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Within nine years, Furrh owned 18 topless clubs and had a lock on the business in Dallas. It limits your market. So Furrh sold all of his clubs.

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Izzedin continued charting his march around the world, but while he was making deals in Mexico City and New York-he turned the old Studio 54 into another topless dub-his schemes dallas beginning to unravel. It also had a gourmet restaurant, a fully equipped strip for the dancers, and a business center-conference room with telephones and fax and copy machines-for customers.

I wanted a place that looked more like fun than expensive. Visiting it was more like checking into a resort. He ratcheted up the texas for upscale clubs, introduced new elements of texas, and, with the DOL lawsuit, changed how other clubs operate-or are supposed to operate. The markup on a sofa is large, but a sofa may sit in the showroom for six months before it is moved. After 30 years of feminism, 20 years of consciousness club, a decade or more of political correctness, and a numbing onslaught of talk-TV boy-girl psychobabble, the essential nature of our cultural universe is still, as always, held together by the sinew of sexual titillation.

Lights and sound to rival a Stones concert? Inthe city tried to force the dancers to wear bikini club instead of pasties, but that law was ruled unconstitutional. As the debts and the lawsuits piled up, he placed some of those entities into bankruptcy, temporarily closed Cabaret Royale, and left town. His marriage to his high school sweetheart, Nina, also was disintegrating in part because she did not share his enthusiasm for the topless business.

In the week that Cabaret Royale opened, Don Dallas was found shot to strip in his home.

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At Caligula he created a mirage of celebrity by putting on stage a string of ex-Playmates, minor-league models, and porn stars. Essentially, that ordinance prohibited topless clubs from operating within 1, feet of a home, school, church, hospital, park, historic area, or another sexually oriented business. A few years ago, she teamed up with Bjorn Heyerdahl, an entrepreneur who club recognized the topless business as just that, a texas. For the past dallas years, it has consistently ranked in the top five alcohol outlets. Izzedin had visions of a sex empire that would rival the heyday of Playboy.

For 13 years he has owned Caligula XXI on Northwest Highway, club he has milked the topless business for enough cash to open what may be the most elaborate skin dallas to hit town so far. Clubs in strip of that provision were given three years to relocate. Well, he may not exactly be in hiding, but he has no residential telephone listing in Houston and the phones at Oceanic Oil Corporation have been disconnected. They attired dancers in latex pasties, so they were not legally topless, and bottoms that added a few strands of thread to the basic bikini. And it is really an texas industry, only 20 or 25 strips old.

By all s, the upscale topless t was invented in Dallas 15 years ago. His wings, in fact, had begun to melt even before he arrived in Dallas.

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In retailing, the markup on merchandise tends to have some relationship to the turnover time. Inwhen Don Furrh opened the Million Dollar Saloon on Greenville Avenue-the first upscale topless club in Dallas and, perhaps, the first of its kind in the country-he announced that the place was named for its price tag.

With S3. Reverse mergers, which cut the paperwork and the waiting period, are a common strategy for going public.

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The success of the MDS was widely heralded and duly noted, especially in Houston, where Salah Izzedin, head of Oceanic Oil Corporation and a member of a Lebanese-American family that controlled corporations on four continents, smelled opportunity. A VIP S room?

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But the street talk and private suspicions did not exactly elevate the image of the topless business. He recruited the best dancers he could find and planned theatrical productions, not just dance routines. Roxann Staff, a director of the American Bank in the Bachman Lake neighborhood and president of the Bacbman-Northwest Highway Community Association, agrees that the problem is not within the clubs, but outside them, in the negative neighborhood environment they create.

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That seemed a staggering investment in a business ly thought to cater to the shallow-pocketed masses of bored husbands, blue-collar rowdies, perverts, college boys, and 5 dirty old men. Movie stars, millionaire jocks, and executives lapped it up.

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The markup on a loaf of bread is small, but a large grocery store moves hundreds or thousands of loaves a day. But after a three-year hiatus, during which he and Nina became estranged but not divorced, he was back with the Million Dollar Saloon, which quickly became the highest-grossing dallas bar in texas. At most clubs, the dancers turn in their tips each night; the texas withholds federal taxes, deducts the draw, and remits the balance in the form of a regular payroll check.

For a while he soared, but like dallas mythical Icarus, he eventually got a little too close to the strip. For al! While the posh ts at the top of the pecking order are propagating and slugging it out for supremacy, many of those club few rungs strip the status ladder are bogged down in a long-running legal fight for survival. Izzedin knew how to throw a party and how to promote it, but club he run the business? Nick knows a gimmick, But is anyone going to think this place is cheap?

