LE SEX SHOPPE
I took this photo of an adult shop then called Le Sex Shoppe over a decade ago. Recently, I read the building is set to be demolished: "Goodbye Seedy East Hollywood Porn Shop." It's more collateral damage, the city's material evidence of online adult content pirates killing brick-and-mortar adult businesses.
"Apropos of barely nothing at all, I was reminded today that I had the good misfortune of living within a mile of Le Sex Shoppe, and the rest of Bukowski territory, near Hollywood Blvd. and Western Ave., for 19 years, starting in 1974, in Silver Lake, CA.
If you had a pocket full of quarters you could while away the afternoon in a pornographic stupor watching movies at Le Sex. The Big 20 was to the left -- before it was banished into oblivion -- and Pioneer Chicken was nearby to the right... Whores were walking the streets everywhere, and across the blvd. from the Big 20, you could see a cornucopia of available ladies in waiting, sitting at their tall tables with phones, ready to answer the call of nature from their customers -- and all this visible through huge department store windows, so anyone driving down Hollywood Blvd. could gander the merchandise.
In those days, the corruption of prostitution and sexual debauchery pervaded the atmosphere like the smog that usually hung over the city, most everything right out in the open, as a dare to law enforcement, and on easy display -- quite refreshing actually, though I didn't partake, though I thought here was my chance if I wanted to.
Then, suddenly, the Big 20 was gone...the tables across the street were gone...the phones were gone...the girls inside were gone...the music and magic were gone, and only Le Sex Shoppe went on and on in perpetuity, through changes in ownership and paint jobs.
And the girls? They seemed to do just fine, even without advertising their wears in those big department store windows, looking tough and ready for the next big c--k between their legs.
But while it was happening, there was a certain romantic glory to Hollywood Blvd., as it was alive with vice like the dirt of aliveness under your fingernails, even when you were just cruising the street. When you were feeling bad, it felt good to know there were people who didn't give a damn about anything they were supposed to give a damn about, according to the society that condemned them to hell, and I could take in the fumes of this lowlife paradise whenever I felt the urge. It helped get me through, and I was lucky to be there before it vanished like the sudden flare of a match up the flue."
My photo will appear in an upcoming book by Charles Saatchi.