Yes, the Lusty Lady is run-down, shabby, and has a sticky floor that we don't need to discuss here.
But the San Francisco institution also happens to be very capitalist in nature: it is competition. Without the Lusty, San Francisco becomes a company town for strip clubs. As of Sept. 9, Seattle-based adult entertainment conglomerate, Deja Vu Entertainment -- which is connected to the landlord who's shoving the Lusty out the door -- will have a monopoly on the strip trade in the city.
A search of the city's business records database on DataSF reveals that under various LLCs and other holding companies, all of the remaining strip clubs, nudie bars and palaces of depression and desperation have this in common: a P.O. Box in Seattle as a business address, or a link to a company called BSC Management, which is headquartered at 250 Columbus Ave. in North Beach.
BSC Management operates most of the strip clubs in North Beach, including the historic Condor of Carol Doda fame (which as it happens, still maintains its identity as a seafood restaurant in its official business name). Those clubs all have business addresses of the same PO Box 2602 in Seattle.
That's the corporate address for adult entertainment empire Deja Vu, which owns and operates dozens of strip clubs across the United States. That address is also linked, via some Internet searches, to Roger Forbes -- and it's Forbes who is responsible for pushing the Lady out of its current location.
Forbes is the landlord, the Chronicle reported yesterday, who raised the Lusty Lady's rent to double what the club was paying a year ago, and negotiated the settlement that gives the peep show until Sept. 9 to hit the road.
Last year, Forbes also pulled the same move with Tosca, the Sean Penn hangout of choice, until a New York-based restaurant group agreed to pay his asking price and inked a 10-year lease. It's doubtful that a star-studded "Save the Lusty" campaign could follow.
Forbes was the subject of scrutiny back in the late 1990s, when he "stealthily" acquired all the strip clubs in town, the Chronicle reported at the time. It took 16 years or so, but he's finally got them all.
It's not clear exactly how much Forbes and Deja Vu will be served by a strip club monopoly: the kind of crew that goes to Centerfolds or Larry Flynt's Hustler Club -- and then brawls outside on Broadway to make a night of it -- isn't exactly the same clientele served by the videos and live girls (and tissues) at the Lusty.
But it's official: when it comes to adult entertainment, San Francisco is a monopoly town -- and not a local one at that.