Last Friday night, I parked my Volvo station wagon between two enormous pickup trucks at the Fox Showroom Pub on Douglas Street. Above, an illuminated sign advertised “Beers and breakfast.”
I wasn’t there for suds and sausages, however. My mission was to witness the Miss Nude B.C. Pageant semifinals.
For years, the Miss Nude B.C. Pageant was staged at Slack Alice’s in Penticton. After the club burned down, the Fox took up Slack Alice’s slack. The annual contest is organized by Wayne Kainciems (a.k.a. Chicken) and Loran Werrun (a.k.a. Rev. Donnie Black).
Rev. Black is the Fox’s manager, resident DJ and an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church in Modesto, California. Chicken is a partner in Stripper Entertainment, booking a dozen strip clubs throughout the province. He got his nickname from the rubber chicken game he once hosted at Merlin’s nightclub.
“After that,” he said, “everyone started calling me the Chicken Guy.”
Six exotic dancers competed nightly all last week at the Fox for the Miss Nude B.C. title. The circular stage is equipped with a mirror ball and two golden poles. As I entered, Wild Cherry’s Play that Funky Music blasted at high volume. The 250-capacity Fox was almost full, mostly people in their 20s and 30s, many of them women.
Judges included a young beer rep for Labatt’s (let’s call him Mr. X) and two middle-aged guys. I asked if they were beer reps like Mr. X. No, they said, they’re just Fox regulars who enjoy beer and women. “If you know beer,” added one mysteriously, “you know women.”
While I pondered this, Rev. Black dispensed ballot cards. The panel was asked to judge contestants (on a scale of 10) in the categories of costume, dance, body, pole work/gymnastics, stage presence, music and sensuality. “If someone blows your mind,” advised the reverend, “don’t give them an 11.”
The first performer, Madison Q, walked on stage amid billowing fog and high-decibel circus music. Madison, a brunette woman, wore a pom-pom-ed clown outfit. She made balloon animals and, near the end, pulled an extremely long streamer from her mouth. After applying coloured paints to her body, she rolled onto a white T-shirt and presented it to a male audience member. “Not a bad way to kick it off,” said one judge. I agreed, but wondered what kind of future events the man would wear his Madison-imprinted T-shirt to.
The entrance of the second contestant — Justice, a petite woman in her 30s — was preceded by the dramatic inflation of her animatronic pirate ship. The prop, featuring mechanical characters with moving limbs, was the size of those jumbo inflatables people put in their front yards at Christmas. Not surprisingly, her performance was pirate-themed, including a treasure chest, bubbles and streamers. Justice tossed out paper pirate hats to the crowd so we could be pirates, too. “Ahoy, mateys,” yelled Rev. Black over the PA. “Have you ever been to sea?”
After Justice’s show, two guys mopped up soap suds and confetti. One pushed a giant squeegee, another wiped the floor by moving towels with his feet. As they worked, a front-row onlooker pretended to make his blue balloon dog (a gift from Madison Q) walk on stage.
Next up was Katrina Valentine, who impressed with her Alice in Wonderland show, complete with flaming stick manipulations and co-performers costumed as a rabbits and Mad Hatters.
Afterward, Madison Q stopped by the judges’ table. She said her clown act usually includes a tricycle, which she didn’t bring. Unfortunately, an ultra-loud Nirvana tune made it impossible to follow her explanation.
Space doesn’t permit descriptions of all performances. Suffice to say everyone seemed well pleased, judging by the cheers, hoots and one guy who (during the pirate portion) bellowed: “Argh!”
The woman ultimately crowned Miss Nude B.C. was Justice, who won $1,000. When we spoke earlier this week, Justice said she’s not only been crowned Miss Nude B.C. before, she’s won 57 titles, including Miss Nude Galaxy, Miss Pole Dance Canada and Miss Nude Canada.
Justice says the secret to her success is “telling a story” as well as projecting fun and confidence. Her pirate show, for instance, was inspired by the film Pirates of the Caribbean, with a visual sub-text referencing Capt. Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones’ locker.
“They call me the ‘The Beast’ because when I go in, I tackle it head on,” said Justice. “I’m in it to win, I’m not going to half-ass a show. I want to make sure I have everybody’s tongues wagging about me at the end of the day.”