Saturday, August 06, 2005

Strip Club Owner Raises Ire With New Sign

From The LA Daily Breeze
Aug. 5, 2005

LOS ANGELES (AP) - For years, Howard White has advertised his strip club near Los Angeles International Airport with a not too subtle marquee reading "Live Nude Nude Nudes."

But some tourists and nearby businesses say White has gone too far with his latest pitch for the Century Lounge: a freshly posted sign proclaiming "Vaginas R' Us."

"We don't appreciate the signage and we're working with the city to make sure this establishment is adhering to all codes," said Laurie Hughes , executive director of Gateway to L.A., an association that promotes businesses along Century Boulevard just east of the airport.

White, who posted the new sign Tuesday, says he's simply advertising his business.

"In a sort of a naive way, I felt that there was nothing terrible about it since the 'Vagina Monologues' was on Broadway forever," White said. "I didn't feel there was anything terrible about it."

Los Angeles city officials say White's sign doesn't break the law.

"The word 'vagina' is not an obscene word and we're not in a position to question the First Amendment," said City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose district includes the airport area.

But the business association is pursuing another avenue of attack. It contacted the retailer Toys R Us, which aggressively defends its trademark name.

Toys R Us spokeswoman Susan McLaughlin said the company knows about White's sign and will be "looking into it immediately."

In the meantime, White will have to take his sign down - temporarily.

The new sign, which is pasted over a portion of the original marquee, is made of combustible plastic vinyl that violates the municipal code. White was served with a citation Thursday, and has until the close of business Sunday to replace the sign, said David Keim, the city's chief of code enforcement.

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