Boxers or briefs?
If you’re one of three Chippendales starting out in full suit and fedora for “You Can Leave Your Hat On,” boxers are still two full steps away from the briefest of briefs and then the people’s choice, the bare-buns blackout.
Boxers prevail just one more time, in the Navy scene. That’s because they allow more display space for the patriotic flag pattern.
But on the balance? Yeah, briefs and briefer. Black if you’re a vampire, red if you’re a firefighter swinging your ax around.
The finesse of this slick Chippendales revue — the factor that sets it a level above its G-string competition — has always been its eye for detail.
The construction welders make real crotch-sparks with their grinders. The “Smooth Criminal” cats go Michael Jackson on a theatrical supper club set. The dancers wear funny glasses for “Party Rock” because the LMFAO dudes do.
Did anyone care? Maybe on a Tuesday. Last Saturday’s late show was not so discerning. It’s no secret the ticketed shows have lost ground to the clubs, but Chippendales (and its Excalibur rival, “Thunder from Down Under”) is hybrid territory.
Las Vegas has always peddled flesh, but only in this young century has it done so with equal opportunity. Men watch their topless shows with poker-face intensity. But women turn the G-string into ritual, leaving this complicated era behind to pretend the old gods are back in charge; Eros and his entourage beaming down from Mount Olympus to the second floor of the Rio, just across from the Burger King.
It’s crazy loud in the 300-seat custom showroom. The screaming women work the ritual into their own occasions. Bachelorette parties. Divorce parties. There are enough crowns and sashes to supply a small-town beauty pageant. One group scurrying to their seats right before show time wore matching rainbow-popsicle tutus.
There’s a “Dating Game” spoof where three classy ladies are chosen to simulate sex acts. One lived by the motto “Skin to win” and freed herself from her party dress.
Into this bedlam is thrown, for the rest of the month (on Thursdays through Sundays), guest host Ian Ziering of “Beverly Hills, 90210” fame. Now he’s 49 years old and —unlike past guest hosts who carved out new places to sing or what have you — plunges right into the dance numbers as a full-on Chippendale.
He’s ripped and proud of it. The syndicated “TMZ on TV” made some snarky remark about Ziering being fat a while back. He did not like that. He went to the gym and got himself a six-pack, and on this night, barely audible above the general din, announced as he ripped off his shirt, “Take that TMZ!”
Guest hosts bring good press for the show. Press is good for Ziering. And six-pack abs are good for any 49-year-old man. But beyond a very particular answer to the actor’s question “What’s my motivation (to get my butt in shape)?,” he’s fairly extraneous here.
The real stars are James and Jaymes, the dancers who became well-known on “The Amazing Race.” Jaymes Vaughan serenades an audience recruit to Maroon 5’s “Harder to Breathe” while James Davis plays his guitar and the rest of the boys surround her to literalize the title.
But the decibel meter goes up again during the evening’s big number, one that simultaneously features three gents, from left to right: Sami Eskeline on a bed, Nathan Minor on a sofa and Chaun Thomas on a motorcycle. All of them end up, as dudes alone will do, uh, practicing for their next encounter with a real person.
Thomas gets the biggest applause for the motorcycle acrobatics. Something tells me that when Ziering figures this out, there will be a new rider. Or at least a fourth person practicing.
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.