From Vegas...

SEX AND SIN ARE BACK ON THE STRIP

By • Apr 1st, 2004 •

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The strip clubs are draining revenues from the casinos. Something has to be done! If you own a huge hotel & casino enterprise, the last thing you want is your male customers heading off to spend money elsewhere.

Sex and sin are definitely back in Las Vegas. Gone are those family-friendly welcoming mats where baby strollers were bumping into the wheelchair-bound slot aficionados.

Now that Las Vegas has become a hip destination for the under-30 elite with spending money, the casinos have to keep their patrons in-house instead of allowing them to roam free sampling the strip clubs.

It is only a matter of time before a Las Vegas hotel/casino has a strip club on its premises.

In the meantime, sexy shows are back with a naked vengeance and a twist. Now audience members are supposed to participate. If you are not flashing your breasts and simulating faux-sex acts with house dancers, why are you in Las Vegas?

First up for my weekend report on the triumphant return of Sin City were drinks at MGM Grand’s ultra lounge Tabu followed by the re-staged Parisian revue “La Femme.” With seven new numbers, it is the most erotic show on The Strip.

The 300-seat La Femme Theater at the MGM Grand was designed in 2001 to re-create the legendary Crazy House nightclub in Paris. All 13 dancers in “La Femme” are members of the original Paris dance troupe. These beautiful women can actually dance. The sensual, provocative choreography is draped in richly colored and textured lighting designs. It is an astonishingly sexy, imaginative show.

Except that the magical eroticism is broken when 2 people manipulating puppets appear. Michael Jackson as a pint-sized puppet alongside a chimpanzee? Isn’t Michael in jail somewhere yet? This segment – why do all Las Vegas shows insist on this? – nearly kills the mood they so cleverly built.

Each dancer has her own solo number and introduces her character and astrological sign. In the finale, all of the dancers perform together against a neon pink and green kaleidoscope of stained-glass images.

Regardless of the Michael Jackson slip of creative judgment, I highly recommend this intimate, sexy show.

Saturday night I attended the opening of Beacher’s Madhouse at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s “The Joint.” Beacher’s Madhouse Summer Series is at “” every Saturday until July 23rd. It is an excessive, voyeuristic (or, if so inclined, participatory) extravaganza suited to every decadent need. The crowd was gorgeous and eager to entertain. It was as if Federico Fellini’s ghost staged a live show and handed out Ecstasy tabs. Lollipops were thoughtfully provided at each table.

There were at least 60 bikini-dressed house dancers, a revelry instigator named Todd, a drag queen, acrobats, contortionists, a dominatrix, a guy struggling to get out of a straight jacket, evil clowns, a little person (Lil’ Tim), and a guy somersaulting around on stilts. This was the pre-show activity where I was sitting. I have no idea what was going on outside the orchestra area. Ice T was in the house! But I didn’t see if his much-photographed wife Coco was with him. There were audience contests: Karaoke Rock Star and Dance Idol Contests. Even though the two girls who wiggled, kissed, and one flashed her breasts twice, they lost the swag and title!

Do not go to the Madhouse in WalMart shorts and sneakers.

I should mention the pre-show show-stopper, Leonard the Magnificent. Leonard is fabulous! Everybody went wild when he turned away from the audience and pulled down his tiny, tight micro-shorts. Celine, Las Vegas has a new diva!

The actual show had better be better than this, right?

Like Commodus entering Rome came host/executive producer Jeff Beacher. He’s fat but does it matter if your payroll checks clear? Beacher, gleefully not steering clear of the Deadly Sin of Gluttony, took the stage. He rotates a hand-selected group of comedians. For the opening night, Madhouse’s comics were Robert Kelly and Jim Norton. I see a lot of Norton on Comedy Central’s “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn.” This is not comedy for your parents.

“LA FEMME” at MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV, (800) 929-1111. Tickets are $59 (drinks not included). Show times are 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Dark every Tuesday. www.Mgmgrand.com.

Beacher’s Madhouse at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino; 4455 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, NV, 702.699.7844. Tickets are $25 (includes one free drink). Doors open at 9 p.m. www.BeachersMadHouse.com.

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