Rick Altergott
It ain't New York, and it ain't L.A. That's why, when celebrities are spotted around Portland, we still totally dork out. (Witness the recent Britney shopping stampede at the Red Light.) But if you know where to look for them, celeb sightings in P-town aren't as rare as they seem. One such place is Mary's Club, the beloved, longest running Oregon strip club. Family-owned and appended to a grubbin', cheap taqueria, you could conceivably live there, for like, three days. And when the big bands roll through to play at the Crystal or the Roseland, it doesn't take long for them to find their way down to this joint (which has also been a shooting location for a number of films). Its reputation precedes it among touring bands and roving film crews.

One of the more loquacious guests at Mary's was Courtney Love, who used to work as a dancer there (under the name "Michelle") back in her Portland days. Around last year's holiday season, she came back to visit, wearing an eclectic ensemble of moccasins, a sheer stripper dress, and leopard print coat. Noticeably fucked up (we assume on something more than booze), she nodded off at the bar. Before leaving, she scribbled a note for dancer Lucy that included her hotel room number and an invitation to come up for a visit (declined). However, she did tip well, and made the helpful suggestion to double-jointed stripper Satori that she should move to L.A. and teach yoga.

When The Hunted was being filmed, Mary's was a regular hang for the cast and crew, including Benicio Del Toro. In fact, they were such loyal patrons that they included a geographically inaccurate shot of Mary's in the film, seen through the window of the courthouse. Grumpy Benicio reportedly "didn't feel like he needed to get off his ass to tip," and had a peon shuttling money up to the dancer. Another big actor spotted hanging at Mary's was Cuba Gooding, Jr., who preferred the less-crowded daytime hours. Remaining low pro in a hat, he quietly played video poker and tipped the girls in $20s. He's welcome back anytime.

A slew of bands have visited Mary's, including The Monkees' Mickey Dolenz, the Psychedelic Furs, Train, John Spencer, Pavement (who stole a stage move from Lucy), Stain, the Buzzcocks, Detroit Cobras, and Sonic Youth. Brian Setzer and members of Pink Martini are regulars, as well. Once the front man of the Goo Goo Dolls, Johnny Rzeznik, came in and became entranced with one of the dancers, staying all night to buy table dances and make puppy eyes. The girls got a kick out of it, because in contrast to the freshly scrubbed, VH1-approved girls in his videos, his object of affection was a butchy, punk rock bike-messenger chick with tattoos who danced wearing boots.

So the next time you feel like schmoozing with celebs over some pussy, grab your autograph book, hightail it down to ye olde strip club, and try to keep your eyes peeled in the darkness--especially when Cirque de Soleil is in town.