Feminist Strip Club Falls on Hard Times
Even stripping isn't safe in this economy. The Lusty Lady, the famed San Francisco strip club that's that's also the country's only unionized, worker-owned peep show co-op, is reported to be in dire financial straits, and several workers have called on the city to help support the institution.
According to Grub Street, the club became famous in the '90s when the strippers organized a union and eventually bought the club.
The club champions equalist ideals and makes a point to employ ethnically diverse dancers and a range of body types.
The club isn’t a kitschy retro burlesque, but it’s not exactly up-to-date either. It’s actually an old-school peep show, where customers slide a $1 bill into a slot to watch the dancers through a window.
"It’s a San Francisco institution," said a dancer named Miss Dolores Park, who started working at The Lusty Lady in 2005.
The Chronicle blames the poor economy and online porn for the theater’s faltering finances.
"Since 2008 my paychecks have been going down, down, down," said a dancer by the name of Bijou, who says she’s had to hit the job market and see if she can’t find something to do with her Ph.D. in sociology. "I'm making half of what I was making when I started in 2005."
The club is hoping for San Francisco to step up and support it, or for a more hands-off investor to arrive. A buyout offer was on the table recently, but the board rejected it as a low-ball that wouldn’t maintain the workers’ co-op or the union.
"We're hoping to find investors we can work with," Dolores said.