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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column 5.03.10: Issue #104 – Strip Club King: The Story of Joe Redner

May 3, 2010 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #104: “Strip Club King: The Story of Joe Redner” (2009)

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has never tried to microwave its hand, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number one hundred and four, I engage in a bit of a change of pace and take a look at the 2009 documentary “Strip Club King: The Story of Joe Redner,” directed by Shelby McIntyre. It’s not exactly a B-movie in the traditional sense (well, at least in the traditional sense of this column) but the focus of this documentary, legendary strip club owner Joe Redner, is sort of a B-movie kind of guy. People underestimate him because of what he does. They shouldn’t.

Strip Club King: The Story of Joe Redner (2009)

“Strip Club King: The Story of Joe Redner” is one of the most uplifting biographical documentaries I think I’ve ever seen. It tells the story of Joe Redner, the owner of the apparently world famous Mons Venus nude strip club in Tampa, Florida and what he’s had to deal with since getting into the nude dance club business. He’s had to deal with the police, the local Tampa city government, assorted religious fanatics, right wing pseudo uber feminists, among others, all trying to shut his strip club down and put him out of business. As the documentary shows, Redner has managed to beat them all back time and again.

We learn about Redner’s early life story (he was born in New Jersey, he doesn’t remember his father, he didn’t like riding the school bus as a kid because of social anxiety disorder, he quit high school because he “needed to get to work,” he had various jobs including working once as a carny before opening his first dance club in 1976), which takes up the first quarter of the movie. The middle part of the movie is devoted to Redner’s battles with the police and local government as they try to shut his strip clubs down, even creating a local ordinance that forced dancers to dance six feet from patrons, hoping that it would cost Redner enough business to force him to close. He never relented, even after being arrested 150 times. We hear from his ex-wife Lorelei and his children Teresa and Joy about what they went through being related to the “Strip Club King of Tampa.” It apparently wasn’t as bad as you’d think it would have been.

My favorite part of the documentary, besides the explanation of the scheme Redner had to come up with when his first dance club was getting raided by the police several times a day (it involved Lorelei having to become a bail bondsman to help get the club’s dancers out of jail), is the second half which delves into Redner’s live, public access call in show “The Voice of Freedom” and his many runs for public office. The clips from “The Voice of Freedom” are hilarious (there’s nothing better than watching someone say “fuck” on a public access TV show) the more and more political they get. The show, which Redner started in 1992, was originally a way for Redner to get his message out to the public about his club and how he knew what the government was doing to him was unlawful. The show eventually became a forum for Redner’s political views and his opinion on the issues of the day. When Redner started running for public office, people basically didn’t take him seriously. They already “knew” who he was and it was difficult for people to get beyond the whole “Strip Club King of Tampa” moniker. The public’s attitude starts to change over time as they see more and more of Redner, leading to a neck-and-neck run off election for Tampa City Council that ends in shocking fashion.

Well, it’s shocking in the sense that it’s simply unbelievable that Redner didn’t win the last election outright from the beginning. So what if he runs a strip club? He’s a smart as hell, compassionate guy that gets shit done (he wouldn’t be a multimillionaire if he couldn’t get shit done). Why wouldn’t you want a guy like that fighting for the public in city government? Why the hell isn’t Joe Redner the goddamn mayor of Tampa?

Now, as much as I love this documentary and its subject I do have a few issues I’d like to address. The movie never gets into why Lorelei is Redner’s ex-wife. Why did they get a divorce? At what point did they grow apart and how have they managed to remain so dang civil and friendly since then (I mean, if there’s a sense of bitterness between the two it doesn’t show). I also would have liked to see a little more about Redner’s “current” family situation. We hear about what a great family man he is, but we’re not allowed to see it. It’s a minor quibble (you gotta take family privacy and all that into account) but it would have been cool to see a few family pictures in some kind of snappy montage. We do see a quick picture of Redner helping out his brother with Parkinson’s disease.

I also wanted to see more from Ronda Storms, a local politician that just doesn’t like Redner at all. It would have been great if the flick had an on camera interview with her. Maybe Storms was asked but declined. The movie does have an interview with a guy from something called the “Biblical Research Center.” That guy is bonkers (what’s the deal with the rock with “Jesus” on it? I don’t get that). These are just minor quibbles, though, in the big scheme of things. The movie isn’t hurt by their omission.

