You'll recall that The Box owner Simon Hammerstein was accused of pressuring burlesque performers into three-ways, stashing them in dog-feces-strewn dressing rooms, pushing drugs on them and leaving welts on their assess. He denied most of the charges, and denies them again in this week's New York, backed up this time by some employees. But the magazine also dug up fresh information on the boozing, degenerate performances and sexual favor-trading that allegedly goes on at the nightspot:
- Especially bad taste: Hammerstein supposedly "asked the trio the Harlem James Gang to perform in blackface. And when he asked a member of a music group to perform a skit with a dildo stuffed in her mouth. (Hammerstein denies both these accounts.)"
- Drugs: "People smoked pot at staff meetings. Drank wine at rehearsal. The whole thing was fueled by drugs and alcohol. It changes the way you behave... the bathrooms were flooded, there was raw sewage on the floor in the kitchen."
- Sexual coercion: "When an act comes in, we may give them a trial run. We'd encourage them to stick around after their performance and mingle. A lot of the times, they'd end up at the bar, getting into conversations with Richard and Simon, discussing their act and maybe how they can improve it. That can turn into them staying out late and then maybe going to Simon's loft."
- Moby hates it (wait, is that good or bad?): Box co-owner Moby told BlackBook last week: "I don't really go there too often... I've been to a lot of degenerate places, and rarely have I seen the level of degeneracy like I've seen at the Box."
As the Box gets more and more degenerate, it sounds like it is slowly but surely imploding. But then, isn't that pretty much what you'd expect of an extreme burlesque?