The XXXmas Coolio Concert You Always Needed but Never Experienced
By Rod Johnson
Editor’s Note: The author’s views on vaginas do not reflect the official opinions of Cream City.
It’s the day after Christmas and life as I know it is going to end. I am about to become a man.
In my thirty-two years of existence, I have neither attended a strip club nor have I seen an actual female vagina. As a self-identified chub-chasing gay man living in today’s world, my sexual exploits have largely transpired through the Internet—and believe me, I have been busy. Tonight, that’s all going to change because my childhood idol, Coolio, is playing at a local strip joint. But before I dive into details, let’s rewind a bit and construct a context for this story.
I grew up in a blue-collar family located in the Bible belt that attended our local Southern Baptist church every Sunday (morning/evening) and Wednesday. I don’t remember much from my religious training other than sex is bad, don’t fuck till marriage, and you’re most likely going to burn in hell no matter what you do. Nothing too heavy before adolescence. This theological agenda only made sense when the pastor was busted for fucking his secretary. Go figure.
Whatever, anyway, needless to say I have a lot of ideas about what strip clubs mean and what type of people frequent these establishments. These decadent sin dens are filled with powerful, evil forces that cause AIDS, drug addiction, and mass murder. (My mother often warned against pornography because “that’s how Bundy got started.”) In strip clubs, demon women seduce desperate men into selling their souls to the devil. To quote a classic, “you can check out anytime you like, but you can’t never leave.” Is this place going to transform me? Will I become a regular? What if people question my disinterest in lap dances and strip teases? Will I be threatened with taunts, violence, or worse? Will I need to get a tetanus shot or delouse myself after the show?
I imagine that most men confront these fears once they turn eighteen. I, fortunately, never went through that stage of male adolescent development. In fact, on my eighteenth birthday, I got kicked out of my first club because I was rolling balls and barely able to stand up. The off-duty cop most likely saw an ambulance ride in my near future. But if that were the case, why did he attempt to buy pills off me? Who cares, that’s not the point. The main issue is that I never learned what it means to be a strip club patron and, hence, an American Man™.
But all of that is going to change this evening because the award winning, hip-hop legend-turned-chef Coolio is touring Wisconsin and stopping at a Juneau titty bar. (Note: the phone number on the flyer is actually incorrect. Juneau has a 920 area code. Not 902.) Never heard of Juneau, Wisconsin? Well, that makes a lot of sense because it is the whitest and lamest city in the United States.
A small rural town situated in southeastern Wisconsin, Juneau brags a population of approximately 27,000 people that is 94.4 percent white (all statistics derived from the U.S. Census Bureau). Of this population, 1.9 percent is foreign born, 4.2 percent of households speak a non-English language, 18.7 percent qualify for social security, 12.4 percent of the population possesses at least a bachelor’s degree, the median household income is $45,000, and the median value of owner-occupied homes is $116,000. Unsurprisingly, this city is really fucking conservative. Incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker easily won this area by a comfortable 64.4 percent in the last election.
This is all to say that this is going to be the most ironic concert in American history and there’s no fuckin’ way that I am going to miss it. Unfortunately, all of my friends are pathetic losers (that’s what you get for living in a liberal college town) that refused to come along on this fantastic voyage. “It’s Christmas and I have familial obligations!” “I’m going to be out of town.” “My vagina hurts.” Blah. Blah. Jesus, people. Do I have to spell this out? Coolio is playing a strip club in rural Wisconsin!!! So like most rites of passage, I am doing this alone.
I initially tried to purchase tickets online, but the website indicated that none were available. WHAT!?! How? Why? Will I have to suck dick in the alleyway to get inside? Panicked, I contacted the venue. The young woman that answered spoke in a stereotypical Wisconsin accent, “Oh noooo, we have plenty of tickets both general admission for $15 and VIP for $30.”
She enthusiastically replied, “That includes a buffet, a meet and greet, and pictures with Coolio.”
Gleefully, I responded, “Get the hell out of here! You mean I get to meet Coolio!?! Should I purchase tickets now or do you expect them to be available at the door.”
“Oh no, we have plenty. You should be fine.”
So fuck, this shit just got serious, yo. Not only do I get to see Coolio play at a strip club in Juneau, Wisconsin. I get to hang-the-fuck-out with him and possibly obtain an interview. Could this Christmas get any better? Answer, NO!
