Lusty Lady Closing
April 30, 2010 8:29 AM   Subscribe

A Seattle Landmark is closing. The Lusty Lady and its marquee has been a mainstay in downtown Seattle since the 80’s. It may be the only peep show to feature monthly art shows. The San Francisco location was unionized in the 90’s and remains open. It was was sold to the employees in the early 21st century and is now cooperatively owned. The Lusty has also inspired a book and a movie.
posted by josher71 (36 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Saving Ryan's Privates.

I never really knew the place beyond the usually-amusing knock-off movie titles that they'd put on their marquee, but it's definitely a Seattle icon. I'd much prefer the Deja Vu up the street had closed.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 8:44 AM on April 30, 2010

posted by piratebowling at 8:45 AM on April 30, 2010

Randy Johnson?
posted by kirkaracha at 8:56 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

On the one hand, the marquee always made me smile. On the hand, was a latex glove.

Which may be a somewhat form-fitting punchline, but is only that. Because the truth is, I never spent a dime there. And judging from the closing, neither did most of us around here. So it's sad to lose yet another bit of local color, but it's more a wistful sadness than anything else.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:57 AM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

Come for the dancers, stay for the puns.

I'm afraid I'm in the embarrassed to have never gone rather than the embarrassed to be a regular camp, but it's sad to see it close.

posted by ecurtz at 9:01 AM on April 30, 2010

Based on my one time there (I thought I was going to a strip club) an equally apt name would be The Slippery Floor. *shudder*
posted by barrett caulk at 9:01 AM on April 30, 2010

Awww. It's where one of my favorite internet sex/polyamory people (Mistress Matisse) got her start. Oh well.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:47 AM on April 30, 2010

Your movie link goes back to this page.

Which is a pity, because the movie Live Nude Girls Unite! (the website of which I won't link to, because I am at work) is a really interesting look at the unusual (to say the least) effort to organize sex workers. To put the "worker" back in "sex worker," if you like.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:50 AM on April 30, 2010

I'll email the mods. Thanks.
posted by josher71 at 9:52 AM on April 30, 2010

Fixed the link. Obligatory self-link of the LL marquee and reverse from Sanacon 2002.
posted by jessamyn at 9:58 AM on April 30, 2010


I grew up in Seattle, and my daily bus route to school had me waiting across the street from the Lusty Lady every day from 7th through 12th grade. My mother was very nervous about this to start, because she figured that the people going into the LL at 7 in the morning (is it even open then? I'm not sure) were likely to be "even worse than whoever goes in there at a normal time."
posted by heyforfour at 9:59 AM on April 30, 2010

I only went to the Lusty Lady once (and it was kind of gross, yes), but I used to pass it every week when I was downtown. The marquee always made me giggle; I was very fond of seeing what they would put up next. I was even telling my wife, who's never been to Seattle, about what a funny thing it so frequently was.

I haven't been back to Seattle in five or six years, and it makes me a little sad that this won't be there when I go later this year. It's this kind of quirky local character that I associate with the Seattle I lived in, and it seems to have been slowly eroding away, fleck by chunk, the longer I'm gone. Boo.

posted by Pecinpah at 10:08 AM on April 30, 2010

I read about this in The Seattle Times, the same story but with some of the worst writing imaginable. Which sent me on a mission to search and read all the articles by Erik Lacitis, staff reporter. Uncanny. As if a high school journalism intern had wrangled the control of the newspaper that proudly claimed to have won a Pulitzer. Reading the articles with the same deranged interest that led me to look up at the marquee to L.L. on the work commute every day, down the Harbor Steps. Leaving me confused, yet strangely inspired.
posted by iamck at 10:15 AM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

In other Seattle stripper news...
posted by Tenuki at 10:16 AM on April 30, 2010

Going Tits Up.
Coming Out Of Business.
Everything Must Show.

posted by gurple at 10:21 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh yeah, I saw something about this in The Stranger. Count me as someone who never set foot inside but will miss the funky façade. Just one of those "Seattle" things to be wistful about now that it's gone.
posted by Neofelis at 10:49 AM on April 30, 2010

It told me much about the place that a fiercely feminist friend spoke positively about her experiences working there. The world needs more places like that, not less.
posted by idiopath at 10:50 AM on April 30, 2010

I'm really fascinated by the article about the art show. (I have a compulsive need to try to take credit for the idea, though they obviously came up with it first.) Did they do anything else like this, at either location?

