Sunday, July 25, 2010

Strippers at Shotgun Willie's are trained by Disney

Shotgun Willie's, 490 S. Colorado Blvd., is Denver's iconic topless bar. It's been taking it off since 1982, and it takes its name from Willie Nelson's album "Shotgun Willie." Walking into the peeler palladium is like driving into a mountain tunnel on a sunny day. It's so dark, at first you're blind, even wary. As your vision adjusts, you start to see — and you see a lot at "The Gun," as regulars call it. Women dance on seven stages; a few give "table dances" to gents on the sidelines; signage clearly says "$20 PER SONG." Solo men, and groups of them, gawk, smoke cigars, eat, drink and tip. It's a house of mirrors and black lights. The waitresses are in fishnet stockings, never to take a shift at Denny's.

BH: How do you teach them?

Matthews: We have seminars for the new girls and rotate girls who have been here awhile. They learn how to speak to somebody, how to focus on somebody. We send our managers to the Disney Institute for customer service. Think about it: They've been trained by Mickey Mouse.

Matthews: I love to read. I have a Kindle, and I love it. We have a book club for the staff called Strip It Down. We meet once a week. It's a conservative reading group.

BH: Well. What do you read?

Matthews: Friedrich Hayek's "The Fatal Conceit," "Super Freakonomics," the Federalist Papers. We talk about the prisoner's dilemma (a philosophical question about human behavior).