by Curtis Isom, Founder/Editor-In-Chief
For those who know me, I love and respect this industry and will stand up for making it the best possible till the day I die. Some say I’m “Pro-Dancer” when I talk about this industry, but I’m “Pro-Business” all the way. I bring a wide range of experiences to the table including: a Business Administration degree, over 35 years of working in different business environments, involvement in the mainstream entertainment business since 1987 including being a Theatrical Producer/Director, going to strip clubs for over thirty years, and covering the Adult Entertainment Industry since 2006.
I express my opinions on what I see wrong with this business and will stand by those opinions till proven otherwise. If I’m wrong, I’ll be the first to admit it but know I don’t write about something I haven’t researched till I’m comfortable discussing it. In the thirty plus years of going to strip clubs, I have watched this business evolve and change – some good, some bad. I’ve been to great clubs, bad ones, small hole-in-the wall clubs, large Las Vegas styled ones, and made numerous true friends whom I respect and cherish.
But along the way the reasons people go to strip clubs had never changed: to maybe have a drink, possibly socialize with other patrons, but ALWAYS enjoy the company of a woman and watch them take their clothes off.
Now ever since I’ve been involved in covering this industry and gotten more into the behind the scenes goings on, I believe the strip club industry has lost it’s focus. There are people in this industry who talk a good game, but their actions speak differently. And if we don’t start coming together as a group to better this business, the pit this business is in will only get deeper to the point there may be no business at all.
So let me share one of the reasons I believe this industry has lost it’s focus. What I’m going to call “The Disillusioned Ones”
Going to a strip club to watch the ladies is really no different than going to the theater to watch a stage show. And it takes a number of backstage people to make that stage show a success, but the people preforming on stage is the MAIN ATTRACTION, not the people backstage. Backstage people are important, but NOT the Main Attraction of the show. Those of us who have worked backstage at events understand this very well. We are the support players, those performing on stage, no matter the venue, are what the crowd came to see.
In the strip clubs, one of the backstage people is the deejay (DJ) who is basically the equivalent of the old fashion carnival sideshow barker. The carnival barker’s job was to get the crowd outside to go inside and see the main attractions on the stage. In a strip club, since the crowd is already inside, the DJ’s job is to get the crowd to pay attention to the ladies on stage. In some clubs they are also in charge of keeping track of whose suppose to be on stage when. But if that’s part of their job, it’s their job.
But they, just like the carnival barker of old, ARE NOT the Main Attraction it’s the ladies. Can’t stress that point enough.
When I started going to strip clubs over thirty years ago, strip club DJs were few and far between. Even in the big cities. Most clubs had jukeboxes that carried the ladies favorite tunes which they played and gave the crowd a show. Simple. The DJs in the clubs that had them did the same thing – they played the songs the ladies wanted to dance to and let the crowd know who’s on stage. Again, simple and straight forward. But over the last few years I’ve noticed a growing trend in strip clubs where the DJs are trying to make the stage show about them as well. They talk way too much, even while the ladies are on stage performing. Not only rude, but unprofessional. I fully understand that a DJ is suppose to encourage the patrons to tip the dancers, but there is a fine line that it appears some DJs don’t understand or don’t care to. They believe since they have a microphone, they have some power that allows them to insert themselves into and become the the Main Attraction.
These are “The Disillusioned Ones”.
I’ve been to too many clubs where the DJ is talking way too much, especially while the ladies are doing their shows. I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I go to a strip club, it’s to watch the female entertainers on stage, not listen to some deejay extoll an over imagined ego on the microphone. Now this doesn’t apply to all DJs. There are some great deejays out there, they just do their thing without the bragging or excessive talk. They announce the next entertainer and play the music. These DJs understand that they ARE NOT the Main Attraction.
It may not sound like it, but I have a lot of respect for those who deejay. I’ve done a little deejaying myself at private parties, but it was something I never desired to pursue, just add to my list of skills. I’ve also know a number of radio disc jockeys and while researching for this article, I talked to one who used to moonlight as a DJ in a strip club. He stated, “When I was on the radio, it was MY show, but when I was in the strip club, it was the LADIES’ show! If you can’t tell the difference, you shouldn’t be in the booth!”
