Peep shows, unionization and feminism. They’re words not commonly used in the same breath, but The Lusty Lady (follow them on twitter!) in San Francisco’s North Beach has been prompting such word combinations since 1997, when the girls who worked there formed a union following a long battle with management.
Because it’s a peep show, The Lusty Lady attracts a different clientele than the other strip clubs along Broadway. The Lusty, a long-time North Beach staple, is the only place where clients can do whatever they want in the (semi) privacy that exists on their side of the glass partition that separates them from the naked girls in on the other side. While the girls certainly see more than they might want to under such circumstances, Bruno, who works at the front desk, said that “many of the girls prefer it to the other clubs, because here they don’t have to touch the clients.”
Girls can make more money at the other strip clubs, Bruno said, where private dances can be had for a lot of money, but they also have to pay fees to the clubs out of their earnings.
Kitty McMuffin, a stripper at The Lusty Lady, explained why she chose to work for less.
“I definitely made more money at other strip clubs when I danced on the East Coast, but I couldn’t call out sick, I couldn’t have any disputes about my treatment with my management, I had to pay out a house fee to this person and that person…I was working pretty hard for my pay and not being appreciated and supported. [Here at The Lusty Lady] we have a union rep, and she’ll definitely help us out.”
She said that she moved to the West Coast specifically to work at The Lusty Lady after seeing a documentary about the unionization fight called Live Nude Girls Unite! (which is also available for instant streaming through Netflix).
Contrary to the established public record, The Lusty Lady was not the first strip club in the world to become unionized, but it is the only currently unionized strip club. But The Lusty Lady does have one first they can call their own- the first worker-owned strip club.
And now you know.
Until next time, leave the flying to me!
Dale Silver and her dog JoJo are the subjects of my first audio slideshow. Viewable in up to 1080p HD.
Until next time, leave the flying to me!
Image from http://wapedia.mobi/en/Carol_Doda
My blog title references strippers, and yet, until now, I haven’t delivered on the promise of naked women (or men) (Not that there’s anything wrong with that). It’s not too surprising, really, since strip clubs really aren’t my thing, and besides, cameras are verboten inside- which makes them as realistic a port of call for me as Siberia in the dead of winter.
You see, I live in Oakland, and when I come to North Beach I do so carrying 40lbs of camera gear on my back, even if I’m only passing through. What if an earthquake happened, or a police chase went down right in front of me? I would hardly have time to drive back to Oakland, (if I even could), just to get my gear. No, I come prepared, ALL the time. Which brings me back to strippers. If I can’t bring my cameras inside, well why bother…… But hey, maybe they’re your thing, that’s fine.
What does interest me though, is history, and North Beach’s history is inextricably intertwined with the stripping profession, thanks to Carol Doda. Doda was a waitress at The Condor Club, (which still stands at the corner of Broadway and Columbus), and is widely regarded as one of the first topless dancers in the country. In 1965 this behavior brought her international fame and notoriety, but also some unwanted legal attention- she was arrested along with the then-owner of the Condor Club for lewd and indecent behavior. After winning her legal case she returned to stripping, becoming one of the first all-nude dancers in the country.
Although famous for her stripping, she made headlines again when she went from a 34 bust size to 44 through the then-new process of silicone implants, a process which secured her place in the history books, along with North Beach’s, and The Condor Club’s. Doda’s implants were so famous they had their own nicknames. Doda’s “twin 44’s” and “the new Twin Peaks of San Francisco.”
It is pointless to recount her entire life story here, so rather than regurgitate ancient history, I recommend that readers visit her wikipedia page, which goes into more detail about her life.
Doda still lives in San Francisco, and is a fixture in some North Beach bars, including Gino and Carlo’s and Mr. Bing’s. She and her manager Dick Winn perform at Amante’s the last Sunday of every month (although the April performance is actually on May 1st this cycle).
And, to save you the time of a google search, one more photo for the road:
Image from: chrystelle.blogg.se