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By Tom Murphy
This may seem a bit strange, but one of the fondest memories I have of my dad is the time we went to Shotgun Willie's (490 South Colorado Boulevard) together. I was home from college for the holidays, and we decided to head to the strip club for happy hour and the free buffet. We grabbed a couple of plates of food — barbecued ribs, carrots, celery and ranch dressing — and then sat down at one of the stages, ordered a few beers and ate our ribs while nearly-naked lovelies danced in front of us.
After I finished my food, I wiped off my fingers and tried to concentrate on the action. I pulled out a few singles that Dad had given me on our way in. The gal squatted down and stretched out her G-string; I slid the bill underneath, my thumb grazing her skin — one of those little thrills a guy gets going to strip clubs.
Dad went to get another plate of ribs. I was still hungry, but I didn't want to get up — okay, I couldn't get up, really, because, uh, I was kind of excited. Anyway, Dad sat back down, and the girl was dancing in front of him while he went to town on those ribs, not really noticing her. And all I could think of was how bizarre yet hilarious the whole scene was.
This was right before Matt Dunafon started his thirteen-year stint as general manager of the club. And just over a year ago, he left to go manage La Bohème (1443 Stout Street), the upscale adult club downtown. That ruffled a few family feathers, because Dunafon's father is married to Shotgun owner Debbie Matthews. But Matt has since smoothed things over, and on June 30, he officially reclaimed his GM post at Shotgun Willie's.
"I'm 38, and I've worked pretty much my whole life at Shotgun's," he explains. "I kind of belong there. We had a disagreement. I was foolish and took the easy way out — to La Bohème's advantage." And while Dunafon also learned a lot during his stint downtown, he doesn't plan to employ certain marketing strategies that attracted customers there — like highlighting feature acts, porn stars or DJs — at Shotgun Willie's.
"I like to keep things consistent for the customers — for the regular customers and anybody coming in from out of town," he says. "I don't want somebody coming in from L.A. expecting to see girls all night long and having two DJs jump on stage. I want there always to be girls."
And how about some ribs, in memory of my dad?
Back at La Bohème, they wish Dunafon nothing but the best. "He was great," says Lance Migliaccio, La Bohéme's marketing manager. "We really loved having him here. The only reason he left was to sort things out with his family, and you can't blame a guy for that." Club scout: There are more changes in stripland. The show club at 1196 South Santa Fe Drive that was long known as the Paper Tiger, then as the Maxim Show Club (a name that got it into some trouble with Maximmagazine), has been sold to Leo Tsodikov, former owner of Bare Essence. The club doesn't have an official name yet, but it does have a full kitchen and girls dancing seven days a week. On Saturday, July 7, DC 10 (940 Lincoln Street) celebrates its first anniversary with a Las Vegas-style bash, complete with bikini-clad models and showgirls serving strawberries and cream. Farther down Broadway, DJ Slave1 and her crew will hold their weekly Disintegration goth night at the Atrium (554 South Broadway). They moved the Saturday-night feature from Club Boca (1521 Marion Street) because the Atrium has a better dance floor and lighting system, says Slave1. In addition to goth, the DJs will spin a mix of industrial, electro and darkwave.