But like I said, there is a growing number who think they are the Main Attraction and more important than the women who get up on stage every night and take their clothes off.
A strip club is based on the idea of women taking their clothes off, not a DJ’s excessive talking on the microphone. Wanna talk on the mic so much? Get out of the strip clubs and work in a regular nightclub where you can extoll your ego to your heart’s content.
Adding to this idea that they are the Main Attraction, this growing group of DJs show such much disrespect for the ladies of this industry. Some have their own podcasts (internet radio shows) or post their disrespect online in private places like the industry-only Strip Club Industry (SCI) page on Facebook and other forms of social media. They constantly use words such as “slut”, “whole”, “cheap”, “stupid”, “lazy”, and “drug addict” (you get the point) when discussing the women of this industry. This blatant disrespect for women by these DJs, makes me sick.
So why is it allowed to happen you ask? Because a group of “industry leaders” which include Tony Batman and DJ Platypus from Rick’s Cabaret apparently condone this trash talk about women, And at least one of these “industry leaders” even partakes in it in places such as podcasts, the Facebook SCI page, and elsewhere. Just to make clear, the disrespectful talk is not limited to just the DJs, some club managers and owners do it as well. But this discussion is about the DJs.
So with this idea that DJs are a strip club’s Main Attraction came talk of how they needed to be organized to propel themselves to the proper status they felt they deserved. So within the last couple of years, PANDA the “Professional Adult Nightclub DJ Association.” is formed. PANDA is governed by a 10 member Board of Directors comprised of:
- 1. Dane Hansen, President and DJ at Crazy Horse Too Gentlemen’s Club, Las Vegas, NV
- 2. Shawn Claveau – Treasurer and DJ in Las Vegas, NV
- 3. Tim Rhodes, DJ and Host of Strip Club Radio with co-host Dane Hansen
- 4. Mark Wagner
- 5. James Boucher, DJ at Monroe’s, Palm Beach, FL
- 6. Daniel Montoya, DJ in San Fransisco
- 7. Charlton Lee, DJ at Downtown cabaret, Minneapolis MN
- 8. Danny Meyers, DJ at The Harem in Dayton, OH
- 9. Ron James, DJ at Spearmint Rhino, Dallas, TX
- 10. Willard Barth, Business Consultant, Coach and Turnaround Expert
I have to point out that there are no women on this board and I know there are plenty of women DJ’s in the clubs, so where’s their representation? Is PANDA a male only oriented organization that caters to a select portion of the DJ community? Or did the lady DJs realize PANDA isn’t what it claims and chose to not join? Food for thought.
I saw the formation of PANDA coming long before it actually happened. So I reached out to my DJ friends in this industry and inquired about PANDA to get their thoughts and received back a mixed reaction. Some think it’s a joke, some say it has it’s merit, and some aren’t sure because they don’t think PANDA itself REALLY knows what’s it’s about or stands for because of the talk behind the scenes. But at least three common “goals” keep coming up that PANDA is striving towards:
- a. group discounts on equipment
- b. health benefits for it’s members
- c. better DJs for the dancers
Now I understand the group discount. No problem there.
I also understand about health benefits because there aren’t really any strip clubs I’m aware of offering health insurance. But being able to provide health benefits for your members sometimes requires an organization with “union” like powers which creates serious questions in itself about where PANDA is heading. Questions like: “Does the strip club industry really need an “union like” organization for DJs that can dictate how it’s members are handled?”
If anyone in this industry needs a “union like” organization it’s the women. There’s you more food for thought.
But the one PANDA goal that came up the most is the “better DJs for the dancers”. And this one got my attention because the group of disillusioned DJs, and now PANDA members, who feel they are the Main Attraction in a strip club also talk about how they aren’t making enough money. Especially from the ladies. Right now, and depending on the club, the usual take a dancer pays the DJ is ten percent (10%) on top of her regular house fees. That’s 10% of her TOTAL she made that night in the club. What some PANDA members are pushing for is a raise in that cut to fifteen to twenty percent (15 -20%)! This raise is not only to be applied to the house dancers, but the traveling Feature Entertainers as well because they feel the traveling Feature Entertainers aren’t paying their fair share either!
Are we kidding me? Take more money away from the women who this industry is based? Doesn’t anyone else see how seriously screwed up this is? People need to wake up and pay attention. If we allow this to happen, this industry will certainly die because the women will go looking for work elsewhere.