I’m stoked. The big day arrives and I’m nervous as hell. I rent a Ford Focus and hit the road. I have no idea what to expect and I’m driving one hour to the venue while jamming Moby’s “In This World” and “In My Heart” on repeat. There are no streetlights on the freeway so I can only see the twenty feet of concrete illuminated by my headlights and the occasional car passing by. This shit is so country, there are no road signs notifying me that the turn is approaching. So I have no clue when to exit until, BAM, the sign appears out of the fog and ten feet in front of the road that I am supposed to join. Unbelievable! I pass my exit and have no idea where I can turn around. This is a six-lane highway separated by a large grassy median. Fuck! Traveling at 65 mph I see occasional gaps in the median that could be police U-turn lanes, but I cannot tell. WHY?!?! Because there are no goddamn street lights that enable me to navigate this space! Finally, I find a farmhouse and turn around. In the process, I nearly fall into a ditch and, again, miss the turn.
Arriving to Town
I finally come correct and re-situate myself on this highway to hell. I pass large dairy farms with massive trucks parked next to two-story houses that include wrap around porches and American flags posted in the front yard. Vast wheat and cornfields separate these homes by several acres or miles. As I approach the town, I am greeted by a small, outdoor shopping mall that includes a Piggly Wiggly grocery store, Subway restaurant, Landmark Credit Union, and car wash.
There are long rows of Midwestern style homes irradiated with large, multicolor Christmas lights and plastic, glowing statues. Locals wearing Green Bay Packers sweaters and Milwaukee Brewers jackets pull their oversized trucks into the local Kwik Trip parking lot to purchase snacks and booze before returning home to the family. Police officers park on side streets and monitor the comings and goings.
Just around the corner is Silk Exotic. Readers may be familiar with this club if they regularly read The HuffPo. This is the same venue where two strippers (one pregnant) were arrested last year for fighting on stage for an unclaimed dollar that was contributed by a guest. The large concrete columns constituting the façade are dyed by fluorescent green, pink, blue, and purple lights that fluctuate to garner attention from onlookers. This club is attached to a small strip-mall that overlooks the county administrative building and local law-enforcement department. In front of the police station is a dirty SUV with a “Don’t Tread on Me” sticker placed on the bumper to express the owner’s white supremacist orientation. How adorable! A large douglas fir is decorated with Christmas lights in front of the administration building and the streetlamps are ornamented with plastic candy canes, bells, and wreaths.
The streets are basically empty besides an occasional car or two passing through the downtown district (Yes, this is downtown!). The strip-mall is lined with cars parked in front of a saloon, a glass studio, a tanning salon, a closed public defender’s office (with a “For Rent” sign posted in the window), a bowling alley, and empty storefronts. Old white men stand outside the saloon smoking cigarettes while eyeing me suspiciously as I jot down descriptions of the scene. At the other of the block, a local family exits the bowling ally while I snap photos and marvel at this contemporary Norman Rockwell portrait. Welcome to Pleasantville!
Entering the Club
After touring the three block downtown center (which also includes a standalone Dollar General), I finally park next to the entrance and approach the club. There is no line to get inside. I pass three women smoking cigarettes and crowding the walkway. They politely acknowledge/greet me while I hurry into the building. I open the dark tinted glass doors and life, as I know it, changes. A tall, muscular, bald man wearing a black suit and holding a metal detector immediately confronts me.
“Do you have any weapons?” he asks before rubbing the plastic wand around my testicles.
Upon paying the entrance fee—which turned out to be $40, thank you very much—I enter a large, dimly lit room surrounded by a balcony with neon signs reading, “Silk Exotic,” “VIP Lounge,” “Sky Boxes,” and ”Shower Shows.” Loud music vibrates the building with TLC—“What About Your Friends”—and the portly announcer screams things like, “Invite these hot babes to the shower or a lap dance,” “It isn’t raw if she’s wearing a thong at Silk,” and “Who’s ready for Coolio?” Maybe three people scream or express any awareness of the event each time the headliner is announced.
In the middle of the room is a large stage divided into three sub-stages with metal poles that extend into the second story ceiling. I wonder to myself, “Do women really climb to the top? And, if so, how they got down?” Clearly, I am having a Gump moment. I soon observe women desperately pulling themselves to the top sliding down into splits. Fuck. That’s when I realize all of these women could beat my ass and so I better be on my best behavior.
