Oooooomeeeegaaaaaaaaaa," he chants
"Do you think I'm psychotic?" :asks Robinson casually. "Thir-
teen psychiatrists think I am. This may sound jive," he goes
on, "but I'm learning the piano to developrny brain."
As Robinson tiptoes slowly around the bronze 'M' in the middle
of the diag, ("I don't step on it because I don't want to flunk
out of school") he explains his feelings on people's reactions
toward him. "Jesus, of course I care about people laughing,"
he snaps, "and talking about Jesus, he was a very natural
"DO YOU KNOW," he jumps typically onto a totally differ-
ent subject, "that I have slept with 15 prostitutes? You know
why? Because I love running for town council."
Don't worry if you don't understand everything (or any-
thing) that Dr. Diag is saying - there are probably few people
who do. Just don't be surprised if somewhere, sometime,
when you least expect it, someone steps up to you and says,
"I'm running for town council because I need a new pair of
Daily Photo by SCOTT ECCKER
Playboy to Time-
he's got them all
"Students are my business. When they go away, my business goes
like this," says Alvin Neff, turning his thumb in a rapid circle towards
Neff, 61, is the kindly man who runs the newsstand under the
columns 'at the east end of Nickels Arcade. In 34 years af selling
magazines he has watched Ann Arbor and its students go through
"STUDENTS used to dress real nicely," he says. "Now they all wear
jeans, but it doesn't bother me. I think some of that's because they
can't afford other clothes."
"The big sellers used to be Life, the (Saturday Evening) Post and
Liberty. Now it's Playboy and Oui and . . .," he trails off, motioning
to the skin magazines on his racks.
"I've got to sell what people want," Neff explains. He himself is
devoutly religious, as is his wife, Lillie, who helps him take down the
stand every night and tends the magazines occasionally.
"SHE'S THE most wonderful wife in the world," he says, "especially
.....k try ' : ' '