Condor Club wants legacy company status, but disguises itself as
Inclusion in the San Francisco Legacy Business Registry is an honor given to many of our favorite local businesses that have been around for 30 years or more. This honor has been bestowed upon legendary bars and restaurants, recording studios, or even highly regarded courier and PO box companies.
But the Chronicle reported that today the SF Historic Preservation Commission is considering a Legacy Business designation for the North Beach strip club, the Condor Club. And although this club is considered the first topless bar in the United States, the nomination led to an intense debate on the question of whether the city should provide funds and resources to a strip club whose the heritage is richer in sexism than in culture.
Several current and former Condor employees (all male) spoke highly of the club’s place in San Francisco history and culture. “The Condor is a mainstay of the community in North Beach,” Derek Thompston, a longtime Condor Club employee, told the commission, saying perhaps too accurately, “It gives people a safe haven for go relieve their tension.”
But the commissioners noted the club’s history of “operating for profit”, and said the club’s application showed no evidence that women had ever been promoted beyond dancing or bartending. The commissioners noted that the Condor was a place “where employment or promotion depended on sexual parameters”.
Yes, the club was the launching pad for legendary topless dancer Carol Doda, and the Condor’s application included quotes from late great Herb Caen. But Commissioner Ruchira Nageswaran pointed out: “Herb Caen’s quotes in the nomination were described as ‘honouring’ Carol Doda, but they were distinct in objectifying her rather than describing her as a person or for her performance.
“The Condor’s nomination notes that ownership has been solely held by men throughout the company’s history,” Nageswaran added. “And in the article commemorating her, Carol Doda left her long career at the Condor indicating that she had never been paid enough. ‘company.
And Nageswaran added that the club may have been a point in the sexual revolution, but in a way that may not stand the test of time.
“For nominees of all types, it’s important to see an increase in racial and social equity reflected in their nomination,” she said. “The liberation of women ideally provides equal opportunities with other genders based on capabilities and contributions apart from discriminating factors of sexualization.”
Other commissioners have argued that the Condor bid should not be penalized for the sexism that has been common in the past.
“I was raised in Indiana by a mom who sold real estate. And I’ll tell you right now she was treated like crap,” commissioner Chris Foley said. “I don’t think not that it’s our job, just like if someone sold me hot dogs and I only ate vegetarian food, I would have to tell the hot dog maker to make vegetarian hot dogs.”
But there was consensus that the Legacy Business app relied entirely on Doda showing off her boobs in the past and did not reflect any commitment to genuinely advancing women.
“When I saw other legacy companies come forward to us, they had already volunteered to show us how much community outreach and how many things they will do and have already done to really address the social equity component and race,” Commissioner Lydia So said. “But what we lack to see [from the Condor] are you going to do or have you already done that will improve the place of women.
The commission recommended approving the Condor as a legacy business, but with several additional hurdles and a rather tortured additional bureaucratic process that requires some commitment to advancing women rather than just stripping them naked.
They recommended approval, but with a stipulation that Condor consider “developing a framework” to ensure the training and promotion of women, especially those at the heart of the business, and incorporate those recommendations for consideration by the SF Department on the Status of Women and Small Business. Business Commissioner.
Thus, the Condor Club did not get final approval from Legacy Business on Wednesday. Their application now goes to the Small Business Commission, which could also potentially send it to the SF Supervisory Board before final approval.