Playboy Buys Club Jenna

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The Arizona Republic, 6/22/06 - The world's most famous porn star is going to work for Playboy.

Playboy Enterprises Inc. announced Thursday that it has acquired Club Jenna Inc., the Scottsdale multimedia enterprise owned by Paradise Valley resident Jenna Jameson and her husband, Jay Grdina.

"This move is very exciting for us," Jameson said in a statement. "Jay and I are pleased to be part of the Playboy family and look forward to the potential that this brings to the table."

A Playboy spokeswoman said the affiliation with Jameson would help Playboy reach her large audience.

"It gives Playboy the premier icon in adult entertainment with Jenna," Jay Jay Nesheim said. "Jenna has transcended the adult genre. She's more of a mainstream celebrity, and she has such a huge demographic. There's a lot of value in it."

The deal will help both sides expand their businesses, Playboy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Christie Hefner said in a statement.

"This acquisition will allow us to diversify our content offerings in the domestic TV business, while, on the online side, also expanding their existing properties through our network of sites," said Hefner, the daughter of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.

Club Jenna had sales of $30 million last year, according to Hoover's, a business information company. Club Jenna grew 30 percent from 2004 to 2005, Hoover's said.

"With the resources now available to us, we can bring Club Jenna to a level unprecedented in sophisticated entertainment," Grdina said in a statement.

Jameson will retain her 25 percent interest in Babe's Cabaret, a Scottsdale strip club. The city is scheduled to hold a referendum Sept. 12 on whether to adopt stricter rules for the city's two strip clubs.

Jameson has been a prominent opponent of the stricter rules and helped gather the signatures needed to bring the issue to voters.

Scottsdale city officials who heard the announcement said they did not believe Playboy's purchase would have much effect on the city or on the referendum.

"I don't think it makes any difference at all," Councilman Bob Littlefield said. "As far as I'm concerned, it has nothing to do with us."

Mayor Mary Manross declined to comment, saying she did not yet have enough information.

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Porn Actress Buys Babes Cabaret

SCOTTSDALE - The Arizona Republic, Aug. 13, 2005 - A partnership that includes Jenna Jameson, a Paradise Valley resident and perhaps the world's most famous porn star, has quietly purchased Babes Cabaret, the strip club confirmed Friday.

The move represents an extension of Jameson's Club Jenna brand into live-entertainment venues. Established in 2000 with her husband, Jay Grdina, the Scottsdale-based company produces adult entertainment for a variety of outlets.

In a May posting to her site she said she is "superexcited" about purchasing the Scottsdale club. Jameson said she and her partners had tried to buy the venue for more than three years.

The new owners plan to remodel the club and launch a search for new dancers, said a Babes employee, who declined to identify herself. It will relaunch in the fall with a new name, the employee said.

"It will be our first Club Jenna strip club . . . so watch out!" Jameson said on her Web diary. "Hopefully, it will be the first of many to come."

The planned renovation of the club, 2011 N. Scottsdale Road, wasn't exactly what Scottsdale had in mind when it launched an effort to revitalize south Scottsdale.

Babes sits less than half a mile from the planned Arizona State University Scottsdale Center for New Technology and Innovation, the centerpiece of the city's revitalization efforts.

"Well, we know where the high-tech workers will be spending their lunch hours," said Lisa Haskell, a neighborhood activist. "Maybe they can work on some high-tech silicone upgrades."

She laughed and said, "Is this what they meant by 'innovation'?"

Scottsdale Puts the Heat on Topless Bars

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., XBiz, 8/22/05 - Adult star Jenna Jameson’s apparent involvement with the Babes Cabaret strip club may have prompted the city to turn its attention to Scottsdale's topless bars.

On Friday afternoon, city officials decided to begin enforcing an ordinance banning lap dances and other physical contact at the city's topless bars, despite a request from the city's attorney's office to hold off on citing violators.

Such activity outlawed by the city’s sexually oriented business ordinance takes place regularly at Babes Cabaret, which serves liquor and requires dancers to wear pasties over their nipples, according to a report from a local newspaper, the East Valley Tribune.

