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Vegas' Last Peep Show Just Closed

Showgirl Video will be torn down, but its iconic marquee will be preserved
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2019 12:07 PM CDT
In this Sept. 16, 2014, file photo taken with a slow shutter speed, the lights of cars blur along Las Vegas Boulevard in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

(Newser) – Showgirl Video opened on Las Vegas Boulevard in 1983, and closed last month—notable because, in recent years, it had been Sin City's last remaining peep show. Dancers performed for tips behind a window, which patrons could open by putting $1 into a machine; Raymond Pistol partnered in the business with Treasure Brown, herself a onetime dancer at Showgirl Video who calls peep show dancers "coin operated girls." Sexually oriented businesses along Las Vegas Boulevard, where Showgirl Video sat, were banned via ordinance in 1992, but the store was grandfathered in under an older city code. Now, however, all such businesses "have been supplanted by the internet," Pistol, who sold Showgirl Video in 2016, tells the Las Vegas Sun. "You can get anything you want at any time. It’s a 24/7 smorgasbord from all around the world."

Victoria Hartmann, who was once a performer at Showgirl Video, says she felt safer dancing behind glass—but she notes that the glass may also have made peep shows a less satisfying option for patrons. In contrast, "with gentlemen’s clubs, especially with the clubs that have existed within the last 10 or 20 years, their whole mantra is creating an emotional experience for their guests," she says, speculating that may have led to the decline of peep shows in the city. She also notes there has been a recent trend toward "family friendliness" in Vegas similar to the one that happened in New York City in the 1990s, when Times Square's adult theaters and peep shows were shut down. Hartmann is working on obtaining the Showgirl Video marquee to display at Vegas's Erotic Heritage Museum, where she's the director. The building will be torn down and a pot dispensary will be built in its place. (Read more Las Vegas stories.)

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