A few days ago, I wrote about some of the good things that the US owes to South Asia and the diaspora. The list was incomplete. Two additions, both of which I owe to the splendid Anirvan Chatterjee, are ethical online book-buying and The Chippendales. To quote Anirvan’s fine resource on this:
Somen Banerjee was born in Bombay, India in 1947–the year India gained independence from colonial British rule. He was a fourth generation printer. While he later went by his nickname “Steve,” he retained his name “Somen,” even after immigration; perhaps the coincidence of his given name (in Bengali, pronounced as “show-men”) did not escape him….In 1975, Steve used a small investment to buy a failing Los Angeles rock and roll bar called Destiny II. He worked to turn it into a disco with jazz and street-dance performers. Four years later, inspired by word of a Canadian male strip club, Steve renamed the club “Chippendales,” and along with female mud wrestling, he launched a “Male Exotic Dance Night for Ladies Only” it was the first American troupe of its kind.
By the early 1980s, Chippendales was the best known of the several hundred male strip clubs in America. Steve drove the business to amazing heights with his professionalism and marketing skills. By the late 1980s, the Chippendales were almost a household name. Over a million copies of their calendar were sold every year. Touring profits exceeded $25,000 per week, and at its height, Steve controlled an $8 million a year business.
Steve was known to be a family man…
Read on here.