Unreal strips down with Sarah Palin, flushes a pumpkin and balloons up for Halloween

It started with the Photoshopped image of a rifle-toting Sarah Palin in a stars-and-stripes bikini. Then came VPILF.com (Get it? A MILF crossed with a VP?) and a site dedicated to Palin erotica. Now there's a porno titled Who's Nailin' Paylin? starring a silicon-enhanced doppelganger. A company called TopCo Sales is even peddling a Palin-faced blow-up doll.

Don't think St. Louisans are immune to up-dos, Tina Fey glasses and babes who say "aboot." On Thursday night, October 30, the Penthouse Club in Sauget, Illinois (slogan: "Where the magazine comes to life"), will host a "Sarah Palin lookalike strip-off" with a top prize of $1,000. The club's website promises that "local secretaries, nurses and school teachers will take it all off in a fair and balanced bi-partisan extravaganza."

Channeling Katie Couric, Unreal called Albertto Fortuny, regional director of IEC, the company that owns the Penthouse Club, to learn how anything that involves so much Bush could possibly be bipartisan.

Mike Gorman

Unreal: How many people have signed up?

Albertto Fortuny: We just placed the first ad this week, and we're starting to see a few entries. I know for a fact eleven girls have signed up.

Who are the judges, and what's it gonna take to win this baby?

The judges will be some people who supervise the club. What they judge on will be costuming, communication skills and the really look-alike part — her face, etc.

Communication skills?

Maybe we'll create a political debate. We'll come out with a question like, "As vice president, what do you think we should do with the war in Iraq?" You know, put them on the spot and see what kind of crazy answer they give. Also, because we're hosting a sexually oriented event, we'll ask the governors of Alaska, "What is your favorite sexual position?" We can go both ways. It's going to be fun to hear people talk and answer wacky and crazy questions.

Will any of the following be involved: firearms, snowmobiles, a pit bull, Joe Six-Pack or Russia?

Absolutely. Russia will definitely be one. Also, there will be animals and drinking beer. She has showed that she can handle her beer, so we might have a chugging competition.

So, to be fair, during the primaries did you host a Hillary Clinton strip-off?

We thought about it, we really did, but I think a lot of women were really angry about her, so we didn't. This lady, she's such a hoot, I believe we'll have some fun. She is an attractive lady. She has a way of expressing herself — you can quote me on that — she sounds like George W. Bush on the female side.

You know, polls have shown that people who saw Palin on Saturday Night Live recently were more likely to vote for her and McCain. True of your event, too?

I don't think so. We don't have a political reason or agenda. It's come in and see how many girls look like this lady. And, of course, have them take clothes off as well.

As a strip-club manager, how would you sum up the appeal of Sarah Palin?

I think her charisma, and definitely her sexuality, are very strong. She's a very sexual person. Take it from a man who has been doing this for eighteen years now: She has a lot of sex appeal. 

Things That Go Pop! in the Night
These days most people think ghosts, ghouls and goblins are a bunch of hot air, but later this month the folks at Sammy J Balloon Creations in Fenton will take that belief literally. The company has been invited to participate in Balloon Manor 2008, where they will help construct a haunted house out of more than 100,000 balloons. The inflated invention opened earlier this month in Rochester, New York. Unreal called Thad James, the owner of Sammy J, to find out what's poppin' with the boos and balloons.

Unreal: How are these different from regular balloon art?

Thad James: All the rooms are created out of balloons. All of the walls are made of balloons, the characters, the furniture, appliances, decorations — they're all made of balloons.

So it's not like balloon poodles with mean faces drawn on?

No, not at all! The characters are all multiple-balloon creations all designed by different artists.

What's the most frightening part?

To be honest, it's a family-friendly haunted house, so there's not a lot of true fear involved. We're not out to scare people, because we want people of all ages to enjoy it. It's not as much a haunted house as it is a museum for balloons. Things don't jump out and grab people by the leg, but it is a monster theme.

You know what would be scary as hell? Ghosts talking with helium voices!

That would be terrifying. That would be a scary part. We actually use air from a pressurized tank, though, not helium.

Well that blows. What's this about a "Scare U: Ghoul School" theme with different rooms — inhumanities, Anti-Social Studies, Under-World History. Why not add, say, calculus, to that list?

Yeah, calculus and algebra — that would have scared people away. And anyone with the nerve to go in would just be confused.

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