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Tales From The DJ Booth: Kids These Days

by DJ HazMatt

I got to DJ an all-ages drag show. I will probably DJ another one. If you’re wondering, the Lipstick Divas are a respected drag troupe that has ties with a venue in Salem called Shotski’s. The venue serves pizza and is all-ages, so why not remove the curse words and innuendo, download some Little Mermaid remixes and open the doors to the little ones? It was a blast, but with every ounce of hope I gained for the up-and-coming generation, I was reminded a bit more of how much the current one kind of sucks. Here’s why.

Children Are More Patient Than Adults

Instead of waving dollar bills around in a "HEY! HEY! COME OVER HERE!" fashion, children appear to be more patient with their dancers. I witnessed a five-year old hold a dollar bill up for about two solid minutes, which has to be an hour in toddler time. By the time the queen she was watching came around to her table, that little girl’s arm must have been stiffer than her parents’ drinks.

Contrast this with the excessively annoying attempts by hipster adults in Portland strip clubs. You won’t see kids folding dollar bills into triangles, placing them on vertical arrangements, holding them hostage or waving them around like a flag at a Trump rally. On the contrary, it turns out that children are much more understanding of the fact that their dancers have more than one person to attend to.

Kids Appreciate Performance

While watching the liberal agenda unfold, it was not only beautiful to see all the open-mindedness that awaits the next generation (we’re not entirely screwed and should be just as patient as kids are with their stripper tickets), but a genuine feeling of awe also seemed to be in the air. Kids just aren’t as jaded as adults, so when they watch a gender-bending Joker do a somersault from atop a dinner table, they’re legitimately entertained.

On the contrary, I’ve seen Portland-area dancers light their tits on fire while doing a handstand, only to be met with yawns and nickels from the entitled, scarf-wielding douchebags, who only come out to show off their Vaudeville mustache and drink PBR from the can (nothing against PBR...just, ya know, fucking tip if you’re saving money by drinking that shit).

Toddlers Take Social Cues Better Than Adults

I think it took me until my mid-twenties to learn how to say "thank you" or realize that, when a woman mentions how cold it’s getting while you’re camping in the woods, you’re not supposed to toss her the car keys and wish her the best. Perhaps I’m not the best example, but, as a general rule, adults are dicks. Not only do kids show better appreciation for their entertainers, but they’re damn good at taking cues from others. When one kid at the Divas All-Ages Drag Show held up a dollar bill, another kid would take note and follow suit.

Let’s compare this to how adults in strip clubs act; I made a decade-long career out of using a microphone to remind living-wage activists, local Marxists and Bernie supporters that a dollar-per-song minimum doesn’t just apply to the old dudes playing poker. In fact, when Suburban Steve-O and his dorky friends would pop in, make it rain and leave, hipster trash would actually have the nerve to ask dancers if they can "leave early, now that (they’ve) made some money." This is why strippers shouldn’t have boyfriends.

Kids Can (And, Legally, Should) Appreciate Non-Sexual Aspects Of Adult Entertainment

Strip clubs, burlesque performances, drag shows and the like, are often clumped in with jack shacks, brothels and dispensaries. Although we at Exotic like to give all of these businesses a fair representation, that representation is always positive. The bulk of conservative (and, anymore, liberal) America feels that anything remotely tangential to "adult" anything, is, by default, off limits for kids. If Salon can defend pedophiles on their website (which is a hard fucking "hell no" for us), what’s the harm in exposing kids to the non-sexualized elements of adult performance? I don’t care what gender the dancer is, watching Cruella De Vil dance around a pizza joint half-drunk on Red Bull is fun for all ages. We forget that the "strippers do more than take their clothes off" sentiment has a ton of backing in real life. Every single kid that attended the all-ages drag show that I got to DJ at was entertained.

I wish I could say the same for the non-tippers, just-here-for-the-food and "guy in a band" customer base at strip clubs. If I had a dollar for every "Yeah, that’s cool, but she didn’t show me her vagina" I’ve overheard, I’d be able to tip the dancers who inspired the remark. People in Oregon forget that, in order to see a fully nude woman on stage while holding a beer, you either need to stay put or move to Thailand. I hate to sound all "woke" ’n’ shit, but come the fuck on, guys—I tip anyone who dances for me, up to and ideally including homeless midget panhandlers. Going to a strip club and not tipping is like going to a strip club and not tipping, and needs no clever metaphor.


So, what can we say about children and strippers that hasn’t already been said on Dr. Phil? I, for one, have hope for the next generation. Watching kids tip drag queens in a non-sexual environment, while being genuinely entertained and accepting of the art form and refraining from judgment, well, it gives me the same kind of hope that I used to have while working at the strip clubs. Perhaps the current-year environment of entitlement and stinginess will pass, once the as-of-yet-legal-to-drink generation rebels against their parents by generating income and rewarding others for merit-based performance.

That, or I just spent an entire column talking about all-ages drag shows while leaving the readers wondering where they go down. First Sunday of the month, Shotski’s Eats, Salem, Oregon. I usually DJ. See you there.