And again, I don’t think this proposed “raise” idea comes from all the DJs out there, just the disillusioned ones.
So with what I learned about PANDA so far, on August 21, 2014, I requested from PANDA President Dane Hansen a copy of their Professional Code of Ethics and was told I would have that within a couple of days. As of the posting of this article I haven’t received it. Why?Because, as my DJ sources tell me, they don’t have one. So you create a “professional organization” but don’t have a Code of Ethics to govern your members by? Why not? I thought PANDA wants “better DJs for the dancers”, but without a Code of Ethics, how can that be? Of course an “official group” with members apparently motivated and driven by money isn’t necessarily worried about being ethical. Or even professional.
So who do they think they are trying to fool?
I also extended to PANDA President, Dane Hansen an invitation to have a one-on-one chat while I’m in Vegas in January for AVN. And from our brief message exchanges, looks like that should happen. I look forward to this meeting to discuss what I have laid out here as well as other things about PANDA I’ll reserve till that discussion. I know that there will be numerous DJs and their supporters that will blast and try to discredit me for what I have shared here. But as I stated near the beginning, I don’t write about something I haven’t researched till I’m comfortable discussing it. I’m not afraid of any PANDA member, there’s no reason to be. I’m presenting the facts as they were presented to me – again from some of PANDA’s own membership!
But if the members of PANDA dispute what I have shared, especially about them wanting to get a bigger cut from the ladies, I make this proposal: I ask PANDA President Dane Hansen to create a public petition stating that from now and for evermore, PANDA members WILL NOT seek ANY type of raise in the percentage of the money they receive from the dancers – EVER. Furthermore, all PANDA members will be required to sign this petition or lose their PANDA membership and any benefits thereof. I even challenge them to request to LOWER the percentage they now receive if they care about the dancers as much as they claim. I think the former would happen before the latter, but I’m not holding my breath. Will they create and sign such a petition? I seriously doubt it. “The Disillusioned Ones” from PANDA won’t allow it because they again want to be the MAIN ATTRACTION in the strip clubs and not the ladies. And damn anyone who steps in their way of obtaining this goal. Again, I don’t necessarily think PANDA is a bad idea, I just know they aren’t telling the whole story of why PANDA exist. Because if they did, we would all understand and see one reason why this industry is losing its focus and in the pit it’s in.
So I’m interested in seeing how PANDA and it’s members respond. Again, where’s its Code of Ethics, it’s clear list of goals and objectives, and how they are wanting to obtain such? In responding will they be as professional as they claim? Some will, some won’t. And for those who don’t show the professionalism PANDA is suppose to stand for, then I think it’s up to PANDA to reconsider that DJ’s membership and for that DJ’s respective club to reconsider that DJ’s continued employment.
After all, PANDA claims to be a “professional” organization, so let’s hold them to that standard. This is if PANDA is allowed to continue to exist.
And I know there are others out there seeing the same things I do, and they want the best for this industry as well. I’m not saying that PANDA is necessarily a bad idea, but if the disillusioned members get their way, this industry is put deeper into the pit it’s already in. And maybe never get out. This is OUR industry people, wake up and fight for bettering it! Don’t let “the disillusioned ones” succeed in becoming the Main Attraction, take more money from the ladies, and destroy this industry!
“United we stand, divided we fall” doesn’t just stand for the United States, it applies to our industry as well. My opinions and I again stand by them.
Finally, I want to thank everyone who helped me in getting this article created. The emails and other information shared is greatly appreciated and the anonymity of those who provided such is respected and honored. I also especially thank those in the Adult Entertainment Industry and everyone else who reads any article here on Erotic World Media. Whether you agree or disagree with what I have to say doesn’t matter to me, just as long as it makes you think and want to make this industry better for the long haul.
Talk is cheap, actions get things done. And I’m an advocate for action. PANDA be dammed!
Editor’s Note: Although my opinions are covered by the First Amendment and Free Speech, I have been informed that this article is being looked at for consideration in being published in the mainstream press. After discussing the article, an edit was recommended which I have done to one section to clarify what I was trying to say. So if you are passing around the original version, you are passing around something that is incorrect. -CLI