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Men of Playgirl Magazine upcoming show brings controversy, yet wide attendance expected 

March 17, 2004

They are coming from Las Vegas -- roughly eight of them, and all in their adult birthday suits. 
It has been three years since Emerald City won its case against the county to create a strip bar in Charlotte County and the business has plans to add men to their in-the-buff lineup. 
On Monday night, Emerald City brings the "Men of Playgirl Magazine" to its stage at 1225 Tamiami Trail. For owner Kipp Whaley, the event promises to bring women from as far as Clearwater and Miami to the adult business. 
For fans of male strippers, the Emerald City gig promises to be unique. Few places in south Florida do naked shows, and hardly any include men, Whaley said. 
Actually, the word is fully nude. 
"Put it this way, there's not really any place you can be fully nude in. My (business) is basically the only club in Southwest Florida that they can. At the end of the show (the strippers) show themselves but it's more of a theater show. They have customs and they do their little acts." 
Sorry, no lounging naked, though. While undressed, the guys keep to the stage. 
Already five radio shows have begun announcing the show, including on KIX Country 92.9 FM. The commercials have come with zero or little negative feedback, said Mike Moody, KIX station general manager. 
However, those expecting to see their favorite centerfold models from Playgirl may be disappointed. The men really aren't from Playgirl Magazine, and the act isn't sanctioned by the glossy. The Men of Playgirl Magazine is put on by a separate production group that suggests an affiliation with the magazine. 
Michelle Zipp, editor-in-chief of the New York-based Playgirl Magazine said by phone on Tuesday that their company is in the middle of the lawsuit with the Men of Playgirls, which is put on by a company called Gold Productions. 
"They are using our name illegally," Zipp said. "This is not our troupe but I guess this club didn't know. We don't know what kind of guys they have and we don't know how (the company) is representing us." 
Contacted Tuesday evening, Whaley said the news came as a surprise. The material put out by Gold Productions clearly stated an affiliation with Playgirl, he said. 
"That's weird all of the info I got said it's from Playgirl," Whaley said. "I was told it was a branch of it. Everything I got has Playgirl Magazine (on it)." 
At any rate, the show promises to be good, he said. 
The show comes about three years after Whaley and Emerald City won a battle with Charlotte County over the strip club. After a messy exchange, the two parties settled out of court and Whaley set up business. 
Now, the response has been positive. And, though many of Emerald City's customers are men, Whaley said the response to the fully nude male show has been positive, this time from women. 
"It's obvious the community approves of it because my door wouldn't be open if (they weren't)," he said. "Anyone who's been here can tell you it's one of the cleanest, and upper class establishments in Florida." 
The show runs Monday, March 22 from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Must be at least 18 to enter and tickets are $15 each.

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