Nudge, Nudge: Victoria boob cruise runs into choppy waters

Organizing a boob cruise in Victoria isn’t as easy as one might think.

Monty’s Reunion Boob Cruise is a three-hour trip on a 95-foot luxury yacht, poised to sail on Aug. 24. There will be booze, music and dancing. And, in keeping with the event’s title, there will be strippers such as Katerina Dior, Tegan Fox and Honey Dipper.

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“We are,” declared organizer Wayne Kalnciems, “making a mobile strip bar on the ocean.” Kalnciems, a.k.a. “Chicken,” is a former Monty’s DJ. These days, he books entertainment for most of B.C.’s strip clubs.

His boob cruise is essentially a reunion party for Monty’s Showroom Pub, the Government Street strip club that closed its doors in 2013. Many attendees will be former patrons, dancers and staff. It’s open to the public — for $99, you can buy a ticket.

What’s so difficult about doing a boob cruise? Well, the poster for starters.

The original poster advertised “Naked women! Alcoholic beverages!” and two drinks included in the ticket price. However, Kalnciems and co-organizer Bill Code say they had to change their ad after getting heat from a liquor inspector. “Naked women!” became “live entertainment.” And the reference to “free” drinks was dropped, because giving away booze is against the rules.

The biggest hurdle was getting booze on the boob cruise. Organizers say when they applied for a liquor permit, they got the runaround. Ultimately, a representative from the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch told Code the boob cruise was too dodgy.

“He said it’s racy for one. And there’s all sorts of logistic problems because you have naked women,” Code said.

The liquor rep was concerned about whether strippers would be properly segregated from the regular folk. Basically, the worry was that the dancers would fraternize too freely with the cruise-goers.

However, there was a loophole. The boob cruise could set sail if organizers found a charity willing to apply for the liquor licence on their behalf. “But good luck getting a charity that’s going to do a stripper thing, right?” said Code, who found no takers.

The boob cruisers finally figured a way out. They enlisted a catering company with a pre-existing liquor licence. The catch is, the catering company gets all profit from liquor sales, which means Kalnciems, Code and fellow organizer Ian Webb will be lucky to make a dime from the venture.

For the trio, the problem is that the optics of an ocean-going booze-up with exotic dancers are (let’s face it) not very good. Typifying the anti-boob-cruise attitude is Barry Hobbis, vice-president of operations for Victoria Harbour Ferry Co. On Facebook, he wrote: “This is so wrong on so many levels.”

I suspected Hobbis was worried about tourists on his little ferry boats witnessing lewd, alcohol-fuelled hijinks. But he told me that’s not the case. It’s more the principle of the thing. “I’m offended on behalf of my wife, my daughters and my granddaughters. It’s just not the kind of event we need in downtown Victoria,” said Hobbis, whose wife chairs the Downtown Victoria Business Association. “Should we sign up for a boob cruise that advertises naked women and liquor? Jesus Murphy.”

The organizers of the boob cruise says naysayers such as Hobbis have the wrong idea. For starters, far from being a water-borne Roman orgy, the cruise serves primarily as a social event for Monty’s regulars. When Monty’s closed, there was no proper farewell party. So this is it.

“We have ladies [including dancers] in their 50s who are coming by, just for the reunion sort of thing. It’s not all about boobs,” Kalnciems said.

He added that, aside from that fact one of them happens to be floating, there’s no difference between the boob cruise and the Fox Showroom Pub, a strip joint where the cruisers will hold their after-party.

Code, meanwhile, insists there’s a double standard at work. “[Outside the boat] everyone is going to be clothed. But you just had the [Victoria] Pride [Parade] down there walking around. Topless women and guys with buttless chaps dressed as Divine. It was OK then,” he said.

For the boob cruise crew, the good news is that ticket sales are brisk. So far, about 120 of 150 have sold.

Code is not the least bit apologetic. “It’s 150 horny guys staring at a bunch of naked women,” said the ball-capped promoter with a grin. “What the hell, right?”

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