Corner Of Porn & Erotica

San Diego’s Diminishing Erotic Entertainment Supply Just Got Lower.

by Les

I was admiring the adult coloring book art taped up on the hallway wall board in Les Girls stripclub last night. Hadn’t been there in a while and experienced mixed feelings about my visit. I used to venture in there on rare occasions in the late 1980’s, then again in 1990, and the prices hadn’t seem to have changed with the economy: $10 door charge; 75-cent soft drinks (in cans); $10 one-song lap dances in the curtained booths and $30 three-song private dances in the rooms in back. The seediness of the decor was refreshingly identical to what I remember, if at the same time a bit depressing. Until 1992 when the large billboard signs were removed from over the roof outside with their 1960’s psychedelic font lettering saying “LOVE-In” this club was a true time capsule of flower power counterculture nostalgia. But all things change eventually.

I’ve had the urge to revisit this place for a while so I stopped by last night around 7:30, which turns out was early as it doesn’t open till 9. Les Girls is on the corner of Hancock and Riley in Point Loma, facing Hancock Street, as it has since it first opened its doors in 1969. Next to it sharing its parking lot there’s an adult “bookstore” that sells porn dvds and sex aids. I went in to the bookstore to ask when Les Girls opens, suspecting something might be amiss because The Body Shop, a nude juice bar next door on Hancock, looked dark too. The wall racks of the store were more than half empty of merchandise. Usually in a place like this there’s all the latest dildos, cock rings, dvds, and other accouterments of fet-life hanging up for customers. But not now. The store looked in the midst of a going-out-of-business sale, without signs advertising it. I got the opening time for Les Girls from the little Hispanic cutie at the counter and also asked her what was going on.

“One of the owners just passed away,” she said about the bookstore. “So they haven’t restocked in several weeks.”

I asked if they were going to sell or something. She replied that, no, “They’re just going through the paperwork.”

Later on this was confirmed by the door woman at the window inside Les Girls: “They’re probably just waiting for the will to be read.”

I also asked the adult bookstore counter girl about the door time for The Body Shop and she immediately said with a bit of intensity “they won’t open at all any more.”

“Oh, what happened?”

She softened, “They’re going through construction,” and looked away.

“For how long?”

“It’s been several months,” she said.

Later, inside Les Girls, they had a steering wheel tied to the ceiling above center-stage for the dancers to hang onto, one pole also center stage in back, and a couch set into the wall behind the stage in an alcove with a mirror in back that’s at a slightly downward pointing angle so if you’re directly in the front you can see yourself reflected in it. The girls make use of this a lot I noticed, keeping an eye on the customers as they do floor-work dance facing away from the crowd at a low angle. Everything seems to be in some shade of red, pretty much just as I remembered it. There used to be rows of theater benches, if I recall from 25 or 30 years ago, but they’ve been replaced by mostly bare tile with cheap desk or cafeteria chairs.

Les Girls is open until 2 so I used the in-ad-out policy for a quick trip around the corner a couple of times to get little 5-oz beers at Modern Times brewery who closes at 12:30. Unless you’re 20 years-old watching these girls do their thing can be so much easier with a little bit of alcohol in you.

One of the dancers, a redhead called Kitty, had a couple of parody adult coloring book pages that she’s filled in taped up in the hallway that is used to get back into the “Specials” 3-song dance rooms, if you ever wanted to see what Tinkerbell and Alice In Wonderland looked like as strippers. I asked the counter lady how long they’d been there and if I could take photos of them. She told me “about a year” and then got Kitty to agree to cellphone photos of the display.

Kitty seemed pretty friendly. She was dressed like she was ready to go out and was talking to a couple of guys in the front area by the vending machines, asking them if they’d be going to Spin, an outside fetish club that was happening at the end of the month. They appeared to be friends of hers because she asked one of them what he wanted for his birthday coming up.

“Do you really want to know?,” he asked. They all laughed.

“I mean food-wise!,” she chided.

Despite the small crowd and minimal dancer staff the atmosphere here was good. There was even a group of three young hipsters — two girls with one guy — that were in the theater tipping the dancers. Used to be you’d only see dudes in San Diego strip clubs, so maybe that’s changing.

I debated getting a $10 lap dance but eventually decided that I’d maybe do that next time. Before leaving I spoke to the window lady at Les Girls again and she said The Body Shop closed without warning on December 1. “It was news to us,” she said. “The original owner died 4 or 5 years ago and left it to the managers and they decided they didn’t want to do it any more,’ she said.

I asked her about what’s going to happen the venue now.

“They’re trying to rent it out or something,” she said.

“All three of these places (The Body Shop, Les girls, and the adjoined adult bookstore) were all owned by the same group of friends since the beginning… in 1969,” she said.

I remarked about the diminishing amount of adult cabarets left in San Diego, down to a handful from its peak in the mid-to-late 1970’s. She was older than the dancers but not as old as me, so I assumed she’d know.

“There used to be a big sign on the roof that said ‘LOVE-In’,” I said. “Remember that?”

“Oh yeah.”

Street view of Les Girls cabaret beside the adult bookstore and what's left of The Body Shop behind it.
Street view of Les Girls cabaret beside the adult bookstore and what’s left of The Body Shop behind it.
Alice enjoying Wonderland.
Alice enjoying Wonderland.
Tinkerbell the dancer.
Tinkerbell the dancer.
Les Girls' drinks are still 75 cents.
Les Girls’ drinks are still 75 cents.
Les Girls with The Body Shop sign visible behind it over the roof.
Les Girls with The Body Shop sign visible behind it over the roof.

