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Eulogy for the Limplifter

I’d like to thank you all for the outpouring of support and condolences on the loss of Superior’s classiest strip club, The Lamplighter. It was a great loss to me. In 10 years, I went there once. I was their best customer.

Actually, I haven’t heard any condolences yet, as the club was a festering pit of depression and sadness that not even the most hardcore masochist or sex fiend would enjoy, so it’s not surprising that its closure went unnoticed. Now that this column has made everyone aware of its demise, I’m sure the entire region will be grieving. Everyone hates to lose a great joke.

“The Limplifter” was, after all, a comedy landmark. Much like an old library that still heats itself using firewood or the last doctor’s office to still use leeches, The Limplifter may have been the last strip club in the nation that required strippers to feed their own quarters into the jukebox in order to dance to a song. I always wondered if the owner gave them the quarters, or if the quarter was the club’s take of the $0.39 in tips the strippers earned each dance.

The club was legendary for such quirkiness. I enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Superior in 1997, and it only took a few days before I started hearing about The Limplifter. One person told me the strip club was owned by Russian mobsters who kidnapped frumpy middle-aged Canadian women and forced them to dance there. Another person told me the club had a rare airborne version of the HIV virus that infected everyone who entered. Another person told me all the club’s dancers were elderly female professors at UWS who danced there on weekends to feed their heroin habit. Excluding the last one, these were all lies, but the stories created quite a legend.

I went to The Limplifter once in 2006, in hopes that such a seedy place would also have illegal cockfights and off-track horse betting, but I was disappointed to find only a single stripper who was so wasted she could barely stand, let alone dance. When I sat at a seat near the edge of the stage, she stumbled over and whispered in my ear, “Are you drunk?” I said I wasn’t yet, and she said, “Well, I am.” Then she climbed the stripper pole, slid down in a grand fashion and accidentally hit her head on the floor. It was funny in both a tragic and a “ha ha” fashion.

I’m not sure when The Limplifter closed. I visited Duluth for a few days this Christmas and just saw the closed sign briefly as I drove to the Anchor Bar. It said a new strip club would be opening in the same place, something called “Vagina Rose” or “Rose Vaginally” or “Rose Vagineez” or something along those lines. Whatever the new name, it sounded classy and upscale.

I’m not sure how the Limplifter 2.0/Vagina Rose plans to compete on that level. Superior already has Centerfolds strip club across the street, which specializes in angry young women who ask you for an overpriced lap dance and then scowl and curse loudly at you when you decline. The Limplifter was able to compete before because of its crappy nature.

It was somewhere between free and $3 to get in, depending on how lazy the bartender was about badgering you after you entered and sat down, and drinks were at dive bar prices. There were no lap dances, and no pressure to spend money on anything except drinks. It was a completely hassle-free experience. The bartenders would ignore you and the dancing girl (or on a rare night, girls) were so drunk or drugged out that they didn’t really notice if you tipped or not.

If this new place wants to be a success, it needs to stand out. I have a few excellent suggestions. First of all, everyone in the Vagina Rose should dress in a pirate costume. Strippers, bartenders, jizz moppers, whomever. Dancers should wear eyepatches, and when you tip them, they should say, “Arrrr, thank ye matey.” Once per hour, the bartender should get on the roof and fire a cannonball at the Centerfolds club across the street.

I’m not sure how the name “Vagina Rose” fits in with a pirate theme. I suspect they’re going for more of a burlesque theme, but it seems to me that the cultured residents of Superior would be more intrigued by pirates. If I were a 45-year-old alcoholic who lived under a tarp in the alley behind Mama’s Bar, I’d save up my panhandling earnings for weeks to see pirate strippers.

Alternatively, the Vag Rose could have a superhero theme, Ghostbusters theme, or Hogan’s Heroes theme. Granted, there weren’t very many women in Hogan’s Heroes, but I think most people in America generally enjoy the premise of the show, so they could work something out. I know I’d pay good money to see any of those themes realized in a strip club.

Whatever the Russian mobster owners decide, I expect to be given free admission and complimentary lap dances from a woman dressed as Colonel Klink’s secretary. It’s more likely that I’ll just get sued for leading everyone in the Twin Ports to refer to them as “Vagina Rose” instead of the club’s real name, but that’s fine too. I like attention almost as much as I like boobs.


 One Response to “Eulogy for the Limplifter”

  1. Nick says:

    Awesome! The Limplifter will never be forgotten…mostly for all of the cases of VD it caused in the Duluth/Superior area!

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