I survey the room for an empty seat located in a corner where I can blend into the background. Quickly, I notice a few seats at the bar and take refuge by what I think is a popcorn machine. You might be wondering, “Why would there be a popcorn machine at a strip club?!?” Relax this is common in Wisconsin. Cheese heads LOVE (notice love is both capitalized and emboldened. That wasn’t a mistake) popcorn and, right hand to God, there is a fucking popcorn machine in nearly every bar. This is Dairyland, USA, son. These people don’t give a fuck! They have two dope football teams and their own food supply. If you try us (I’m looking at you, Stanford), our dudes are enormous and they’ll beat your pussy ass. So go ahead, laugh at our popcorn machines and our bubblers (water fountains). See where that gets ya, mister. That said, the mysterious machine contains, get this, limp, overcooked hot dogs that patrons can purchase and dress with Heinz Ketchup, Mustard, and/or Relish. That’s right folks, this strip joint enables you to simultaneously enjoy cold beer, hot dogs, bare tits, and shaved pussy. How the hell are you going beat that?!
Taking in the scene, I locate the lap dance room and—wait, what is that thing in front of it, get the fuck out of here! It’s a BEER PONG TABLE with cups positioned and ready to go! Not only that, the announcer actually uses the loud speaker to brag about this amenity and encourages patrons to use it! They’re proud of this shit! Several young men take the Pepsi Challenge and begin beer-ponging. Wearing blue jeans, Underarmor sweaters, and camouflage hats, one patron eventually misses the cup and a ball flies at the stage. How appropriate!
I quickly learn two important things. First, I am struck by the amount of camouflage, football apparel, and blue jeans that is worn by patrons. I start to wonder how these people got into a self-identified gentleman’s club with such shabby clothes. Duh! There’s no dress code. Meanwhile, the employees wear black coats and slacks like this shit is supposed to be classy.
Second, in my Christian hometown (Tampa, FL), where we believe in Jesus Christ, the church, wholesome family values, and unregulated markets, strip clubs are governed by a six-foot rule and women are prohibited from being completely nude. Juxtapose that with Silk Exotic where anything goes. Women spread their legs, expose their vulva, and give titty/twat face rubs for a couple dollars. So to be clear, this is a FULL contact/nude titty bar where women will ride you on stage, during private lap dances, or in a private shower.
Silk patrons have a wide variety of women to choose from. The dancers are surprisingly diverse: black, white, and Latina. Second, men can
select from a range of body types. For example, some women will make you think that you are drowning in Lake Michigan when they start twerking in your face; others will remind you of anti-drug PSAs; some have enormous tits; and others look like teenagers that recently got their period. Third, some women look old enough to be your mother while others are clearly in their early to mid-twenties. Fourth, some women can fucking dance. I mean these bitches tear shit up and make dat money. A couple, in particular, work the pole with the elegance of a cheetah stalking its prey. They enthusiastically slide down, spread their legs, and moan like they were getting fucked with a Ron Jeremy size cock. Still, other women are clearly amateurs and uncomfortable with their profession. It was like watching malfunctioning robots twerk to the beat of “How Low.” Needless to say, the latter category makes little money. Finally, some women go full nude while others do not. The former group freely drops their panties (shameless LMFAO reference) and work that ass on stage while the latter is much more modest. I assume the club owner delegates discretion to the dancers regarding whether they remove their clothing and to what degree.
Unsurprisingly, the patrons are overwhelmingly white and from the surrounding area. Consequently, the crowd is filled with frumpy, corn-fed, farm boys looking for some holiday action. Heaven to a chub-chaser like me! Mentioned above, camouflage sweaters, blue jeans, and sports caps are common attire; however, it is also true that this group REALLY enjoys Bud Light. I mean, side tables are filled with empty bottles and patrons walk around sipping longnecks while throwing dollar bills at dancers.
Moreover, the sexual tastes of these patrons seem to lean toward thin, white women with huge tits and tattoos on their lower backs. This claim is evidenced by the flurry of dollar bills that litter the stage when these women dance. In contrast, nonwhite women of any size often experienced crowd dispersion upon entering the stage and frequently complete their performance with fewer tips. This could be because they lacked the dancing skills of their white counterparts; however, in many instances this was clearly not the case.
Female and male patrons wave dollars across the stage to lure naked women in their direction. Once their attention is grabbed, these women spread their legs, shake their ass, rub their bare breasts across the patrons face, wrap their legs around the customer’s neck, shake their shaved pussy in the client’s face, retrieve strategically hidden dollar bills located in the shirt collar or waistband of the customer, slap their ass, clack the heels of the knee high leather boots, and move onto the next customer.
During these interactions, some customers gently massage the twat and taint of dancers lying on their backs with their legs spread open while others just straight up throw cash at the exposed vaginas as though channeling Tony Montana—“Filthy whore, I’d fuck that shit if I wasn’t a post-adolescent scrub that still lives with his parents and possesses zero disposable income.”
