A Plague is Sweeping Our Nation

o-EBOLA-VIRUS-facebookIn the news today you can get plenty of information about how Ebola is spreading, how we lack protocols, how we should lock down our borders.

In fact, only one person has died of Ebola in the US to date.

The plague that no one wants to address killed more than 30,000 Americans in 2013. Of those deaths, 50% were between the ages of 18-35. One third of the victims were under the age of 20.

You can probably guess that I’m talking about gun violence. You see it on the news every day. Maybe your child has been involved in a school lock down at some point due to gun violence.

Tonight I will be performing at a club that lost a bouncer to gun violence last January. Some reading this will have an attitude about the fact that the shooting took place inside a strip club, but the fact is the location didn’t matter to the gunman. It was gang activity that happened to stumble into this particular building.

So instead of spending so much energy worrying about how to protect yourself from Ebola, maybe you should consider how to protect yourself and your children from gun violence. In the USA your chances of dying from Ebola (so far) are 1 in 360 million.

Your chance of dying from gun violence is 1 in 300. Please feel free to commence your own personal freak out.

 

 

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Miss Exotic Oregon 2015 (NSFW)

20141012_124738Ten years ago, I participated in the Miss Nude Oregon (now called Miss Exotic Oregon) contest and managed to take home 1st runner up. It was a lot of fun putting together the shows, creating the costumes, walking onto the stage in a packed house, and walking away with a trophy in what I assumed was a rigged contest. I’m  sure the grand prize was going to a dancer who was currently working at the club that sponsored the contest, and knew that 1st runner up would be the best I could possibly get as a visiting dancer.

When I got 1st runner up in Miss Nude Oregon 2004, it was my proudest professional moment. It still is. Just imagine answering that question honestly in a job interview…

“Well, Bob, since you asked what I feel was my greatest professional accomplishment, I’ll have to go with getting 1st runner up in the Miss Nude Oregon Pageant in 2004. I hand crafted my costumes, edited my own music, created a fan base and a following for the event. I brought my A game to the show. I entertained and delighted the audience. Not only did I beat out dozens of other performers, I was currently employed at a competing club. A club, which I should add, had a rivalry to the hosting venue that was well known in the industry.

“I managed all of this while touring strip clubs in the western US. I had a booking just 24 hours after the event in Las Vegas, NV and managed to make my booking on time and with enthusiasm.”

I’m sure that would go over well for an Administrative Assistant position, hehe.

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I lived in Springfield, Oregon at the time, so there was no way I could work regularly at the Portland area club who owned the contest. I didn’t care. I wanted the experience of competing with other women in my industry and the experience of having carte blanche to create an interesting show. Having been a performer in revue shows in the past, I was perfectly prepared to bring a strip show that can wow the audience. It was quite the rush!

It wasn’t long after I competed in Miss Nude Oregon 2004 that I began experiencing an epic level of burnout as a Stripper. By 2006, I just couldn’t make myself go into work anymore. The thought of dealing with one more drunk who wants to know what he’s going to get for his money before laying that $1 on the stage was enough for me to just pack my shit and go home. I’d had it. The years of being verbally picked apart for my appearance, my attitude, my style, and basically my very essence was enough to hang up the platform shoes permanently.

My last club shift was New Years Eve, 2006/07. I hadn’t planned things that way. In fact I was going to “take a break” and then come back to dancing in a couple of weeks. I had a day job at that point and didn’t need the money from dancing to support myself any longer. Weeks turned into months. By New Years Eve 2007/08 I had made a mental note that a year had passed since I’d danced. I shrugged and decided that it may be time to get rid of all my dance gear.

I packed up boxes of costumes and shoes and rhinestone jewelry. I saved a few favorite items and sold the rest on eBay. And that was the end of my career as Paris Love.

That first year away from dancing I slogged through a debilitating depression. My job allowed me to work at home using my phone and computer, so there was no reason to ever leave the house. My doctor prescribed meds, but they did less than nothing. In fact, I became a recluse while medicated. I switched to marijuana instead of Prozac, and was a bit more functional.

Life went on. I hated the town I lived in, and due to the real estate bubble I was unable to sell my house and move. Eventually the house sold and I moved to Portland in 2012.

I had a job, but I hated it. I quit without lining up other options. This lead me back to the exotic dancing industry when my money ran out. I could hardly believe that I was returning to the stage in my 40’s!

