A&E » Arts

Boot to host second amateur night



What: Boot Ballet Amateur Night

Where: Boot Pub

When: Saturday, March 27

It’s common for the Boot Pub to get a mention in these pages for its regular hosting of punk, rock, funk, jam and worldbeat live music.

But there’s also live entertainment of a different nature, taking place thrice weekly at the unassuming club on the outskirts of the village.

For the micro-percentage out there that aren’t aware, here it is – one of Whistler’s best live music venues doubles as a strip club.

Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday the Boot hosts Das Boot Ballet, featuring a company of dancers that champion booty shaking over Barishnikov.

For the most part the Ballet proceeds without much hype, although it is No. 1 in the latest issue of Freeskier Magazine’s ski town strip clubs feature.

Obviously it’s a lucrative night for the club and the dancers, or the Boot would have axed it a long time ago. People like to watch strippers and they’ll pay to do it. Bang the gavel, we’re done here.

Or are we? There’s another element to the equation – the women on stage. Most of the Ballet dancers at the Boot are arranged through talent agencies. Either local or from the city, they come, they dance, they leave with a healthy booty of tips.

But for the second consecutive year the Boot is opening the pole to amateurs. For those who dared to wonder whether they’ve got the skills, the body and the attitude to be a stripper, and decided that yes, they do, here’s a rare chance to put their money where their g-string is.

Amateur night is loosely organized as a contest, although the judging process is about as well defined as it is for Olympic ice dancing.

The "amateur" label is about as concrete as the judging. There may be one or two pros onstage to "get the ball rolling," says Boot manager Paul McNaught, although he stresses the focus of the event is to give the unseasoned a chance to strut their stuff.

Performance personas and the degree to which contestants doff their duds are entirely up to each dancer. Cash prizes will be awarded to performers that stand out – McNaught cites a blond cutie that did a naked backflip at last year’s event to illustrate.

Those entertaining the thought should realize that they’re going to be entertaining what is certain to be a packed house. McNaught acknowledges he fielded concerns from some offended parties in town for the inaugural amateur event – blur the line between "girls who dance for money" and "girls who don’t" and it tends to upset the moral applecart – but he cites the response to the event as all the justification necessary. The inaugural amateur Ballet drew a crowd of approximately 300 before the doors had even opened for the night, and the hype preceding the follow up is brewing healthily.

There’s the very real threat that spirited competitiveness will push the non-competition into territory forged by the late infamous Freakers’ Ball. But that remains to be seen. For the time being, Amateur night is happening, literally and figuratively.

Interested contestants can sign up in advance as well as the night of the event.

For more information call 604-932-3338.