The Las Vegas Courtesan

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

#1 Geisha Massage and Brothel

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

  This brothel was also hard to find information on before my trip, so I was surprised to see the “Open” sign on as I drove past Inez’s D&D. #1 Geisha is a street away from Mona’s and Sue’s but easy to find. I also didn’t know that this brothel was going through some legal issues due to a raid on some massage parlors in Seattle and California that were owned by the same people in Elko. Seems like a terrible idea to risk your legal business in Nevada over an illegal one in Seattle or California. I don’t know how much longer this brothel and massage parlor will be open since most of their cash has been seized and the county is going to revoke their brothel operators license due to the federal charges stemming from the Seattle case. You can read more about the brothel’s involvement here. I don’t blame the town or county for wanting to rid the brothel business of unsavory characters.

All the legal issues aside, I went inside and got the feeling that #1 Geisha was advertised more as an Asian massage parlor, also specializing in only Asian girls like Inez’s. The place smelled of incense and bleach, and the amounts were set by the house and were based on time. This brothel and Inez’s were the only ones on the whole trip that had house set rates and negotiating was cut out. At least at this brothel the girl was upfront about pricing instead of being so vague and strange like at Inez’s D&D. She explained that the minimum amount was $100, $200 for a half hour, $300 for a whole hour and $500 for 2 hours. Sounds like a pretty good deal since usually the girls only get to keep half at most brothels. I doubt this house split their money any differently. Either way, #1 Geisha’s days are numbered unless someone else steps in to get a new brothel license and takes over the building.

Hookers: Saved On The Strip

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Oh where do I begin with this nauseating program? First of all, I want to put it out there that I have no issue with religious people so long as their “word” is not forced or imposed on others in a brainwashing manner. I have no issue with people and their belief systems, no matter what they are, so long as they do not harm or make a person’s life more miserable than they were in the first place. I have mentioned Annie Lobert before — a couple of years ago — when she first made news in the Las Vegas Review-Journal about her ministry. In retrospect, I think I spoke a little too highly of her mission having now watched the show.

This show is new on the Investigation Discovery Channel — Hookers: Saved on the Strip. It follows Annie Lobert and her ministry of Hookers for Jesus, with Destiny House, and the The Church at South Las Vegas, in a reality show format. Since only one episode has aired so far, it has mostly focused on the story of “Regina” and her process of attempting to get out of the industry through Annie’s ministry. This is where things start getting under my skin. Regina obviously has a head on her shoulders and could get out of the industry on her own. She could easily be educated or trained to be in a good job.  From the start, though, she is frustrated because of being told by HELP of Southern Nevada (a non-profit community program) that she is pretty much only good for a minimum wage job at best in retail or the restaurant service industry. This degrading awakening that Annie seems to support, of course, only further frustrates Regina because she could not even cover her car note and insurance with that level of income. Her job search goes on for over a month before Annie ever gets the clue that maybe Regina should see a lawyer to seal her records to help with job placement. This should have been step ONE. Why disappoint someone and drag them through more emotional strain when they are already dealing with the inner turmoil of completely changing their life around and THEN realize “oh yea if we had done this one step first you might have saved yourself some heartache, embarrassment, and time?” Later on in the show, Regina says she has been in their “program” for seven months now (?!?!?!) and things were coming to a boil and she wants out, of course… still with no job. Tempers start to flare and Annie brings up the love of Jesus and somehow this is going to make it all better. Seriously??

Annie continues to further degrade Regina by taking her to some of the most ghetto apartments that I can only imagine being on Twain between Paradise and Maryland Parkway (if you know Las Vegas you know what a crap area that is) as if to show her THIS is what you are worth now, Regina. This rundown complex, living by yourself, with your minimum wage job (that you still haven’t found) and living paycheck to paycheck with no real training or education. But don’t worry you have the love of God, still! What a real swift kick in the emotional pants.

Here are some steps that could have been taken to avoid more suffering for these poor girls trying to change their lives:
1) Get the girls away from their pimps (this seems to be one step they are doing correctly)
2) Take the girl to a lawyer who can help with their police records. If they really want to change their lives and move on, I don’t think a judge would refuse the sealing of their records since they are usually a string of misdemeanors, anyway.
3) Help the girl find something profitable they are interested in and educate them in that area. Regina doesn’t have any real interests, she says on the show, so help her find something that would be of interest to her.  No one wants to be stuck doing something they hate in the first place and failure would just be reinforced in their minds.
4) Help the girl find a real well-paying job. Not a $9 an hour, not even full time job. Don’t make her feel like a cheap whore that got thrown out on the street because that’s all you feel like she is worth. No one wants that and these girls probably already felt that way when they were with their pimp.  Make them feel good about their prospects and their future if you really want your program to succeed.