Tangentially: I recently saw John Giorno read, and the guy who introduced him said that the first time he met him was a Giornio/Burroughs reading at Market Street Cinema in the 80s. Did experimental art at strip clubs used to be, like, a thing?
posted by roll truck roll at 11:12 AM on April 30, 2010

The General Manager who they reference in the article, Ellis Witherspoon, was an artist in NY during the 80's before he came back to live in Seattle. He wanted to use the lobby space of the building for art shows for local artists and the employees.
posted by josher71 at 11:19 AM on April 30, 2010

In other Seattle stripper news...

No Rik's? Where will I go for a continous topless dancer?

The thing I've always loved about the Lusty Lady (other than, you know, naked ladies) is their building. It's three stories of awesome surrounded by high-rise condos. I love it for being a raised middle finger to the waves of stupid that are swamping my adopted city.

Also, once I was at the Baltic eavesdropping (like you do) on some women who worked as performers at the Lusty Lady. They were talking about their off-work hobby which, it turned out, was burlesque dancing. What a lovely confluence of job and avocation that is!

posted by stet at 11:25 AM on April 30, 2010

Dammit! What's the next to go? Dick's? Hammering Man? The Pink Elephant? Gas Works? Hat 'n Boots? The Needle? The SLUT? J.P. Patches?

(non-locals/gutterbrains: I'm referring to Seattle landmarks, not strip clubs. Not that you have any reason to assume otherwise -- we seem to have a history of suggestively-named icons.)
posted by prinado at 1:03 PM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

Hammering Man would be an awesome name for a strip club.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:10 PM on April 30, 2010

...and a strip club named Gas Works would probably cater to a very specific clientele.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:11 PM on April 30, 2010

Well, shit. Now Juneau girls in Seattle will have to seek out regular jobs for the first time.
posted by Foam Pants at 1:26 PM on April 30, 2010


On the last week of November in 1999, they had the following: "Welcome WTOooooh!"
posted by spinifex23 at 1:37 PM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Lusty Lady puns are awesome, both the clever ones (e.g. Veni Vidi Veni) and the not so clever ones (e.g. Spring Beaver).
posted by skeleton69 at 1:40 PM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best line I saw back in 1999 or so (when The Sixth Sense was in theaters): "I see naked people."
posted by zardoz at 2:39 PM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Last week on the marquee was "Avatart" and "Clash of the Tight Buns"

I have a friend who worked there for years. She has some interesting stories.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:41 PM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Aw, I'll miss that place, and the marquee! I've only been in there a couple times, both some years ago when during Santarchy a bunch of us would dress as clowns and follow the santas from bar to bar. At some point, we split off from the santas and stumbled into the Lusty Lady, ten clowns cramming into one peep show room so that when the shutter opened we were all pressed up against the glass. The dancers all screamed and laughed and came over to wave and dance for us. I was pretty drunk by that point, so details are hazy, but yeah that place is awesome.
posted by drinkyclown at 2:47 PM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

This one's my favorite:

When I first moved here, the SAM was in the process of putting up the Hammering Man. When they finally finished, the Lusty Lady's marquee read, perhaps inevitably, "I love an erect hammering man."
posted by Skot at 2:57 PM on April 30, 2010

posted by Fleebnork at 3:41 PM on April 30, 2010

Made my dig out my lusty lady marque photo. I wonder how hard it would be to generate a timeline of their recent marques just from peoples cellphone photos.
posted by mrzarquon at 5:12 PM on April 30, 2010

I spoke too soon, you can get a good collection of all the marque's just by using the lustylady flickr tag.
posted by mrzarquon at 5:13 PM on April 30, 2010

On St. Patricks Day: Erin Go Braless
posted by sapere aude at 9:18 PM on April 30, 2010

under the cameltoe

posted by Glibpaxman at 10:35 PM on April 30, 2010

The Lusty Lady was one of the stops on the bar crawl which ensued on my 21st birthday. I was rather drunk at the time, but not so drunk that I didn't wonder who would be fooled by the signs behind the dancers that said "the dancers cannot see you," which was especially remarkable, given that I could see myself in the mirrors behind the dancers.
posted by jimfl at 6:28 PM on May 1, 2010

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