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In an Economy Run Amok, Women Sign Up For ‘So You Think You Can Strip’ Contest

CHICAGO (CBS) ― []- The Admiral Theatre on the city’s Northwest Side is offering its own economic stimulus package of sorts – they’re offering $5,000 to a woman whom they judge the best… stripper.

The well-known club at 3940 W. Lawrence Ave. in the Albany Park neighborhood is planning it first “So You Think You Can Strip” contest, which begins on Thursday.

The contest announcement calls for “students, housewives, secretaries and the girls next door, along with adult entertainers from across the Midwest.” The fine print indicates that contestants “can be females who have never performed exotic dancing onstage.”

The prospective strippers will be judged by three veterans of the industry – adult star “Exotica,” former stripper Jennifer Whaley, and burlesque performer Angela Eve, along with talk radio producer Kenny Webster.

Theater marketing manager Tim Brown told the Chicago Tribune that about 80 women had signed up as of Tuesday, which may be more than anticipated because of the high rate of unemployment.

Brown told the Tribune that he expects two thirds of the contestants won’t go through with participating in the contest.

The contest runs for four weeks. Twelve finalists are chosen for the final round and the winner receives $5,000, two airline tickets to Las Vegas and two days’ hotel accommodations, according to the contest Web site. The runners up win $2,500 for second place, $1,500 for third, and $1,000 for fourth. The first place winner who goes to Las Vegas will compete in a national competition on April 16.

The Admiral Theatre boasts of being the only strip club in the city where models are fully nude. City ordinance forbids full nudity and alcohol in the same establishment, but the Admiral does not serve alcohol.

The theater dates back to 1927, when it opened as a movie theater and vaudeville house. It closed in the 1950s, but reopened as a 25-cent admission all-cartoon theater in the 1969, before it was revamped again as an adult movie theater in 1971. In 1990, the venue changed again to a live strip club. A stage replaced the movie screen, and the private video booths often found in adult bookstores were installed on the former balcony.


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