June 29

Pandora's strip club to open next week; neighborhood councils still opposed



The owner of Pandora’s Adult Cabaret told community councils on Tuesday that he intends to open the strip club after the July 4 holidays.

Both the Maple Leaf and the Wedgwood community councils have gone on record as saying the club, at  8914 Lake City Way N.E., is improperly permitted.

But Joe Walker told the councils he drove through most of the city looking for a site where a strip club would be allowed.

According to a post on the Wedgwood council site:

This meeting followed the request of Mr. Walker, who posted in the comments section of several community blogs that he would like to meet to discuss his 27 years in the adult business. All of Mr. Walker’s former experience was with Talents West, owned by the Colacurcio family, where he was the head DJ at Sugar’s, Honey’s, and finally at Rick’s Strip Club. Mr. Walker explained why he thought the infamous Rick’s Strip Club was so disliked by the neighbors and its immediate surrounding community as well as why he thought Pandora’s Adult Cabaret would be different.

This gesture of Mr. Walker was welcomed by the community councils; however, did nothing to change our contention that the Pandora Adult Cabaret shouldn’t be allowed by the City.

The council post also noted that although strip clubs can’t serve alcohol, the Shanty Tavern next to the club can. “Currently, the Shanty is opened two nights a week, but Mr. Walker recognized that this could change depending upon what the owner of the Shanty Tavern wanted to do. Mr. Walker’s approach though is that he would rather have intoxicated men/women come in and sober up in his club instead of driving elsewhere.”

We are awaiting a response from the City to our June 15th email and June 21st joint letter detailing our opposition to the permit issuance.

The full council post can be read here.

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Sara W

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  1. I find it interesting that some of the individuals formerly associated to Rick’s are now working or will be working for Pandora. That was only after a little FB snooping. I think it is good the neighborhood councils are being cautious after what transpired at Rick’s.
    I have nothing against adult entertainment establishments provided they have nothing to hide. If the owners are upfront and honest, run a legitimate business, and are respectful of their neighbors then it is fine. But rarely in this area have any owners of adult entertainment businesses done any of those things. So naturally there is much opposition to their presents.

  2. Just adding a quick two cents as a Maple Leaf resident, Queer, sex-positive feminist: there is simply no way to generalize all feminists or GLBTQ folks as either being “for” or “against” strip clubs, sex work, etc. Queer folks and feminists are just as varied in our opinions as anyone else. I guess I’m objecting to being used as a talking-point for anyone’s argument, although as I type this I realize the futility of offering objections via cyber-comment. Happy debating, everyone!

  3. I moved to the Maple Leaf Area 2.5 years ago from the U district and have enjoyed the quiet and feeling of saftey more so than what I felt in the Udistrict. I live in the apartment complex directly across from this new establishment. Once the boarded up windows were painted the same color as the exterior, I expected a strip club. I am anxious about the increase of unwanted company this new club will bring. I don’t have an issue with strip clubs, per say, but being the neighbor of a strip club and its patrons has never been a dream of mine. Regardless if it is done in a “classy” manner as some people have suggested, I am sure that me and the neighbors in my building will experience noise volume, the volume of intoxicated people, increase ofnthe potentialnof crime and all around inconvenience for raising a family. I love the shanty, but on nights when I cant mute out the loud music or the hundreds of drunken conversations it gets a bit annoying but its only a few nights a week so I dont mind. If this club is open every night, sleep will be a thing of the past. I heard the sound system from my apartment on saturday and needless to say, it is “bumpin” and difficult (but really impossible) to ignore. I feel for the families that live in my building. Its unfortunate, I am not excited, and I will be moving away from lake city very soon.

  4. Dave gill,

    You know, early on some of feminism’s leading radicals founded a group called women against pornography. Extrinsically, women have long realized that our sexuality is too often co-opted, abused, and silenced even by it’s supposed promoters. I think it’s bad logic as well to say that anyone who’s against an unbridled sexual marketplace is puritanical. It’s outdated feminist work of a splintered movent that claims this work is liberating; more recently feminists have begun researching strip clubs and pornography and have found the same old story of women’s mistreatment via the commodification of their bodies. You can see it in the LCD screens that display women with grotesque, modified bodies that reflect male fantasies of an exaggerated female form. This is pure sexism, and not something Glbt communities would support.