I had no problem getting hired at the first club I applied for. I worked the rest of the shift and went home with more money than I made in a week at my old job. Alrighty then. Back to being a stripper it shall be!

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So here I am with one last chance at this contest. I was assured by the organizer that this contest is not rigged. That clubs or dancers can’t buy 1st place. Not that I care. I’m just excited to bring an artistic esthetic to the stage. Most people would argue that stripping isn’t an art. That it has no social value. That it does nothing for the culture.

I disagree. My goal is to entertain as well as produce an emotional response in my audience. If that isn’t art, I don’t know what is.

Tonight I will do a test run of my makeup style. I will be wearing makeup over my entire body, mostly consisting of glitter.

None of this is cheap. I’m already $100’s of dollars into this contest, and still have a ways to go before I walk into the club.

In 4 days, I will walk onto the stage at Mystic in NE Portland, and see if I have what it takes. It was only 3 days ago that I decided to do this contest. Nothing like waiting until the last minute to put a feature show together to really clarify my purpose in my mind. I’m running my ass off to fabric stores and stripper stores. Then it is off to the tanning salon, the nail salon and finally the hair salon on the day of the contest. I’m working on my pole and choreography tonight at a local pole dance studio. I taught myself how to create a passable music mix with GarageBand. While learning the software, I also found I have quite the creative streak for swearing loudly while tossing headphones across the room.

I will be 45 years old before the finale of Miss Exotic Oregon 2015. This is likely my last chance at this title. Maybe it is finally time to start work on my memoirs. It’s been a helluva ride!

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Stars Cabaret (Beaverton/Bridgeport Village) Club Reveiw

I have worked for the Stars chain of clubs since 2001. I’ve worked at every location and I’ve even held a position as a paid staff member for a while. This is my favorite place to work for many reasons, and all of them boil down to the owners actually want their clubs to be successful.

Click here to see their website

This review is only for the Beaverton and Bridgeport Village locations. There are different pricing and policies at the other locations.

Here you will find two different reviews. The first is for customers to get an idea of what kind of club this is and what to expect when they arrive. The second is for dancers to decide if this is the right club for them. Please comment if I forgot anything or if you have an experience you’d like to share.

Stars Cabaret, Bridgeport Village Map

Stars Cabaret, Beaverton Map

Posted 7/3/2014

For Customers

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Hours of Operation: 11am-2:30am

Parking: Free and ample. No valet at either location aside from special events.

Cover Charge: No cover for matinee performances,  $6-8 per person (after 4pm)

Dances: There are 4 stages in the showroom at each of these clubs and 2 private dance areas. The lap dances are $40 for a single song, 3/$100. Champagne rooms are $250 for half an hour/$500 per hour plus complimentary sparkling wine. Higher mileage on day shift, but this is hit or miss. Please let your dancer know your lap dance expectations before just taking liberties. Not all dancers are comfortable with high mileage.

Food/Beverages: Both clubs offer a full bar and full kitchen. The club offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Menu prices are reasonable. Happy Hour is from 4-6pm daily. Full bar available at both clubs. Limited beer and wine selection. Excellent selection of spirits. Corkage fee $40.

Games: The Bridgeport location offers Video Lottery games. Video Lottery is coming soon to the Beaverton Location.

ATM/Credit card processing available at both locations.

Girls: Dancers are of all ethnicity but majority Caucasian. Tattoos and piercings are common, but you’ll find natural girls on every shift as well. Dancer age range from 18+. Average dancer age is mid 20’s.

Clientele: Blue and white collar professionals, older gentlemen, younger professionals in the evenings and weekends. Couples and single women are welcome. All ethnicities  can be found at both Stars locations. Lots of international visitors.

As is tradition with all Portland are clubs, tipping at least a dollar while sitting at the stage is customary. “Making it rain” will have girls hanging on your every word all evening, but discreet tips of large bills will get the real pros to your table. If you sit at the stage without tipping at all you may get attitude flung at you by not just the dancers but the DJ and potentially the bouncers, too. If you are waiting for change, just step away from the front row until you have some cash to tip the dancers.

Both clubs have heated and covered smoking porches where your favorite dancer over 21 years old can join you for a smoke and conversation. Cigars are welcome.

Both clubs have regular promotions such as discounted or free meals, raffles and giveaways, themed parties, dancer competitions and, of course, visiting porn stars performing for you entertainment and pleasure.

