Strippers and musicians....an age-old pairing.

We all survived April fools (thus far). In my own case, it's because I'm sick with the flu. Sitting here at my desk, half dead, trying to coax my mind and fingers to form a coherent thought.

Tonight's topic? Strippers and musicians. Presumably, since the beginning of civilization, strippers and musicians have always traveled in the same circles. Even Mozart had a famous reputation with "ladies of leisure". That pattern hasn't changed over the centuries since. So....what draws us together?

1. Social outcasts. When I tell people I am a career musician, the immediate response is an eye-roll. The arts in general are often shunned by society. Artists are seen as disorganized dreamers who refuse to grow up and somehow think they will make their fortune on art instead of getting a "grown-up job" like everyone else. Comparatively, despite the fact that the adult entertainment is an incredibly lucrative field, artists in the industry will always be looked down upon. People assume that dancers and actresses are dancers and actresses because they failed and have nothing else to try.

2. Thick skin. Much like musicians, adult performers are subjected to some very cruel treatment. When someone doesn't like my singing voice, they're just not gonna like it Theres nothing I can do to make my high-pitched alto voice sound less annoying to some. All I can do is be better, but still me. When dancers get criticism, it's very personal criticism and they have to shut it out and perform through it. The typical patron of music and adult venues aren't the least bit concerned about how their harsh words and actions fall personally on the performer. Every negative comment, every negative review echoes in our minds for God knows how long. Eventually, you have to adopt a defiant mentality as a performer. You have to approach the crowd with a mentality that you're gonna perform for them (and yourself) whether they like it or not.....We secretly hope, however, that they do.

3. Passion. We devote a lot of our time and our heart to our craft. That dancer that has a little bit of an abdominal pooch busts her ass a few hours a day at the gym to try to combat what childbearing did to her body and has made remarkable progress that she is quite proud of. Musicians...We have thousands in gear and education. I have to be mindful of the type of music I sing because I have spent way too much time and money on this voice. We drive two hours to play a venue that in most cases costs us more money to play than what we would receive in pay. We do it because we love it and we all hope that someday it'll pay off. The fact is.....We are giving you our best. You might not like it and you might think it isn't good enough, but it's or best and we are quite passionate about it.

4. We're just so damn fun to hang out with. There is a fraternity of the shunned. Far less than 1 percent of musicians make it big and until that point, we are seen as lowlife dreamers. Strippers? Lets face it, they will never get respect in all circles. Their circle may expand, but it will never be across the board.

In summary, I don't see any of this changing. I think it's a fundamental pairing of complementary personalities. When we hang out, we get that recharge from our companions that gives us the courage to go back out on that stage and perform again and again.

VM Phoenix.