17 bartenders virtually undress to raise money for charity

Wed. February 4, 2009 12:00 AM

jennings from scarlet participates in bar-lesque competition

photo credit // dan paterno

"Inspired by President Obama's call to service," says one of the bartenders

Chicago, IL - "Chicago Takes Off - Bar-lesque Competition" is the first of its kind online event where Chicago bartenders are competing to become exposed, virtually. This is the brainchild of a local group of volunteers looking for new ideas on how to raise money and awareness for popular annual revue-show, "Chicago Takes Off, "benefiting Test Positive Aware Network (TPAN).

"I have never had so many people remark how proud they are of me just for getting naked," says lead bartender, Rick.

Bartenders from popular Chicago watering holes are featured in the online contest that runs through Feb. 28.

"I had several of my regulars stumble onto the Bar-lesque site totally unbeknownst to me and they donated anonymously, but later left notes with their coffee orders," says Jennings, an aspiring performer, part-time "shot boy," and part-time coffee barista. "I'm beginning to feel more and more competitive about wanting to get enough donations so I can be shown in a naughtier photo," adding, "I'm usually much more modest, but I wanna win!"

Whoever raises the most money (and become the most exposed) online will be featured on the Park West stage at the March 7th 'Chicago Takes Off' event -- a burlesque-style show where talented male and female dancers donate their time and energy to strut their stuff in support of TPAN.

"Innovation in charitable giving is alive!" said Paul Trout, one of four co-chairs of Chicago Takes Off. "The founders, co-chairs and TPAN brainstormed to develop an awareness campaign that sought contributions through competition and titillation. Beyond being a great promotion, Bar-lesque has turned into a fundraiser in its own right and we couldn't be more pleased."

Trout and company built the website, found 17 volunteers who were willing to be exposed … and as of today, have helped to raise almost $6000.

For bartender, Brad, this undertaking was his call to service. "It's interesting to see how many people say that while they appreciate what I am doing, it's something they could never do," explaining that his inspiration to get involved was partly due to President Obama's recent call for us to give back to others.