Forget Chris Christie’s keynote speech — the most exciting thing about the Republican National Convention will be happening down the street in dimly lit topless bars.
Just in time for the late August convention, Tampa, Fla., strip clubs are undergoing renovations and hiring extra dancers, and one strip club has even hired a a dancer that looks like former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Tampa Bay Online reports.
Tampa is home to 40 strip clubs — which is a little less than three clubs per square mile — and the bay area earned an infamous reputation during the 2009 Super Bowl when clubs stayed open 24 hours a day and multiplied the number of dancers to accomodate out-of-town visitors.
When it was announced in 2010 that the convention would be held in Tampa, Joe Redner, the owner of the city’s Mons Venus strip club, wasn’t worried that Republican convention-goers would actually uphold conservative values.
“Washington, D.C., per capita, sells more bondage leather than any place else in the world,” Redner told the Tampa Tribune. “Those people are kinky.”
Some of the topless businesses hope that their profits will quadruple during the convention, making renovations and additional efforts well worth it. One club, The Doll House, reportedly underwent a $1 million renovation and hired the Palin impersonator.
Don Kleinhans, owner of the 2001 Odyssey club, has put a selection of his dancers in online chat rooms so that travelers can talk to some of the talent online before getting to Tampa next month.
“Not only can you see the dancers on the stage and in the dressing room, you can also talk to them in an online chat room,” he said.
Kleinhans hopes that the chat rooms will allow customers to form a bond with the dancers before arriving in Tampa. Customers pay $19.95 per month for a membership, and it costs $4 per minute to chat with the dancers.
“Guys I meet online feel like we have a relationship,” a dancer named Go-Go told Tampa Bay Online. “If someone came to town, you only had them the short amount of time… and had to part ways. Now you can still make money off them.”