The stripper mobile is back, and this time with a flash of holiday spirit.
Instead of hauling scantily clad dancers along the Strip, it made a charitable run Friday morning.
Inside the large Plexiglas box was a bearded St. Nick, female Santa helpers and a load of gifts, all rolling on Sahara Avenue to a toy drop-off. The women were appropriately dressed, and there was no gyrating or pole climbing.
A Las Vegas yuletide moment.
But while the stripper mobile will be seen in its more revealing form around town from time to time, as an advertising vehicle parked at promotional events, the company that operates it has no plans to get the stripper mobile rolling on the Strip anytime soon, and one county commissioner seems as strongly opposed to the idea as he was when the roadway distraction went away in late 2009.
On Friday, three rental trucks carrying 331 donated bicycles accompanied Déjà Vu's stripper mobile. Déjà Vu owns several adult entertainment venues locally, and its parent company has about 80 strip clubs throughout the country.
The company collected $19,000 in donations from patrons and employees to buy bikes and other toys. All the items will go to the toy drive sponsored by KLUC radio and HELP of Southern Nevada, a nonprofit group that aids the impoverished.
A HELP executive said her agency is comfortable taking donated toys from a strip club.
"They are a legal, licensed business in our community," said Fuilala Riley, HELP's chief operations officer. "Their employees are part of our community, and they have children too."
Déjà Vu also won't be involved in dispensing the gifts to families, Riley said, noting that her agency will give away the toys on Dec. 15, 16 and 17.
Gary Nemeth, general manager of the Déjà Vu-owned Little Darlings gentleman's club, said more local adult entertainment venues should get involved in the drive.
"Next year, we want to do better," he said. "We want to challenge the other strip clubs. We're a small club -- think what those megaclubs can do."
The stripper mobile was part of a convoy that left the Little Darlings gentleman's club at 7 a.m. Friday. Led by a limousine and followed by the three trucks and a passenger bus, the group left a couple of guys working on a truck on Western Avenue with dazed smiles.
They then proceeded slowly along Sahara, staying in the right lane and obeying all traffic laws.
In the stripper mobile, eight entertainers rode with a guy dressed as Santa Claus, sitting demurely on his lap or on the floor.
They wore long red dresses or Santa-style camisole dresses paired with leggings, and while most had really high heels on, a couple wore fuzzy slippers.
Traffic was light and most cars just sped by the creeping convoy.
A year ago, though, the stripper mobile stirred a brouhaha when it cruised through the heart of the Strip.
Some pedestrians complained when it broke from its usual late-night schedule and made an afternoon run to accommodate a TV news crew. That caused children to catch a glimpse of the risqué dancers.
A few Clark County commissioners argued it was unsafe, both for the dancers who lacked seat belts and for motorists who could be distracted in traffic.
Commissioners approved a ban on mobile live entertainment, but the code wasn't enacted. County officials dropped the measure when Déjà Vu agreed to halt the rolling stage.
Larry Beard, the company's marketing director, said there is no law against displaying dancers in a moving vehicle.
And he noted that the stripper mobile just finished a national tour and made a splash in a series of cities, including New Orleans, Miami, Baltimore, St. Louis, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
It stayed for two months in Tampa, Fla., where the company wrangled with local authorities and eventually won permission to operate, Beard said.
So will this mark the eventual return of rolling pole dancers on the Strip?
Beard said he wasn't eager to risk irking certain county commissioners.
For now, this attention-grabbing wagon will be rolled out for the occasional special event, like the toy drive, and for shows in which it will provide a stationary stage in parking lots, Beard said.
Commissioner Steve Sisolak said the company's attorney assured him that the stripper mobile would be idled for good.
He still thinks it's a traffic hazard and would fight it.
"If they do the same as they did in the past, I would have the same issues," Sisolak said.
For the toy run, the vehicle traveled in Las Vegas territory, bypassing the county's jurisdiction. Déjà Vu representatives insist the route was not chosen to avoid the county.
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said he had no problem with the stripper mobile carrying a Santa and appropriately dressed women through the city.
"As far as I'm concerned, we are an adult playground and we're going to be an adult wonderland," Goodman said.
Review-Journal writer Alan Choate contributed to this report. Contact reporter Scott Wyland at swyland@ reviewjournal.com or 702-455-4519.