BY DAN ALBAN
Arrow Street’s “About Hair” Bordello
Until recently, sex acts were allegedly among the eclectic offerings of About Hair, a salon/art gallery/antiques shop at 1 Arrow Street in Harvard Square. Owner Duncan Purdy, 52, was arrested on October 7 and charged with maintaining a house of prostitution and deriving support from prostitution. Purdy, of Revere, MA, was arraigned on October 11, posted $500 cash bail, and is scheduled for a pre-trial conference on November 10, according to the Cambridge district attorney’s office.
Purdy was busted after Cambridge and Somerville undercover detectives purportedly twice received erotic massages at About Hair on September 28 and October 4. The detectives report that Purdy offered a menu of erotic massage extras, including topless, nude, “Russian ending,” “foot fetish,” “doctor,” “domination,” and “pop the cork.” After paying $60, the detectives say they were led to a back room lit by a “lone red bulb” and massaged by young women who allegedly gave manual stimulation to the boys in blue. But only Purdy was arrested – no charges have been filed against the two young women who actually gave the erotic massages.
This investigation raises almost as many questions as it answers. If the first undercover visit on September 28 established that there was prostitution at the establishment, as police reports claim, then why was a second visit made to About Hair? Further, do local police department regulations actually permit police officers to have sexual contact with suspects in connection with a prostitution sting? If so, why? To file prostitution charges, police just need to obtain an offer and agreement for sexual services, not actual sexual contact. Besides boosting Five-O recruitment, what’s the wisdom in letting Cambridge’s finest “protect and serve” by getting their chains yanked on the city’s dime?
Similar police behavior has led to public outcry in cities such as Baltimore, Phoenix, Columbus, OH, and Louisville, KY. Indeed, just last month, prosecutors dismissed charges in a similar case out of Lynnwood, WA, because of concerns about how the evidence was obtained – police had allowed their genitals to be fondled during the undercover investigation. Many police departments – including those in Seattle, Nashville, Portland, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. – now have written policies that specifically prohibit police officers from removing their clothes or having sexual contact with suspected prostitutes. This writer contacted the Cambridge district attorney’s office, was told they have no policies regarding this behavior, and was referred to Cambridge police. Cambridge police spokesman Frank Pasquarello could not be contacted by press time despite repeated attempts.
Toy Celebrates Bill of Rights Violations
Playmobil, maker of small plastic toy people and playsets, is currently selling an airport “Security Check-in” playset “with conveyor belt to screen luggage and a metal detector.” The playset also includes a smiling security screener, a smiling police officer, a smiling passenger, a chair for one of the security officers to fall asleep in, luggage, two guns, and a metal-detector wand that looks more like a large magnifying glass.
The “Concurring Opinions” blog by law professor Daniel Solove, who purchased the playset, notes the toy’s lack of realism – no long lines, no removable shoes, no strip searches, no silly warning signs, and no no-fly list. However, Solove reports that one aspect of the playset was realistic – luggage with the gun inside passed through metal detector undetected.
This is just the sort of thing we need in post-9/11 America – playsets that teach our children that violations of constitutional rights are a-okay! Hopefully future Playmobil playsets will include an “Eminent Domain” playset in which a smiling bureaucrat, a smiling corporate developer, and a smiling police officer with a gun force a smiling family to leave their home, or perhaps a “Reefer Madness” playset in which smiling federal agents cuff smiling but sickly California medical marijuana patients – and, unlike Raich, at least the little plastic cannabis leaves actually will be interstate commerce.
Ultimate Fighter 2 Finale this Saturday
Live mixed martial arts returns to Spike TV Saturday night with the finale of the second season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show. The final two contestants in this season’s welterweight and heavyweight classes will face off to win a six-figure contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Middleweight Luke Cummo, a new-age eccentric with odd dietary habits, was the last fighter picked by either coach, but became the first finalist in the competition with an impressive knockout via knee in the second round of his semi-final fight. At press time, Cummo was the only finalist known to the general public, but the remaining three semi-finals will be televised by the time you’re reading this.
Also featured in Saturday’s event is Ultimate Fighter season one champion Diego Sanchez against welterweight contender Nick Diaz. In addition to being an intriguing match-up of grappling wizards, insiders recognize that this fight was designed to draw viewers from the Hispanic demographic, a group that has strongly supported boxing over the years.
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang Mini-Review
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is a pulpy tongue-in-cheek neo-noir that successfully pokes fun at Hollywood and film noir conventions. It’s filled with quirky self-referential moments, such as when the main character, who also does the voice-over, forgets to tell the audience about an important plot point, apologizes, admits he’s not a very good narrator, curses, and then wonders aloud if it’s ok to curse in the voice over. In the film, Harry Lochkhart (Robert Downey, Jr.) is a thief posing as an actor. He’s in L.A. to train for a role by shadowing macho gay private detective “Gay” Perry (Val Kilmer), but gets tangled up in a murder mystery involving his fame-chasing high school dream girl. It’s a fast-paced movie with so many references and quips that I’ll probably need to see it twice to get everything, so I’m looking forward to watching it again on DVD. It works as both a satire of Hollywood and as a hard-boiled noir, and was tremendously fun to watch.
Dan Alban is a 3L.