July 31, 2013

Kudos to John Kelly [“Naughty stretch of 14th Street was just going through a phase,” Metro, July 24] for writing an ode to old 14th Street NW that was suitable for a family newspaper.

I remember “rivals” Krystal, Dixie, et al. from the clubs Benny’s Rebel Room and This Is It? Fellow dancers of the late 1970s, do you remember us, your sisters at King Arthur’s and Archi­bald’s over on M and K streets? Valentino’s, around the corner from King Arthur’s, was a rougher scene but still cool. Yes, there was always a whiff of disinfectant underlying the competing perfumes, and when the lights went back on at 2 a.m., the gritty poetry of the room vanished, and the women were no longer Alberto Vargas but Toulouse-Lautrec models.

Oh, we took it all off, too, but the scene was gentler, especially since we had a den mother, Charlene, the eagle-eyed bartender, who brooked no nonsense, specifically fraternizing physically with the customers. Yes, there was innocence to that “go-go scene,” which is why some girls would occasionally garner a few shifts at King Arthur’s when things got too stressful on 14th Street.

I send my greetings and, yes, my love, to Sheba and her inseparable Umora, Janis, Maiong and our nemesis Angie, the only waitress who made more in tips than we did. There are too many names to mention, really, but they were all the prettiest women in the District.

Oh, such halcyon days.

Nadia Toplosky, Kensington