For adults only: Risque revues still raising pulses along Strip

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Vegas for families? That was so 90s. If there was any lingering doubt about Las Vegas shift back towards its inherent adults-only nature, the lineup of topless revues up and down the Strip is proof-positive that sex is back and sin is in. And, as the citys ubiquitous taxi-top revue advertisements reveal, they are big sellers. 

For the moment, though, there is still a line that these casino-hotel shows will not cross: the invisible -- but impenetrable -- barrier that divides dancers from the audience. Its strictly look-but-dont-touch at these titillating adult revues:

" Fantasy, at the Luxor: Those who fondly remember this shows predecessor, Midnight Fantasy wont be disappointed by its current incarnation. Reworked and tighter, Fantasy is more the same than different.

What hasnt changed, however, is the refreshing way this show combines sexiness and fun, never taking itself too seriously.

Lead dancer Jennifer Ross, heartthrob to many men in the audience, still dazzles, and Stephanie Jordans sultry vocals continue to ooze sexuality in the shows dreamlike sequences. 

According to the shows Emmy Award-winning producer, Anita Mann, the essence of Midnight Fantasy still remains; weve just freshened it up a bit. An atypical original, Fantasy is a show that appeals equally to couples and single guys -- a rarity nowadays in Vegas.

" Erocktica, at the Rio: A driving rock score provides the beat for producer Greg Thompsons newest adult revue, Erocktica, now playing at the Rio. Big, blond Gabriella Versace belts out rock classics, accompanied by southern rocker Ray-J Raymond Jones, in the Scintas showroom.

A red-velvet love pit, just steps away from the stage, envelops couples as they watch and listen to this high-decibel show, which is best described as a rock show with topless women, rather than a topless show with rock music. 

" Bite, at the Stratosphere: Starting with the venues roomy table and booth seating, Vampire-themed revue Bite at the Stratosphere puts a different twist on Las Vegas-style adult entertainment.Bite is refreshingly different. While the special effects are a bit cheesy, the costumes, dancing and acrobatics are impressive for a show on this intimate a scale. As for the erotica: If youve got a thing for voluptuous vampires in S&M costumes occasionally dangling from velvet ropes a few feet in front of your nose, this is the show for you. 

" Skintight, at Harrahs: Maybe I hit this revue on a bad night, but the music seemed a bit too loud; the emcee, a tad creepy; and the acts a little conventional.

To be fair, in any other market this show would likely pack them in, but this is Vegas.  Its not hard to locate bare, beautiful bodies willing to gyrate in front of crowds.

Nevertheless, Skintight does a passable job of reprising some classic show themes on a small scale: Theres a bit of beefcake a la Chippendales for the ladies; a Stomp style number for the younger set; classic Vegas showgirl costumes for the boomer-plus crowd; and a stand-up comic for the drunken hecklers in the room. Think of it as a medley of Vegas favorite acts -- unfortunately, not by the original artists.

" X -- An Erotic Adventure, at the Desert Passage Shops: Ah, how the mighty have fallen. In its prior run at the Aladdin, circa 2003, X lived up to its name as the sexiest show on the Strip. The pulsating score and erotic choreography pushed the outer edges of the envelope while steaming up the showroom.

The 2006 edition -- headquartered at the V Theater in the Desert Passage Shops -- is a toned-down version of the original. Due to local regulations governing such shows outside casino-hotels, nudity is prohibited.  The vertical-bed sequence, however, featuring two performers in a slow, acrobatic gyration, is a must-see.

" La Femme, at MGM Grand: The MGM Grands nod to adult entertainment is an import from the world-famous Crazy Horse in Paris. Subtle and slightly detached, this professionally produced show is a direct descendant of the French original.

Dedicated to worshiping the body beautiful, La Femmes classically trained dancers, all members of the original Paris troupe, pose and writhe to a seductive score while being lighted, and backlighted, in a multitude of hues and shades. Even the theater is a virtual re-creation of the Parisian original, seating only 340 in an intimate environment. 

" Buck Wild, at the Sahara: Since the Saharas revamp a few years back, the budget resort property has settled nicely into its niche as Vegas unofficial Nascar headquarters. Appropriately, country-themed revue Buck Wild aims for down-home appeal to its core audience.

Billing itself as a country variety show with a rock-and-roll feel, the show may win an award for covering the most bases with the least amount of coverage. Featuring a harmonica player, a redneck magician, a fiddler and a mechanical bull, Buck Wild also boasts an element that country music fans will never find in a Branson showroom: topless showgirls.

 

" Crazy Girls, at the Riviera: An oldie isnt always a goodie. As one of the longest-running adult revues on the Strip, this dated production could stand to be reworked a bit. The troupe of silicone-enhanced, lip-synching showgirls was a cute gimmick back when this show opened in 1987. The novelty, however, now quickly wears off, leaving the mind to wander, which is never a good thing for a topless show.

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