The L.A. Times reports that the Century Lounge, that iconic emblem of L.A. sleaze located blocks from LAX, will soon be history. Whether that is pop art history or just the garbage-heap-of-history kind will lie in the eye of the beholder. The lease for the non-alcohol strip club occupying the corner of Century and Aviation boulevards apparently expired at the end of August, allowing property owners to announce plans to tear it down. The Times says the L & R Group plans to incorporate the space into an adjacent WallyPark. In other words, another L.A. monument will be turned into a parking lot.
In truth, the only thing monumental about the Century Lounge was its brazen and blindingly lit marquee, which greeted motorists (and low-flying planes) with the words, “Nude Nude Nudes.” Actually, the sign underwent several wording changes over the years, but patrons had a way of figuring out what was being advertised.
Sometimes known as the Carolina West Lounge (a reference to names from
the club's earlier incarnations), that sign, with its Ed Ruscha-like
grandeur, gave the approach to the airport a red-light district glow it
really didn't deserve. As such it provided an civic stimulus to “clean
up” the area and make it more traveler-friendly — though without
the lounge it would still remain a sterile airport gateway of fast-food
stops, hotels and gas stations. As we wrote in 2006, “It's difficult to
imagine tourists wishing to linger along Century, even if the Century
Lounge (“Live Nude Nudes”) is replaced by an Appleby's.”