A Gentleman’s Club for the Soul

Stripping is a topic, admittedly, that one wouldn’t expected debated on Do Better Movement… However, like most things in life… the current climate of the profession can Do Better… at least in my eyes.

A few months ago, a friend asked for suggestions of songs that she could create a pole dancing routine. As expected, most of the replies she received, via Twitter, was chock-full of current songs that can be heard on the radio or in the club. My reply… wasn’t like the rest. As I read her request my “Stylistics – Hurry Up This Way” iTunes Genius playlist was in full swing. And the following smack me in my face…
What if there was gentleman’s club that specialized, or in the least had a night, that catered to lovers of a beautiful woman and even prettier music? No offense to the ladies… but we’re talking about music that has spawn generations… Ballads that are the very reason you’re reading these words… Grooves that allowed your Mom to steal your Dad away… or Rhythms that convinced MaDukes, a brother with a mean two-step means “He can provide…” Now, what he would be providing… that’s neither nor there. 
But what if there was such an establishment…
Let’s take a trip to that very place.

Welcome to Onions. 
That’s right, the same Onions that lost the lawsuit from Hooter’s for infringing on their lane of serving average food with neatly-bosom servers. The courts ignored the fact that Onions hung their hat on serving out-a-sight Soul food and wondrous sights of chocolate angels with fully furnished tail-feathers. But I digress…

The original Onions location… in the heart of Uptown Washington, DC on Georgia Ave, in the same strip the former local hangout Faces once stood, is now the only one standing. Due to the economic climate of the recently gentrified Washington, DC… owner Lamont Arnez Pressley has converted his Soul food restaurant into a gentleman’s club. In an attempt to capture the happy hour wallets of DC’s “ole heads” and the rising population of young buppies.  He’s declared Friday nights, “Shed A Tear at Onions” featuring DJ PoleSoul (that’s me!) on the 1’s and  2’s.

Happy Hour – 5:30 to 9:00PM
Brother Shaze’s iPod is providing the sounds for the backdrop for the evening… As he’s behind the bar serving up deceiving concoctions… setting up a liquid base both of the alcohol and financial sort… You overhear new patrons claim… “It doesn’t even taste like anything’s in this…” Oh, but there is. Several guests are being served by the “Onionettes” also known as the main attraction for this evening. That’s later, currently they’re simply taking drink and wing orders with a hint of seduction and a flair of flirtation. By the way… it should be noted the Onionettes sport the classic Onion uniform. White sleeveless bottom-down tops with red strips… topped with black bow-ties. Covering the “fully furnished tailfeathers” are heavenly designed “boy shorts” in red, matching the Louboutin heels that are given to each Onionette, after completing 2 months of training. The kitchen is busy pumping out orders… especially the famous “Four-Topped Fried Catfish” plate… featuring fried catfish topped with shrimp, scallops, lobster & crab meat, with a side of mean greens and mac & cheese. Smoke of cigars float above the discussions of DC politics or whomever owes Big Cess “twenty large for picking the Skin’s over Eagles.” The vibe is simmering…
“Nick Tha 1da 2-Step” – 9:00 to 11PM

Happy Hour has ended and normally there would be an exodus, however, DJ Nick Tha 1da is spinning hits from yesteryear and today… Deep hip hop cuts and side-B soul. The younger folk have decided it’s a good time to make an appearance… producing a wonderful blend of ages, styles, energy and sensibilities. Some have come to beat the 11PM deadline for the waings & thangs that the kitchen is dishing out. Others wanted to pay homage to elder statesmen… most came to secure a seat for the show. Something they’ll remember for a lifetime… or at least until next week.

“Cue the music…” – 11:00PM

DJ PoleSoul has made his rounds… and provided the women his selection of tonight’s songs. It is an Onion’s tradition that 11PM is the party-starter time. Typically a young lady from Crystylz “Get It Right” pole dancing class volunteers to test out her routine as a prelude for the evening’s festivities. It is customary that the selected song serves as musical cue for the patrons to focus their attention to the stage and most importantly… get them dollars ready. It also should be noted that this dance is routine-centric, therefore the performer doesn’t go nude… unless she wants to. Tonight’s pupil chose to get the crowd’s attention with help of The Stylistics “Hurry Up This Way Again.”

