We Interview Mr. Armand Peri of New Age Productions, Inc.
"I always give 100% in what I do. When I was in college, a professional body builder and later an entrepreneur I never stopped until I was the best I could possibly be without compromising my integrity. I do everything in my power to be proud of what I do." - Armand Peri
Our own Kelly Melo interviews Mr. Armand Peri, the man behind Hunk-O-Mania, USA Hunks and Manhattan Men male strip clubs.
Kelly: As busy as you are with your existing venues, what inspired you to launch yet another male strip club - Manhattan Men?
Armand: Night after night we'd turn away up to fifty women per night because our shows were sold out. It started happening so consistently the entrepreneur in me got thinking -- how can I accommodate all of these new customers? And with that thought Manhattan Men was born.
Kelly: Incredible. How did you manage to launch a whole new male revue club while managing your existing male strip clubs?
Armand: I was motivated like never before. Used to be, I'd turn away all those women at the door knowing they'd end up at another male strip club that would doubtless be inferior to mine. I'm not trying to knock the competition out of hand. I've had girls call me up and complain about the lousy lighting, the groping guys, the poor music and the generally poor atmosphere of the other shows they ended up attending. It got to the point where it really angered me into action because these girls end up with a tainted image of what the male revue marketplace is all about.
Kelly: Wow. How does that happen?
Armand: I hardly know where to begin. Girls have called me and told me their friends were practically molested by the male dancers. who grabbed them and grinded them - giving them attention they didn't want. Some shy girls, along for the ride with their friends are shocked and some end up in tears after a guy gloms onto them and gets closer than the girl is comfortable with. I've actually fired dancers - on the floor, at the show and on the spot - for getting too close to a girl without her permission. Even down to the drinks - some male strip clubs advertise a "no drink minimum" and then gouge the ladies with $15 drinks with 20% service fees slapped on top of that. Who the hell wants to pay $18 for a Cosmopolitan?
We at New Age Productions, Inc. love our customers and the male dancer industry. Unlike our competitors we care about our product and our brand. It saddens us to see our competitor's unethical business practices and the constant confusion created by deception. There's no need for it. With only 5 male revue shows in New York City there is plenty of business to go around. True business people know that competition is good. However it is my belief that competition should be about quality & service and not about who's better at fooling the public or deceptive business practices.
Kelly: We've seen a lot of that too and it really sets us off. In regards to the men if we want a hunky guy to come closer we'll let him know. Speaking of hunky guys, where do you find the hunks in Hunk-O-Mania and your other male revue shows?
Armand: Gyms, modeling agencies, bodybuilding shows, the beach and a lot of the prospective candidates just email us their pictures and tell us they want to be a male dancer and perform in male revue shows. We get as many as 100 inquiries per week.
Kelly: How do you carry out quality control of your male strippers with so many possible candidates?
Armand: First, they must have the look and the height we're looking for which is 5' 11". Then, we start everyone off as waiters and we see how they interact with the patrons. While they're working and earning money as waiters we examine their personalities and demeanor. Once they pass the personality test our director of talent and choreography trains them into the art of male stripping. The more they apply themselves learning the choreographed dance routines; the more disciplined they are with their diets and appearance, the more professional and the more they follow the rules the quicker they move up the ranks.
Due to our high standards we turn away 99% of all candidates because they just don't make the cut. What makes me laugh is that some of our rejects end up appearing in our competitor's shows. I don't fault the guys for trying to break into the business and work with a male revue show with lower standards.
Not trying to hurt anybody's feelings but a lot of the wanna-be male dancers need to consider another career choice. Maybe go to medical school or park behind a desk in an accounting firm. They really don't belong up on stage. Let's face it, not everyone has what it takes to win American idol and that's equally true for being a HunkOMania male stripper.
Kelly: I've been to your shows and I love the atmosphere as much as the men. What do you look for in a night club?
Armand: The new trend in New York City night scene tends towards smaller lounges which makes it difficult to find a location that can comfortably seat 400 women per show while delivering an electric atmosphere. I start with carefully screening out newcomers to the scene and only look at established venues with a good track history and seasoned management like Club Element. Then I personally inspect the venue from back to front, speak with the management and make sure that the high standards I set for my male strip shows are always maintained. It's getting harder and harder to find night club venues like these but I refuse to lower my standards.
Kelly: You've talked about choreography a lot. How does New Age Productions orchestrate the choreography of its male revue shows?
Armand: I am very proud of the choreography in our shows. I have a professional dance choreographer on the payroll who works with all of our male dancers in planning an unforgettable show. We carefully plan entertaining and erotic vignettes that touch upon every lady's fantasies. Every woman has a fantasy and we work hard to make her fantasies come true as much as is possible.
Our vignettes feature firemen, police officers, rough-riding cowboys and many other types of men in quality costumes. To cater to every lady's taste we have black male dancers, Latin male strippers, a small army of all-American hunks and even Asian male dancers. It's quite a scene to see a male hunk in a Naval uniform strut across the stage followed by a Wall Street power broker in a Brooks Brother suit with a tool-belt toting construction worker right behind him.
Kelly: Wow that sounds hot! Tell me a little more about those vignettes.
Armand: We could easily put some guys on stage and have them strut around but that's too gratuitous. We want to give ladies a complete show. Before the male stripper in the US Navy uniform dances across the stage the emcee might introduce him with something like this. "A US Navy vessel just pulled into New York Harbor to give the crew some R&R ashore after not even seeing a woman in six months. We were fortunate enough to get one of those Naval officers here tonight..." and then a few male dancers shoot across the stage in their dress whites.
We're not trying to compete with Broadway where a singing, dancing scripted show is concerned but we definitely want to deliver an entertaining show every woman will enjoy.
Kelly: I've been to dozens of male strip shows and never could say exactly why I liked your male revue shows more than most others. Thank you for taking the time to talking with us Armand.