I have to apologize for not frothing up the waters with my own account of everyone's favorite (and only) worker-owned strip club the Lusty Lady being in peril of having to shut its doors. I was gallivanting about on a world tour -- find my list of illegal places in Berlin to trespass on here -- and re-emerged on this side of the bridge to hysterical accounts that the classic, unionized titty joint was going under.
It's no secret that the Guardian has a tawdry, longstanding affair with the Lusty -- so I made a quick call to long-time Lusty Lorelei. Upshot: the club is kind-of safe for the moment, but it's ready to grind it out for your singles.
"We would like to keep going, we would like to improve the business," Lorelei told me. "We are looking for investors, but if that doesn't work we'll have to look for buyers." Anyone willing to support their local, female-empowering, size-positive, all-inclusive adult club?
Here's what happened: the Lusty has been struggling with finances for awhile. "It's been funky and we just weren't doing that great," said Lorelei. The club has struggled, she continued, with perceptions that the private peep show booths were unclean, staff was unfriendly, and that dancers just weren't working it out enough. "You can't just go up there in your Payless heels and no makeup. Customers would come in and it would be like, sad trombone."
So when a company called Millenium Group offered $25,000 for the beleagured club, some staffers thought their ship had come in. Not Lorelei. "$25,000? That's insulting. Really? We could come up with that!"
Nonetheless, a hasty employee vote was convened over email one weekend, side-stepping (Lorelei says) the informal co-op protocol that such matters necessitate a couple weeks for employee-owners to think them over. The Lusties decided against selling, and in the decisive moment many of the staff members who had been in favor of the sale split.
Previous press accounts that reported that the employee-owners would be held financially liable if the club went bankrupt are erroneous, says Lorelei, who actually sees this moment of high drama as an opportunity. The mediocre service and hygiene reflected a complacency that a passel of new hires, she hopes the club has left behind. "The girls are hot, the theater is clean," she laughs.
The club is looking into starting up webcam shows, and has already started offering lapdances at specified times. Some of the dancers have started up a radio show Wednesdays from 9pm to midnight on 107.7 The Bone called Ask a Hot Chick, a great customer interaction tactic. Check out the Lusty Lady's Indie Go Go page (side note: Kickstarter is not down with "adult" causes) to donate towards the club's continued existence -- the campaign will be active for the next day or so.
Or here's a better plan: head down to the club this weekend for the club's brand-new lapdance parties. You know the drill -- see you a sex-positive, well-proportioned hottie and let her take you for a spin in a booth.
Lusty Lady lapdance parties
Fridays and Saturdays, 9pm-2am
The Lusty Lady
1033 Kearny, SF