At this point, I begin to feel disgusted. Not over the objectification of women, but due to the exposed vaginas. Meaty. Pink. Raw. Clap traps. Shudder. This is the first time I have ever seen one in real life and I am horrified (which is weird because I didn’t blink when a human-puppy shit on the carpet of a swanky hotel in downtown Chicago). I desperately try to conceal the displeasure, but my face automatically winces as though I have just witnessed a rosebud (inverted asshole produced by excessive fisting) or human decapitation. I promised that I wouldn’t descend into immature faggotry because it’s, quite frankly, basic and expected, but ignoring this part of the story would be disingenuous. Plus, this is an opportunity to connect with heterosexual readers. I finally understand why straight guys commonly grow sick when I discuss hard, melting cock. We’re even, guys. You’ll never hear me bring up fag shit again, but know that you’re heterosexuality disgusts me as much as my homosexuality disgusts you.
The reactions of customers to the dancers vary. Small groups of young men cluster at the stage and smile nervously at each other after receiving some action. To their left are heterosexual couples paying for mutual body contact (and, Christ, do I want to fuck some of the boyfriends). To their right is a rotund mother wearing a sequenced tank top congratulating her son who just received his first strip tease. In each instance, the women snatch their dollars and accumulate large piles of money at the center of the stage. The night is constituted by hundreds of interactions such as these that repeat like clockwork.
Coolio Enters the Building
Where the fuck is Coolio? The announcer keeps teasing us with updates that Coolio is almost to the venue. It’s nearing 11:30pm and I’ve seen more strip teases than I care to and the dancers have processed through three cycles. I’m bored and cannot help but suspect this place is a little heteronormative and possibly sexist. In addition,
it’s getting late and I have to drive an hour home. When the hell is the dude going to get here? Finally, an entourage of black men enters the VIP lounge (forgoing a buffet that includes pulled pork sandwiches, chicken wings, sliced ham, and a vegetable tray). The small group heads to the back corner of the lounge where the management has placed iced Champagne at a reserved table.
One thing that I learned about Coolio is that that motherfucker is an amazing entertainer that knows his motherfucking audience. Check it, dude walks into the venue with, get this, an Aaron Rogers Green Bay Packers jersey, a Green Bay Packers hat with holes that allow his braids to poke through like antlers, and rhinestone glasses. Come on, yo! This guy just showed the fuck up for Wisconsin. How’s that for Christmas cheer? Bitch!
Rather than mingle with us (as promised with our VIP passes), Coolio says fuck it and just chills in the corner with a woman on his lap. Everyone’s like where’d he go? See, he’s hidden behind the entourage. He’s really just chillin’, overlooking the club from the balcony, and taking in the scene. Eventually, he stands up and starts stretching. I’m all like, fuck yea! I’ve been waiting my whole life for this moment. Thoughts race through my mind: What will he play? Will he start with Fantastic Voyage or Gangster’s Paradise? I struggle to conceal my zeal, but the excitement is causing me to shake!
Coolio Takes the Stage
Finally, Coolio takes the stage. Immediately, fog machines emit thick vapor into the air while strippers flock to the side stages and start strip teasing, climbing poles, and engaging in what appears to be a lesbian orgy.
Naked and half-naked bodies twist together, sweaty flesh glistens from the neon stage lighting, and dollar bills fly through the air as Coolio works his magic (see video). Following the first song, Coolio develops repertoire with the crowd:
“I wish I had some motherfucking Wisconsin cheese and I don’t mean cash! I’d put cheese in every refrigerator and a bitch in every nigga’s bed.”
The crowd roars while I embarrassingly shake my head and die laughing. What the fuck is he talking about?!? Suddenly, I notice people around me are filming. Is this legit? I don’t want to get my ass pounded by the bouncers (pun intended). So I approach one of them and ask, “What’s up? Is it cool to film?” He quickly replies with a jolly grin on his face, “Oh yea, bro. Film all you want. We told the girls that we were allowing it before they got on stage.” Shut the fuck up. I get to take videos? Damn, son. Shit just got hot! Too hot!
Throughout the set, Coolio tries to solicit crowd participation, but few know the lyrics to certain songs and the experiment fails—repeatedly! In response to his prompts, there are short, lyrical pauses. Coolio doesn’t give a shit though. Even in his old age, dude is still baller. He just keeps going like nothing happened. He doesn’t skip a beat. Not even once. Shit just flows like sauce from a gravy boat, kid.
Another thing I learned about Coolio is that he’s fucking funny. In between songs, he approached fans and asked:
“What should you do before touching your woman in an intimate way?”
