In the 1980s the “male exotic dancers” of Chippendales were everywhere: On beefcake calendars and daytime TV. Gyrating on stages across the world in their signature cuffs, collars and spandex pants. Selling the promise of women’s liberation for the price of a few dollars in a g-string. But behind the powerful mullets, oiled pecs, and non-stop parties lies a much darker story.
This is the story of how two men—an immigrant from India and a children’s TV producer from New Jersey—transformed a seedy nightclub in Los Angeles into a global phenomenon, and how paranoia and greed turned Chippendales into a hotbed for drugs, corruption, and murder.
With over one hundred hours of archival footage, and sixty-plus interviews with investigators, co-conspirators, former dancers and the women who loved them, historian Natalia Petrzela exposes one of the great, sordid, unexamined stories in American culture.
From Pineapple Street Studios and Gimlet, Welcome to Your Fantasy is out now. Follow and listen for free on Spotify.