    The question remains, what to do with such a marketplace, because, yes, it exists and like many unfortunate consumeristic habits of ours, it’s not likely to go away. My best response is to relegate it to a single area where it can be monitored in a concentrated way by the authorities, and locate it in industrial areas where it is least likely to impinge upon the daily living of others. I for one do not want my sons daily witnessing (in walking home from school) objectified, surgically modified bodies on a gigantic video like screen (I’m speaking to dream girls club ownership, which just purchased rick’s down the road.) Yes, tv is terrible for women nowadays too, so we limit it, and when we do see shows with exaggeration and trained camera angles, we talk about what they’re trying to do. Ultimately, I feel I’m helping my sons better understand female sensuality by teaching them to respect the person first, and my husband and i discuss regularly how we’ll one day instruct them that real sexual satisfaction is a lot more complicated than their immediate primal instincts would have them believe. Sadly, we have failed to address this as a society because marketing relies on our primal instincts, and we fear anything that suggests restraint as “puritanical.”. But I think real sexual liberation is in being able to find and maintain lasting sexual satisfaction by learning to explore sex through lenses not supplied to us by marketing but through relationship. sadly, most of our children will likely enter their sexual development believing women just throw themselves at sex, falsies are where it’s at, and anyone who requires more from sex is rigid. Sadly, I see girls, even from a young age, trying to be all those things to the detriment of their own sexual development. And this is where our so called “sexual freedom” has landed us. No, call me puritanical, but I want better sex than that for our society, so I will remain steadfastly anti-sex industry till the real sexual revolution happens.

    Btw, I think the raunch culture is equally oppressive to boys/men as it is to women. But I don’t have time for that here. Suffice it to say that ED is far more likely for those with porn addiction than those without. http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/english/2011/02/24/visualizza_new.html_1583160579.html

    Bottom line: free market titillation is not sex positive. The puritan argument is a foil for people who are saturated by market based media to determine what a sex-positive culture looks like. But I’m searching beyond those confines…

  5. I’m not too interested in the morality side of this discussion but am interested to know how far folks tend to pursue the legality of it. More than once DPD has said to me once something has been permitted its end of story in their book. Is anyone ready to throw down a ton of cash and take this to court?

  6. @mer- I would not mind if they put one in closer to my home.

    BTW, this argument, that I would feel differently
    if this club were closer to my home, is an ad hominem attack. It suggests that my argument is invalid because I am a hypocrit. It avoids the facts of my argunment and the facts of the situation, as well as representing an unfair aspersion on me. I suggest that this tactic is beneath yout. And you have the advantage of me because, as you have deduced, I am using my full name.

  7. @ Dave, I take it you would not object if a strip club opened on 92th and Roosevelt or 8th Ave.?

    It’s quite easy to be open minded about a strip club when one doesn’t have their place of residence within close proximity. Many here are more concerned about property values, which will go down!

  8. I am a long-term resident of Maple Leaf. I have a family with two school-aged children attending public schools in the neighborhood. I own a business here on Lake City Way that is located within a few hundred feet of the defunct Rick’s. I have no particular fear of a strip club coming back into my neighborhood. What I do find worrisome is the tone and reasoning behind much of the objection to a strip club.

    I continue to find it alarming that some here would continue to denigrate the sexuality and sexual expression of individuals in our community. I find the negative judgments expressed about unknown “others” to be offensive and beneath what I would expect to be open-minded and objective discussion of this subject. The objections are clearly sex-negative and rooted in a mid-20th Century Puritanism. And these attitudes seem to be part and parcel with views expressed in our community that would denigrate GLBT people as well. In my opinion, how consenting adults express their sexuality behind closed doors is neither your business nor mine.

