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Keeping Abreast 

Wednesday, Dec 13 2006
We've all seen the photo booths. They're squeezed into fluorescent-lit spaces between air hockey tables and video arcades at malls. They're surrounded by teenagers waiting impatiently for their black-and-white strips at county fairs. They're hidden away in dark back corners of dive bars, filled with drunken lovers wrapped around each other. The quadrants of photos spit out by these whirring vending machines, the images that grace our refrigerators and wallets, are so familiar that we hardly pay them heed — the funny-faced pictures, the fake-angry pictures, the pretty-smiling pictures, and the requisite pictures of locked lips. The photo booth documents our most intimate moments. And at Lucky 13 on Market Street, it documents our most intimate parts.

The Lucky is a laid-back bar with a rocker vibe. The jukebox plays a lot of Johnny Cash, the Clash, and Modest Mouse — loud. Flaming-dice tattoos abound on both the bartenders and the clientele, and the list of beers is as long as the bar (which is really, really long). Free popcorn, a cool little outdoor patio, a pool table, and pinball are among the attractions downstairs, but on the upstairs mezzanine sits the big lure: the photo booth. It looks innocent enough, but this photo booth has the ability to provoke "Girls Gone Wild" behavior from behind its curtain. And the Lucky's bartenders have the proof, hidden behind that long, long bar: the Booby Book.

It's a 3-inch-thick three-ring binder (the industrial kind), made to resist spills from industrial-strength drinks and to withstand the grimy fingers that turn its pages nightly. Page after page after page of four-paneled Polaroids show the same thing in different forms — boobies. Hundreds of boobies, maybe even thousands. Big boobies, little boobies, tattooed boobies, brown and white and pink boobies. The sheer volume of boobies is boggling. There are plenty of empty pages in the back, and for good reason: There's only one password that will allow you access to the Booby Book, and that's an upstairs photo booth shot of your own. Go ahead. Why not lean over the bar, order a Chimay for courage, and add "the girls" to the mammary annals?

About The Author

Ella Lawrence


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