Two for the Road

In which our man in Dallas joins Sofia Staks, Kayla Kleevage and other noted First Amendment activists on a mission to rescue Houston from the pashas of prudery. Or something like that.

"Of course, you guys know what ALF is, right?" she asks the crowd.
Scattered frat hollers suggest that most of these students haven't read the assignment before class started. Kayla mumbles a brief description of Adults for Legal Freedom and its candidate, Ray Hill.

"How many of y'all vote?" she asks.
Small cheer.
"How many of y'all are gonna start voting?"
Big cheer.

Slowly and uncertainly, naming some too soon and forgetting others, she introduces the film stars and dancers who will perform individually and sign autographs tonight until three the next morning: Sofia; Christi; Vanity; Sunset; Tera; Miss Marilyn; Kathy Willetts; Jordan Jarrell; a New York-based rap artist and porn fan named D.J. Polo; and of course, "The Clown Prince of Porn" himself, Ron Jeremy, who will rap with Polo and offer a bit of his X-rated standup shtick. Before Kayla finishes her opening remarks, Ron Jeremy walks up behind her, pulls her blouse open, takes her breasts out and begins rubbing her nipples with his thumbs, to the ecstatic approval of the crowd.

Kayla looks surprised and a little shaken, but maintains a professional demeanor.

Then Ray Hill walks on-stage and stands in front of the celebrities. He's wearing a paper red-white-and-blue top hat. Photographers and camera crews bob and weave at the foot of the stage. I had been warned by some in Houston that Hill was a spotlight hog, but his speech was brief and contained few references to his own colorful past as the plaintiff in a landmark Supreme Court case and local gadfly.

"I'm here to protect your right to have a good fuckin' time," Hill announces with gusto. The hoots and foot-stomping soon die down.

"The do-gooders are smoking the wrong stuff," Hill continues. "They talk about protecting the children. I don't see any children in this room. No kindergartners snuck in here."

"Shake the titties!" screams a young Latino with a shaved head and goatee. Since Hill looks like a padded A at best, I'm assuming the gentleman has directed his comment to the women behind Hill, who stand with frozen smiles.

"I want the world to know we're not ashamed of being adults!" Hill says. "And we don't want other people making our decision for us. We've got voter registration cards here for anyone who isn't already registered, and we encourage you to fill one out."

"I vote for titties!" the young Latino hollers at Mr. Hill.
In 15 minutes' time, Hill and his celebrity supporters are off the stage. Some of the performers sit behind a table to sign ALF programs and glossy photos; others take to the dressing room, or to the VIP room upstairs, to wait for Kayla Kleevage and Amy Jo Crowell to summon them for individual performances.

As the evening rolls toward midnight, I notice that some of the dancers -- XTC's house girls, not its invited superstars -- will, for a handsome tip, shake their bottoms in private dances for seated audience members. The tippers have been emphatically instructed to keep their hands off. As an extra incentive, beefy, pissed-off-looking XTC employees keep watch just a few feet away.

One young man with black hair and glasses stares serenely as a young naked woman shakes her hips in his face. He appears to be in a stupor.

He sits hard and motionless in his seat, like it's about to be ejected through the roof of XTC, with his arms planted firmly on the rests. In one hand is a half-finished beer; in another, a dog-eared voter registration card. I try peering over him to see if the card has been filled out, but I can't see though the cigarette smoke and flashing lights.

The dancer finishes her mini-performance with a thrust of her round bottom aimed squarely at the customer's face. The young man's face remains impassive, but he does offer one small sign of recognition for her final flourish: The wrinkled voter registration card becomes a small, crumpled ball in his fist.

Jimmy Fowler is a staff writer for the Dallas Observer.

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