Sunday, May 07, 2006

Stripper Music

Without a doubt, one of the greatest things about the Internet is that, whoever you are, whatever you're interested, and whatever you might be doing for a living, there's a place online for you. Someplace where you can go to talk with others of a similar mindset, to ask questions from others of a similar profession, or simply lament with others who've experienced similar troubles.

Even if you happen to be, say, a stripper.

Now, I know you're wondering, "Todd, why are you interested in Web sites dedicated to the profession of stripping?" I know you're wondering that because I'd be wondering the same thing if I were in your shoes. And before we go any further, let me ease your mind and assure you that it's not because I'm planning a career change. My instincts tell me that the stripping industry probably isn't for me (and audiences around the world rejoice).

The reason I've been looking into strippers -- and, more specifically, stripper music -- is because of a play I've proposed to direct next season, called "Closer." By Patrick Marber, the play tells the story of four people looking for love, but who seem to find only betrayal and sorrow.

One of the characters is a stripper, and one of the scenes takes place in a private room at the strip club where she works. But musical accompaniment for this one scene is only a small part of what I'm looking for.

I was trying to dig up a musical theme for the play -- something to play during the intro and intermission -- when I stumbled upon the idea of using stripper music. If it manages to set the right ambiance, it could create a mood of casual sexuality without any legitmate emotion attached, which is a perfect mood for a play like "Closer." Additionally, a lot of the stripper music I've found seems to be of the lost-love or not-true-love variety that would mesh nicely with the text of the play.

What's been most interesting about this endeavour, though, is realizing some of the variety of material that is considered "stripper music." On some level, I think I was expecting to find a simple top ten lest of best stripper songs. Not so. The closest I've found was a list of the most overplayed songs in strip clubs, which is probably just about the same as a list of the most cliched stripper songs, which is probably what I was looking for with a "best of" because that, ultimately, translates to "most recognized."

Sure, some of the songs were obvious. Nine Inch Nails' "Closer" for example seems like an obvious strip club staple. And songs by Enigma didn't come as a surprise to me. But I wasn't expecting to see Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" and "Baby Did A Bad, Bad Thing" or Fiona Apple's "Criminal" (there seems something weird about the idea of hearing Fiona Apple in a strip club, actually).

And did you know -- I never would have even *guessed* -- that "Hotel California" is so overplayed that it is many, many strippers least favourite song? It's been *SO* overplayed, that Guns N Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle" is considered a post-modern version of it (and just as overplayed).

All of this information came to me courtesy of the StripperWeb -- "The largest and most active EXOTIC DANCER and STRIP CLUB resource worldwide!"

And we love you for it, StripperWeb.

The music search goes well, by the way. I'm currently about 34 tracks that I need to start whittling down into semi-finalists. Before I get to that point, though, I'm thinking I might actually post a message in the StripperWeb forums myself and explain what I'm doing, and why I'm there, and see what sort of diverse music gets recommended to me by those who know the industry better than anyone. Because they're in it.


Anonymous said...

Why don't you check out the big screen version of this play for ideas about the music? The movie did a great job of having music playing in the club scenes that didn't distract the audience from the dialogue.

Todd said...

Fair suggestion, except for just one thing. I'm kind of weird about not wanting my artistic vision of something affected by someone else's artistic vision. "Closer" is playing here in Williams Lake during festival this year (it's one of the entries from Prince George) and as much as I love the play, I'm not going to go to see it, because I don't want my take on the play coloured in some way by another director's take on it.

And as much as film is different, and as much as they're creating an entirely different sort of piece, I'm still afraid of having that director's take affect my perspective on it. Even it's something as small as how a certain line is delivered.

And, I guess, extending beyond that is the idea that I want my choices for the music in the play to be as original to me as every other part of my approach to that play. From the moment the lights come up on stage, to the moment the cast comes out for their curtain call, I want to try to communicate something that comes, 100%, from me.

I'm just weird that way.

Having said all that, I'm very much looking forward to seeing the movie after I've finished directing it (so I'm desperately hoping I get a crack at directing it next season -- otherwise I'm waiting close to another two years before I can let myself see the film...)

Anonymous said...

Understandable. Here's another suggestion -- go hang out in a strip club. Sure, you may leave there a few dollars lighter and smelling of cigarette smoke, but I've been to real strip clubs (what's a bachelor party without visiting one?), and let me tell you, the film's portrayal of a strip club was not realistic at all. The film made it appear much more glitzy than it actually is.

Now, if only I could go into a strip club and see Natalie Portman on the stage, I'd be a happy man.

Todd said...

Good suggestion, and one I was considering, as I actually haven't set foot in a strip club before.

I don't know if the research is really *that* necessary, as the set is going to be pretty minimal, without providing the opporunity to really create a "flesh and blood" (for lack of a better phrase) strip club.

Still, in the interest of accuracy, I should have some idea what one is like.

I wonder if I can include this sort of "research" in my production budget...?