…hurry up, indeed.
After rounds of applause and dollars collected, PoleSoul announces that this week’s “Onion-In-Training” set will feature Elise aka Miss E… he also mentions that she’s a 3rd year student at Howard University… whether her name or collegiate status are true remains to be seen… nor does it matter. What does matter is that most of us are willing to contribute to good cause… and we all know a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Elise comes out in the traditional red, white and black Onionette uniform to the yearnings of David Ruffin’s “Slow Dance.”
“Can’t take it too fast… you’ve got to… s l o w… i t… d o w n.”
She continues her 2-song set with another Ruffin ballad… “Don’t You Go Home”… at which point everyone in the crowd believes the song is speaking to them.
…only more enter Onion’s… no one dare leaves.
“Blue Pill Special” – 11:45PM
After the a break from the “Onion-In-Training” set… during which a number of Onion’s have gone on stage and earned a living to a blend of DJ PoleSoul’s best. Club-wise it’s still early and the vibe is classy and relatively tame. It’s about a quarter til and time for the 1st headliner of the night. It’s her job to conduct a set that features one full-length song that is ten minutes or longer… certainly a routine that’s not for amateurs. Tonight is Phoenix Phyre’s night… she’s chosen Isaac Haye’s rendition of “The Look of Love.”
I can only imagine what takes place from 7:20 onward…

Strike of Midnight! – 12:00AM

Most radio stations programs have their signature song that is played either at the beginning or closing of the show… Smokey Robinson’s “Quiet Storm” is a popular selection amongst the urban landscape… Onion’s is no different… at the stroke of midnight… each and every night two songs are played. Signaling the gathering of the Onionettes… some take the stage and begin individual or tandem routines… while others frolic on the floor to offer… one-on-one “consultations.” Truly a sight to behold… beautiful women all about teasing clients from the stage and up-close and personal. It’s only appropriate that Barry White’s “Midnight & You” is the 12:00AM signature…

Perfect for the hour… Perfect for the 1-on-1…
The vibe is pushed to another level when Part 2 of the 12:00AM signature drops… Marvin’s “Rockin’ After Midnight”… Typically this is when a lot of the gentleman (and ladies… Onion’s serves all walks of life…) are led into the back rooms.
Ray’s Boom-Boom Room Music!!!
The Main Act: Starsha – 12:15AM
After the 12:00AM signature… the customers have returned from the Boom-Boom rooms… regulars have gotten their “Lee specials” drinks and nestled in their familiar booths… New-comers are wondering why entire bar has drawn silent… It’s time for the main act… Typically, an Onionette that has her own style… Relies heavily on routine and her physical attributes… Is an all-star student from Crystylz’s “Sneeks & Cheeks” pole / lapdance class… and also, has a strong following…. Tonight that lady is Starsha… the lights dim and DJ PoleSoul announces her before the crowd… She begins her 3-song with Minnie Riperton’s “Every Time He Comes Around”
…entire stage is showered with dollars.
Her signature song is played… Norman Connors “You Are My Starship”… after tonight everyone in the club will know it as “Starsha’s Song.”
Even the stingiest of brothers can’t up but to let it rain down…
Out of nowhere a strong number of people ease their way to the front of the stage for Starsha’s closing piece… During the last song she usually picks one lucky person to receive a lap dance on stage. Tonight she doesn’t disappoint… the lucky guy has been selected and placed in the chair… The Moments “Ride Your Pony Girl” begins…
Ginuwine… who? Can you imagine… what happens at the 1:18 mark?
“Time for the Classics…” – 12:45AM
After the headliner, Starsha, has collected her tuition donations off of the stage… The ladies from the Midnight Special return and being to rotate dances on the various sections of the stage… This event is started with The Staple Singer’s “Let’s Do It Again”
…the line to the “lady with the ones” grows.
For the next hour or so… DJ PoleSoul continues to spin classic hits for the ladies to garner donations to a cadre of soul jams… mixed in with some current club faves… as clouds of denominations continue to downpour… it’s during this stretch the Onion’s theme song is spun… The Four Top’s “Catfish”… of which the famous plate is named after.
“Catfish… makes my nature… rise.”
PoleSoul keeps the party going with another Four Tops cut off the Catfish album… “Strung Out For You Love”.
By now… this song couldn’t be truer… everyone’s fallen in love with a…
Almost closing time… – 2:15AM
The end is drawing near… only a handful of women are working the floor… and a few remain on stage getting that last dollar out of the wallets… Most of the Onion vets are in the back counting their take… In this utopia, the girls tip the DJ 10% of the earnings…  Once DJ PoleSoul has collected all of their tithes… He tallies up and announces to lady with the largest tip. In true Onion’s tradition… the winner is summoned on stage for one final dance… what makes this dance special is that all of the earnings gained during this song will be split among the other girls… in order to foster a team-like atmosphere. It’s a thing of beauty to watch 10-15 women coaxing the greenbacks out of the remaining clients… All in honor of the lady of the night… to the tune of The Dramatics “She’s A Rainmaker”
…they’ll call her Storm tonight…
…and that’s how “Shed A Tear At Onion’s” Friday ends…
…definitely… a Gentleman’s Club for the Soul.

