Topless clubs take the gloves off to fight for business during recession

With so much cash flowing from topless clubs to limo and taxi drivers these days, some skeptics are wondering whether the IRS will eventually come looking for its percentage.

As local topless clubs get into a bidding war for customers, and in recent days increased to $100 the price they would pay per person, the focus has turned to the score some limo drivers are making in concert with favored Strip resort door personnel. Rick’s Cabaret and Treasures topless clubs set the record, according to informed sources, and Rick’s Chairman Eric Langan makes no apologies for playing hardball as he goes after business in a recession economy.

That has locals watching the action wondering aloud whether the hotels plan to do anything about the old-school business transactions.

Given the interest of the Internal Revenue Service in the tip income at the Crazy Horse Too topless cabaret and the Pure nightclub, is it only a matter of time before Uncle Sam goes sniffing for his piece of the action in the taxi/topless war?

The IRS has no shortage of targets with all the ripping and tearing going on in corporate boardrooms and on Wall Street these days, but local tip-earners long ago gained a healthy respect — or perhaps fear is a better word — for the tax man.

KINCAID-CHAUNCEY: Former Clark County Commissioner Mary Kincaid-Chauncey, who fell from grace and served a couple years in federal prison after a conviction in the G-sting political corruption case, spoke to a welcoming audience during a Christian busnessmen’s monthly luncheon on Thursday at Big Dog’s.

MIRACLE LEAGUE: It took a big-league effort, but the groundbreaking is set for 11 a.m. April 9 for the field that will become home to the Miracle League in Las Vegas.

The Miracle League provides an accessible baseball field for children with disabilities, and the Las Vegas park will be located on the site of the old Potocsky field at 101 S. Rancho Drive next to First Christian Church.

The field is the dream of local attorney and developer Tim McGarry, and co-pastors David and Ginger Jarman helped secure the land for the project, which is being funded by a $1.5 million donation from the Ralph and Betty Engelstad Foundation with help from a long list of locals.

In my book, the Miracle League is as close to the big leagues as Las Vegas will ever get.

SOUP & POKER: Poker players often find themselves in the soup, but this is something else again. Gambler’s Book Shop owner Howard Schwartz is offering gamblers a free book on poker in exchange for a can of soup, which he plans to donate to local food banks.

Schwartz, who marks his 30th anniversary at the bookstore at 630 S. 11th St. later this year, has long provided a prime source of gaming and wagering information. But his lease is up in a few months and he is looking for new digs.

Problem is, Howard has too much stuff. Stacks and stacks of stuff. Mountains of stuff. Enough stuff to fill several bookshops. So he has devised a plan to rid his warehouse of some of its stuff while helping out local food banks.

And the soup exchange is born.

Starting today, you can bring in a can of soup to GBS in exchange for a book on poker. The cans will go to a good cause, and you might learn something.

And, if your gambling education doesn’t work out, you can always go down to the food bank and stand in line, where you might just get back your can of soup.

Charity, it’s a beautiful thing.

“A can of soup, or a can of stew would be good,” says Howard. “They could even bring in a can of peaches. I don’t care. I’ll donate it to the food banks.”

ON THE BOULEVARD: Seen on the Strip recently: former topless cabaret mogul and government informant Michael Galardi. … Classic Strip music aficionados had to have been pleased with Thursday’s tribute at the Las Vegas Academy High School to former Sands Copa Room orchestra conductor Antonio Morelli. Back when the Sands defined Strip hipness, and the Rat Pack was rolling, Morelli set the mood with his crack musicians.

Have an item for the Bard of the Boulevard? E-mail comments and contributions to Smith@reviewjournal.com or call (702) 383-0295. He also blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/smith/.

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