The Lusty Lady, the peep joint on First Avenue, is officially closing after 27 years of live dancing that went 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Income has fallen 60 percent since its peak year of 1998, one of the owners said.
Time for those memories of the iconic Lusty Lady, the peep joint on First Avenue.
Here is a memory: The guy who walked in with 12 oranges.
More about that a little later.
The Lusty Lady, after all, is about teasing. No touching. Customers are behind glass.
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No tipping. The performers get paid an hourly wage ($10 to $15 an hour; down from $18 to $26 a decade ago.)
The place is officially closing after 27 years of live dancing that went 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and countless quarters for those private booths.
But in recent years, the Lusty Lady, with its performers such as Kaylee, Clover and Gigdet, seemed out of place on that block.
Across the street was the Seattle Art Museum, and next to it the swank Four Seasons hotel and condo tower.
Let’s count the ways the Lusty Lady was done in.
There was the disruption caused by the construction of the Four Seasons and the demolition of a nearby parking garage. There was the bad economy.
“That was a giant body blow … when in one day, the Washington Mutual stock just went down,” said Darrell Davis, comptroller for the Lusty Lady and one of its five owners.
You bet that bankers would frequent the Lusty Lady. Then they were gone, said Davis.
And let’s not forget the Internet.
The Lusty Lady reached its peak financially in 1998, said Davis, when the Internet had not yet become ubiquitous in American life.
A decade later, people can get all the free porn they want on the Web.
The Lusty Lady’s income has dropped 60 percent from that peak year, said Davis. And even with the landlord lowering the rent from $23,000 a month in 1998 to $7,500 a month today, the numbers just didn’t up, he said.
More Seattleites will remember the Lusty Lady for its marquee with the double entendres than ever frequented it.
Remember going downtown for Christmas? The Lusty Lady’s pink-lettered holiday message was: “Merry XXXmas.”
“Our chicks say, peep, peep.”
Not to mention, “Happy nude year,” “Porn on the 4th of July” and “Happy Spanksgiving.”
But after the early morning of Sunday, June 13, whenever the last dancer decides to call it quits, it’ll be all over.
Then it’ll just be memories, such as of the guy who walked in with 12 oranges.
Well, what kind of memories did you expect from the Lusty Lady?
There are 12 booths in the place that surround a stage. For a quarter, a curtain rises for 24 seconds, and, behind glass, you can watch the performers.
Then there is the “private pleasures” booth — $10 for 2 minutes — which gets you one on one with a performer, glass in between.
That’s what the guy with the oranges asked for.
“So this guy has the girl peel the oranges for an hour and a half,” said Davis.
“Yeah. Some people find food erotic.”
As for the customers, “Juan” said he basically didn’t know anything. Another guy mumbled and headed for the door.
Outside, one side of the marquee read, “Clash of the tight buns.” The other side read, “The skirt locker. Have an erotic day!” At the Lusty Lady, the latter is more hope than guarantee.
Erik Lacitis: 206-464-2237 or firstname.lastname@example.org