Of course none of these steps are really easy but they seem like some simple and practical guidelines. When you throw religion and the “will of God” into the mix of someone already trying to make major changes in their life, things become more confusing and frustrating, and drastically raise the guilt and shame levels, which is completely unnecessary. Why would this God want them to suffer by living in a ghetto apartment, barely scraping by, or not even getting a job? That would only make someone wonder “if this God and his love is so great then why do I feel like I’m suffering?”  Or is that actually the point? I smell tired old misogyny (yes, I realize Annie is a woman, but these are very old, man-inspired attitudes towards women and control of their choices) and hatred of sex workers — even legal stripping — it’s all sin, isn’t it, Annie?  Eyerolls…

One thing that Regina pointed out that Annie completely disagreed with was her idea of returning to stripping in the mean time. Annie thinks stripping is to prostitution like weed allegedly is to drugs: a “gateway” from one to the other (her words on the show.) Though this is somewhat true in my own case it isn’t for the vast majority of the strippers out there. I think that if Regina really wants to change her ways from the sex industry then she would keep strictly to stripping and would be okay with the money she was making. This could definitely provide the income she needed while going back to school and getting a real education in something she could make a career of, instead of working a degrading, dead end retail job until the end of time. At the very end of the show, though, they finally have Regina talk to an agent that might be able to help her get a job in leasing sales — apparently seven months after she entered the “program,” if they edited the show in a truthful fashion.

When I was watching the show, Annie’s actions and ministry brought me back to a philosophy class I took in college. In the readings on his Groundwork of the Metaphysic(s) of Morals by Immanuel Kant, and his cases of duty that he explains in the book, people are only inclined to donate their time or money to others because it is pleasurable in some way to them and makes them feel good. In the class it made me realize in some ways that people do charity work only to make them feel better about themselves. And how sometimes this type of behavior is selfish. I get this feeling from Annie. Call me harsh or cynical, but in the end, I get the sense that her main focus is only getting the girls out of the business to earn herself extra Jesus points, and she’s not really seeing the huge picture of what these girls REALLY need to change their lives — pragmatic professional help. Preaching the word of God and blaming it all on the devil on a stripper pole is not a way to solve the real problems of their lives and start over.

In the end, I want to see Regina succeed and I know Annie wants to see that as well, but what would really help is bringing more professionals into the program and less of leaving it up to God to fix. Adding the aid of attorneys, psychologists, professional career counselors, professional recruiters, and above all professional education and training would be the ideal situation and program to have. If going to church to have others support you and your journey to recovery is what you need then by all means include that too but it shouldn’t be the primary focus forced on these women to succeed. It’s a far, far, larger task to accomplish than simply leaving it up to God.

New Developments In Nevada Brothels

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

Even though the small survey that was posted in the Las Vegas Review Journal late last month said that 64% of 405 people didn’t want prostitution legalized in Las Vegas (or Clark county as a whole,) there have been recent moves in the closest legal county next door to revamp two of the brothels out in Crystal, Nevada, since Dennis Hof of the famous Moonlight Bunny Ranch near Carson City bought them. There’s another brothel being built (wow when was the last time they built a brand new building for a new brothel??) south of Beatty. The two are in different directions when leaving Las Vegas but both businesses are in Nye County. I’m definitely going to have to add these stops to my brothel tour I want to take once they open!

I find it interesting that it took this long for Dennis Hof to do something in southern Nevada. His name and reputation are famous from the Cathouse series on HBO over the years and many local vistors get his brothels nearly 450 miles away from Las Vegas confused with the brothels located about 70 miles away. In fact I almost giggle when guys almost threaten me with a, “Well I’ll just go to the Bunny Ranch!” when they can’t agree on entertainment and a lower price. I say, “Ok you can definitely drive 450 miles one way if you want to!” That usually warrants the response of, “What? 450 miles?!” Nye County is also happy about the Dennis Hof movement since the previous owner of the brothels out in Crystal, Nevada, was convicted of bribery of a local commissioner (bribing a commissioner in Nevada? Never heard of such a thing!) These brothels in the county (if they have a certain number of girls) bring in an average of $126,000 annually to the county in fees! I also was digging around and found out each girl must pay a fee every quarter to the county as well. These fee figures vary by county, but in the end they bring a lot of money in to help out with county services (apparently the Veterans Association even gets a good chunk.) I’m curious though how the out-of-the-way brothels in Crystal and Beatty will do. The Denis Hof purchase is 17 miles past the turn off for Sheri’s and the Chicken Ranch while Beatty is a whopping 120 miles from downtown Las Vegas to the new location. The lucky thing about Mound House, where the famous northern Nevada brothels are located, is that they are one split hair away from the Carson City limits and 35 miles from Reno. The little community of brothels gets the advantage of being so conveniently located. That sort of convenience can’t really happen for Las Vegas to Nye County, so will these brothels ever be really busy out there? And why isn’t there another mini-community set up right on the Nye county border on the way out to Pahrump?

