LOCATED ON DESOLATE HIGHWAY 95, THE ALIEN CATHOUSE IS NEVADA’S ONLY SCI-FI THEMED BROTHEL. MADAM LYDIA FAITHFULL KEEPS IT RUNNING AS SMOOTHLY AS THE TRUCKS THAT PULL UP NEXT DOOR FOR FUEL. NEW JERSEY-BORN FAITHFULL IS THE YOUNGEST MADAM IN THE ENTIRE STATE, AN UNDERRATED ACCOMPLISHMENT FOR A FORMER SEX WORKER IN HER EARLY 30S. AS I DRIVE UP TO THE ALIEN CATHOUSE ON A FRIDAY NIGHT, THE SUNSET IS SMEARED WITH PINK AND GOLD WHILE THE RED LIGHTS GLOW OUTSIDE THE BROTHEL DOOR. MADAM LYDIA FAITHFULL GREETS ME WITH A SMILE. SHE’S DRESSED DOWN, LIKE A SECRETARY IN A PORNO FLICK, SPORTING A FITTED BLAZER, SKINTIGHT CIGARETTE PANTS AND HIGH HEELS. THE BROTHEL IS DARK AND WARM, DECORATED WITH VINTAGE SCI-FI MOVIE POSTERS AND RANDOM KITSCH. A RACK OF SEXY ALIEN COSTUMES HANGS BY THE POOL TABLE ACROSS FROM A MASSIVE GLASS DISPLAY CASE STACKED WITH DILDOS, VIBRATORS AND LUBES.
Mirrors line the back wall. A stripper pole stands in the middle of the parlor, surrounded by a cozy sitting area where the working girls are hanging out, drinking tea and wine. The coffee table they conjure around is stacked with books: a biography of New York punk rock icon Lydia Lunch alongside the perfectly fanned out women’s magazines BUST and Bitch.
“That’s my little reading push to the girls,” Faithfull explains when I point to the book on the ’80s punk singer who starred in Richard Kern’s Fingered and The Right Side of My Brain. The madam embodies the lecherous power of Lydia Lunch. They even look kind of similar. Clearly it’s no coincidence they share a first name.
Faithfull is an extremely busy all-business, street-smart madam. On her rare moments of downtime she pens a popular column for Vice, called “Ask a Hooker,” and she’s currently working on a book about brothel life with friend and author Natasha Vargas-Cooper. Her most recent side project? Designing tarot cards with a Nevada portrait artist based on famous working girls: Air Force Amy, Melissa Kiss and Lena Haze, to name a few.
“What card are you going to be?” I ask.