Do Better Thursday: Hip Hop Is Here to Regulate

Rest In Peace to the Rap Hook King… Brother Nate Dogg.

Yeah, it didn’t make sense to me then… and it still doesn’t make much to me now… but dammit… it’s what Nate Dogg saing… and that’s all the reasoning I needed…
So, rest and thanks, Nate Dogg.
This has definitely been a “Do Better Movement” week… from the tragedy in Japan and the subsequent comments of ignorance… to the Fab5 documentary on ESPN and the “Uncle Tom” backlash… the lil man who wasn’t gonna take it no more and proceeded to ThunderSlam his bully… can’t forget the UCLA student who had issues with “Asians in the library”… and more… let’s get to it!
Doing It Right!
  • Signs of life in the Hip Hop arena are becoming more and more present… Big KRIT is dropping his sophomore album, Return of 4eva, next week, 3/22… Oddisee just released a video of “Different Now” a track he did for Mello Music Group’s Helpless Dreamer compilation… Zo! of Foreign Exchange music also released a video featuring Phonte for song, “Greater Than The Sun”… Bonus: thrown in the mix is Raphael Saadiq’s video “Good Man” for his upcoming project “Stone Rollin'”… I meant to include it weeks ago, better late than never… enjoy!

Oddisee just makes dope music… 

Looking forward to “Stone Rollin'”… drops in May 10th…
  • Jalen Rose announces bid for 2011 “Negro Who Keeps It Real” award… Also known as, the FAB 5 documentary that premiered in ESPN this past Sunday… If you don’t know by now… it tells the story of Michigan’s 1991 recruit class that featured Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, Ray Jackson and Rose… Along the way, the topic of Duke appeared and whether or not their Black players were Uncle Toms for playing for Coach K… Rose and others have since defended their stance in the face of journalists and even garnered a response from Grant Hill, a former Duke player… I’m quite tempted to voice my opinion on this here blog… and may do so soon… Until then, try to catch the Fab 5 doc on ESPN… regardless of where you stand on that issue and others… it’s still a very good piece…
DOING IT WRONG!!! Scratch that… This time it’s “DUMBASS OF THE WEEK!”
  • Alexandra Wallace. Dumbass of the Week. Here’s her “Asians in the library” rant.
We… gotta… do… better.
…deep sigh…
– dre of onustees.com

Do Better Thursday: Winter, WRAP IT UP, B!!!

“Can someone, please, tell this cat to get the f#@k on???”

What it is, good people?
I hope you’re having great March thus far…
No complaints over here…
Hope you enjoyed the “Black Music History: Giving Them Roses” series… featuring living legends that typically don’t get the mainstream attention that they deserve…
Also, remember, it’s not too late to sign up with The Do Better Movement volunteer event at Servathon 2001 on April 16th… Join us and Do Better!
Welp, it’s Thursday… So, let’s get to it!
Doing it Right!
  • Lupe Fiasco’s Lasers. Much has been made about the album… the issues releasing the album… from label delays… to shelving… to fan outcry and protests… the subsequent release… and even Lupe’s disdain with the process and handling of the project that he isn’t raving about the work… However, with all of this going on… he’s managed to release a pretty solid album. The content is what you’d expect from the artist… sonically it’s continues along the rock/rap/pop sound of some of the track from The Cool… I’m not sure what others expected with this work… but it’s Do Better Approved in my book.
It’s not for everyone… but then again… it is.