    The view also expressed here that somehow a business of this nature should be relegated to a “red light” district of some sort also to be worrisome. By what criteria and to what purpose would such segregation be warranted? This clearly has been done before (both recently and for centuries past) for many businesses, whether they are minority owned businesses, liquor sales of all kinds, gay bars, dance halls, or strip clubs. Has that purpose been well served by such segregation in the past? Is it fair and just? I am skeptical and would wish to see demonstrable and objective evidence.

    In the end, if this business is legally licensed and located, I support it. It remains to be seen whether it would be an asset to the community or not. I wish the owner well in his endeavor and I would hope my neighbors would at least give this man and his future employees a chance, rather than judge them with closed-minds.

  9. The Seven Seas may have been a dive but a strip club is no improvement.

    The Shanty is actually a pretty cool little music venue now. I have seen several bands there and it has been great to have something like that in the neighborhood. I like how it is open only on Fridays and Saturdays so it isn’t as disturbing to the neighbors as a full week club would be.

  10. @Dan — I’m referring to the look of the Shanty from the outside — not exactly a beautiful place. The Seven Seas looked like hell from the outside too. So who cares if a strip club goes in? How exactly will this change anything about this part of Lake City Way? It’s already aesthetically unpleasant. We’ll all know there are (gasp!) naked ladies inside the building but other than that, really, what is the difference? Truly — I’ve lived near strip clubs before and just don’t see what the big deal is. Is it worse than all of the empty, boarded-up buildings along that stretch of Lake City Way?

  11. Pandora’s Box is not in Lake City. It is on Lake City Way where it runs through Maple Leaf and borders on Wedgwood. There is a brand new senior/alzheimer’s care facility across the street, a Thai place and up the street is the BMW dealership. It’s not as if the area was a slum. It’s not going to improve any with a strip club right there in the middle of it either.

  12. I don’t think the Shanty is scuzzy at all! Have you been inside Jen? When there’s a rockabilly show going on girls and guys are dressed up in ’50s outfits and the dance floor is filled with people swing dancing. I see a show there about once a month, some of my friends bands play there, I think it’s an asset to our neighborhood and love that I can walk there. The Seven Seas lounge was a total dive. It was a hardcore alcoholic’s type bar, if you asked for a gin and tonic you’d get a full glass of gin with a splash of tonic. But I got take out there occasionally and it was nice to be able to get a hard alcohol drink there between bands at the Shanty.

    Believe me, I sure wish a music club, restaurant or bar was going in there, I think Maple Leaf needs more nightlife places to go. Typically I’m heading downtown, to Ballard, to Greenwood or Capitol Hill in the evenings and I’d rather be spending my money and time at a neighborhood place. But the Seven Seas had a for sale sign up for a couple of years and none of those places chose to buy it. Maybe something cool will go in where LC’s Kitchen was or that weird building kitty corner from the Roosevelt Safeway.

  13. just a question, why would anyone want a strip club in their neighborhood? Seriously? Do Strip clubs add soul as one poster made it sound? I don’t get how a strip club is good. I use to go to strip clubs when I was around 21, but they get old after a while. It’s not like they add character to a neighborhood. At the same time, not sure why anyone would live in Lake City? When you moved to Lake City and by the new strip club there was Ricks before this. Correct? People are complaining about strip clubs popping up in a neighborhood that already has strip clubs.(Deja Vu) Why? That makes little or no sense. That’s like dating a chick who tells you she’s a stripper, then you getting made because she takes her clothes off for a living. Make sense people.

  14. Am I now “the rich”? Awesome! I would not live anywhere near a strip club because I prefer not to be subjected to the baser elements in society. And say all you want, but as someone who has seen the “adult entertainment” world and its denizens up close, it’s not a happy wholesome picnic and it attracts unhealthy souls. It will become apparent eventually and will be harder to clean up the blight after the fact.

  15. well yeah Jen A, a strip club is “scuzier” than the Shanty tavern and a restaurant where kids were seen in the place all the time.

    But I do love the snob attitude you showed that has become this awesome Seattle norm. Seattle strip clubs as a whole are scuzzy, but sometimes scuzzy has its place. If I had the choice of Dale Chihully museum or a strip club, I’ll take the strip club every time. Someone needs to explain to me Dale Chihully’s brillliance. Please?

