The Playboy Club Goes Gold

DJs celebrate 50 years of bunnies, blackjack, boobs and bourbon

As a college student, I found the only reason to watch the Playboy Channel was on the slim chance that an episode of Playboy After Dark would air. Of course, other programming might have caught my eye once or twice, but that’s not my point.

Although filmed in a television studio, Playboy After Dark gave me a taste of what it must have been like inside the legendary Playboy Clubs of the day, the first of which was founded in 1960 in Chicago and the last of which closed in 1991 in Manila, Philippines. I was too young to be there, but not too young to dream.

At the time, a Playboy Club membership was a sign of status. The venues were architecturally exquisite, full of scotch and pipes and elevated dialogue, and rife with those iconic bunnies. They were the blueprints for modern-day nightlife; an empire planned by Playboy’s visionary, Hugh Hefner, an idea man named Victor Lownes, and hospitality extraordinaire Arnie Morton.

Considering this foundation, imagine my excitement when, in 2006, Arnie Morton’s son, N9NE Group president Michael Morton, asked me if I would commence a DJ residency at the soon-to-open Playboy Club in Las Vegas. I jumped at the chance, and have yet to look back, still excited riding the elevator to the 52nd floor of the Palms every Sunday.

The club atop the Fantasy Tower remains the only Playboy Club on the planet. There are plans to open three new clubs this year (in Miami, Cancun and Macau), but until that happens does, the Las Vegas legend remains the one and only.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Playboy Club, and to celebrate, Playboy Enterprises teamed up with DJ management powerhouse S.K.A.M. Artist (which represent The Captains of Industry, among other fine DJs) to throw 50 bashes in 50 cities. The anniversary events were held in premier international venues, the music was supplied by S.K.A.M. Artist DJs, and the entertainment was provided by an army of Playboy playthings. As S.K.A.M. owner Sujit Kundu put it, it was designed to be a night of “A-list brands matched with A-list DJs at A-list clubs”—and that it was.

I performed at Harrah’s in Lake Tahoe where a packed Thursday crowd enjoyed the sights of six bunnies onstage, MTV Real World alum Theo Von on the mike, and yours truly on the turntables. Meanwhile, everyone’s favorite former Girl Next Door, Holly Madison, dealt cards at the Las Vegas installation.

“Being in the bunny outfit was like a dream come true,” says Madison, who appeared in Playboy, dated Hugh Hefner, and lived at the Mansion for years.

Of course, Ms. Madison and I were not the only ones who enjoyed ourselves June 10. I reached out to my fellow S.K.A.M. Artist DJs to ask how things went down in their respective cities.

Did your night unfold like a raging celebration or civilized soiree?

Lil Jon (Houston): It’s always a party if I’m involved!

StoneRokk (Windsor, Ontario): It’s difficult to create a party atmosphere for 1,000 straight men trying to philander three Playmate arbiters.

Roctakon (Atlanta): It was more like a wild party with subtle hints of pageantry.

Eric Cubeechee (Kansas City, Mo.): The word “Playboy” brings out the animal in everyone

Would you agree that your respective cities embrace the ideals of Playboy?

Ross One (Miami): I think Miami, for better or worse, really sums up the whole Playboy aesthetic of boobs and leisure—minus the articles.

StoneRokk (Windsor, Ont.): When your point of reference is Detroit, Windsor would appear to be Monaco of the Great Lakes.

Skratchy (Fargo, N.D.): Fargo only has one venue in the whole city where they hold concerts. Everyone in town came out for this event.

Some of the venues hosted bunny searches, with the finals taking place soon at the Playboy Club. How were the prospects?

Turbulence (Hollywood): Pretty hot! I would’ve let them take me home.

Skratchy: The girl who won the contest in Fargo was the only girl who flashed her boobs.

OB-One (Hammond, Ind.): They all seemed to possess the proper “assets.”

Sam Young (Shanghai): I didn’t even know there were contestants! Blame the Jägermeister shots.

Roctakon (Atlanta): They were average to me, dude. But I live in NYC, the pussy capital of the world.

Besides the kind of mayhem one would expect when S.K.A.M. Artists collide with Playboy Enterprises, did anything noteworthy occur?

Mr. Choc (Louisville, Ky.): Seeing a Playmate do the “stanky leg” was the highlight for me!

Skribble (Tunica, Miss.): I’m not allowed to talk about that.

Vice (New York): I think the best thing was when host A.J. Calloway asked me to turn off the music to announce that Usher was newly single.

Since Playboy appeals to both men and women, what was the male-female ratio like?

Ross One: There were at least two fake titties for every man in there.

StoneRokk: Because Playboy caters to the nonpareil male, you’d expect there to be a huge assemblage of women interested in finding such a man.

How were the Playboy models? Did they let their hair down or did they remain poised as objects of desire?

Vice: They were dancing all night long, mostly surrounding Usher, celebrating him being newly single.

Ross One: I actually didn’t see any of them; they tend to blend in with the commoners in Miami.

Sam Young: They were dancing on the stage next to the DJ booth during the night. I got a good view of some bunny tails shaking!