Union Peep Show Lusty Lady Hitting Rough Patch

The Lusty Lady, the nation's only organized strip club, is in financial trouble.

By Chris Roberts
|  Wednesday, May 9, 2012  |  Updated 2:17 PM PDT
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Union Peep Show Lusty Lady Hitting Rough Patch

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Workers at the Lusty Lady are treated better than their corporate counterparts along the Broadway strip in North Beach, but a tax bill and the Internet mean the nation's only worker-owned strip club may close.

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Fresh from its kill-off of newspapers, the Internet's next victim? The unionized sex trade.

Profits are way down at the Lusty Lady, the North Beach peep show billed as the United States's only co-op strip club. That means that the worker-owner-dancers at the Lady are considering selling the business or shutting down the collective model, according to the Bay Citizen.

The business currently owes the taxman $20,000, and since it's a cooperative, any debt incurred by the business must be shared by the members.

Over the weekend, a proposal to sell the business for $25,000 -- a fraction of the $400,000 the workers paid to buy it nine years ago -- failed, prompting dancers to quit and six of the seven board members to similarly depart.

Dancers organized into a union in 1997, and moved to the worker-owned cooperative model in 2003, the newspaper reported.

Turns out business is way down, as nobody can compete with free Internet porn, the Bay Citizen reported. One dancer said the average haul from a long shift gyrating nude in front of customers is $11 an hour.

The Lusty Lady is still looking for a buyer, who may be enticed by the prospect of additional revenue streams in the forms of lap dances and live web streams.

Will that be enough? Maybe not.

“The business had been in decline for a long time,” said "Sandy Bottoms," a dancer who is departing for law school. “The peep show, as wonderful and amazing a model as it is, in no way can compete with free Internet porn.”

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