Though from my previous post on legalizing prostitution in Las Vegas, I wasn’t much of a fan of actual houses in a certain part of town, but really, if we had some sort of standardization then we wouldn’t be so criticized in the news like prostitution in Las Vegas was just running rampant and some random figure of 3,000 sex workers roaming the streets working here like this is the wild west. I don’t think a lot of people realize how much money the business brings in for the rural counties. In the end I think it could bring a better opinion to the sinfulness of Sin City and keep the shady operations, like the ones just shut down, from scamming our visitors.

Raids At Local Las Vegas Sex Scam Clubs And My Thoughts

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

So I opened up the Las Vegas Sun website last week and saw this article plastered to the front page. Just by the mug shot blaring me in the face I knew it was prostitution/vice related, but when I read the headline a little part inside of me rejoiced! I was glad to see that the county had finally grown tired and caught on to these massage clubs scamming tourists out of money all at the expense of the trust of the local cabbies (which is why Nevada Taxicab Authority got involved). Here’s a previous blog post I wrote about it warning any readers about the huge scam.

At first I was glad about the raids, but then I started thinking about the effects this would have on other legitimate businesses in the industry as well. Over the years the scams the cabbies have pulled on these tourists have echoed throughout people’s thoughts on Vegas. More and more I hear of disappointed tourists and have had more verbally aggressive clients because they never want that same event to happen to them again. All in all it makes people have a soured mood about this town like we are all out to scam people out of whatever money they have. They already feel taken by the blackjack tables and now they can’t even have a good time with a girl without feeling like someone is out to get them. I always try to prove clients wrong that those clubs are different than us, but it’s hard to overcome. I know a lot of phone girls who have to sway the client’s opinion and explain that having a stripper come to their room is a totally different experience.

What I am really afraid of is how the local law enforcement will get the idea that ALL of us are bad. Like the agencies who sell strippers to client’s rooms legally, but the client ends up assuming something completely different because he didn’t listen and thought that prostitution is legal here. They then get upset and report us to police or security because of their own ignorance, and in turn we could all be thought of as a public nuisance. The difference between us and these clubs who were raided is this: the clubs sell men the thought that they are getting something much much more while dancing on the line of soliciting (I’ve heard of some places selling “hand jobs” when in fact they receive a hand massage) when in fact these girls never strip, dance or anything else. The agencies will tell you straight up that prostution is illegal here and the girl comes out for a striptease for a fee. People still read into this basic line and assume something different, but really there are no lines to read in between.

The other businesses that are hurt by these scam clubs? The legit massages therapists, reflexology specialists, and massage businesses. These “sex” clubs operate under several different types of business licenses that are all obtained under false pretenses. Several examples of these completely off licenses that are on paper with the county are: bookstores, art galleries, massage therapy parlors, snack stores, fitness clubs, and reflexology specialists. The real massage parlors and masseuses deal with crazy legal battles just to prove that their business that they want to open will not be a rub and tug joint. I even know of a personal friend who had to deal with months of issues with the county because she wanted to set up some massage chairs in a public area.

During the weekend I didn’t notice any real difference, but had one phone girl comment that calls seemed to be easier to book. Besides the clubs that were named in the article as being raided, I’ve noticed the rest of the sex clubs coming back and reopening, sometimes leaving their open signs off but taxis still are dropping unsuspecting clients off at the front and driving away as fast as possible once they are inside. My hopes is that the local government shuts these places down and doesn’t mess with the businesses that are running themselves properly. They are a real public nuisance and constantly use our tax dollars by calling police or clients calling police *constantly*. These places are constantly held up and robbed, pose a threat to other local businesses nearby, and most importantly gives Vegas a bad name (and even taxi drivers). The local economy has a long way to go to rebuild itself and more negative attention and reputation with the tourists is not what this town needs. This is Sin City afterall! Keep it Sin City and not Scam City.

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