Portland strip club and adult entertainment mainstay DJ Dick Hennessy has had the idea for a strip club haunted house in the works since he saw the old-fashioned upstairs room in Chinatown's Spyce Gentleman's Club a few years ago.
On Tuesday, he is kicking off Portland's first ever strip club haunted house at Spyce, based on "The Seven Deadly Strip Club Sins." I spoke to Mr. Hennessy about his inspiration for the haunted house, the seven deadly strip club sins, and what guests can expect.
What inspired the strip club haunted house?
I've been doing a lot of events in the adult industry for about eight years. I view Portland as the strip club capital of the United States, with more strip clubs per capita than anywhere else. It's always kind of the same thing over and over. No one is really doing anything extracurricular, anything fun and outgoing, so our brand is always trying to pick up new and innovative approaches to party ideas and concepts. I was downtown at Spyce when they opened up their upstairs area, and a haunted house was the first thing that popped into my head. It has an old, historic feeling to it. I thought, "Wow. This could really easily be converted to a haunted house, or a really cool Halloween party." I've been trying to talk them into doing it for the last three years. They finally decided to go ahead with it this year. I couldn't manage doing it in any other location.
Is the haunted house supposed to be scary, sexy, or both?
Both. We are trying to do a nice scary edge to it, but at the same time make it enjoyable and educational.
The concept is "The Seven Deadly Strip Club Sins." For people who aren't too familiar with the rules or the etiquette for being in a strip club, this will be an educational, collaborative type of experience where you get to learn what not to do at the strip club.
What are the seven deadly strip club sins?
The first is: no taking photos or videos to record the dancers.
Second, no stealing from the dancers.
People do that?
Absolutely. Some people will take money off of the stage when they think no one is looking. When people make it rain, it can be easy to lose track of it. Some people will pick up a couple of dollars and pocket it, or throw it back on stage.
Another is to not present your junk in the private dance area. A classic sin, and important—still relevant today.
Fourth: do not lick or kiss the dancers. You'd be surprised how much this happens during a private dance.
Fifth is to never proposition or try to get a girl back to your hotel room. Do not solicit them outside of the club afterwards.
The main one is "Thou shalt tip your dancer."
And the final sin: "Thou shalt not be a trainwreck in the strip club. Do not be drunk, belligerent, obnoxious, or out of control."
How are you illustrating these sins? Will it be like a traditional haunted house where guests are led through?
We have two different hosts, and you'll get one of two different experiences depending on when you go. They'll take you upstairs and give you a breakdown of the sins, and guide you to the beginning of the house. From there you can go off on your own or with a group of people. Along the way are seven different areas, each of which visually explain the sin and the potential haunted house repercussions of the sins. It gets off to a fast start with sexiness and scariness. During the journey there will be a few different pop out characters.
Is this targeted towards strip club beginners, or veterans, or both?
Everyone. If you are really familiar with strip clubs and their etiquette or if you aren't at all you can still fully appreciate it.
I heard you were working with a makeup artist to really set it off. Can you tell me about that?
We really lucked out this year and hit the ground running. We were able to book Shashonna Knecht, who is probably the top makeup artist in the state when it comes to this stuff. She has years of experience and accolades. Right now [exotic dancing competition] Miss Exotic Oregon is going on, which is the biggest adult event of the year. Nine times out of ten the girl that wins or has the best or most elaborate make up has hired Shashonna way ahead of time. When it comes to make up she is extremely versatile. She worked for Fright Town for years and was in charge of makeup there, so she a tremendous background.
Has there been any early feedback or excitement for the house?
A ton. There isn't one person I explain it to who isn't excited about it. It's never been done before, so when you picture it, your mind can go whatever direction. It is going to be a ton of fun. I'm really excited, and it should be very successful. We are doing this year to establish it, and we want it to get bigger and bigger. We want it to be a Portland institution for Halloween.
Go: DJ Dick Hennessy's Strip Club Haunted House at Spyce Gentleman's Club, Tues 10/27 – Thurs 10/29, 10 pm, 33 NW 2nd Ave., $10 admission with free gift.