Coyote Ugly

From Academic Kids

Coyote ugly is a term made famous by the film of the same name (see below). It describes a person, usually a female, who is so physically undesirable that her partner, usually a male, is willing to gnaw off a limb she is sleeping on in order to escape rather than to risk waking her. The male will usually find himself in this situation when, after a night of heavy drinking, he wakes up the next morning in the bed of a woman he does not remember meeting and has no desire of getting to know better.

The term arises from the behavior of coyotes, which (among other canines), when caught in a jaw-trap will gnaw off a leg in order to escape death.


Coyote Ugly (the bar)

Missing image
Outside the Coyote Ugly Saloon in New York.

The Coyote Ugly Saloon first opened on January 27, 1993 in New York City, after New York University alumnus Liliana "Lil" Lovell eschewed a life on Wall Street for a life in bartending. Having held several bartending jobs during college where Lovell perfected her unique routine of dancing on the bar, singing, and challenging customers to drinking contests, she applied her business model of "beautiful girls + booze = money" to Coyote Ugly. She began hiring girls and training them in the wild routine, which included such antics as chugging alcohol, lighting it on fire, and then shooting it out of their mouth. While some girls were good at singing, others good at dancing, and others good at yelling, Lovell found that not all the girls were talented in each of the three aspects, so she often paired girls with complementary abilities.

The bar was propelled into the national spotlight in 1997 when former bartender Elizabeth Gilbert wrote of her experiences in a story for Gentlemen's Quarterly magazine, called "The Muse of the Coyote Ugly Saloon." A movie based on the bar soon followed, and the film Coyote Ugly (see below) opened in August 2000 with Maria Bello in the role of Lil and Piper Perabo as an aspiring songwriter in New York City who becomes the newest "Coyote." It grossed over $100 million worldwide.

Soon after, in 2001, the second Coyote Ugly Saloon opened in Las Vegas at the New York-New York Hotel & Casino. In 2002, a third franchise opened in New Orleans' French Quarter. Additional bars continued to open across the United States in the years to come, with Coyote Ugly Saloons now located in Atlanta, Dallas, Tampa, Philadelphia, Chicago, Charlotte, Panama City, Austin, San Antonio, Washington, D.C., Boston, and Nashville.

Coyote Ugly (the film)

A movie based on the actual bar was released in August 2000. It was directed by David McNally and written by Gina Wendkos.

LeAnn Rimes makes a guest appearance as herself near the end of the film, singing one of Violet's songs, called "Can't Fight the Moonlight." It became a nearly instant hit on the radio charts.

Plot Summary

Violet Sanford (Piper Perabo), an aspiring songwriter, leaves her home and her father Bill Sanford (John Goodman) to pursue her dream in New York City. While she tries, unsuccessfully, to get her demo tape to be noticed by the studios, she meets Zoe (Tyra Banks), a bartender at a local hot spot called Coyote Ugly. She is hired by Lil (Maria Bello) and must learn the ropes of singing, dancing, and performing wild acts before a rowdy crowd of people. However, despite cultivating the wilder side of her personality, she remains shy about performing her own songs. Romantic interest Kevin O'Donnell (Adam Garcia) helps her in her songwriting.

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