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Guys for girls' night out

Published Aug. 27, 2005

(ran PW, PS editions)

Jimmy Ferraro's sedate Angel Cabaret Theatre is bringing in something that hasn't been seen in this area for some time: male strippers.

"Hot Men, Hot Food, Cold Drinks!" reads the Angel's flier touting "The Magnificent Men Male Revue," tonight and Saturday at the 150-seat theater. Both shows were nearly sold out at press time.

"We saw a video (of their act), and it looked like a lot of fun," said Dee Etta Rowe, Ferraro's wife and a frequent performer at the Angel. Within three days of announcing the show, the theater sold more than 100 tickets, she said.

"We tell them it's done very tastefully," Ms. Rowe said. "Several Red Hat Societies are coming." Red Hat Societies are women over age 50 who wear red hats and purple dresses as symbols of their indifference to conformity.

"These ladies say, "We have never seen this before,' " Ms. Rowe said.

The advertising fliers are intriguing.

"If you missed seeing the MUST see "The Magnificent Men," it reads.

The Chippendales are male strippers who wear spiffy bow-ties and, by the end of their show, little else. Over the years, the name has become something of a worldwide franchise, with "Chippendales" shows in Germany, France, Japan and, of course, Las Vegas, where the real McCoy plays Club Rio on a permanent basis.

As for the Angel's show, everyone isn't invited.

"FOR LADIES ONLY!!!", the flier says. Reservations are required and only ages 21 and older will be allowed in. "Dress to Impress," it adds.

Ten years ago, two businessmen opened the Coyote Surf Club & Grill near Lone Star Steakhouse in Port Richey.

Their featured attraction was "Florida's Most Wanted," a line of six male dancer-strippers. The sleek nightclub, once known as Jefferson's, attracted nurses, schoolteachers, secretaries, birthday parties _ anyone over age 18 _ who hooted and hollered as the glistening dancers jumped and danced around them.

A favorite part of the show was the "tip set," where women sat on a chair in the middle of the dance floor _ or lay on the floor itself _ while the dancers swarmed and gyrated above them. The women tucked folding money into the dancer's G-strings, and at least one woman tucked a $5-bill into her cleavage and let the dancer hovering over her retrieve it with his teeth.

Whether the dancers go into the audience or do a "tip set" at the Angel Cabaret remains to be seen, said Ms. Rowe.

"I'm not sure if they ever come out into the audience," she said. "That's a big question. I do think they bring the ladies up on the stage."

The male revue isn't the only new act coming to the Angel Cabaret.

In February, two comics from Giggles Comedy Club, Spike Rizzo and Johnny B, veterans of Tampa Improv, will perform.

"We had a comedian for New Year's and one for our Fiesta Italiano, and they went over well," Ms. Rowe said. "People like coming to our place because it's comfortable, not a bar, you can have a dinner, and our prices are reasonable.

"We're planning to do the comedy club on a regular basis," Ms. Rowe said. It may or may not be a Giggles, which has franchise-like clubs in several cities.

"They like our theater very much," Ms. Rowe said of the Giggles' representatives. There are three levels of clubs: C clubs are the smaller clubs, Bs are mid sized and As are showrooms.

"They said ours would be considered an "A' showroom," she said. "You get a better clientele, not so many hecklers."


And whatever happened to Coyote's and Florida's Most Wanted?

It lasted about three months, then morphed into Coyote Steak House and Saloon, a country-style diner and dance hall.

"The other concept didn't fit the area," said executive chef Lee Mayfield at the time. "We wanted to emphasize our food."

That, too, closed, and the building was remodeled in 1995 to become the Hollywood 18.