Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Sex, rock ’n’ roll, and go-go dancers rise again at Club Vodka’s Pink Pussycat ~ By RON GARMON ~

For me, naked women and rock ’n’ roll are of, well, a piece. Long before my youthful sweetheart “Haley Bloomberg” crouched bare and ravishing above me and ground her clitoris into my nose to the Doors’ “Moonlight Drive,” I had already doped out the fearful symmetry. There was indeed a “They” abroad in America that objected to rock ’n’ roll, horror comics, marijuana, Gore Vidal, and Karl Marx as much as my very existence in what was, after all, their country. Why shouldn’t they? I was a rock ’n’ roll rebel! The knowledge that those bluenoses would’ve been horrified by what Haley and I did next added a certain piquancy.

Of such wholesome thoughts are mass-culture lifestyles born. During the heyday of glam metal Hollywood, erotic dancers were favored accessories on stage, video, and arm. Admittedly, it’s impossible to hear “Jamie’s Cryin’” or a dozen other hairspray anthems without imagining some lovely in cowboy boots and nothing else wriggling in accompaniment. What started as a cocked snook at Reagan, Falwell, et al. was turned into a money-spinning droit du seigneur and institutionalized as infantile fantasy.

The ladies are called “strippers” (if you’re ignorant) or “peelers” (if you’ve toured with a carnival and your vocabulary also contains terms like “Hey, Rube!”), and they’re objects of unattainable fantasy to many. Naked and trapped on stage or in cage, they represent wicked, self-willed beauty served up to a flintily evaluative gaze. Since America’s sex culture is jointly administered by brown-bag fundamentalists and a cozy, sloganeering feminism, these performers must practice their art in bars and nightclubs instead of the street, where it belongs. Our masturbatory Puritanism puts the ladies in cages, and gentlemen with dollars in their fingers keep them there.

I went through a period of dating women in this job category while in college back east. My introduction was “Jenny,” a lissome Brooklyn brunette with an uptown booty who liked me to watch her work the room. She would send over bottles of Dom Perignon charged to her marks, and I began to see the men around me as she did, as assholes with wallets. It wasn’t difficult. As I made my way through “Sukey,” “Lotte,” “Lucy,” and others of her friends and spiritual sisters, I came to understand 1) these girls know they’re being objectified and love it and 2) they like to be called dancers.

The ladies at Club Vodka’s Pink Pussycat on Thursdays understandably prefer the term “go-go dancers.” The atmosphere at host venue Club 7969 encourages such retro conceit. The place is smeared with red velvet like a silent movie house, and acts perform on the kind of old-school platform from which Olsen & Johnson once dodged rotten avocados. Dancers are deployed at three poles around the room, tastefully arranged in a crescent. In short, the place is a perfect venue for humping the corpse of the big-hair ’80s. Original live music alternates weeks with bills catering to the all-important tribute-band demographic. There’s an elegant little cranny in back where one can shoot pool and get to know the ladies better, but I kept to the main room.

Last Thursday (May 5) was given over to originals, and Taxe was unlimbering a final slam of power chords when I arrived. There was a brief geyser of vanity from the stage as the frontman bragged about being thrown out of Amsterdam. “This song’s about a slut. Which is a good thing to be,” was the last I heard from him for a while as I looked up and gave my attention to Diana, a spankable little brunette in boots and fishnets doing competent, tidy moves in her cage, full of giggles and fun. She bent way down and chirped the familiar words, “You remind me of somebody” at me. Since I look like about half the blond actors in world cinema, c. 1965-present, I understood her confusion. Her limpid brown eyes and pouty mouth made her look innocently absent as she toyed with my gaze. The tight little globes of her ass clinging lasciviously to the pole in mock masturbation didn’t impress me (though there was a holiday in my 501s for every quarter inch of leopard print panty sliding upward) as much as the soft potential in her lengths of long tan thigh. Once bedded, dancers are almost never what they hint at onstage, but Diana made me wonder. While I did, she jiggled into the lobby, returning with a flyer for her new play. The Urban Ensemble’s production of Celestial Flesh (“A Pope Is Dead … Now What?”) at the Raven Playhouse makes shrewd use of her legs in its advertising.

Then there was Courtney. Nose-level with her ankles, I mainly perceived her as slender legs terminating in a tiny boyish handful of ass shaped to renew my homoerotic impulses. She wore garish makeup, a netted body stocking exposing her deliciously pointy breasts and an absurd blonde wig that left big clumps of nylon on the floor. Pleased I was taking notes while looking at her, she bent over and gave me a long vista that almost sent my pen clattering to the floor. Proustian eyeball memories of another girl, another place, and the orgasm that registered at CalTech skittered across my libido. I showed her my teeth and she showed me hers.

Taxe was better than they should be; in fact, they provided just the right ambience of propulsive cheaphustle ’80s glam. The dancers weren’t exhausting themselves, so Cheyenne’s turn was well-received. A tall, superbly muscled brunette with long, thick hair, she did a featured turn climbing the pole upside-down, legs spread wide and near-perfect body writhing exquisitely. The swell of flexed thighs and butt threatened to pop her costume like a balloon, and the danger seemed to communicate itself to our photographer, who snapped away as if the Hindenburg were going down.

Things slowed down still further when Terry Ilous took the stage. The former lead singer for second-string ’80s hair-metal band XYZ, Ilous’s set was acoustic, and he brought his own acoustic guitarist to prove it. His voice is still in fine dramatic form, and he howled impressively, yet he left the dancers with little to do but sway naughtily. I could’ve safely left with my job finished, but the vocalist was giving it everything he had, bawling out his old band’s semi-hits like a leather-lunged banshee from a more optimistic time.

Done with having my eyestrings lubed and massaged, I paced outside the club, smoking and smiling at the longhairs as Ilous wailed his last. I’d just flicked a ciggie into Santa Monica Boulevard traffic when this curvy, tattooed little platinum blonde chick wafted lazily by. A miniskirted, decidedly non-retro civilian, her firm little tail did exaggerated figure-eights as she strode up the street, taking my admiration with her.

originally appeared in L.A. City Beat (5/12/05)


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