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Book Review: Topless Prophet by Alan Markovitz

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Topless Prophet is one of those books that, when you see it on a bookstore shelf, you almost can’t but pick it up. It tells the inside story of Alan Markovitz, who is one of the most successful entrepreneurs around when it comes to gentlemen’s clubs. One of the things that I found most interesting, is that it also chronicles the evolution of strip clubs.

The book starts in one of the most horrific ways any story can start, with Alan Markovitz narrating exactly what it was like to get shot in the head by an irate customer of one his strip clubs. This, more than anything else, helps the reader see him as a real human being instead of being the faceless man behind all of those boobs.

From there, it tells the story Alan Markovitz – from his childhood in suburban Detroit, to his experience in the Israeli Air Force, to eventual entry into the strip club business and his desire to change the industry. It’s his desire to change strip clubs, and to retain his sanity while doing so, that drives much of this story.

For example, when Mr. Markovitz opened his fist club, dancers simply danced on stage. One of the stories that he tells in his book was how the lap dance was born when a regular customer, known only as Pac Man, wanted to see more of his favorite dancer. Sensing an untapped market, Alan Markovitz essentially become the father of the lap dance – a distinction that I’m certain made his mother very proud.

He then went on to explain how this led to fundamental changes in the industry. Because his dancers were now able to make considerably more money, their relationship with the club went from being standard employees who collected an hourly wage to being independent contractors who paid the club for the privilege of working there.

This, in turn, led to a series of other changes as the club owners became able to spend a lot more money on the club itself. Everything from the carpeting and furniture to the lighting and sound systems received an upgrade.

Regardless of whether one thinks of strip clubs as a legitimate business with a right to operate or as the base exploitation of human beings, Topless Prophet offers an interesting, first-hand account of how they came to exist in the way that we think of them today. Plus, it’s nothing if not an interesting read.

I highly recommend this book.

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About Frank Nemecek

Freelance writing, indie filmmaker, and all around pain in the...