Catherine is a writer, editor and stripper from California who works there and in Las Vegas. She strapped on her first pair of seven-inch stilettos and never looked back, despite taunts from the bartender of "Why don't you brush your hair?" and "Grunge isn't cool any more." Ignoring those who were determined to crush her dreams, Catherine persevered, still doesn't brush her hair, and is doing pretty fuckin' fine nonetheless.
Also, grunge will always be cool, and the bartender was eventually fired for being an asshole.
Like lots of small businesses these days, San Francisco’s unionized, worker-owned peepshow has hit some seriously tough financial times. But they’re still fighting to stay open! You can support their efforts here.
Some background: The Lusties unionized in 1997 and became a co-op in 2003 and, in addition to being the only unionized peepshow co-op in the world, they also remain one of San Francisco’s only independent clubs. Instead of paying stage fees and hustling for private dances, they receive hourly wages and each own a share of the business. Which sounds great in theory, but seems to not have been working so well in recent years.
Just days after celebrating their 15th anniversary of unionization, rumors hit the web that the club could be shutting down soon, due to worker disagreements, competition from internet porn, their idealistic-but-possibly-impractical business model (it can’t be easy getting a strip club to function as a co-op, when dancers tend to be transient side), and the general state of the economy.
Quite a few of the co-op members have left (Jolene Parton and Sandy Bottoms tell their stories here), but some are still working hard to stay open, according to this article from the SF Chronicle which, I’ll warn you, is pretty judgy and offensive. How come in such a famously sex-positive city, the biggest newspaper can’t find someone to write about the Lusty Lady’s current situation without throwing in a little anti-stripper moralization?
I’ll resist the urge to dissect the Chronicle piece and all the ways it fails (it’s pretty obvious if you read it) and encourage everyone one more time to support the Lusty Lady.
Thanks to Seattle P-I blogger Michele Costanza for her recent post on Sarah Haney, a Denver-based photographer whose work involves posing Barbies in all sorts of compromising positions. Sometimes a girl’s gotta make ends meet as a stripper before she goes on to be a veterinarian, astronaut, cop, lifeguard, ballerina and presidential candidate.
Over the weekend, the internet news show The Young Turks drew my attention to this story: a 37-year-old Houston escort who works under the name of Shelby is offering a discount for clients who donate a toy to Toys for Tots. For any guy who booked an hour and brought an unwrapped toy, Shelby offered a second hour for free.
Cenk Ugyur condescendingly calls her “an escort with a golden heart” before launching into his incredibly twisted analysis of the “consequences” of Shelby’s offer: “There’ll be a lot of guys who take their kids’ toys to go get a second hour free with a prostitute. … It seems like she’s doing a good deed, but think of how those guys get their toys.” His sidekick, Ana Kasparian (who rarely offers anything new to Cenk’s analyses), agrees immediately that it’s “disgusting” and makes her “sick to her stomach.”
Sex work activist Annie Sprinkle was the mind behind the original International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. After the conviction of “Green River Killer” Gary Ridgway, Sprinkle and activists from SWOP decided that a holiday was necessary to commemorate people in our community who have been the victims of violence, and to draw the public’s attention to the danger of working without legal protection and under harsh societal stigma.