The Lusty Lady Goes Down…

The Lusty LadyWell shoot. Yet another San Francisco institution is coming to an end. A few days before my birthday on September 2nd San Francisco’s first unionized strip club The Lusty Lady will close its doors for good. Being the first worker owned unionized strip club in the United States wasn’t good enough to keep it open. It’s rent has been jacked up to an unaffordable rate now so it’s time to close.

The saddest part when I read about it were some of the comments people had made such as, I went there three times or so, spent two or three quarters each time, and am really glad I did. OK well I’m no accountant, but I think it takes more than three quarters three times to keep the doors of an establishment open. I have to admit that it’s been over 20 years since I last visited The Lusty Lady [which I’m sure my wife has no problem with]. This is probably a good part of where the problem is that caused The Lusty Lady to have to close it’s doors — people weren’t coming and spending money there.

This is a problem with many San Francisco small businesses in that it’s difficult for them to compete. Everyone will probably say how much of a shame it is that The Lusty Lady is closing or any other San Francisco business that closes, but when was the last time they visited the place and actually spent money there. I’ve heard several times people say about small businesses in town that, it’s a nice place, but I don’t think I’d buy anything there. This is a part of the reason why these places end up closing and going away.

Well in the case of The Lusty Lady it was a little more than that. They’re rent way back in the dark ages of 2001 was $5,500 a month. Through a number of rent increases it had been raised to almost $17,000 a month. That’s a serious increase and when you’ve got that much money going to rent a building you don’t own it’s pretty hard to come up with money to make the building you don’t own look better — especially when the landlord doesn’t want to help you out.

It turns out the owner is Roger Forbes who owns most of the strip clubs in San Francisco and he wants to expand the Hustler club to fill the space The Lusty Lady now occupies for a couple more weeks. Oh great. Pull in more frat boys. The Lusty Lady was always a different sort of place. The girls weren’t all airbrushed perfect and blonde like you’d see in Playboy magazine, but built more like regular girls you’d see. OK, maybe regular girls with pink or purple hair, tattoos and piercings, but not all of them were like that. If nothing else The Lusty Lady reminded us that it wasn’t just centerfold models who were naked under those clothes but every woman.

The place was not in the best shape, but I’ve yet to see a strip club that was, especially if you turn the lights up [which would probably make you never go in one again]. It still holds a place in my heart of a part of San Francisco that you would have to do at least once. Too bad once wasn’t enough to keep the doors opened. As one of the girls stated, Why would someone get in their car and drive from Palo Alto or wherever, find parking, to see a naked girl when they can do it from home? Well I’ll tell you why because The Lusty Lady has LIVE nude girls, like right in front of your face. I guess that’s not enough though.

It’s going to close, but if you want to be a part of it one last time, go in, throw in a dollar, say ‘Hi’ to the ladies and give them a good send-off. Maybe Wife will let me make one last visit.


Juanita Musson: Queen of the “Earmuffs”

The what?!?! Queen of the “Earmuffs“? What the hell is that supposed to mean? Well, today it turns out San Francisco has lost another one of it’s colorful characters. Following in the footsteps of Henry Africa, Juanita Musson passed away a few days ago. I had never heard of her before, but when I read some of the comments about her I wish I would have. She ran quite a few restaurants around the Bay Area, but was best known for Juanita’s Galley in Sausalito. I think that she had several restaurants around the Bay Area with the same name, but she made her name closer to San Francisco.

She was called, the Drinking Man’s Julia Child and that’s what caught my attention. She was known as a brawler, a women would could make a sailor blush with her foul mouth before she drank him under the table. She ran restaurants that in addition to the diners there would be dogs, cats, owls, monkeys, goats and pigs that would walk around her restaurants. There were no to go bags at her places. If you didn’t finish your huge portion you had to bring your own bag to bring it home in or feed the rest to the animals that were running around her place.

Juanita was a big woman. She weighed in at around 300 lbs and her huge endowment is where the earmuff joke comes from. She apparently had a penchant for sneaking up on customers, male of course, and grabbing her large pendulous breasts [she was braless before it was chic] and slapping them on either sides of men’s heads. If Emperor Norton was born a bit later these too would have been a hot item.