Oh, and ice cream. I’m pretty sure this is the only strip club I’ve ever worked at that offers desserts on their menu all the time.

 

For Dancers

 

House Fees: $10-50 depending on arrival time.

Fines: None. Fines are illegal. If you screw up, you will be fired or suspended, not fined.

VIP fees: No fee for $20 air dances on the floor. $5 from every $40 lap dance/$15 from every 3/$100, $50 for every half hour, and $100 from every hour.

Mandatory tipout: $10 to DJ and bouncer minimum. House mom tip out is at your discretion. If you are selling a lot of rooms/ dances, tipping heavy will help smooth the process and dj’s and bouncers will help you find big spenders in the club. For very busy days I try to tip 15-20% of my take to the staff. Tip waitresses and bartenders as you would at any other restaurant.

Dressing Room: Lockers are available, but may all be in use when you arrive. Do not leave valuables unattended. Do not leave money or other valuables in your locker over night. There are cameras in the dressing room, but if you are high maintenance, management may be less than enthusiastic about helping you get any stolen items back. House mom is only available evenings Tues-Sat and tends to be unreliable.

Costumes: There is no dress code, but the nicer your outfits the more money you’ll earn. This is a gentleman’s club and the customers expect a higher level of dancer than the “girl next door” look. The house mom is a retailer of dancer clothes, shoes and accessories. Some minor cosmetic items are available for a fee (baby wipes, hair styling items, false eyelashes etc.). Pricing is competitive and the house mom will frequently offer discounts to get merchandise out the door. Layaway is available.

Dancers at Stars are mostly low drama and are not possessive of their regular customers for the most part. I usually see the most drama coming from staff and customers, but this environment will occasionally lead to a dressing room brawl. The bouncers and managers are pretty quick at breaking up any physical altercations between dancers. If you are professional and stay out of other people’s business, this shouldn’t be an issue for you at all. Of course, a slow shift and too much alcohol can lead some girls to be jerks. Just like in every other bar in the world.

I’m very happy with my earnings at Stars. Since I’ve only worked for this chain in Portland over the last year, I can’t say how it compares to other clubs. Portland, in general, isn’t a high earning city for dancers due to the large number of clubs and dancers. A new dancer to Stars who has no regular customers established but is a pretty good hustler can expect to bring home $200 a shift on average. I usually have one or two days a month where I earn nothing or end up paying out of pocket for house fees and tip out. The good days balance this out for me.

Shifts:

11am-6pm, 2pm-9pm, 4pm-11pm, 6pm-midnight, 8pm-2:30am.

Stage:

There are 4 stages at both clubs. You are expected to be topless by the end of the 1st song and nude by the end of the second song. Poles are brass. Bridgeport has a pole on every stage, Beaverton has poles only on stages 1 and 2. Hustling the rail while another girl is performing is frowned upon. Dancers will sometimes sit with their customers and tip the dancer on stage. Hustling for dances during your stage set is normal, although not every dancer does it.

If the club is dead, you aren’t expected to perform to an empty house but you still have to be present on the stage during your set in case customers walk in. Many girls still dance during their set just for fun. You will also see them practicing pole moves during the slow times.

Contract:

All dancers are independent contractors and as such are not paid a wage. The contract has something like 6 pages of rules in 10 point font. I have no idea what it says in those rules, because it is too much to remember.

Mileage:

I can’t say how Stars ranks for the availability of extras against other clubs, but I’ve heard other dancers say that the club is pretty high mileage. Some two-way contact is expected. Dancers wear g-strings during the dances. No masturbation shows are available at Stars as the liquor license prevents this kind of activity. If you aren’t comfortable with at least some grinding, you won’t earn much here.

 

Respecting The Art

Most artistic pole dance competitions have stripped away the origins of pole dancing: Strip Clubs.

Pole dancing was designed to be a seduction of the audience. I see pole dances that are more gymnastics than dance. A lot of pole dancers eliminate any of the sexual origins of the dance. And that’s ok, but I kind of think it should have a different name as the emotion driving the dance is gone. Could you imagine a tango without tension?

I’ve enjoyed the male performances, but again, most are of an artistic interpretation of the original. This man brought the two elements together in this performance posted below. He seduces his audience while performing with grace and skill. I hope that I can bring this kind of energy to the stage.