Who’s happiest about Chicken’s decision to retire from the strip-club business? His mom.
Chicken (a.k.a. Wayne Kalnciems) was raised Catholic. He went to St. Patrick’s Elementary School, then St. Andrew’s Regional High School. Wore the neatly pressed school uniform and all.
“My mother was like: ‘Thank God! Finally!’ She was the most ecstatic person on Earth,” he said.
For 20 years, Kalnciems worked in the strip-club business, finally ending up as a partner with Vancouver-based Stripper Entertainment. He booked dancers for 17 clubs in B.C., including the Fox Showroom Pub at the Red Lion Inn.
Kalnciems quit the biz on March 31. He wants a more regular lifestyle.
We met at the Fox. Kalnciems’ longtime buddy Loran Werrun, who runs the strip club, joined us. At first, Werrun suggested we talk in the VIP room. But that seemed a bit weird as the space — ordinarily used for “private dances” — was illuminated in a lurid red suggestive of a Moroccan bordello.
So Werrun led us to a dining room in the Red Lion with more conventional lighting. It seemed much cleaner, too.
Kalnciems, who spoke animatedly and cradled a beer, wore a blue shirt, a black hoop earring in each ear.
He’s stepping down as a strip-club kingpin for many reasons. First of all, the 41-year-old wants to protect his health. Booking strip clubs is not a 9-to-5 job.
Glamorous as it sounds (“May I hand you your G-string, Mitzi?”) the reality is different. Mostly you’re on the phone, fielding texts and calls.
It starts at 9 a.m., said Kalnciems, and wraps up in the wee hours when you might hear from an irate dancer. On average, he wore out a cellphone every 3 1/2 to four months.
“I want to be the guy who’s wearing my slippers with my golden retriever,” said Kalnciems, who bought a golden retriever named Teddy not long ago. “It’s like a reverse mid-life crisis. Know what I mean?”
Then there’s his nine-year-old son, Jackson, who regularly visits his single dad. Until now, Kalnciems has told him he works with “entertainers.”
“My son’s getting to an age where he asks questions. And I don’t want to have to lie to him anymore.”
Before booking strippers, Kalnciems was a strip-club DJ and manager.
Most people call him Chicken. He got the nickname because, years ago, he proved expert at a night-club contest. Contestants tried to toss a rubber chicken into a bucket. Kalnciems won for 36 straight weeks.
“For some reason,” he said, “I can toss a rubber chicken into a bucket with no problem.”
Quitting the strip biz will be helpful in regard to other irons Kalnciems has in the fire. He rounds up extras for films, such as the Victoria-shot Kid Cannabis and the Ryan Reynolds movie Deadpool, shot in Vancouver.
He also does wrestling promotions on the side. For such legit gigs, it doesn’t look good if your resumé says “strip club agent.”
People’s reactions to what he did for a living weren’t always great. “There’s either complete disgust and you’re a disgusting pervert. Or there’s really too much interest. They either hate you or love you,” Kalnciems said.
And booking strip clubs isn’t so hot for one’s romantic life.
“Who’s going to date a guy who talks to a hundred exotic entertainers a week on the phone?”
Eventually, Kalnciems and Werrun, who has also worked two decades in strip clubs, waxed nostalgic about good times past.
Once, Kalnciems took a chance by hiring what he claims was “the first midget stripper ever” in Canada. He originally booked her for four weeks in Manitoba and Alberta, but she proved so popular, it become a four-month Canadian tour. Werrun escorted the dancer (stage name Tiny Toy) to a radio station to promote her Victoria show.
Just before the broadcast, Werrun, unsure of the correct term, referred to her as a midget. Tiny Toy took umbrage and muttered single-word answers to all the interviewer’s questions — something that still amuses Kalnciems, who laughed explosively at the recollection.
“It was derogatory to little people. I was unaware. I apologized,” Werrun said.
There was the time actor Matt LeBlanc allegedly misbehaved with a stripper at Monty’s, an exploit that made the National Enquirer. Kalnciems, who shared cigarette breaks with the Friends star, said: “He was a regular guy drinkin’ beers sittin’ in the front row of the peeler bar with his buddies.”
Other Kalnciems credits: hiring porn actor Ron Jeremy, Canada’s “oldest stripper” and a dancer who claims to possess the most prominent cleavage in the nation.
Before Chicken permanently leaves the roost, his swan song will be mounting the second annual Boob Cruise. Devotees of cocktails, music and exotic dancers can pay $99 to take the yacht trip on July 12 (tickets at Lyle’s Place).
It will be enjoyable, promised Kalnciems. After all, the first one went swimmingly.
“Nobody died,” he said. “Nobody fell overboard, nobody got murdered.”