"Excuse me?" I replied.
"Ah doper deal?!" returned the woman in an accusatory tone. She was expertly coiffed, fully inebriated, and apparently a visiting tourist from India. The place was "Stinky's Peepshow," sometime in 2002, when I was a full year into my tour of duty as Door Girl. It wasn't until the lady motioned to my corseted breasts that I realized she was asking, "Are those for real?"
"Yes," I replied, not sure whether I should be flattered or hurt. Her eyes got wider and she muttered something disapproving in Hindi, probably along the lines of, "Oh you sad, sorry slut who must suffer from back pain."
Times like that were actually the best part of working at "Stinky's," when folks wandered in unawares and emerged from the backroom peep show covered in Ding Dong filling (of the Hostess variety) with lipstick traces on their faces and the greenish glow of someone about to throw up.
For those who have never been, "Stinky's" was an event that, in its heyday, took place every Thursday at the now-defunct Covered Wagon Saloon on Folsom. "Large 'n' Lovely" go-go dancers weighing in at over 200 pounds flanked the bar and a converted pool table in between sets from at least three loud bands. In the back was the peep show, which varied from week to week but often included a performer named Boobzilla, the Snackmaster, and a woman with size-J tits who could hold three San Francisco phone books under her mamms.
"Stinky's" lasted for more than three years at the CW before personality clashes betwixt the promoter and the bar's owner drove it into the dirt. After that, it continued somewhat haphazardly at two other venues, never quite holding the same appeal as it did during the dingy days of the Covered Wagon. Let's face it: You can't move the Pirates of the Caribbean ride over to the Country Bear Jamboree just by dressing the joint up all nautical and adding some sea chanteys. "Stinky's" wasn't the same without the funk and filth of the CW. When the event moved to the Justice League, we had the bottles of rum but very little yo-ho-ho.
Now "Stinky's" is back, and this time it's happening in a club that may be an even better place for it than the CW was: the sultry Café Du Nord. To be honest, I was dubious about its return, having witnessed firsthand the state of limbo we got ourselves into after leaving our original bar. My advice was to come up with an all-new weekly event, give it a new name, have a different shtick. But how can you top fat chicks, loud rock 'n' roll, and exposed breasts for only $1? As it turned out, on the night of the event's reopening, Sept. 2, the place sold out. Almost 100 people had to be turned away. So much for my tenure as business adviser.
The theme for the dancers was a James Bond thing called "Never Say Diet." Two of the go-gos were dressed in mod '60s ho-bag ensembles, and the third was painted head to toe in gold, à la Goldfinger. In the peep show tent we were all witness to "Flameus Caesar," a homosexual homage to the great emperor, in honor of the Olympics (Greek, Roman, what's the diff, right?).
Just as naked men competed for honor and glory hundreds of years ago, the folks in this freak tent passed a faux Olympic torch with their butts, alternating with Jell-O shots, also administered from between one of the performers' ass cheeks. One unlucky audience member got to suck the shot straight out of Flameus' mudflaps, while more fortunate onlookers could take shots from the cleavage of two topless, pastied, ancient Olympian bimbos in white cotton panties. Caesar's lion -- aka the guy in the lion suit -- periodically ran out to the crowd and humped someone. To round out the wholesome entertainment, everyone in the audience was shouting, "Hail Caesar!" and Sieg Heil-ing into the air.
Absolutely nothing was serious that night, including the bands. First came Panty Raid, a Casio freakout comprised of peeps who had fallen off the Gravy Train, followed by Pepperspray, an all-transvestite rawk revue. But the real draw of the night was S.F.'s salute to the hardworking men and women of early '80s New Jersey, the Fazolis. The Fazolis reprised songs from the period of rock history in which new wave began to creep into classic rock through bands like Loverboy and Bon Jovi (by new wave, I mean skinny ties and red leather pants). It was a time when power pop met Bruce Springsteen, attached a Japanese sushi chef's headband, and declared itself Hard Rock. The band members -- musicians from Bottles and Skulls, Me First & the Gimme Gimmes, the Foo Fighters, and the Swingin' Utters -- were all dressed like class-A goombahs and ripped through songs such as the Boss' "Born to Run," Foreigner's "Head Games," Bon Jovi's "Runaway," and other hits by artists like 38 Special and Boz Scaggs.
It was so goddamn fun that most of us allowed ourselves to be filled with the hope that once "Stinky's" started appearing again on a monthly basis it might be better than it ever was. As the evening wound down, the singer for the Fazolis, Spike Slawson, called the promoter, Audra Morse, up to the stage to thank her for bringing it back. He had an ulterior motive, however. Morse is also Slawson's longtime girlfriend, and there, in front of a few hundred drunken scuzzballs, the singer for Me First & the Gimme Gimmes pulled out a ring and proposed. For a brief moment, the lion stopped humping, Caesar stopped popping tiny shots of gelatin into his ass, and the jiggles of the dancers slowed to a halt while the crowd awaited Morse's reply. "Yes," she said, beaming through tears.
This could be the start of something good.
Katy St. Clair's clubs column Bouncer will appear weekly. She can be reached at Katy.StClair@sfweekly.com. OK Then is on vacation.