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Curtain to fall on 'Nudes' landmark near LAX

The Century Lounge has been drawing tourists' attention and business owners' ire for years. Soon, it will be a parking lot.

September 25, 2009|Rong-Gong Lin II

The Century Lounge, an LAX-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, officials said Thursday.

The lease for the tawdry Century Boulevard landmark -- best known for its psychedelic, red-and-orange marquee -- expired at the end of August, according to John Day, general counsel for property owner L&R Group of Companies.

The club will be razed next month and incorporated into L&R's adjacent WallyPark parking structure.

News of the club's impending demolition cheered those city and business leaders who have long sought its closure. Officials were particularly outraged in 2005 when the club erected an 18-foot sign on its facade stating: "Vagina's R Us."

"I'm thrilled. I'm delighted," said L.A. Councilman Bill Rosendahl. "People have a right to be who they are, but for God's sake, does it have to be in everyone's face? This sign, 'Nude, Nude, Nudes'. . . . You can't avoid it. It affects your sensibilities and your values. It's basically an insult to the community." Howard White, the club owner, could not be reached for comment late Thursday.

Local business owners were happy the club was closed, but will be happiest when the "Nude Nude Nudes" billboard is finally removed.

"It's just the perception of having that huge sign on Century Boulevard," said Laurie Hughes, executive director of the Gateway to L.A. business improvement district. "Advertising nudes does not add to the area."

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ron.lin@latimes.com

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