Under the ordinance currently being enforced, if a club is convicted of three violations within 12 months, it loses its sexually oriented business license.

At post time, city officials did not confirm the number of citations issued to adult clubs, including Babes.

Last week, Scottsdale Councilman Robert W. Littlefield told XBiz that the city could have a chance to shut down Babes after it researches its legal options.

Littlefield said that his staff is researching anything relative to the Babes purchase or a renovation to “trigger a legal event.”

The city attorney’s office also has been working with an outside law firm to craft changes to the ordinance. Mayor Mary Manross told XBiz that a City Council motion will most likely be in place by October that will further restrict adult lounge owners.

"We need to enforce our ordinances that we have on the books first," she said.

With a relaunch in the fall with a new name, Babes was reportedly purchased by Jameson, husband Jay Grdina and an unidentified third partner.

So far, according to Littlefield, the adult star has yet to sign any legal papers with Scottsdale or the state relative to the club’s ownership. Manross said that a new business license is necessary if there is a change in majority ownership.

Also, under Scottsdale’s sexually oriented business ordinance, strip adult businesses must be licensed by the city, which mandates background checks for owners and managers.

Club Jenna officials did not respond to calls from XBiz.

One report said that the strip club would incorporate the ClubJenna brand and broadcast live streaming video from it.

Jameson, in a previous interview, said her goal is to improve Babes, attracting a high-end clientele of both men and women. “It will be our first Club Jenna strip club," said Jameson, who founded Scottsdale, Ariz.-based ClubJenna with her husband Jay Grdina. "Hopefully it will be the first of many to come."

Neigborhood activists argue that Jameson’s plans could be stumbling blocks to a planned revitalization of that area.

Scottsdale police have not enforced regulations banning lap dances and other types of physical contact between strippers and customers at the Scottsdale’s topless bars for two years.

Former City Attorney David Pennartz’s decided to stop prosecuting those particular violations in August 2003.

That was prompted by a then-pending lawsuit filed by Dream Palace, an all-nude Scottsdale club that thrown into question what restrictions governments can place on adult businesses.

"While this case was under review, Scottsdale’s former city attorney suspended enforcement pending direction from the federal courts," Scottsdale’s police said in a statement.

But police did not restart upholding the ordinance even after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on the Dream Palace suit in September.

The decision struck down part of the county ordinance dictating how the strippers can move on stage, but left most of the regulations intact.

The 9th Circuit concluded that a regulation banning "sex acts, normal or perverted, actual or simulated," would amount to a ban on nude dancing, which it called a constitutionally protected activity."

Porn Producers Partner with Jameson

The Arizona Republic, Sept. 28, 2005 - In addition to adult-film star Jenna Jameson, the partnership that recently acquired Babe's Cabaret includes the president and chief executive officer of one of the world's largest pornography producers.

Steven Hirsch, CEO of Los Angeles-based Vivid Entertainment, and William Asher, Vivid's president, own 25 percent of 2011 Scottsdale Entertainment Acquisition Group, which owns Babe's, 2011 N. Scottsdale Road.

Jameson, who filed paperwork using her given name of Jenna Massoli, also owns 25 percent. 

The fourth partner is New Jersey-based adult-film producer Frank Koretsky, who shared Babe's with club co-owner Ann Rothstein before Jameson's partnership bought Rothstein out earlier this year.

The information surfaced in paperwork filed this month with the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control. Jameson's partnership is seeking to change Babe's liquor license to reflect the new owners.

The Scottsdale City Council will hear the request Nov. 1, city officials said.

If they find the new owners unreliable or incapable of holding the license, Scottsdale can file a protest with the state liquor board.

Because the liquor license already has been granted, and the partnership is simply requesting an ownership change, council members have few grounds for legal protest, officials said.

"This is very limited," said Connie Padian, chief customer service officer for Scottsdale. "We can look at their capability, their reliability, or their qualifications to have a liquor license."

The Babe's partnership will come before the council as officials work to update Scottsdale's sexually oriented business ordinance, which Scottsdale recently began enforcing again after quitting for two years due to uncertainty about the ordinance's legality.

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