A theatre by any other name would smell as sweet

by Editorial Board / Beacon Staff • March 20, 2013

At Issue: College asks burlesque-themed nightclub near upcoming LA campus to change its name

Our Take: Emerson is forgetting its storied history of bringing innovation to nightclubs and bars

The newly-launched Emerson Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard is a place for performing arts — but a type different than Emerson College would like to promote.

The college, in fact, is currently asking the burlesque-themed nightclub to consider changing its name, ostensibly to something that would never be confused with our soon-to-be campus being constructed less than two miles away.

But instead of seeing the Emerson Theatre as a nuisance, we should realize it’s actually an incredible opportunity.

The club, which calls itself “Hollywood’s sexiest scandal,” can be the Emerson mafia’s own Bada Bing. It’s the perfect place to mingle in Hollywood with the likes of Chris Brown, Rihanna, Paris Hilton, Khloe Kardashian, Lamar Odom, and James Franco — all confirmed patrons of what the Los Angeles Times has deemed “Hollywood’s new ‘it’ club.”

“Debauchery and sex take center stage at the Emerson,” continued the Times, noting its renown as a place where “burlesque dancers clad in fishnet stockings, silky lingerie and elaborate feathers roll and twist their hips languidly.”

Perhaps instead of asking the Emerson Theatre to change its name, Emerson should simply buy the building, adding it to its roster of booming nightclubs.

The college seems to have forgotten about the space it currently rents out to Boston hotspots. The property in the alley of Boylston Place is home to Liquor Store and Estate, nightclubs frequented by Emerson students. And let’s not forget about the infamous Gypsy Bar, whose drunken club rats waken Little Building and Colonial residents weekly.

Clearly, if the college thing doesn’t work out, Emerson should focus on its growing nightclub empire.

The Emerson Theatre wouldn’t be the first establishment to profit from the name recognition of another Emerson it is not connected with. Many people assume that our school’s founder is famed Massachusetts transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson. However, Ralph’s only connection to the college is being a distant cousin of our actual, considerably less famous founder, Charles Wesley Emerson.

If nothing else, the spot would be a great field trip destination for the class Staging American Women: The History of the Burlesque, where students could continue their study of the dance.

The staggering survivors of the Gypsy Club that trapeze Boylston Street in the wee hours of each Friday and Saturday night are as much a part of Emerson campus scenery as skinny jeans and Quidditch teams. The LA center should have the chance to enjoy its own Gypsy iteration.