Chicago strip club brings back lap-dance toy drive

December 05, 2013|By Mick Swasko, @swasko | RedEye

The biggest Secret Santa in Albany Park might be a strip club.

For the fourth year, the Admiral Theatre is continuing it’s “Lap Dance for the Needy” toy drive beginning Dec. 9, which offers patrons a free nude tableside lap dance in exchange for an unwrapped, unused children's toy. The program is coming of its best year yet, delivering six full carloads of toys anonymously to small Albany Park storefront community organizations and churches.

“Believe it or not, I believe our humble gentleman’s club has actually become a Christmas tradition for some people,” said Admiral Theatre Marketing Manager Tim Brown.

This year, however, Brown said there’s a small caveat to the offer. Especially last year, management has seen some “scrooge” customers attempting to take advantage of the drive by bringing in dollar store toys. They still accepted -- with a raised eyebrow -- those gifts, but this year Brown said it’s up to a manager’s discretion if the offer will be honored.

“I don’t want to turn anyone away, but we want to make sure people aren’t abusing it,” he said. “I had one gentleman come in with a bag of plastic spiders and say ‘Well, it’s better than nothing.’ Well, he’s right. But we want people to be happy on Christmas morning.”

Last year did see a lot of generosity as well. Brown said one patron even brought in a high-end remote control helicopter as his donation. All donations are exchanged for a $10 “pleasure bill,” which is good for a tableside dance the length of one song. It can also be exchanged for a drink.

After all toys are collected when the drive ends Dec. 21, cars are packed up and loads are delivered anonymously, Brown said.

Admiral’s drive caught national attention in 2011, when Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey battled back and forth coming up with alternate names for the drive, eventually arriving at “Toys for Tatas.”

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