Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 | 4:09 p.m.
The president of the United States vacations in Martha’s Vineyard. Members of Congress and senators are on a five-week break, and Las Vegas VIPs vacation en masse at California beach spots or jet set off to the French and Italian Rivieras. Big-name celebs are partying in Ibiza rather than at our Strip nightclubs.
These are known as the dog days of summer, when the news business becomes the snooze business. Everything goes quiet, but wait. Stop the presses. It’s a Fox News alert!
As an urgent midnight deadline neared, and the clock got ready to tick into early Sunday morning, pens were poised, cameras were ready to click and digital tape recorders were on. Veteran, hard-bitten and heart-hardened journalists were about to get their big break with a major midsummer headline story.
After 100 “Pin Up” shows under her garter belt, Playboy’s 2011 Playmate of the Year Claire Sinclair was about to debut a more revealing wardrobe to show off her curves, leaving only a little to the imagination.
The costume change meant she could finally show audiences more than a peek of the perky points behind the bustier — not completely topless but as near as could be. Media and audiences since the show’s debut March 2 had wondered why the 22-year-old brunette who showed all in Hugh Hefner’s magazine couldn’t display her assets onstage at the Stratosphere.
Curvy Claire wanted it. The choreographers wanted it. The audiences definitely wanted it. Yelp reviewers who recently received an accidental surprise flash, thanks to Claire’s mischievousness, raved about her mathematics: 36D-24-38. Finally, Stratosphere execs rolled back their hard-line decision negating nudity and gave their thumbs-up for a little more skin.
In a city known worldwide for sin, naughtiness and nudity, it was a major concession and burlesque barrier breakthrough. The uncovering simply had to be covered by mass media.
“We have been flirting with the idea of showing a bit more skin for a few months now,” Stratosphere General Manager Paul Hobson said. “We listen to what our guests want, and are committed to keeping ‘Pin Up’ fresh, entertaining and full of surprises.”
So Claire got her wish: a costume change to put a sparkle onto her pin-up calendar girl shape with a pair of pasties decorated with 100 Swarovski crystals.
“You could always call it flirty, but now it’s just a little naughty,” she said, laughing.
The stage was set. Reporters were at the ready. The audience — including legendary burlesque queen Tempest Storm with our Editor at Large John Katsilometes — was anxiously awaiting the big reveal. Trumpet titan Dave Perrico had his swinging six-piece band all tuned up, singer Anne Martinez was on her high notes, and dancer Ryan Kelsey had an extra spring in his step.
The spotlights shined on the busty brunette bombshell. The temperature shot up, and it was if the air conditioning couldn’t compete. The enthusiastic applause and cheering grew as the show continued. The dancing became more frenzied. Claire was in her element with the ecstasy, and then it happened.
A Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction of monumental proportions. A titillating treat. A nipple slip to officially name the night “naughty.” As Peter Falk’s Colombo might say, “Just one more thing. Was there enough glue in the case of the persnickety pasty?”
Moments after slipping on a sexy see-through chiffon negligee to mask most of her modesty, Claire told Vegas DeLuxe: “It felt like I was doing the show for the first time. I had so much adrenaline pumping through me.
“It also felt exactly right. I have believed from the very beginning that ‘Pin Up’ needed a little more skin to beckon back to eras where a peek of boob was a big deal. I’m very pleased with the pasties themselves and the spots in the show that the producers decided to place them.
“In the finale, when a pasty came off, I found myself in a Janet Jackson Super Bowl scenario. Our singer Anne picked up the pasty and bit on it, and I couldn’t help but smile. I thought, ‘Oh, well! Lucky audience!”
“I knew Tempest was out there thinking, ‘It happens to the best of us.’ The show was dedicated to the late burlesque legend Dixie Evans. I think the show and its new additions to the wardrobe would have made her proud.”
Cool as a cucumber and with an absolutely straight face, Matt Mascali, VP of entertainment at the Stratosphere, simply stated: “We are looking forward to the next 100 shows of ‘Pin Up’ keeping the Stratosphere on the forefront of the type of live entertainment that Vegas was built on.”
Now on to track down our next big summer story.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
It is virtually impossible to be anywhere in Las Vegas and miss the Stratosphere. It towers 1,149 feet above Las Vegas and is the tallest observation tower in the United States. The casino itself is 55,784 square feet and contains 950 slot machines, 120 game tables and 2,427 hotel rooms.
Of the hotel's 2,427 rooms, 909 were recently remodeled into Stratosphere Select rooms.
The Stratosphere is mostly known for its rides at the top of the tower. The Big Shot, located at the 113th floor, torpedoes riders up 160 feet using compressed air. X-Scream is a teeter-totter perched at the top of the observation deck — if that wasn't scary enough, the coaster arm flings the riders out 27 feet over the edge of the tower. Guests looking for something more sedate can just hang around the 107th floor and simply look at the scenery.