This story is part of an editorial partnership with Creative Loafing Tampa and Creative Loafing Charlotte, the alt-weeklies covering the Florida and North Carolina cities that will host the 2012 Republican and Democratic National Conventions, respectively.
TAMPA, Fla. -- Following an extensive remodel, the Penthouse Club in Tampa, Fla., is finally ready for next summer's Republican National Convention. Club operator DeWayne Levesque has installed two secluded VIP sections, which he hopes will help his club attract a bigger share of the 50,000 visitors expected to descend upon the city on Aug. 27 for four days of conservative politics and liberal partying. In addition to the club's new carpets and furniture, the private rooms are designed to provide cover so that camera-shy donors, politicians and aides can enjoy the strippers without fear of getting caught, he said.
A few blocks from the Penthouse Club, another strip club owner, Joe Redner, said he has high hopes for what the convention means for business at his all-nude club, Mons Venus. "I'm guessing we'll make five times as much in a night as we usually do," Redner told HuffPost. "Republicans got plenty of money. They take it all from poor people," he said.
Redner said he thinks many convention visitors will be in the market for a lap dance, but newly-released academic research suggests that some will be interested in the darker elements of Tampa's adult scene, too -- sex for sale. HuffPost teamed up with Tampa-based reporter Shawn Alff, of the Creating Loafing media group, to examine the potential impact of the RNC on two major pillars of the city's X-rated economy: prostitution and strip clubs.
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