On the fence…
  • PETA gets Waka Flocka Flame to promote… I’m not even sure where to begin with this… PETA, although, their premise is cool… Has some crazy-ass ways of delivering their message… and this venture, of Waka “Ink Not Mink” campaign seems to be in the same bucket… Wasn’t just last week, he was involved in a gunfight… Plus, I’m not sure if you want him as a SPOKESperson… last I checked… one would have to speak… judge for yourself… I’m undecided.

Doing It Wrong!!!
  • There’s plenty of Doing It Wrong going around… with the conflict in Libya… wild-ass Charlie… gas prices steadily rising… and Heat not able to hit a game-winner… but this week’s Doing It Wrong awards goes to Winter. Come on, chief… let’s wrap this thing up… I’m ready to hang up my peacoat for good. Thanks.
Bring on Spring!

Thanks for Doing Better!
– dre of onustees.com

Do Better Thursday: Servathon 2011

It’s time to really Move with The Movement & Do Better!

This Spring, the Do Better Movement is taking it to the streets… Joining the wonderful volunteer efforts of Greater DC Cares, we will be out in force contributing to various service projects in Washington, DC… If you’d like to join the Do Better Movement team this Spring… Check out pictures from previous volunteer events and details below…. Sign up and Move with The Movement!
– dre’ of onustees.com

The Queen & Volunteer…
You never know… The Baddest Man on the Planet might show up!
Do(ing) Better in action…
What: Greater DC Cares Servathon – the largest day of service in the region!
When: Saturday, April 16
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 pm.
Cost: $25 Volunteering is NOT free. Registration fee helps cover the cost of supplies for the day (trash bags, paint, ladders etc).
Why should I volunteer?
I shouldn’t have to answer this question, but…Volunteering helps build the capacity of the nonprofits, schools, and community based organizations in our community. Plus it feels good as hell to help others, try it on for size!
Who’s Involved?
Over 8,000 volunteers, but we’re trying to get a Do Better Movement Team together. If we get 25 or more people on our team by March 9, we’ll get our team name on the t-shirt. So let’s go folks!
What will we be doing?
The fine folks over at Greater DC Cares are still developing service projects. But past projects include – playground enhancements at area schools (painting basketball courts, four square, us maps on blacktops), landscaping projects, interacting with seniors, improving the look at feel at recreation center and nonprofits and more.
I’m not sold yet. Tell me again why I should volunteer.
In celebration of National Volunteer Week (April 10 – 16) and the great accomplishments from the day Greater DC Cares is organizing the annual Servathon After-Party. So come out to volunteer and celebrate.
I’m in! How do I join the Team?

  1. Click here to register
  2. Select the Register Here button
  3. Accept the Waiver
  4. Select Join a Team
  5. Search for Do Better Movement
  6. You got it from there!

Do Better Thursday: Wonderful World of Sports

It’s Do Better time… *does Championship Belt Move*

On the heels of the Green Bay Packers victory in the Super Bowl… It’s time for a Do Better Thursday post with a sports slant…
Clock’s running out… Let’s get to it…
  • Wake Forest baseball coach donates kidney to freshman player and becomes MVP… No one in Kevin Jordan’s family were a match… His coach, Tom Walter,  was and stepped up to the plate… Truly, a feel-good story about a coach dedicated to the well-being of his players… This isn’t the 1st time he’s shown his compassion… Walter was a coach for the University of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina… Despite his house being completely destroyed… He was willing to aid any players looking to transfer… Definitely… Do Better Approved.
“Let’s do this…”

GO E-A-G-L-E-S!!!

  • Eagles continue to make my “hop on the bandwagon” decision a prudent one… DeSean Jackson of the Eagles met 13 year old bully victim, Nadin Khoury, on The View with teammates… There to discuss the incident, which was captured on video, and speaking out so others wouldn’t meet the same fate, Nadin was surprised by his favorite player… Check out the video…
One Brave Kid…

25 Million plus hits!?! Wish he was rocking an on.us.tee

Do Better Approved.
  • I haven’t touched on the uprising in Egypt… but it should be known… anyone fighting for freedom and/or a better way of life… is Do Better Approved. Here is a clip mashing up protest footage with Kanye West’s “Power”…
No one man…

  • Been awhile since something has surpassed “Doing It Wrong”… Sure, the mother who shot and killed her children for being “mouthy” is worthy… But that is uber-depressing… So instead… I’ll leave you with this image that came across my Tumblr dashboard… Your Welcome.

Thanks for reading…
…and doing better…
– dre of onustees.com