Welcome to Your Fantasy
“A true American classic.”
— The New York Times
“Brilliantly engaging… you can’t fail to be swept along by this story, and historian Natalia Petrzela’s commentary. Petrzela is a great listen, her humour and interviewing skills really giving the podcast some zip… treat yourselves to this true-crime, high-camp show. It’s great.”
— The Guardian
In the 1980s the “male exotic dancers” of Chippendales were everywhere: On beefcake calendars and daytime TV. Gyrating on stages across the world in their signature cuffs, collars and spandex pants. Selling the promise of women’s liberation for the price of a few dollars in a g-string. But behind the powerful mullets, oiled pecs, and non-stop parties lies a much darker story.
This is the story of how two men—an immigrant from India and a children’s TV producer from New Jersey—transformed a seedy nightclub in Los Angeles into a global phenomenon, and how paranoia and greed turned Chippendales into a hotbed for drugs, corruption, and murder.
With over one hundred hours of archival footage, and sixty-plus interviews with investigators, co-conspirators, former dancers and the women who loved them, historian Natalia Petrzela exposes one of the great, sordid, unexamined stories in American culture.
From Pineapple Street Studios and Gimlet, Welcome to Your Fantasy premiered February 10, 2021 as a Spotify Exclusive and is now in wide release.
“[Petrzela’s] research and reporting place what might seem like a tacky, tabloidish subject in its full, fascinating cultural context, laying bare all of the nuance behind the bare chests.”
Past Present Podcast
“History cannot give us a program for the future, but it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves, and of our common humanity, so that we can better face the future.”
— Robert Penn Warren
Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, Neil J. Young, and Nicole Hemmer are three historians dedicated to bringing historical insights to political and cultural debates. Why is Pope Francis so popular in America? What’s behind the corporate defense of gay rights? How does The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt manage to get the ’90s so right?
In our weekly podcast, we offer listeners an alternative to the reflexive and polarized world of punditry. Interested in the world around you but exhausted by rote reactions and partisan talking points? You’ve come to the right place.
“Well researched and masterfully produced.”