Showgirls
Most of us have tried to block 'Showgirls' from our memories, but there is that (growing) audience that fully embraces, and yes, even loves this movie. Even though it's been selected as the worst movie ever made by several publications, it draws attention, not unlike a horrible car accident. Its burgeoning underground cult status was made apparent when the 'Showgirls' collector's edition was released a few years back, complete with shot glasses, breast tassels, and a life-sized nude poster of Elizabeth Berkley as Nomi Malone.

In 'Showgirls', Nomi arrives in Las Vegas destitute, homeless, and chasing a dream to become a showgirl on the Strip. She randomly meets Molly (Gina Ravera) in a parking lot after getting ripped off by an Elvis impersonator. Oddly, Molly invites Nomi back to her trailer, despite bearing witness to Nomi's erratic behavior, and manages to score her a job at The Cheetah -- an actual club in Las Vegas, called Cheetahs in real life -- as a stripper. Despite the strip club's filthy clientele and sleazy owner (who consistently demands sexual favors from his 'girls'), Nomi views it as a necessary step in her crusade towards stardom. Showgirls
Most of us have tried to block 'Showgirls' from our memories, but there is that (growing) audience that fully embraces, and yes, even loves this movie. Even though it's been selected as the worst movie ever made by several publications, it draws attention, not unlike a horrible car accident. Its burgeoning underground cult status was made apparent when the 'Showgirls' collector's edition was released a few years back, complete with shot glasses, breast tassels, and a life-sized nude poster of Elizabeth Berkley as Nomi Malone.

In 'Showgirls', Nomi arrives in Las Vegas destitute, homeless, and chasing a dream to become a showgirl on the Strip. She randomly meets Molly (Gina Ravera) in a parking lot after getting ripped off by an Elvis impersonator. Oddly, Molly invites Nomi back to her trailer, despite bearing witness to Nomi's erratic behavior, and manages to score her a job at The Cheetah -- an actual club in Las Vegas, called Cheetahs in real life -- as a stripper. Despite the strip club's filthy clientele and sleazy owner (who consistently demands sexual favors from his 'girls'), Nomi views it as a necessary step in her crusade towards stardom.

Location as Character:
The Cheetah is the starting point for Nomi. Even though her ultimate goal is to become a showgirl, she claims stripping is at least a form of dancing. The club is dirty, dark, and a place to hang out for Las Vegas' filthiest sinners. In what can only be deemed an unlikely plot device, a famous local couple, Cristal Connors and Zack Carey (Gina Gershon and Kyle MacLachlan) -- who just so happen to be a headlining showgirl and a show producer -- stop by The Cheetah for some drinks and entertainment. They catch Nomi's onstage act, and Cristal is so impressed she asks for a private lap dance with Nomi for Zack. Cristal, of course, watches.

Cristal's attraction to Nomi is never really addressed; rather, it's hinted at (ahem) strongly. Because of this attraction (at least we think that's why), Cristal decides to make room for Nomi in her show at the Stardust Resort and Casino, which, in real life, was sadly torn down in 2007. The rest of Nomi's rise to stardom is history.

Historical Significance: Cheetahs is one of the oldest strip joints in Sin City, having opened in 1991. It was founded by part-time actor Michael Galardi. In 2004, Galardi admitted in a federal trial that he bribed Las Vegas officials in an attempt to influence strip club regulations. He stated that he paid between $200,000 and $400,000, and was later imprisoned for about four years.

The club is currently managed by Charles Wright, a retired professional wrestler best known for his stints in the WWE as a voodoo witch doctor ('Papa Shango') and a pimp ('The Godfather').

Fun Facts: Cheetahs is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. On most weekends, Cheetahs features 500 girls in a 24-hour period. If you're hoping to catch a glimpse of the stage where Nomi danced, you're not in luck. Owing to renovations through the years, only the main stage will look vaguely familiar.

Directions: Cheetahs is located at 2112 Western Avenue in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the junction of Highway 15 and Sahara Avenue.

Visitor Info: It's a strip club, so obviously not the best place to take your kids. Or grandma. Cheetahs has a $10 cover charge and the bar features cocktails starting at $4. Lap dances at your table are $20 per song and VIP couch dances in the two VIP lounges are four for $100. Not that we're condoning that kind of thing. Enter at your own risk.



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