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Review: ‘Magic Men Live’ draws enthusiastic crowd

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Magic Men Live! at the Clay Center July 13.

I’ve seen several different shows at the Clay Center during my nearly six years in Charleston. Before last night, though, I never thought I’d see women pay male strippers $20 bills for lap dances in the middle of the auditorium aisles.

The Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences seems like an unlikely place for a strip show, which is what “Magic Men Live” was. For two hours Thursday night, the main floor of the Clay Center’s auditorium became a rowdy club with loud dance music, flashing lights and male dancers, a few of which got naked, save for a well-placed hand or prop.

How do you review strippers? Critiquing the acting and dancing seems like missing the point. Or should I talk about the scores of unruly women around me instead?

Nah, I’ll let them have their fun. After all, the host said what happens at Magic Men stays at Magic Men (unless you saw my Snapchat story).

I’m pretty sure the only reason I was asked to go was to witness the potential absurdity of it all. It was uncomfortable at times (perhaps because I was sitting in the back with a notebook wondering how in the world to review strippers).

The technical aspects of the show ­­— the lights and graphics and the stories on the big screen — saved it from seeming too cheap and seedy.

And if you must know, the dancing itself wasn’t technically very difficult or good, not that anyone minded. It was more like the performers were posing in time with the music, rolling their bodies to an eight count or, frankly, simulating sex.

I have to say I was surprised at the start of the second hour of the show when the dancers actually came through the audience soliciting $20 lap dances (though I think there were more dances than $20 bills). The audience went absolutely wild for it.

The show seemed out of the ordinary for the Clay Center’s usual lineup, but it did draw a decent-sized, enthusiastic crowd. The main floor was pretty full, though there were empty seats toward the back. No one was in the balcony, but I’d bet that was on purpose. Who goes to a strip show and sits so far back they can’t see?

A few of the women were having bachelorette parties. I wonder how many of them rescheduled for a Thursday night when they saw that the show was making a stop here. At $32 a ticket, the show was an affordable way to celebrate. To my knowledge there aren’t other places in the area that regularly offer male strippers. (I’m not arguing that we need one, either. Please don’t email me).

I didn’t ask about alcohol sales, but I’d imagine they’d go pretty well at an event like that.

I could have used a drink myself.

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