Juanita was a bit of a drunk, but not like the staggering through the Tenderloin kind of drunk. She was a fun drunk it sounds like. In Sonoma where she died the Sonoma News had the following to say:

Famous for her enormous slabs of prime rib, one order of a Juanita meal could typically feed a table. But diners quickly learned that if you didn’t clean your plate you couldn’t take it home, although you could slip some food unnoticed into a purse or pass a piece of excess beef to the dog that often wandered through the dining room.

Juanita kept a bedroom just off the lobby of the rundown hotel and arriving guests frequently found her fast asleep, her sizeable bulk covered in a flowing muumuu, her door open to the passing parade, her bed surrounded by an enormous collection of dolls.

If you knew Juanita and tried to sneak past her open bedroom door, she invariably sensed your presence and would call out in a shrill, commanding voice, “Hey honey, come in here NOW, and give Juanita a HUG!”

She was fearlessly and completely herself, there was no filter on her mouth or her emotions and she didn’t recognize a variety of conventional boundaries. Her “ear muff” prank consisted of sneaking up behind an unsuspecting diner and swinging each muumuu-wrapped breast up against the victim’s ears. Then she would cackle loudly and leave.

Famous Dallas Cowboys defensive end Ed “Too Tall” Jones got an earmuff and so, almost, did this writer’s 75-year-old father.

I guess getting an earmuff from Juanita was kind of like a badge of honor for some. Keep in mind that this hard living foul mouthed restauranteur who would have chewed up Anthony Bourdain and spit him out lived to the ripe old age of 87. I bet she smoked too. 😉

Only in San Francisco:

I suppose I have to start this off by quoting Milton Berle, “Sex is only dirty when it’s done right.” Yes, San Francisco has been a city of sin long before there was a place called Las Vegas and let’s face it we do it right. My mother used to tell me about private gay clubs where the patrons would dress up as men and women irregardless of their sex to look like normal “straight” couples walking into a nightclub, but when the doors closed the rules where gone.

Seeing that my mother wasn’t gay, nor has she ever been to a gay nightclub I suppose this was all from, a friend of a friend of a friend information. So now we have an internet company located in the old San Francisco Armory that produces fetish porn for the internet that has become almost mainstream. So much so that when people are pointing their fingers at what’s causing all the problems in San Francisco I never hear come up. Peter Actworth, a Brit who moved to San Francisco in 1998 is behind it all. That’s him in the picture to the left.

He apparently found out that someone had made £250,000 from an internet porn website so he thought he’d have a go at it in San Francisco. He used craigslist to recruit models who didn’t mind make a decent living by being flogged, spanked or some other form of “punishment” for the entertainment of others. The Armory was purchased by in 2006 and while it go some opposition, well, sex sells and they won out.

[mappress mapid=”37″]I admit, I have done a little bit of “research” at to get a better understanding of what they’re about, but seeing as how there hasn’t been one complaint against them by any of the hired models that are in the police reports I figure everything that’s going on is done by consenting adults. Now I will tell you that this site is not for the faint of heart. There are men and women having things done to them that will astound, horrify and to others titillate their senses. [Oh, I’m a naughty boy, I said titillate!]

The funniest thing to me is that there isn’t more controversy over the site. They are expected to make an appearance at every Folsom Street Fair where the leather and stud crowd comes out to show off. With their myriad of websites under the umbrella they’re sort of like corporate fetish porn. They aren’t tolerated, but accepted. Now you have to admit, that a company called being accepted in San Francisco is well, so San Francisco!

Sally Stanford: Grand Dame of Madams

Since I’ve been talking about some of the old characters of San Francisco fame, my friend Nikolai reminded me of one I hadn’t written about, Sally Stanford, the Grand Madame of San Francisco. Sally’s claim to fame was that she was the Queen of the bordellos in San Francisco who attracted numerous clients rich and famous from around the country, if not the world. Sally was probably the best marketing tool to get men to come to San Francisco in the 20’s-40’s.

