Thursday, Oct. 5, 2006 | 7:33 a.m.
Whither the mature male strippers?
We found one Tuesday night, shakin' his groove thing with the Chippendales at the Rio. Name's Bernie Barker, and he is not shy about stripping to his chaps in the name of art ... and documentary film footage.
Barker is 66 years old, thrice-divorced, happily single and is billed as the World's Oldest Stripper. The Guinness Book of World Records recognizes him as such, and we need no higher authority.
Barker, a Las Vegas resident for the past three years, is best known as a contestant last season on NBC's "America's Got Talent" (the program that made famous another Vegas entertainer, comic magician Nathan Burton). A production crew is in Las Vegas this week holding auditions for the second season of the show hosted by Regis Philbin.
The show heard that Barker had realized his lifelong dream (OK, maybe a six-year-old dream) to dance onstage with the Chippendales - the Cadillac of male revues - and stopped by Tuesday to film him in action to prove that one can lose on the program, but still come out a winner (one who sparks two standing ovations in a single show).
Also in attendance Tuesday was the independent film company Green Flash Productions, owned by one Marc Crandall (whose chief means of income is as the owner of a construction company in Fayetteville, Ark.). Crandall first heard of Barker, who was then living in Miami, when he was interviewed in 2003 on a National Public Radio program detailing his career as a 60-something stripper. (The film, three years in the making, should be finished in three or four months and seems a natural to debut at CineVegas).
"It started as a lark, when I entered this male strip contest in Miami at age 60, and I won that," Barker said. "I started winning contests - I won 42 - and working at a male strip club called LeBares in Miami. About 2 1/2 years ago I left Miami for Vegas."
For a man who has learned many moves (including a moonwalk that's sort of a backward shuffle), the shift to Las Vegas was his best. The prostate cancer survivor and former real-estate salesman quickly became part of the cast of "Beacher's Madhouse" at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and danced regularly at Pink Taco. Barker, who keeps in shape with daily visits to Las Vegas Athletic Club on Maryland Parkway, is still part of the Jeff Beacher empire, performing four nights a week at the Rockhouse Bar at the Imperial Palace.
"People see me walking around in chaps with four or five women and they are amazed," Barker said. "I'm quite the conversation piece."
Performing in a highly regarded production show would suit Barker fine. "If the Chippendales wanted me in their show," he says, "I'd be there in a minute."
Citing a desire to have a life that doesn't require hitting the alarm at 2 a.m., Heidi Harris has left KXNT 840-AM, where she has worked for seven years - the past five as the K-NEWS morning show's co-host with Alan Stock. Harris' contract was about to expire and she wanted a change. "I left on good terms. The show has had its highest ratings it's ever had," Harris said. "I just want to spend time with my husband, Brian, and still do the Channel 13 show ("Political Insiders," which airs at 11:35 p.m. Saturdays and repeats at 5 p.m. Sundays). I imagine I'll pop up again with radio." KXNT Program Director Jack Landreth said Wednesday the station is searching locally and nationally for a new partner for Stock and hopes to have a new co-host named in three weeks ...
Not sponsored by Wheat Thins: Sandy Duncan will be starring in Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie," which is part of the Nevada Conservatory Theatre at UNLV's main season. The dates are Feb. 9-18; tickets are $25 for general admission and are on sale at the UNLV Performing Arts Center box office at 895-2787 ...
Reader reports the vanity plate on a dark blue BMW, I N2B8. Translates (I think) to "I intubate," which means to insert a tube into; to treat by inserting a tube, as into the larynx.