O n our way to the Gathering of the Juggalos — the craziest music festival in America — we decided to stop and stay for a night in Louisville, KY. I was worried that we wouldn’t find a gross enough motel in the city of the Kentucky Derby, but fear not… we did.
The Louisville Manor Hotel is a popular cruising spot, according to Craigslist posts. Right on the Dixie Highway after a flutter of cash advances and strip joints, the Manor is hard to miss. On the front of the lot is an adult super store, complete with an adult theatre and peep booths, and it’s lit up with large XXX signs on the roof. It was also the home of an actual murder, when a guy strangled a dancer to death during an accidental sex game. He served his time, then blew up his own meth lab a couple weeks later.
When you pull in, a decal on the door lets you know that hardcore porn is included in your room fee which, for four people, is $65 for a night. You can also rent in three-hour blocks, and the jacuzzi suites you can ONLY rent in three-hour blocks. Also, no children, NOT EVEN BABIES, are allowed here.
So, the four of us approach the concierge, who immediately wants to know why Mary is taking photos. I tell her we’re on vacation. We can’t even get through her telling us there’s a $20 deposit for the three remotes she’s about to hand us when a strange man bursts in and starts asking Jason questions about whether or not he’s a football player. “Do you like loud sound systems?!” he demands.
The clerk raises her voice over his to tell me there’s a separate remote for the adult channels, of which there are 180.
We take our key and enter the cleanest room we’ve seen yet since launching MurderMotels.com. Vacuumed carpet, clean sheets, nothing left in the shower, no baggies of crack. We set down our things and immediately peruse the porn. 180 channels and it’s all terrible. All gross, oozing, sloppy, pockmarked, pimply porn. But what it lacks in finesse it makes up for in diversity. Gay, straight, she-male, cuckold, bi, every race, every age group, S&M, fetish, etc. We thought about making a guide for the next person to come along, but that’s when the phone rang. The clerk tells us there’s a strict policy that for our safety, we have to shut our door and the shades.
There’s only so much porn a person can take, so we decide to check out downtown Louisville. Now, here’s a nice, clean place with nothing disgusting. BORING. We get some food and a beer at the Bluegrass Brewery and check out a little punk/metal joint called Third Street Dive. Shawn had visited Louisville before in his days as a truck driver and says the only thing that looks familiar is some dark alley. Curious, Shawn. Very curious.
Back on the Dixie Highway, we discover a bar called DT’s where the bartender spins a giant wheel to determine the price of the drinks. Currently, they’re a dollar. And, you can take them outside and smoke, which delights those of us who do both those things. We hang out there until nearly 4 a.m. We were approached by a guy whose name I think is Dave who indicated that we should come and hang out at his house versus staying at the Louisville Manor. Shawn and Dave also had a rousing argument about who had a more difficult time finding clothes that fit well.
The bartender tells us that we need to shut our doors, else the prostitutes will think we’re interested. As much as our new best friend wants us to stop over, we have a mission, which is survive the night.
The easiest night thus far, we all sleep pretty well. Which means we get up bright and early and visit the adult book store. Dildos, porno, blahblahblah. Oh, and “probs.” Which I think was supposed to be “probes.”
We were gonna take off but the manager INSISTED we go into the adult porno booth. We could “split up into two and two, or all cram in there.” And for some reason, the idea of going into a pitch black area, from which the only sound was something wet dripping on the concrete floor and ominous moans of porno, a pitch black area he was able to lock from the outside, SOUNDED LIKE A GREAT IDEA.
For those of you who have never ventured into an adult theatre, there’s usually one big room with a bunch of ratty furniture and tissue boxes where guys like Fred Willard and Paul Reubens become legendary for doing the only sensible thing to do when you pay real money to sit and watch a porno. The porn projected on the screen is usually a pretty shitty one, like the kind of film that comes in a three-pack and has no discernible stars. It’s also probably ten years old, but not old enough to belong in the Golden Age of Porn.
Then there’s a bunch of little booths where you sit and watch a video — usually the screen will have buttons via which you can select one of several — and do your thing in private. And sometimes, there will be holes in the wall that separates you from the neighboring booth and you can put things in those holes. Unless…
Oh, no! The “Board of Health” is cracking down! You can’t even be complicit in the making of a glory hole, let alone make one yourself. All the glory holes here have been boarded up with plywood. But for two guys who are presumably standing next to each other and for some reason can’t just give each other a good time in the same booth, but who must do it with a wall in between them with a hole carved in it (that’s a Mormon thing, right?), THE GLORY HOLE WILL FIND A WAY. They will stand up and say, “NO, Board of Health (if that is your real name), we WILL suck anonymous wangs through holes in the wall, even if we have to pry off this janky ply wood with our bare hands!”
We exited the theatre where the clerk strongly advised we come on back and see him again. We loaded up in the car, ate breakfast at Lynn’s Paradise Cafe (which contained no glory holes, only good food and an overwhelmingly quirky decor) and got on the road. It would be a long drive to Cave In Rock, Ill., the secluded, cop-free oasis of Juggalo pilgrimage. But to get there, we’d be driving through God’s country…
Photos by Mary Sjaarda and Jason Hite.