Her best known bordello was located at 1144 Pine Street near Jones where Herb Caen even claimed that the United Nations was formed there because the delegates convened there and most of the negotiations took place in the bordello’s living room. Edmund G. Brown [Jerry Brown pappy] raided the place which led him winning the 1950 election for Attorney General of California. Sally was best known for her infamy as someone who ran a bordello, sponsored little league teams and even ran for the Mayor’s seat of Sausalito…AND WON!

Even during a century when women got the vote, danced in jazz clubs, built war-time battleships, and cracked the glass ceiling in business and politics, Sally Stanford broke more rules than most. She married seven times—but never to a Stanford—used more than two dozen names, beat seventeen arrests, and sued a famous businessman for non-payment.

At age seven, she convinced local golfers to let her work as a caddy. During the period when Al Capone was machine-gunning fellow bootleggers, she fed salty roast chickens to her speakeasy customers to heighten their thirst. Investing Prohibition profits in Tenderloin hotels, she polished her rough edges and climbed uphill (Nob Hill) to become San Francisco’s most successful madam. She kicked out Humphrey Bogart for disorderly conduct, welcomed Errol Flynn, and entertained delegates to the 1945 United Nations organizing conference.

[mappress mapid=”32″]In the 1950s, she retired from the bordello with a multi-million dollar fortune, joined the Chamber of Commerce, supported Little League and Guide Dogs for the Blind. She rehabilitated “Valhalla,” [a restaurant still in operation today in Sausalito] transforming it from bay-front dive to plush restaurant. It became the place to see and be seen. Patrons included Harry Bridges, Marlon Brando, Bing Crosby and Lucille Ball [Lucy…in a whore house?]. Never resting on last year’s success, Sally entered politics as a pro-business candidate for Sausalito City Council. She lost five times before winning three. In her final campaign (1976), she was the top vote-getter. Sally died in February 1st, 1982 at Marin General Hospital of a heart attack at the young age of 78.

And thus, the madam became Mayor. “Sinners never give up!” declared Sally Stanford, after losing her first political campaign. Sally had hutzpah for sure.

Coit Tower: OMG it’s so big!

I decided to go for a bit of titillation for today’s story, but it’s something that many of you may not know about it’s “titillating” background. Coit Tower was built in 1933 by the bequest of Lillie Hitchcock Coit to beautify the city as well as to commemorate the firefighters of the city. In particular she was apparently rather fond of the firemen at Knickerbocker Engine Company No. 5.

It is said that the rather tall tower was to replicate in an art deco, abstract way a fire hose nozzle. Now I like firemen myself as they’ve helped us out on numerous occasions when my elderly parents and grandparents were alive. I am not leaving one-third of my estate to them though.

Lilian had a bit more of a how do I put this…”devotion” to the burly firemen of company No. 5 and some have said that it wasn’t a representation of a fire hose so much as it was a representation of, well, uhm, uh, a “fireman’s hose” if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

Lillie was a bit of a randy sort of woman who was a character that made San Francisco what it is today in many ways. She was an avid gambler and cigar smoker and even dressed as a man to be able to get into gentlemen’s only gambling establishments. She wore pants before it was fashionable and loved to thumb her nose at the establishment. People forget that the 20’s was the decade of “free love” before the 60’s and there was lots of naughtiness going on around the country and especially in “Baghdad by the Bay“. Her “appreciation” of the fire department even earned her the title of “Honorary Fireman.” In addition to Coit Tower she also had a statue of three firemen carrying a woman, presumably her.

[mappress mapid=”31″]OK, enough about the randy old lady of San Francisco. Let me tell you a little bit about the tower itself. Well, it’s a tower, a big one and that’s pretty much it. But if you take a closer look when you walk inside you’ll notice murals on the walls that were painted as a part of the Public Works of Art Project that was to help employ artists during the depression. One of my aunts was an artist that painted the murals there.