  16. What elludes me, and probably the only thing that’s truly relevant, in any legal sense, is: why the Maple Leaf and Wedgewood Community Councils are spending time on this issue? Where the club is to situated (to open) isn’t in either neighborhood.

    So even if one believes that such an establishment is going bring down property values or (somehow) adversely affect the upbringing of children, it’s quite literally none of the business of either organization.

    The reason they are, indeed, so upset about the possibility that an establishment known as a “strip club,” is going to open within the city limits of Seattle, might be found in something the late, great Frank Zappa once said, about a similar situation. It was, “What can you expect from a nation founded by Puritans?”

  17. I live a few blocks north of this location. I think strip clubs are gross — but c’mon, folks, is this really any scuzzier than the Shanty Tavern or the former Seven Seas restaurant?

  18. We need to establish a red-light district, preferably in the Sodo area, where adult entertainment venues (including marijuana bars) can be sited. I’m also in favor of regulated, licensed, taxed, and regularly inspected bordellos.

    Pioneer Square was Seattle’s original red-light district. In the 60’s and 70’s, it was anywhere past the city line.

  19. @Mary: I agree!

    “I think it’s ridiculous that “adults” are on here Internet fighting about a strip club.”

    Me too! But welcome to the internet. Blogs, chat rooms, message boards, article seeds, etc… are littered with whiny, name calling, and overall childish behavior. Its far too easy for many people to hide behind their key board and make outlandish claims. Get the group together at Cooper’s and I bet half the people tone down their attitude in person. Our entire society has turned into a bunch of socially challenged individuals that sit back on line and point the finger and blame for anything and everything on everyone else. I actually find it comical now and can’t seem to take any of it seriously.

    These articles and comments on the strip club started out questioning the legality of the permitting process and turned into a moral and sexism debate. Heck, it recently got littered with political talking points about rich versus poor. I am now just waiting for some person to start saying that George W Bush or Obama are secretly behind the strip club 🙂

  20. Sorry- one more thing. Mary, I’ve known several strippers and I’ve watched their children. It’s definitely not a “liberating” line of work– it’s a desperate one, and I’ve yet to see a happy tale of good endings for these women and their kids. (One in my former neighborhood in Oregon was strangled by a client after work, leaving two parent-less kids who attended the daycare where I worked.)

    If people want to enjoy the female or male form in a “humanist” way, they can go to a burlesque show. These strip clubs are purely profit motivated endeavors, and as such, they are inherently sexist and degrading.

    And since it’s all about pure profit, let’s do put a valuation on diminished property values and have them *repay us* the diminished value of our homes/businesses in exchange for that permit to set up shop.

    Meanwhile, I’ll continue my campaign online against anyone that touts these places as somehow “liberal” “pro-feminist” “anti-nanny” “pro-nudity.” It’s sloppy liberalism is what it is. Yes, Seattle is progressive, and that’s precisely why most people are instinctively against these clubs, even while they uphold the values many of you claim to espouse.

  21. I hadn’t even gotten started on the property valuation bit! Because here we go on the path f America with an ever widening gap between the rich and poor and a disappearing middle class. See, the rich who can afford to move away from it can log in here and say what do we expect living near a four lane thoroughfare, while those of us trapped in ever diminishing “assets” (our houses) have to sit here and watch our life savings dwindle thanks to the “free speech” of a 15 ft high set of glowing legs or LCD panel displaying inflated boobs that will likely advertise these places. All your idealism about “nudity” means nothing to the vast majority who view these places as haunts for the desperate and a-social and wouldn’t choose to live here thanks to them. I vote for better zoning now!!! Red light district in sodo, please– where is nickels when we need him?

  22. I think it’s ridiculous that “adults” are on here Internet fighting about a strip club. I agree with what Dan was saying. If you have a problem with them based on property devaluation or something fine but characterizing and judging people who support or work at strip clubs is narrow-minded and rude. If youve never been a stripper, been friends with a stripper, or even been in a strip club who are you to try and have an argument about it?

  23. Just because some women go to these clubs and some women work in them doesn’t mean it isn’t degrading to women. I for one am sick of the female form being used as a commodity. Sure I’m glad some women are able to make some money. But do I think men and women who like these places are backwards sleazeballs? Yes!