After two lame-asses respond, “Tell her I love her,” Coolio interjects.
“Naw, bitch, wash yo hands—cause cleanliness is next to pussiness. If you don’t, you could give your girl a yeast infection. So wash your motherfucking hands and stop using latex. It makes the pussy stank!”
Shit, I didn’t realize this was gonna turn into church. But the dude is straight up preaching Gospel. This leads me to the third thing that I learned about Coolio, the dude is an immortal player that will never die. He’s so baller, it doesn’t matter what venue he plays because he’ll out rhyme and out wit any young motherfucker off the street. That’s science, yo. Dude is a true American hero that continues to shine in neon glow.
Suddenly, gunshots ring out. What is that? A drive by? A police raid? Hell no! That’s the opening to “Gangster’s Paradise”! Coolio looks at the sky (well really the VIP lounge) in awe. And he should. This is his most important contribution to hip-hop. Gospel-style music echoes through the club as black, half-naked female bodies climb the poles, fat/skinny asses twerk, titties bounce, twats grind, money flies, and cameras flash.
This is it. This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for—our Doc Brown escort to the past. Mentally, I am transported to my awkward, closeted middle school years and visualize Michelle Pfeiffer telling a classroom of minority students to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and stop blaming society because “there are no victims in this classroom!” No, just a lot of culturally disadvantaged kids that apparently always needed a strict white woman with a military background to whip them into shape and replace the lazy, immoral, Cadillac driving, welfare receiving role models that have entrapped them in a never ending cycle of poverty (sarcasm). SMDH. That movie is the worst. Whatever, anyway, we collectively revisit our pasts and, briefly, forget the horrors that constitute modern America. White, black, Latino, Asian, male, female, bro, loser, gay, straight—it didn’t matter. We all twerked and bounced in a unified rhythm that would make Dr. King smile and Malcolm X puke.
The show is over and I’m waiting in line to receive my twenty-dollar picture. Coolio performed approximately six songs including, “If I Was Your Boyfriend,” “1, 2, 3, 4,” “Gangsta’s Paradise,” “I’ll See You When I Get There,” and “Too Hot.” After the show, dude throws up the deuces before returning to the VIP lounge.
A line is developing to show love and take ironic photos. Coolio doesn’t give a fuck. He’s just chilling with his woman and doesn’t even acknowledge that we’re there. Guess what though—I’m not leaving until I take this motherfucking photo. I have come too far to not receive a photo that I can post on Facebook and receive endless likes. Waiting in line, I am butted by two obnoxious bros that previously indicated they were from Milwaukee. Go figure! One is wasted and giving me a weird “I’m gonna kick your ass, faggot” look. So I look at the floor in effort to avoid a scene.
Finally! Coolio’s oversized bodyguard signals that the photo shoot is about to commence. Oh my god! My stomach fills with butterflies and I panic. What if he thinks I’m a loser? I’m next in line and going to faint. I prepare my phone and hand it to the bodyguard. This dude is a Suge Knight look alike. Swear to God. He wears one of those old-school plaid Dickie’s g-funk style button down shirts, covering the wife beater. We stand in front of a casino machine that illuminates the background. I genuinely thank Coolio for a fabulous show. He replies, “thank you, man,” and places his fist in the air to bump for the camera. The hired muscle snaps the photo and comments, “Man, you ain’t got no flash and yo screen is shattered.” Wait a minute, did I just dissed by the muscleman IN FRONT OF COOLIO! I’m mortified and respond with an appropriate, subjugated voice, “Yea, been meaning to get a new one,” before exiting the VIP lounge. Could this night get any better?
As this epic adventure closes, I am consumed with depression. It’s been an amazing year for the Internet: Auschwitz Selfie,
the Orlando Bloom-Justin Beiber fight, the fall of Mama June, Brendan Jordan, Scott Stapp’s ongoing public meltdown, and the entitled teenage Xmas tweets. While each of these events has temporarily filled our otherwise empty lives with joy and meaning, this concert represents the end of history. It is the standard against which all future Internet sensations, scandals, and memes will be compared and devalued. Hence, there’s no up from here, only down. Our lives are now condemned to mediocrity as we continually relive this moment in our thoughts, knowing full well that this experience will never be replicated. With this in mind, I pull into a 24 hour McDonalds to purchase a large fry and medium chocolate shake that I consume in the parking lot, alone, while listening to “I Know It’s Over” and watching the rain gradually obfuscate my view of the blinking Christmas lights that flash before me. I can feel the soil falling over my head.