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RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- The heat of summer arrives early this year in the form of "American Storm," one of the world’s best and best-known male strip shows.
This fully costumed and choreographed production takes the stage at The Show at Agua Caliente Resort and Casino at 9 pm, Friday, April 8. (Sorry kids, this is a 21 and older show.)
"American Storm" originated as part of the VH1 reality show, "Strip Search."
For the television show, regular guys – loan officers, college students, mechanics, bartenders – were recruited as potential strippers. They moved into a house in Los Angeles and learned their craft through “stripper boot camp.”
Each week, a contestant was booted off the show. The hard-bodied hunks still dancing at the end were declared the winners, earning work in Las Vegas as members of "American Storm."
The troupe recently celebrated its fifth anniversary on the Las Vegas Strip. The guys have been named Best Male Strip Show by the Las Vegas Review, and Sexiest Show on the Strip by Where Magazine. Two of the cast members, Tony Cress and Josh Hall, have been named “One of the 20 Most Beautiful People in Las Vegas.”
The group has been featured on "EXTRA!" "Entertainment Tonight" and Rehab Party at the Hard Rock Hotel.
The performing members of the cast are straight, but the show’s producer, Alex Schechter, is gay. And, unlike certain other famous male revues (cough, Chippendales, cough), gay men are not only welcome but encouraged to come out and see "American Storm."
“We actually have a lot of gay customers,” Schechter said, “probably because the reality show was so popular with gay men. Gay bars had Strip Search Night the way they have Glee Night now. So we’ve had a huge gay audience from the start.”
Current cast members include Tony Cress, Tommy Gainer, Sway Dizzle, Josh Hall, Justin Curtis, Terry Cress and Steve Kim. Tony is a Leo from Iowa who enjoys basketball, hiking and sushi. Tommy is a Gemini from Philadelphia whose favorite foods include pizza and ice cream.
Sway is a Leo from Venice Beach whose favorite movie is "Gladiator." Josh is a Leo from Tennessee who wanted to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle when he grew up. Justin is a Gemini from Scottsdale who loves the music of Elvis Presley. Terry is a Leo from Iowa who wants to travel to Japan and China someday. Steve is a Leo from Oregon whose heroes include Bruce Lee, Bill Gates and Clint Eastwood. (Apparently you have to be a either a Leo or a Gemini to work as a stripper.)
Even though the cast members are straight, they’re happy to have a gay following.
“We’ve done a lot fundraisers for the gay community,” Schechter said, “a lot of AIDS research benefits, other fundraisers, whatever we can to help the community. They really are the nicest guys, approachable, fun, down-to-earth, and socially aware. They’re everyday guys, not performers, and they have a great time doing this for both ladies and gentlemen.”
The 70-minute show presents a series Vegas style routines set to music from current artists.
“We do big choreographed numbers,” Schechter said. “We’ll do a cowboy number, a military number in dress whites, a businessman number, a 1940s pimp-type number, every fantasy you can think of. We start out with all of the guys onstage, and then it becomes more of a solo for one member to shine. Then we find an audience member and bring that person onstage and do naughty things. There’s a lot of audience interaction, but it’s not lap dancing or anything like that. There’s no tipping. It’s good clean dirty fun.”
If you go
"American Storm" visits The Show at Agua Caliente Resort and Casino at 9 pm Friday, April 8. There is no frontal nudity, and you must be 21 or over to attend. Tickets range from $25 to $45. For more information, log on to the casino's website or "American Storm" online. To purchase tickets, log on to star tickets