Halloween is the calendar’s gift to strip clubs. On any other day of the year, panhandling candy from strangers while dressed as the gimp from Pulp Fiction would result in public arrest and/or humiliation. I speak from experience. The day before November, on the other hand, has historically been associated with the over-use of orange font and promises of door prizes in advertisements within this publication. Although your club is probably planning the festivities as this magazine collects ashes and Pabst-drops, the sad truth is that every other club in town is trying to upstage you. Having worked in four different clubs on Halloween, I speak (correction—urge) from experience in suggesting the following.
DJs, save the obvious for the parking lot smoke breaks and/or club catastrophes. Whether DK or Misfits, "Halloween" is a cop-out. Rocky Horror, Nightmare Before Christmas or other movie themes are lame and obvious as well. Most importantly, avoid Halloween-marketed singles, such as "Monster Mash" or "Nightmare on My Street." If you do decide to play something you find using the search feature on iTunes, at least make it something no one hears all month, opting for "Everyday is Halloween" (also useful for scaring 22-year-old metalheads who don’t know they own every other CD by the same band).
Instead of taking the easy way out, cater to the mood and play something genuinely spooky. By opting for Skinny Puppy or Bauhaus, you are giving yourself hundreds of songs from which to choose, none of which are familiar to your regulars. Believe it or not, there is a portion of horrorcore rap music that is genuinely spooky (Esham and ICP have a few diamonds in the Halloweensong rough) and a wide variety of DJmixed compilations will suit a similar need (local DJs Wicked and Evil One have both released Halloween-friendly mixtapes). Finish your set with a few female-fronted, sin-friendly bands (Storm and the Balls, Genitorturers) and then toss in "Never Gonna Give You Up" and "Don’t Stop Believing," because I told you to. If that doesn’t scare the club, what will?
Dancers, you go through costumes like drug-dealing boyfriends, so make sure to pick a good one for the holiday. Costume, not boyfriend.
Chances are, the "oooh, I’m eeeevil" shit has been played out and last year’s costume still smells like cherry vodka, so use this opportunity to do something that the boss wouldn’t let you do on any other day. Here are some suggestions.
"The Twin Towers": You and another dancer dress individually in two overlapping cardboard boxes with action figures taped to the side and Sharpied outlines of windows. When you squat, the buildings collapse, revealing your breasts. You and your partner finish the set by falling on top of each other.
"She Used to Work Here": Jog your memory for that one crazy bitch who’s been fired from your club ten times. Dress in the same outfit she used to wear and act out her idiosyncrasies on stage.
"The DJ": Consisting of a shirt for a band no one’s ever heard of, an empty Jagerbomb shot-pint combo, a half-lit cigarette and a passed-out minor, this outfit will probably score you more free drugs than the g-string and halter top.
Whether driven by boredom or by coverup ("Oh sure, honey, I wasn’t looking for an escort, I was reading Tales From the DJ Booth"), more than one set of unlucky eyes grace this column every month, often expecting an anecdote about a fellow bouncer, bartender or "that one broad that works at that one club on Tuesday nights." Last month, however, the dirt was about yours truly. Not the "Yours Truly" dancing at clubs around Portland (she’s cool as fuck), but me, myself and Ray.
For those not familiar with the technicalities of magazine publishing, articles are submitted for publication a month or two before an issue hits the stands. If you are reading this article in October, it was most likely written in late August. Last month, many of you read the end result of a series of bad decisions and whiskey shots, in which I reluctantly decided to "propose" in Exotic. What many people do not know is that I proposed to said lady in real life about three weeks before last month’s magazine hit the stands.
Then, I broke up with her two days before the issue hit the stands, and for arguably good reasons.
Every month, this column exploits reallife drama that happens with dancers, DJs, bouncers and bartenders. Until recently, this article has never itself been the subject of the drama, and I see this engagement backfiring as nothing more than a result of bad karma. Talk enough shit about strippers and sooner or later it will come back tenfold. Or at least that’s what my third grade math teacher told me. Regardless, the "Hey Ray, nice article" jeers have yet to end and I can only imagine what the poor girl feels like.
Running with this month’s theme, I extend to my readers a frighteningly disturbing vision of the future that came to me like a frat boy requesting Sublime—long-term commitment. Fear of death is associated with the psychological tension that results from realizing that one’s existence is finite. In terms of single "life" even the thought of marriage brings single "death" one step closer. Exotic circulates amongst bachelors, swingers, players, man whores and sluts. These are my people, and I apologize to everyone for not only insulting my audience, but for failing to live up to my duties as a chauvinistic, speed-dating, alcoholic strip-club-DJ guru. I have seen death face-to-face, and it is scarier than you think. No more first dates. No more spur-ofthe-moment trips to Humboldt. No more indo, gin or juice.
It was nice, though, to know that the only person to congratulate me was my editor. I think he’s been married at least twice.