SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The dancers who own the iconic Lusty Lady strip club hope to make the San Francisco institution another landmark on tourists’ itineraries and distinguish itself from other strip clubs in the area.
The North Beach club made national news in 1997 when its dancers formed the first and only unionized sex business in the U.S. In 2003, the business was bought by the strippers working there and became what its website proclaims is “the world’s only unionized worker owned peep show co-op.”
Recently the Lusty Lady has been struggling financially, despite the huge number of tourists that stop outside to click a picture. Now, the performers hope to stay profitable by marketing the club to out-of-town visitors with an emphasis on the Lusty Lady’s unique place in San Francisco history, something few of the competing establishments around the corner can rival.
Tourism officials agree the city offers an ideal market to pitch a sex show as a landmark. Nostalgia plays well with visitors, whether it’s the Gold Rush or the Summer of Love, a spokeswoman for San Francisco Travel told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Guide books already regale sightseers with tales of Carol Doda dancing atop a piano suspended from the ceiling of the nearby Condor Club. The Lusty Lady has been in the same location since 1976, 20 years before the Exotic Dancers Union put it on the map and made it stand out from its neighbors on Kearny and Broadway streets.
Only time will tell whether a tourist landscape that includes mandatory browsing in City Lights bookstore and the Beat Museum and a climb up to Coit Tower also has room for a quick stop in a club that prides itself on dancers who don’t fit the traditional mold.
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