    Calling it puritanical mores is a way to slide out from the real discussion about a more progressive idea of true humanism.

  24. People are here to express their opinions. Why do other commenters have to attack them? I thought comments were supposed to be about the topic, not making fun of people’s opinions. That’s messed up.

  25. best line of the day has to be from Susan,
    “Even lesbians find these clubs degrading to women.”

    thanks for the chuckle Susan…not only is it idiotic but you manage to put a group of people into one way of thinking. Kudos. You do know woman like male strip clubs, right? Not all woman, just like not all men go to strip clubs.

    but thanks for the chuckle, because if lesbians don’t like strip clubs why have them?

  26. Anyway, I read all the comments here and I didn’t think Mrs. Baker was attacking anyone. I thought she was funny. People here sure are defensive.

  27. I have a parent in the care facility across the street. While I would not have moved here there knowing a strip club was across the street, I will wait to see how it works out before moving her again. As long as the patrons behave themselves when they are outside and the outside of the building looks respectable, it might be okay. I don’t know why a city would mix adult entertainment with a residential area but that’s one of the reasons I moved to a town that does not allow random development. Living in the city, you never know what is going to happen to your real estate values. Glad I don’t live here!

  28. Susan — I don’t think you know what you are talking about. The first time I ever went to a strip club my wife took me. She finds it very entertaining. You should be careful when you try to represent an entire gender.

  29. Susan, speak for yourself please, not all women. I’ve been to a few strip clubs with my husband and there are always other women in the audience. I don’t see why gender is really relevant to the discussion anyway!

  30. Strip clubs are entertainment for male adults. Quit putting us female adults in the same category. Even lesbians find these clubs degrading to women.

  31. Mrs. Baker- Again the personal insults and false stereotyping. I find your sexism and insults comical, they hardly make me angry. I just don’t see the point in attacking all men and the potential clientele before the club even opens. There are possible legal grounds, but the arguments you put forth do nothing to foster community or neighborhood unity, they just come as judgmental and full of false stereotypes. MapleLeaf Bob, let me buy you a beer some time at Coopers!


  33. So my joking comment was removed, but comment numbers 11, 15, and 17 are ok?

    Interesting criteria being used by the comment police.

  34. Gee Mike (author). Where is your comment “policing” now? I commented TO another commenter a while back & y0u deleted it, only to tell me that general opinions are fine, but when they are directed at ONE particular poster, well… they aren’t allowed. Thanks for being FAIR!! Not….

    Editor response: Mike (author) was at the store, and is back now. In general, discussion on our posts is fine. Personal attacks aren’t.

  35. Laurel,

    A strip club does benefit the city, revenue form taxes and licensing. Also mind you that these women chose to work there and are being paid very well. So what is denegrating about that? Your lack of confidence has more to do with your post than you actual arguments.

  36. Dan, your comments are specifically addressed to and insult two women commenters. And I called you on it, which drew more insults from you. Try reading your own posts before you accuse others. Otherwise it makes you sound like a hypocrite with an anger management problem.

  37. Laurel and Mrs. Baker, if you want to stop the men from coming there, stop the naughty women from working there! I won’t be going to any strip joints because I don’t really like them. My choice.

  38. @ Mrs. Baker- I’m not mocking your legitimate concerns, you haven’t voiced any. I find your stereotyping and gender insults unwarranted. You can make a point without being a jerk about it. And your reading comprehension skills are terrible, I clearly stated I own a home very close to the proposed strip club, I’ve lived here for 15 years. I don’t support the strip club, I just don’t see the point in insulting my gender and your ridiculous stereotyping, that won’t stop the strip club. The argument is to be made on legal or financial grounds, I think we can do without the moral lectures and stereotyping.

  39. @mer. Point well taken. Like I said “The owner and the clientele make or break the place” The owner doesn’t have to serve jerks/misogynists or hire catty/problematic strippers. I have seen it work, with a respected, sensible business person (male or female) and empowered women dancing. If it can work in Portland, I see no reason it couldn’t work here. an idea might be that the guy who wants to open the club should propose something of a business model to the community, let them know exactly what he intends to do, how he will run the place. If he has a sensible plan that treats the women and the community with respect, then let him do it. If he seems like a joker, well, then don’t.

