Thu Jan 10, 2013, 12:33 AM
pstokely (7,741 posts)
People still come to KC's only porn theater, but how long can the Strand stay turned on?
"In January 1917, the Strand sold tickets to thousands of people a week for Caprice, starring Mary Pickford, known as America's sweetheart. In September 1984, the big draw at the Strand — by then a 200-seat blight — was Sunday's "Amateur Strip Night."
In the seats closest to a burlesque-style runway, several fraternity brothers, each holding a flashlight, howled as each of the strippers stepped forward, aiming the beams at the women's crotches. A pint-sized performer going by Purple Rain used her fingers to spread herself open. Another woman slathered her nude body with oil and slid across the stage, to deafening applause.
After the show was over, the lights in the auditorium dimmed, and the projector cranked to life. The porn movie that night showed straight sex. Anyone wanting to see man-on-man action retreated to the Strand's former second-floor balcony, which had been turned into a smaller, 60-seat screening room showing hard-core gay porn.
No one there that night knew it at the time, but this was the high point — if you can call it that — for dirty-movie theaters in Kansas City. By the end of the 1980s, the VCR had completed its conquest of the XXX market, rendering the experience of watching a pornographic movie in a public theater obsolete. Thanks to the videocassette, any living room or bedroom in Olathe or Raytown could instantly become an at-home Pink Pussycat Theater. The old indignities — the shameful drive to a bad neighborhood, the peril of being recognized, the constant threat of being rounded up in a raid — were now for only the most old-fashioned or risk-aroused consumers. (And within another two decades, the Internet upset the marketplace yet again.)
"Why do people need to rent films anymore?" wonders Dick Snow, the longtime owner of the Strand Theatre. "They can watch porn — free porn, I might add — on their iPhones.""
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People still come to KC's only porn theater, but how long can the Strand stay turned on? (Original post)