New DreamGirls at Rick’s illuminated video sign stirs controversy

Update: A City of Seattle inspector visited DreamGirls at Rick’s and found that the images displayed on the sign over the weekend were in violation of the permit issued for the illuminated video sign. You can see a report from KOMO/4, which happened to have a crew present during the visit, below.

The sign controversy and Rick’s management’s toeing the line on the rules is getting the business and their logo plenty of airtime.

(Original report below)

The new Rick's sign is causing controversy.

The new Rick’s sign is causing controversy.

A large video sign permitted by the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development in front of DreamGirls at Rick’s strip club is causing controversy. The sign has been installed on the property adjacent to bus stops used by many Nathan Hale students.

We originally published a story about the coming sign in June. You can read that here.

The permit issued by the City of Seattle for the 8-foot by 16-foot sign atop a 30-foot pole says images on the sign “shall not change more than 7 times per minute. No flashing, no video display methods, and no off-premises advertising is permitted by city ordinance.”

When viewing this sign during its first weekend of operation, it did seem to violate the “video display methods” requirement as there was motion in some of the images. It also quickly changed its state of illumination in a way that could be perceived as flashing.

You can see the sign operating in the video below and be the judge if it is following the rules set by the city:

In recent years, DreamGirls, owner of Rick’s, has battled with the Seattle Mariners over the location of a strip club and notably the illuminated sign next to Safeco Field. The dispute over the strip club led the Mariners to sue DreamGirls’ and the City of Seattle. Lawsuit filed here.

The Mariners eventually dropped the suit in an agreement with DreamGirls after the strip club chain agreed to not show certain types of images during days that the team was hosting events for children.

The City of Seattle is limited in its ability to dictate rules for signs because ones like Rick’s are legal and legislation and rules have not kept up with changing technology.

Over the last year the strip club has found itself in hot water with the City of Seattle and community groups after it topped the street trees in front of the business (our story here). The City has ordered the business to replant trees equal to the size they would have been before the aggressive trimming.

A community group also fought the placement of a large van with provocative imagery parked at the business and illuminated backpack signs people were paid to wear and walk along Lake City Way at night.

KING/5 reported on the sign over the weekend. In their report they found some of the images on the sign provocative enough that they blurred out images of dancing women and jiggling body parts. You can see their report below.

Over the weekend the sign caused many people to contact Lake City Live to voice concern. The sign sparked a discussion on our Facebook page about Lake City Way and the perception of the road that runs through our community.

The permit for the new sign also required removal of the classic neon Rick’s.