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One contact sport is out, Regis notes

Super Bowl notebook


© St. Petersburg Times, published January 18, 2001

So, there was Regis Philbin on his morning show, talking about Tampa and the Super Bowl to his national audience, and what does he mention? The gorgeous sunsets? The fabulous weather?

No, lap dancing.

The one thing you won't be able to get is a lap dance, Regis said. No one can get closer to naked dancers than 6 feet.

Laughter filled the audience.

What makes Regis an expert on Tampa's most notorious industry? The New York Post. "Lap Dances Outta Bounds" read the Page 5 headline.

The Post quotes Mons Venus owner Joe Redner: "I want everybody to come in and enjoy themselves . . . and walk away with a smile on their face."

CURMUDGEON ALERT: Among the many well-known fans of the New York Giants is 60 minutes commentator Andy Rooney, who will be sitting in the stadium for the game, said his publicist, Gene Taft. He's going to fit in a little business while in town. He flies in on Thursday and will sign his latest book, a World War II memoir called My War, at Inkwood Books, 216 S Armenia Ave., at 6 p.m. Friday.

Rooney loves football and has attended 27 Super Bowls. He wrote a column about his Super Bowl trip to Atlanta last year, complaining -- can you imagine Rooney complaining about anything? -- that as soon as he got off the plane five people asked him, "Are you here for the Super Bowl?"

"No," he replied. "I'm here to visit my aunt."

POLITICAL BUZZ: A Pittsburgh group called Citizens for Legitimate Government plans to rent a plane to fly over Raymond James Stadium to protest the outcome of the presidential election.

Group chairman Michael Rectenwald won't reveal what the banner will say. "It has a football metaphor, and it'll tell the political score," he said.

He also won't say who is renting his group the plane for $1,300 to $1,400, for fear that political enemies will "try to shut it down."

Rectenwald described his group as a grass-roots, non-partisan group of about 300 members that began on the Internet after the election.

PARTY SECRETS: Hush is the word on the Commish party.

Organizers of the NFL's pre-Super Bowl party on Friday night are going to extremes to keep the theme under wraps for the Commissioner's Party, billed as the biggest Super Bowl party of the year.

Vendors report that they had to sign confidentiality agreements about what kind of walk-around entertainers they are supplying at the Tampa Convention Center fete.

The event is informally known as the Commissioner's Party from the days when it was a smallish gathering hosted by former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle. All NFL spokesman Pete Abitante will divulge about this year's much larger soiree is the title: Star Gazers. "We want people to be surprised when they get there," he said.

With 5,000 invitees, it'll be hard to keep hush-hush for long.

MACDILL THRILLS: The most hopping venue in town during Super Bowl week will probably be Ybor City. But MacDill Air Force Base is running a close second. Golf tournaments with Rush Limbaugh. Private parties with Ricky Martin. For the lowdown, call (813) 828-4163. Not everything is open to the public.

- Complied by Babita Persaud, Chris Goffard and Jeff Harrington. Babita Persaud can be reached at (813) 226-3322 or persaud@sptimes.com.

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