Until this movie I had no idea who Joe Redner even was. I mean, I’m a cable news channel nerd and I don’t remember ever seeing the chair throwing incident that apparently made Redner even more famous than he already was. Now that I know a little more about Redner and his life story and the bullshit he’s been put through and the fight he’s engaged in for everyone’s freedom of speech and freedom in general I can safely say that Joe Redner is my new hero. And I’m fairly certain that after watching “Strip Club King” you’ll come to the same conclusion.

Seek out and watch “Strip Club King: The Story of Joe Redner.” It’s a great documentary about a fascinating subject. Long live Joe Redner.

So what do we have here? Gratuitous guy named Joe Redner, gratuitous hot nude dancers stripping and whatnot, gratuitous hot babe testimonials, gratuitous clips from “The Maury Povich Show,” a cute story about automatic car door locks, gratuitous slow motion pole dancing, gratuitous public access show, gratuitous Joe Redner wearing a mock priest collar, gratuitous Joe Redner making a jerk off motion on public access TV, gratuitous Anderson Cooper and Jon Stewart clips, religious fanaticism, a hilarious and scary chair shot, gratuitous Craig Ferguson, gratuitous Joe Redner checking his e-mail (or he’s just doing shit on his computer, I don’t know), a Jesus rock, and an uplifting ending.

Best lines: “I’m not going to stop anything until the mayor comes in here and shoots me,” “People don’t understand the genius of Joe,” “Joe was the only nude one back then, in Tampa,” “I was getting arrested four times a day,” “Hey, you don’t like what I do why don’t you go to Russia?,” “Anybody out there want to repent?,” “Are you going to apologize to me? Fuck no,” “Are you threatening me?,” “You’re a pimp!,” “The people who know Joe love Joe,” “You’re terrible. You’re a terrible woman,” “What have I lied about fatboy?,” “That’s assault! That is assault!,” and “David Caton, frankly, is an idiot” (this line is actually from a deleted scene that’s part of the DVD’s special features).

Rating: 9.0/10.0


Do you have Fearnet?

Do you have Fearnet on your cable/satellite system? If you do, you’re lucky because it’s the only free all horror/thriller on Demand station going (it’s also one of the few places that is proud of B-movies). If you’re a Time Warner cable subscriber, you don’t have it. You probably used to have it, but it was snatched away from you last year. But there is a way to see what Fearnet has to offer. Just go here.

Yes, that’s the Fearnet website, where you can check out the free movies Fearnet has to offer (the site gets new ones every Wednesday), horror news, and more. The very cool vampire flick “B rotherhood of Blood” was on there last week. Is it still there? Check and see. The site also has a pretty nifty web series featuring Freddy Krueger hisself, Robert Englund, and Kane “Jason Voorhees” Hodder, “Fear Clinic” that’s definitely worth a look.

If you’re a Facebook nerd you can check out the Fearnet fans Facebook page, which can be seen here. There are plenty of people out there interested in Fearnet. Come join them.

(As always, thanks to both Mark Lindsey and Mathew Hirsch for info regarding the Fearnet fan movement).


And now, a little bit about “Live Evil”

“Live Evil,” the great new Tim Thomerson vampire flick (also featuring an appearance by horror legend Ken Foree) is currently on Video on Demand. Check out my review for the flick here, and then, if it’s on your cable system, order it. It’s a great flick that’s well worth the price.

According to the flick’s Facebook page, “Live Evil” will hit DVD July 13th, 2010 and that it can now be pre-ordered on July 13th, 2010 is getting closer and closer. That’s just damn cool.

If you’re a reader from Germany, though, you can go to the amazon German site and order the flick right now. Lucky bastards.

Be sure to keep an eye on the flick’s MySpace page and the flick’s Facebook page for further updates/developments.


Well, I think that’ll be about it for this issue, the start of the next (hopefully) one hundred issues. B-movies rule, always remember that. And if there’s anything you want to see reviewed here in this column, feel free to offer a comment below or send me an e-mail. I’m always on the lookout for new stuff to watch.

And don’t forget to bookmark 411 via the little line below. You’ll be glad you did.

“Strip Club King: The Story of Joe Redner”

Joe Redner– Himself
Lorelei Jackson– Herself
Joy Redner– Herself
Teresa Redner– Herself
Edie Burns– Herself
Joey Redner– Himself

Directed by Shelby McIntyre
Written by Shelby McIntyre

Distributed by Passion River Films


Buy it here


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Bryan Kristopowitz
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