Entertainment

[Politics: Palinapalooza!]

Mooselini look-alike contest proves to be a bipartisan affair

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Darien Ross sits backstage before the Sarah Palin look-alike contest at Club Paradise.
Photo: Jacob Kepler

The Sarah Palins were getting tipsy. There were 13 Palins, in bikinis and other outfits that you would freeze in if you wore them in Alaska, wandering in and out of the dressing room with an open bar that kept the wine flowing.

Actually, most of the women looked nothing like Palin up close, beyond the uncanny ease with which glasses and a bun can render almost any female into Palin. That generic quality to her look inspired Club Paradise to hold a Sarah Palin look-alike contest. More than appearance, it took props to make a good Palin. One woman held a toy shotgun; another held tight to her bosom an eerily lifelike baby doll. Almost all the Palins thought to wear red, white and blue bikinis.

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Some of the Palins copped to being disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters; a few were clearly for Obama. But there were also a couple who admired the real deal.

One of these Palins, Kimberly Jones, was on a sofa, dressed in a suit jacket, clearly keeping to herself. At first she seemed very shy about her admiration for Sarah Palin. “This isn’t the right place to discuss politics?” she suggested, meaning a strip club in Las Vegas. “Yes it is,” I said. Once she opened up, her endorsement of Palin was as full-throated as any of the more modestly informed Obama-supporting Palins. (When I asked one of them to share a position that she shares with her candidate, she turned around and pointed to her bottoms, which read, “Insert here.”)

Jones is a classic Reagan Democrat whose entire family was inspired by the Gipper to go Republican in 1980. “Reagan is probably my hero. Obama scares me. His affiliation with the church he was with scares me.” I asked Jones if she had considered how Palin’s church might view stripping, and she replied, “It is not illegal. It is adult entertainment. I am not saying Sarah Palin or Todd Palin wants to go to an adult club. I am okay with that. This is America, and she has the freedom to choose.”

In fact, Jones was inspired by Palin’s addition to the ticket.

“I was pleasantly surprised [by the choice of Palin]. I actually love watching her talk, listening to her speak, watching her get attacked and fighting back. She inspires me more than any other woman, including Hillary Clinton.”

As for the other Palin stripper who supported Palin, she told me how she had read online that Obama does not put his hand over his heart to say the pledge of allegiance. “Who do you think he does pledge his allegiance to?” she asked. A waitress also told me about Obama and the pledge. Even the more politically focused Jones said that with Obama there was “that thing with the Muslims.” But she would be no clearer.

In the most offensive moment of the night, a littler person was introduced as Barack Obama. Beyond being black, this person had no resemblance whatsoever to Obama, nor was any effort made to make him Obama-like. He was black, and apparently that was enough.

When all the votes were calculated, Jones won, putting her $10,000 closer to the sort of income that will benefit most from a McCain presidency. But perhaps the biggest winner of the night? Club Paradise. The media came from as far as Europe. The Palin contest easily became the Vegas story of the weekend. Google lists more than 100 stories on it.

This was also the weekend of the big media celebration for Scores’ transformation into Rick’s Cabaret, the only shareholder-owned, publicly traded topless bar. This event also had a lot of advance marketing. But I could only Google fewer than a dozen stories about it.

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