While I’d love to say it’s free to ride to the top, it’s not, but it’s still pretty cheap. $4.50 for adults, $3.50 for seniors and $2.00 for children 6-12, under 6 is free. So why should you pay to ride an elevator? Well, when you get to the top you have a view of San Francisco that you won’t get anywhere else. 360° of pure beauty and you can stay and take pictures for as long as you want. It’s an open air rotunda that I’m surprised they haven’t put up anything to keep people from using it as a great place to have a last view of the city before jumping off to end it all. I guess it’s such a view that you don’t want to leave it all behind once you see it.

Raccoon Sex…

Well I suspect the title alone will cause all the freaky people who sit up late at night in the dark doing google web searches to come to this site, but after last night I feel I should write something.

While San Francisco is a major metropolitan city it doesn’t mean we don’t have wildlife other than rats and mice. You can find raccoons, skunks, possums and even coyotes within San Francisco. Luckily, I have yet to run into a coyote in my backyard, but raccoons are pretty common in the backyards as they’re a lot more agile. I did notice a skunk once when I went outside to throw some food on the grill thinking, “that’s an odd looking cat” and getting a closer look at the white stripe up its back I walked backwards very slowly until the skunk decided to check out the next yard.

Now raccoons tend to be on the rather friendly side. Either that or they aren’t afraid of people one bit. We used to have an old raccoon that lived in a tree in our backyard. He was blind in one eye and covered in mange and couldn’t compete at night with the others so he’d come out during the day. He was slow and probably had a lot of arthritis so we took pity on him as he would come up to the Indian grinding stones my Mother had in our backyard for water. One day I went outside with an egg and sat on the steps a few feet away and with his one good eye he saw I was holding out something that looked like food. He walked over to me and sheepishly took the egg from my hand and walked over, cracked it on the rock ate the insides and then washed it down with water [raccoons don’t have salivary glands like the rest of us, so they need lots of water to eat]. This continued for a few months until my new little pet would come up and actually sit by me while he ate and let me give him a good look over. He had fleas and ticks real bad. That was obvious and I would be checked every night after feeding him to make sure I hadn’t picked up any ticks.

While being stripped down to your underwear and checked for ticks every night was kind of humiliating, how cool was it to have a pet raccoon that would come up for dinner every night? He started slowing down and his condition came up when we took our dog to the vet one day and our vet had seen an article in the newspaper about our “little friend”. When I told the vet about his condition he mentioned that it would probably be best to have the raccoon put down because it was suffering. We called animal care and control one day when my “pet” was sleeping for what seemed like three hours in our back yard. They came out expecting him to have left, but there he was sleeping on the ground and they just picked him up and put him in a cage and took him away to be put to sleep in a nice warm comfy room. At least it was more warm and comfy than the outdoors in the Sunset district.

So where does the raccoon sex [warning audio not for the faint of heart] come in? Old raccoons are nothing like younger raccoons. They are all over the city even down in the financial district. They’re just very adept at hiding. I usually see them at dusk or after dark. Well, last night I was woken up to a sound I hadn’t heard in a few years. If I had been more awake I would have run for my microphone and recorded the sound because I would have made millions using the sound in a horror movie. There were a couple of raccoons on our back deck having sex.

Raccoon sex is nothing like a human porn movie or even human sexual relations. It sounds more like gladiatorial combat, only with more scratching and hissing. The only thing more horrifying is raccoons fighting. These nice fuzzy creatures aren’t so nice when it comes to sex. It’s worse than the sound of a cat fight and there are no quotes because I’m referring to actually cats, not drunk women at a bar. It’s also something that is extremely loud probably reaching close to the 100db range, but I didn’t have a meter to test the truth in that, but trust me, it was LOUD AND ANGRY. [raccoon sex audio]

Luckily, it only lasts a couple of minutes [no snickering now!] and then they go off along their merry ways. I suppose this was caused by our current warm weather that turned this pair into a couple of cats on a hot tin roof. Now I bet some of you will ask me, how I knew they were having sex and not fighting. I will only say this…

I know of raccoon sex, but of this I can speak no further.