I first heard about the closing of the Lusty Lady – a well-known peep show with establishments in Seattle and San Francisco – through Mistress Matisse’s column at The Stranger. She also wrote about strippers’ and dancers’ options after the closing of strip clubs and peep shows in another column. And, finally, I most recently came across this Stranger article, entitled “Veni, Vidi, Veni” which goes a little bit more in depth into the history of Seattle’s landmark of a peep show:
“You want to know the down and dirty of how the Lusty Lady really got started?” asks Tamara the Trapeze Lady, a local burlesque and aerial performer who worked at the Lusty in the 1980s, leaning across the table during an interview like she’s about to reveal a criminal conspiracy. “It started as a church.”
Back in the early 1980s on First Avenue, just a few doors down from the Showbox, on the other side of the street from where the Lusty is now, was a place called the Temple of Venus (it’s now known as the Venusian Church and still holds meetings in Redmond).
“You’d come and sit, and there was a small riser—an altar, as it were. The service would start, and the scrim in back would open to this black, starry-night curtain. This woman would come out in fancy lingerie and tell a story about a sexual experience she’d had, and it would culminate with her masturbating. This was the precursor to the Private Pleasures booth at the Lusty Lady.”
I was fairly intrigued that the closing of the peep show garnered so much attention – after a little digging I found this NPR story on the club’s closing, as well as many more news articles. As I’ve only stepped inside the Seattle club once, I can’t say very much about my personal experiences, though just the name is enough to evoke the memory of a cold, dreary Seattle over New Year’s; of wandering along Broadway East on my own, having a friend show me around the city, and ending up underneath the distinct pink and black marquee of the Lusty Lady late in the evening.
Prior to this, my only other time in a strip club was in Portland, OR, where my two roadtrip-mates and I stayed for a few days along our Epic Roadtrip of 2009. It was right after I’d gone alone to meet Mark Yu at his new Jade Gate Studio, and when I returned to the house where we were staying, our hosts decided to take us all to Devil’s Point to see their fire dancers.
So given that limited exposure, I don’t have the personal connection that other dancers, strippers, and regular customers have to the industry. But even I can appreciate the history that came with the club, and, perverted romantic that I am, I cannot help but feel (however accurately or not) that the closing of the Lusty Lady has a ringing finality to it, as though heralding the close of an era.
Some related links:
Wikipedia’s entry on the Lusty Lady
Blog dedicated to recording the marquee signs