Self Portraiture

Okay Fuck It

I always admire the autobiographer-artist. Photographers and writers that consistently insert themselves into their work are a special breed, and one that I wish a could emulate. Sometimes I shoot myself on set, but usually I fall back on my embedded journalistic tendencies to simply record she show, and not become a part of it. Here’s a rare one of me turning the camera on myself, and it was at the model’s urging. We were shooting at her friend’s apartment and there were five or six other males in the house, including my assistant, so after bugging me to take a photo of myself with her I slung her over my shoulder. She was light but I was concentrating on getting the angle right with my Nikon SLR and wide angle pointed the opposite direction while pressing the button, hence the semi-serious expression on my face. Viva aurofocus. If it was video you’d be able to hear her squeals of uncontrollable laughter.

I’m just a shy guy.

Oregon Roadtrip, 2005

[Journal Archive]

Satan’s Zip Code

Oregon Journey, 2005.

ten years ago, there was an epic road trip to Portland

by Reviewer Rob

Editor’s Note: In early Fall, 2005, I went on an exploratory expedition to the Northwest, driving from San Diego to Portland along the 101 from LA to SF and then up the 5 through Medford and into PDX, stopping finally at the doorstep of Powell’s Books bookstore. This little story is reposted from 9-11-2005 in the Reviewermag Livejournal account, which was, in the days before we had a dedicated website, our way of managing content online. Reviewer has been in print since 1996, and a domain was purchased as early as 2000 or so, but has been webmastering its own site only since 2009.

[Backposted from the same date in Reviewer Rob’s Sporadic Journal.]

I’m still in Portland. I can get back in time to catch the swell if I leave on Tuesday.

I have been meeting with people despite my hellacious head cold, which I think I caught in Medford. Or maybe in Marin, on the north side of the Golden Gate bridge. I had been checking out the Presidio and area around the Golden Gate and said what the hell and drove across it. On the other side there was a lookout point with a statue of a solitary sailor in the middle of it and lots of Japanese tourists acting all excited to be there. There was a fierce cold wind blowing. I mean, it was like you’d expect to feel on a ship in the arctic. This was still the first week in September and I was suddenly very aware of not being in Southern California any more. I put on a sweatshirt and it was still cold. On the water directly in front of the observation deck, down slightly to the right, there was a large rock sticking out of the water, a small shoreless island shaped like half a football jutting vertically out of the water. Plumes of the wind could be seen making small waves in the bay as blasts of air came over the Marin headland and struck the water at what must have been a sharp angle since the ripple pattern fanned out in all directions from a large central location near the rock. I went into a Sausalito dockside restaurant for a large plate of some excellent blackened catfish, beans, rice, salad and a pint of beer. The salad was better than any I’ve ever tasted. I ate every single morsel of this dish as well as the basket of bread while reading the local paper and was full. There was a TV over the bar and the weather man was at the chart. The sound was off but the unmistakable schematic of the Jet Stream could be seen making a high arc up by Alaska, curving down the Canadian Coast, and then going slightly out to sea before making a hard left and entering California right at the mouth of the San Francisco Bay. I know the Jet Stream is a high-altitude phenomenon, but it’s no wonder I imagined I could smell icebergs in that wind.

Berkeley was cold too, didn’t stop there for long. Drove up into the central valley and on for a couple of hundred miles before stopping to sleep.

I went to Medford, Oregon, the next day, and stopped in at a Starbucks to log on where there was a customer coughing. Maybe he’s the one who had something that I didn’t yet have any antibodies for… Or maybe it was the strippers at that one titty bar Medford has. They, like many Oregon erotic dancers, get up close and personal with their marks.

Since it’s a novelty for this California dude to be in a bar where nude girls dance I eagerly went in to this one place of live, erotic entertainment. The girls on stage were rubbing faces, clothed asses and crotches on customer’s faces, bare legs on faces… I was thinking like, “OK, how do I know that last guy on the other side of the stage you were rubbing your twat into his face on didn’t have fuckin pink eye?!”

But the girls were hot, so, I tipped well and drank my beer. I even bought a lap dance from a bright young lady who spent a few minutes before hitting me up for going private to tell me how nice Medford is, how it reminds her of her hometown in Minnesota, and about all the money she’s made over the last couple of years first buying a condo in Sacramento for 90K with her boyfriend and how they sold it a year later for over 100K in profit. Now she lives in Yreka and is a dental assistant. She was short, small breasted and 22, with braces on her teeth and a killer little rockin ass and figure…

Lap dance: $15.

So, anyways…

Here I am now with a huge head cold in Portland, with all these new bugs swirling around me, money in my pocket and time on my hands. The people here are friendly and I’ve met a few I’d like to spend some time with before I make my drive back.

I’ll let you know though if I come down with a case of the Portland Whooping Cough or conjunctivitis.

Oh, by the way, almost forgot, one of the things I like to do in every town I stop in is buy the local Thomas Guide. The only complaint I have about it is that they don’t yet have GPS coordinates on the pages. Other than that the things are invaluable and a great street finding resource even if you have a really good onboard or pocket computer. They come with a CD and every year they update with new streets and the pages correspond year after year so places are easy to find in each edition.

In the Thomas Guide for San Francisco the map for North Beach is on page 666.

Coincidence, you say?

A stripper on stage, photographed by Reviewer Rob, editor@reviewermagazine.com, but not during the roadtrip described in this post.
A stripper on stage, photographed by Reviewer Rob, editor@reviewermagazine.com, in Southern California however, not during the roadtrip described in this post.