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RIP Jubilee (UPDATED!)

(Tripping the light fantastic with Sam Port, back in the "old days" of Jubilee, 2008)

UPDATE: Friends, it looks as though I have been the victim of an internet hoax. I wrote the piece below after viewing a link which now appears to be the sad doings of a disgruntled ex-employee of Bally's Jubilee. What I don't understand, is why this sad person would take their anger out on the cast. None of the folks peforming in this show deserve this sort of cheap crossfire. View the incidiary post here (until they inevitably take it down), and read my reaction below. Feel free to replace any references to Jubilee ad content with "bored, cruel person with nothing else going on in their lives":

Jubilee is dead, and they are poking its body with a stick.

I thought I was reading the Onion, but it was the actual news. Enter the new “Jubilee” mobile billboard campaign, cooked up by the show’s producers to fight the heavy criticism of the “re-imagined” version of the antique showgirl spectacular at Bally’s hotel.

The ad features a perfectly graceful photo of Miss Jubilee, Brooke Brown (who, incidentally, is the loveliest woman alive), with the tragic text “How bad could it be? Because boobs”.

Because boobs? BECAUSE BOOBS??

How dare they.

I actually cried when I saw it. I shed tears. It’s one thing to update a production, add a few modern numbers here, and throw in some new costume designs there.

But this advertising completely ruins everything that made Jubilee special. It has been ripped from its roots in classic beauty and made it to be common and fuckable. Where do we go from here? Shall we “re-imagine” their pretty feathers and rhinestones and give the girls all mystic tans and neon thongs?

There are plenty of topless shows in town, but Jubilee had a purity in its history; a proud ancestry of class and loveliness that had more to do with art than sex. Even the kitschier sections like Samson and Delilah were reflections of Vegas history (Bally’s used to be the old MGM grand, and when the show was conceived, every single section was meant to look like the soundstage of an old classic movie).

It was a celebration of the beauty of the female form. The emphasis was NEVER “to titillate”.

But now! Hey, tourists! You like tits? Boy have we got tits for you! That’s what you came for, right? Yes! Let’s completely homogenize Las Vegas and every show in it, and make every professional dancer in town look like a two bit boob flasher.

Fluff LeCoque, the longtime company manager of the show (and my boss when I was a singer in the old production) maintained high standards for the cast and the integrity of the concept. Her showgirls were schooled in the history of their privilege, and anyone who fell below these standards lost their jobs.

I have to wonder what she would think of these cheap and tasteless billboards, as she watches the show crumble in her retirement. Let’s just go put a pillow in her face while she sleeps, why don’t we?

And my heart aches for the cast. If the producers want the dancers’ families to think they’re shaking their junk around in just any old gin joint, they could at least pay them more than their notoriously pitiful wages.

I would love to see the writers of this campaign apologize to the cast for slapping these professional dancers full on the face.

I never thought I’d be embarrassed to be associated with Jubilee. Is there no deus ex machina to save it, no investor to swoop in and make it lovely again? I suppose I’m in denial.

My deepest condolences to all who knew and loved Jubilee. “Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower; we will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind.” --Wordsworth

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