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Friday, September 25, 2009

It's the end of an era. The Century Lounge near LAX is closing.

I just read in the LA Times this morning that the Century Lounge by LAX has closed and will be torn down for more Wally Park parking. For the benefit of those of you who aren't Angelenos, for many years it has been a somewhat embarrassing landmark near LAX, adjacent to many of the large hotels and parking lots along Century Boulevard. The exact words used in the Times article were, " LA area strip club that has titillated and disgusted tourists for decades with its blinking 'Nude Nude Nudes" sign will be demolished and replaced by a parking lot..." The club reached an all-time low in 2005 when it erected an 18 foot high sign on its facade stating "Vaginas R Us." I guess that sign crossed the line of decency and it didn't last long, just long enough for us to see it a few times on our way to and from Wally Park. Just the other evening the club was alluded to on the TV show Two and A Half Men when Charlie's nephew, Jake, referred to it as the "Live Nudes" club near the airport and he expressed his desire to visit. For those of us who fly in and out of LAX at all hours of the day and night, the marquee was a beacon of uncivility on the way to the airport but also a recognizable landmark. The parking lot of the club never looked full, but I'm sure they must have done a brisk business or they would not have lasted so long. Or, the guests of the adjacent luxury hotels just walked over or were dropped off by cabs... One of my favorite memories of "Live Nudes" was a late night (or pre-dawn) run to LAX on our way to catch a plane for a stamp show. I had picked Mary Jo up in Whittier and we were making our way to Wally Park and LAX. We were stopped at the light at Century and Aviation waiting to make a left turn. It was pretty dark but the street lights illuminated the road. About 50 yards ahead, across Century Boulevard, we saw what we thought was a black cat crossing Aviation heading toward "Live Nudes." Eventually we realized by its "gait" that it wasn't a cat but a very large black rat, leading us to believe that apparently not everything at "Live Nudes" was alive...I guess the city fathers finally prevailed and unanimously agreed that another parking lot was preferable to nudes, dead or alive...

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