Why can't Lyle Goodman, a New York kind of guy who hates this friggin' town, put his signature on 13th Street?
DeMone and Goodman each point out that strip-club patrons "slide in and slide out," as DeMone puts it, "because they don't want to be seen."
On this night at least, the Pagan bikers who enter and leave Signatures do so without any fuss. Several evidently heterosexual couples depart, leaning close together like lovers do, and maybe a dozen businessman emerge, ties akimbo but looking ready to hit the grind again tomorrow morning. Even the small barely-21 contingent that visits the club seems to skate in and out with the practiced and professional air of men with wives and children.
Sixth District Police Captain Brian Korn tells PW, "Signatures hasn't been a problem."
Madway argues that the last thing 13th Street needs is a topless bar, and produces a petition with 300 signatures to make her point. But right now this strip is perhaps Philadel-phia's most eclectic and adventurous. Former Philadelphia mayor/police chief/disciplinarian Frank Rizzo famously tried to drive both sin and the gay community from the area, but the gay community won and now proudly calls itself the Gayborhood, so what's a little skin?
The upshot of all this is that the main thing going for Madway in her fight against Signatures isn't the club itself. It's the questions that seem to arise around Lyle Goodman.
"This City Bet Everything on a Horse"
On June 12, Lyle Goodman, like so many other Americans, watches Ronald Reagan's funeral.
He sits at his desk at the Gold Club, watching a television mounted on the wall, his attention captured by a shot of Nancy, looking frail and worn in her widow's black dress.
The phone rings. Goodman speaks to someone on the other end about the funeral: Tony Blair looks "good." Margaret Thatcher--"fit." Nancy--"poor woman." Goodman hangs up again, evades questions about his childhood ("it was normal!") and talks for a while about his deep hatred of Philadelphia.
By now Ronald Reagan is dead, and Smarty Jones--he lost.
"I won $500 on that," announces Goodman. "I was so fucking happy. I jumped up and down on my bed when that horse lost. This town bet everything on a horse. The horse came in second."
He grins a soft, sober grin, his eyes still locked on the TV, and makes another announcement. He says he and DeMone decided that if they can't transfer the liquor license, and if they can't expand the liquor license to cover the entire premises, they'll remove alcohol entirely and go all-nude.
Maybe they'll even go all-male all-nude, in which case Goodman wants to change the name to "Swingin' Dicks."
"We'll get a bartender named Dick," he says, "and make it happen."
The all-nude gambit seems to him the best way to skewer Ruthanne Madway. "She won't let us have what we want and she won't let us give up [and transfer the license] either. Careful what you wish for."
L&I spokesperson Andrea Swan says an all-nude club is an empty threat. Only the 1,000 square feet now operating is zoned for that use. Any expansion of the gentleman's club requires a zoning variance sure to be greeted by public opposition. But today is evidently a day for pronouncements and announcements--whether real or imagined.
Goodman says that when he leaves town he'll likely go to Boca Raton and enter into a partnership on a topless club somewhere in the state. The topic of a Florida club had arisen perhaps a week earlier, and Goodman shrugged off questions about where he'd get the money.
"I'm broke," he'd said, with a huge smile. "My parents will give me the money."
Today he wants to set the record straight. "When I say that I'm broke," he says, "I mean that I'm broke in Philadelphia. I came here, very purposefully, with very little money. So when I say I have no money, what I mean to say is, 'I have no money in Philadelphia.'"
PW's Holiday Guide 2014
PW's Taste of Philly 2014
Election Day 2014: Tues., Nov. 4