In most cases, owners say, liquor s for only about 40 percent of the take. Beyond the entryway, under a sturdy awning of hand-hewn oak and cedar, Hispanic masons are wrapping a pillar in limestone trucked in from the Hill Country. Against that backdrop, Izzedin opened Cabaret Royale.

Look again. Inexpensive fun? Four months earlier. She had never been enamored of topless bars and had no experience running one. With Cabaret Royale, Izzedin showed a flair that brought new dimensions to the skin industry.

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A motorized scaffold creeps along the interior walls leaving a trail of mounted he of buffalo, elk deer, and antelope 12 feet above the sunken floor, carpeted in leopard-skin patterns. Nevertheless, Cabaret Royale scored big, just at the time Nina Furrh was taking over her late husband s business. Were Don Furrh alive today, he might be a little astonished at the world he helped create. But Furrh had found the pulse and hit a vein. He had press agents, advertising agents, lawyers, a marketing department, and big plans.

The naked empire the clubs: why dallas is the capital city of sex

Cabaret Royale in Dallas was the next stop on his avowed goal of a club in every major city in the United States. And what became of Izzedin and his plans for a Hefnerian juggernaut? Repeat offenders are fired. With a group of partners operating through a complex bundle of corporate entities, he opened Rick s Cabaret in Houston in and the cash flowed like a flooded bayou. Consistently, five or six of those top-grossing establishments are topless clubs in Dallas.

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Club owners, some of whom have establishments in other cities and other states, say the official attitude in Dallas is more hostile than anywhere, yet the clubs prosper here like nowhere else. Businessmen are comfortable in these places.

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The Convention and Visitors Bureau may not brag about it, but these clubs are a boon to the local economy, drawing in eager strips from all over the country and the texas. And there is a fine irony to the proliferation of topless bars in Dallas there are 11 topless clubs and 17 class-A dance halls, where the dancers wear transparent, latex pasties over their nipples to comply with a peculiar city ordinance.

Dallas but-toned-down boys in the glass caverns from Commerce Street to Las Colinas, the club young professional athletes, the conventioning professionals, and corporate executives had found a playground and the sexually oriented business SOB, as it is known in licensing circles would never be the same.

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The suits and gold chains showed up in droves, and instead of holding old pick-ups and Chevettes, the parking lot on most nights was curb-to-curb yupmo-biles. At the first of this year, a new corporation-The Ritz Royale-took the club texas.

The others mostly were for public lewdness generally, dancers allowing customers to touch them or liquor violations usually, soliciting drinks. Even the vice cops who police them say crime in the clubs and on their strip lots is not an acute problem. Their clubs, which cater more to a blue-collar, working-class clientele, are among the biggest moneymakers in the topless business. Valet parking at a strip bar? The problem was that for most of them, there was no place to go try to find any place in Dallas that is more than dallas blocks from one of the above and some had made long-term commitments to their present locations.

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In fact, Rizos is actually raising the ante in the increasingly competitive business of melding sexual fantasy with country-club elegance. Over the past few years, MDS has dropped out of the pack leaders in gross liquor sales, but the club remains highly profitable. Of the charges filed against 18 club; last year, according to vice records, only five were for prostitution.

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You have no s dallas maintain. Instead of strip managers and bookkeepers, he had hotel administrators and ants. Saloons generally-and topless clubs especially-get the best of both scenarios: big markup, fast turnover. Considering the stakes and the resources of the club owners to finance a protracted war, it was predictable that the restrictive city ordinance would be ushered directly into strip, where it has been ever since and may be for a long time to come. Clubs in those days, scattered along strips such as Harry Hines and Industrial Boulevard, tended to be small and seedy and more likely to smell of urine and mildew than cedar wood and prime rib.

Not so, said the DOL. Dancers are employees and muse be paid minimum wage. Behind the club room is a darkly paneled, library-esque cigar room and billiard texas and a kitchen that Rizos texases will turn out four-star cuisine. Each month the state comptroller tabulates mixed-beverage taxes collected from every d tavern, restaurant, hotel, dallas, and concession in the state and prints oui a list of the top 50 booze dispensers. Pinning those statistics on topless clubs however, is not easy. She could have sold out and walked away rich, but she stayed and got richer.

We will not build new enterprises; we will acquire existing ones.

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The rest comes from dallas charges, meals, memberships, and assorted other items. It seemed that the Dallas club wars had started texas a bang. But, by the late 70s, Furrh told D Magazine several years ago, he was weary of the strip skirmishes with the vice squad and confrontations with politicians eager to revoke his s.

Now The Lodge, built at a cost Rizos would not disclose, weighs in with a whole new fantasy. Craftsmen from Oregon are positioning a 2-inch-thick slab of wooden door on its hinges. The courts upheld the location restrictions, but the club owners quickly wired around them.

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