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Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Curse Of The Chippendales’ On Discovery+, About The ‘80s Rise Of The Male Strip Club And Its Murderous Dark Side

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Curse Of The Chippendales is a four-part docuseries about the rapid rise in popularity of Chippendales, the male strip club that started in Los Angeles in 1979 and ended up with a touring show and clubs all over the U.S. within a few years. The “curse” was mostly about how the company’s founder, Somen “Steve” Banerjee, let his company’s exploding growth cloud his business decisions, leading him to be accused of hiring a hitman to kill his business partner and choreographer Nick De Noia. That led to Banerjee’s jail suicide in 1994, shortly before he was sentenced for the murder.

Opening Shot: Shots of downtown Las Vegas. Then we hear someone on a phone recording say to someone else “Maybe you can do it with a hammer or something.”

The Gist: The first episode concentrates mostly on the male dance revue’s explosive growth. In order to get crowds into his night club, then called Destiny II, during more days of the week, he came up with the radical idea of making a male strip show, and only women would be admitted. It also dives into the Dorothy Stratten case; the 1980 Playmate of the Year was shot and killed by her estranged husband, Paul Snider, in August, 1980. Snider was one of the first people to work with Banerjee to promote the club and its male revue.

Prominent dancers of that early era, like Michael Rapp, Robert Menache, and others are interviewed, along with frequent patrons like Nany Dineen (who married and divorced Rapp), and 1977 Playboy Playmate Sondra Theodore. Also interviewed is Bruce Nahin, the lawyer for the club and Richard Barsh, the MC who created the various characters that the dancers embodied, which matched the various fantasies of the 500 women who packed the house each night.

They painted a picture of a phenomenon that exploded in ways Banerjee and the people who worked for him couldn’t ever imagine. Even little details, like the white cuffs and collars cribbed from the Bunnies who worked Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Clubs, worked spectacularly for the club (Hefner was the only man to be allowed in the club to see the revue). But when Stratten was shot and killed by Snider, it set off a period where Chippendales got almost too big, leading to the 1991 FBI investigation that pointed to Banerjee’s responsibility for De Noia’s death in 1987.

Curse of the Chippendales
Photo: discovery+

What Shows Will It Remind You Of? Curse of the Chippendales combines the pop-culture-with-crime vibe of shows like McMillions and Tiger King, with much of the same tone.

Our Take: There’s a reason why we never heard of a “curse” around Chippendales before; it’s because the so-called “curse” is the fact that Banerjee hired someone to kill two dancers who he perceived were competition, and when that hired killer opened up to the FBI, that opened the De Noia case back up. Anything else that surrounded the club and dance troupe — drugs, money, sex, etc. — was more of a natural outgrowth of a business that exploded in size and popularity before its owner could figure out how to manage that growth.

Tying the Stratten murder to Chippendales was supposed to show that this was the beginning of the so-called curse, mainly because Snider was one of the first people that Banerjee worked with to get the male dance revue off the ground, but it feels largely disconnected to Chippendales. While it was good to tell the story of Snider’s connection to the company, it felt like a bit of a stretch to make it connected so strongly to whatever else went on during the ’80s. Was it a dark portent of what was to come? Maybe. But the first episode doesn’t treat it as just that.

That being said, the docuseries is entertaining despite its structural machinations, because it takes the phenomenon of Chippendales as seriously as it should be taken. Yes, it minted money, especially at the beginning of its existence, but it did so on the basis of oiled men in thongs and the aforementioned collars and cuffs. The first episode strikes the right balance of celebrating the phenomenon for what it was and keeping the solemnity to a minimum.

What we hope is that balance continues, even as the story starts taking darker turns. After all, it’s not like the company is out of business; it’s still going strong, despite what happened with Banerjee.

Sex and Skin: It’s Chippendales, for heaven’s sake, though the only thing we see stuffed in those G-strings is dollar bills.

Parting Shot: Former dancer Steve Peterson talks about an agreement De Noia scribbled on a diner napkin that Banerjee agreed to, giving De Noia the ability to take the Chippendales show on the road “in perpetuity.” “That napkin changed Chippendales forever,” Peterson says.

Sleeper Star: The sleeper star of Curse of the Chippendales is time. Boy, 42 years does a lot to a person, doesn’t it? It’s especially evident when we see a picture of Nahin in the ’80s compared to now. But the dancers who are interviewed, all of whom are likely approaching or over 60, don’t look like they’ve aged particularly well, either.

Most Pilot-y Line: We are sticklers for music matching a time period. When the show goes back to 1975 to talk about why Destiny II was popular in the burgeoning years of the disco era, the song played, “Makin’ It,” is from 1979. What, they couldn’t get rights to “The Hustle”?

Our Call: STREAM IT. While we wouldn’t say that Curse of the Chippendales is pure fun along the lines of McMillions or Lady and the Dale, it still has a good sense of what its subject matter is and how reverently to treat it.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.

Stream Curse Of The Chippendales On Discovery+

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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