Adult Industry Prepares For 2012 GOP Convention

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Adult Industry Prepares For 2012 GOP Convention



TAMPA, Fla. -- Following an extensive remodel, the Penthouse Club in Tampa, Fla., is finally ready for next summer's Republican National Convention. Club operator DeWayne Levesque has installed two secluded VIP sections, which he hopes will help his club attract a bigger share of the 50,000 visitors expected to descend upon the city on Aug. 27 for four days of conservative politics and liberal partying. In addition to the club's new carpets and furniture, the private rooms are designed to provide cover so that camera-shy donors, politicians and aides can enjoy the strippers without fear of getting caught, he said.

A few blocks from the Penthouse Club, another strip club owner, Joe Redner, said he has high hopes for what the convention means for business at his all-nude club, Mons Venus. "I'm guessing we'll make five times as much in a night as we usually do," Redner told HuffPost. "Republicans got plenty of money. They take it all from poor people," he said.

Redner said he thinks many convention visitors will be in the market for a lap dance, but newly-released academic research suggests that some will be interested in the darker elements of Tampa's adult scene, too -- sex for sale. HuffPost teamed up with Tampa-based reporter Shawn Alff, of the Creating Loafing media group, to examine the potential impact of the RNC on two major pillars of the city's X-rated economy: prostitution and strip clubs.

"I can make between $50,000-$60,000 a night at Mons Venus during the days leading up to the Superbowl," Redner explained, "up from $10,000-$12,000 on an average night." When asked how a buttoned-up, political clientele might differ from a Superbowl crowd, Redner laughed. "All customers look [at the dancers] the same, no matter what they're wearing or what they're here for."

Mons Venus typically closes at 5 a.m., but Redner said he would be willing to keep the club open 24-7 during the GOP convention if demand merits it. That said, he may charge clients a premium at the door. "During the Superbowl I charge $50 a head. I may decide to do that during the convention, too."

In the meantime, Redner's got a few bones to pick with GOP policymakers. "[Republicans] keep saying this stuff about how if we tax the rich, then small businesses won't be able to grow. But I'm a small business owner, and I put all my money right back into my businesses in the form of capital improvements, which I don't pay taxes on anyway. So their argument isn't how reality works."

Another adults-only perk for conventioneers are scheduled appearances at clubs by well-known female adult film stars. Agent Brian Gross, who represents actresses Joanna Angel, Ryan Keely and Alexis Ford told HuffPost that "large events … give big name adult stars who dance on the circuit a great opportunity to get in front of a large crowd for their on-stage performances."

One star who might feel right at home during the convention is Lisa Ann of the "Nailin' Palin" adult film series, which lampooned the former governor of Alaska. Lisa Ann is currently touring, but no word on whether she's slated to hit Tampa next summer. X-rated starlets also offer the clubs a competitive advantage, which is critical in an industry that Redner said has been hard hit by the Great Recession.

For those with cash to spend, however, the options abound. An adult video producer who gave his name as "Brandon" said he plans to offer conventioneers an erotic limo service that includes the company of "models."

But don't expect to see Washington big-shots climbing out of Brandon's limo anytime soon. "The people in Tampa from D.C. will be there to work, not to get caught in a limo with [that stuff]," said a veteran Republican operative. "Now the delegates, that's another story, because they've only got one thing to do the whole time, which is vote for the nominee."
Adult Industry Prepares For 2012 GOP Convention
 

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