  40. I think of a strip club as entertainment for adults. I don’t see anything wrong with it accept that they should stop over charging for the drinks and food. If they only had a club where just a portion was strip and the other was activities, like pool and game enjoyments, then I think it would be even more of an asset to the community. Make the building look classy and interesting to come in and just have one section for strip only! How about a dance floor for everyone to enjoy?

  41. And by the way, you go right ahead and support the strip club. that will show me! Sorry, insulting Christians doesn’t affect me at all since I’m not one. I find it fascinating the the most ardent supporters of the strip club are male. That’s so telling.

  42. Poor dan. So worked up over a strip club that it becomes valid to mock the legitimate concerns of others. Let me guess – you’re young, don’t have a family and are not tied to the neighborhood. You will move on after so strenuously defending the strip club and leave the homeowners stuck with shady neighbors.

  43. @ Mrs. Baker – Awesome stereotyping on your part! And again with the male-bashing and overly Christian morals. I absolutely agree on pursuing legal grounds and totally sympathize with the property value argument since I’m probably the closest homeowner and will be more effected than any of you. But do we really need the ridiculous stereotyping and 1950s moral arguments? They are repulsive, they actually make me want to support the strip club, if only just to shake up your narrow-minded little world view.

  44. By the way, I wonder how the under-water mortgage holders in the aera feel about a strip club coming in to lower their property values even further? If I were trying to sell my home I would be very nervous about this. That’s democracy, eh.

  45. Gosh I can hardly wait to go sit in the dark and watch some girls shake their boobs with a bunch of immature sex-deprived males while I drink a warm pepsi. Road trip!

  46. @ Jimmy, tell that to the folks who live around Rick’s. Their stories don’t mesh with your idyllic vision of Strip Clubs.

  47. Strip clubs and neighborhoods, men and women, can all co-exist. If you have driven a few hours south and been to Portland, you will find many empowered, happy young women working in the clubs there. They are not cracked out, broken, or bitter. They smile, seem happy and are making a good wage to help themselves and families, go to school, whatever they want. The clubs offer food and alcoholic drinks as well. Essentially they are just a pub with some girls on stage. Like any establishment, yes, they can run from the classy ones to the run down ones. But it is short sighted and dismissive to base one’s perceptions of strip clubs on Hollywood movies. They are not all bad places. The owner and the clientele make or break the place. Unless you have actually been inside a number of them, spoken with strippers, seen them in a community, you really don’t know what you are talking about.

  48. @Jarrett – If you think either Wedgwood or Maple Leaf “lack soul”, you simply aren’t paying attention.

  49. @Dan: Well said!!

    @Laurel: 27 years working as a strip club DJ is not exactly what I would call business experience.

    Unfortunately, whether you, I, or anyone on this website agrees with them or not, strip clubs tend to be packed on Friday and Saturday nights so your comment about them being “unwanted and obsolete” is just plain incorrect.

  50. It’s about time somebody brought some life into this pious, neighborhood so lacking in soul. I join the legions of my colleagues and friends who–while having no desire to ever set foot in a strip club–welcome some hint of diversity.

    Better a strip club than another god-forsaken neighborhood coffee shop.

  51. Laurel, it’s a shame a probably intelligent woman can’t contribute something meaningful to the discussion and instead stoops to self-righteousness and insulting an entire gender. There’s a legal and process argument to be made against how the club was licensed, but let’s drop the right wing Christian moral argument against strip clubs because it doesn’t work in Seattle.

  52. Its a shame that Mr. Walker can’t utilize his 27 years of business experience in a manner that would actually benefit the city. Perhaps the reason he had to drive “through most of the city looking for a site where a strip club could be allowed” is because these clubs are not only unwanted but should be obsolete.
    Wht don’t men just sit in the privacy of their homes, even with buddies, and denegrate females by watching a DVD? At least then they can have a beer.

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