IF YOU'RE KEEPING score at home, porn king Roger Forbes appears to have trumped City Attorney Mark Sidran at First and Pike.

Initially, it was

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News Clips— It's déjà vu all over again

IF YOU'RE KEEPING score at home, porn king Roger Forbes appears to have trumped City Attorney Mark Sidran at First and Pike.

Initially, it was Sidran (who prosecutes nude dancing violations) and Pike Place Market leaders declaring an early victory when the Deja Vu nude dance club chain, a Forbes partnership, closed its doors on Pike Street a few years back, moving its lap-and-couch dance franchise all the way north across Denny Way.

That meant one less nudie joint for the upscaling Market and left full-strip dancing to First Avenue's Champ Arcade and Lusty Lady. The change also fit the vision of Sidran's stifling civility code: a spit-clean city with no public perversions (politics excepted).

Adding to the neighborhood's transition, Sidran's wealthy wife, Anais Winant, bought Forbes' aging X-rated Midtown Theater. Winant, who heads public affairs at the Seattle-King County Convention and Visitor's Bureau, doled out $1.5 million for the Smith Block building on First Avenue. She promptly closed it and remodeled the space for a salon.

But more important to some was the demise of the Deja Vu. With its garish exterior and politically incorrect signature ("100's of beautiful girls & 3 ugly ones"), it was seen as a blight at the entrance to the world famous farmers market. Under pressure, Samis Land Co. ended the club's lease and ousted a sex novelty business next door. In their places landed Seattle's Best Coffee and two small shops.

Meanwhile, when no one seemed to be looking, Deja Vu returned last fall to a First Avenue space, taking over the second floor of the Champ Arcade (which Forbes runs).

Outwardly, there seemed little difference. The Champ was already an historic nudie joint, known for its familiar neon sign proclaiming "Live Girls."

Now, however, that sign is suddenly gone. And in its place is a sleek silver and lavender Deja Vu marquee that would make Las Vegas proud.

The prow-shaped digital signboard is one story tall, covering the front of the building in two sections. In flashing lights, it advertises Deja Vu's video peeps, toys, adult gifts, "hot nude girls," and of course "100's of beautiful girls & 3 ugly ones." A man at the counter wouldn't comment, other than to say, "We've got all the permits." Forbes couldn't be reached.

Across the street, a female customer at the Market Crumpet Shop, peering warily at the signboard, said, "It's a monstrosity. I mean, what's their light bill?"

Sidran is now, of course, running for mayor from a campaign office located in Forbes' old porno-theater building. Like Forbes' former customers, Sidran too may rise or fall there.

Rick Anderson

randerson@seattleweekly.com

 
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