After serving four terms as a Washington, D.C. council member, Jim Graham decided it was time for a change. He was tired of working in government and craved something a little more stimulating. So he took a part-time job producing events at an all-nude strip club.
“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after leaving the Council,” Graham, who lost his council primary last year, tells Metro Weekly. “I knew I didn’t want to work full time. I’ve had two jobs in 31 years. Fifteen years at Whitman-Walker, 16 years on the Council, and I really wanted to do something different. And I did want to make some money, and I also wanted to have some fun.”
Graham toyed with the idea of launching an all-male erotic ballet troop, but changed his mind after a friend encouraged him to try something a little less artistic. So he teamed up with The House, a popular gentlemen’s club that typically features female dancers, to offer two nights a week of x-rated male entertainment.
Sundays will feature male dancers performing for a mostly gay audience, and Thursdays will cater to females. But don’t expect the strip shows to be lowdown or trashy. As an openly gay man and former elected official, Graham says his standards are high.
“The dancers are not just going to be standing, gyrating,” he insists. “They’re going to be giving a performance. They’re going to start with their clothes on and take them off. There will be an opportunity for them to speak. It’s just a very different atmosphere.”
Graham admits that some people have expressed surprise over his latest career change, but it doesn’t bother him in the least. Working in an all-nude strip club is better, he says, than becoming a lobbyist.
“I know it’s considered an unusual path for a former D.C. council member,” he says, “but it’s preferable to peddling influence, which is what some council members do. I’m peddling entertainment.”