Elle

Elle

Elle has been stripping for four years. She hates wearing heels. Don't ask her about her tattoos, and she will appreciate it greatly. Her monthly column is in Portland, Oregon's 'Exotic Magazine'.


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Photos courtesy of Soren High

Ziploc bags overflow with disposable handwarmers, hand sanitizer, crackers and nuts. Thick cotton socks and toothbrushes, tampons and lollipops are piled nearby. A few women and a couple of men stand or sit along a heavy wooden table, chatting lightheartedly and stuffing goodies and toiletries into bags. Two children toddle around, munching crackers and playing with yarn.

Luchador in north Portland is holding its first Nudes for the Needy drive. It’s like many other holiday donation events, except for one thing: it’s headed by adult entertainers. Petite, bespectacled pole dancer Soren High brushes her dreadlocks away from her face as she hurriedly carries blankets and boxes around the room, delegating tasks to her volunteer friends.

“I’ve been homeless before,” she explains. “From about 2005, on and off until 2009. I lived in my car, with my boyfriend at the time. I lived under bridges. I know what life is like when you’re homeless, and I want to give back.”

When asked what sparked her desire to organize an event, Soren answers candidly. “I literally woke up one morning and felt like I needed to do something good. I started chatting about making blankets and giving them to family, but somebody else proposed a blanket making party, and here we are.”

The temperatures have been unseasonably frigid for Portland this year, with snow falling early in the month of December, and temperatures of 13 degrees recorded. The normal average temperature at this date is about twenty degrees warmer. “At least five deaths of street-folks were recorded within a matter of days,” Soren posted on her Facebook, rallying help in a hurry to hand out blankets and supplies on December 9th and 10th. I spoke with her about organizing in the community.

How did this begin?

Nude for the Needy started as a Christmas present for my family. I meant to make snip-n-tie blankets for everyone in my family and give them to a person in need as their gift. The idea bloomed into asking several of the girls that I work with to help with the project to come together and bring donations and a blanket. I know how amazing it feels to be given a blanket when you’re cold, or to receive food when you’re hungry. You remember that person for the rest of your life.

[READ MORE]

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DJ Dick Hennessy with Miss Beautiful Vagina 2013, Jordan

I was dressed modestly in a knee-length black dress, white Converse, and a denim jacket, and felt as comfortable as any stripper can when behaving as a civilian at a strip club event. Although Portland is home to about 45 strip clubs, its downtown entertainment district only has five, but on this Thursday evening, Club Rouge was already thumping with activity. I proudly displayed my black and pink VIP pass to the door attendant, feeling like vaginal royalty. About three dozen women of various ethnicities and body types strutted and mingled.

The judging panel was comprised of local Portland celebrities and industry folks: Tres Shannon, the delightfully eccentric owner of Voodoo Donuts, heavily bearded Jedediah Aaker, promoter of Tonic Lounge, who sports a leather thong in IFC’s Portlandia, traveling drag performer Miss Sasha Scarlette, an owner of a marijuana dispensary who wished to remain anonymous, and the unnamed owner of the upscale Stars clubs, who looked like a slightly more heterosexual John Waters. I was the only judge with an actual vagina. “I feel a lot of pressure was on your shoulders to maintain order and balance,” host and creator of the Annual Vagina Pageant, DJ Dick Hennessy, later told me.

20 contestants, 19 of whom were strippers, were vying for the title of Miss Pretty Vagina 2013. Scoring was based on three categories: Stage Talent (20%), Attractiveness (20%) and Vagina Beauty (60%). One young lady, appropriately dressed as a cute (yet clichéd) school girl, was introduced as having never stripped a shift in her life. While I admire the bravery of any woman willing to bare all in an industry competition, I was already dreading watching an amateur “dance.”

Club Rouge and Hennessy had attracted a diverse crowd. Twentysomething bros laughed and drank among well-dressed older men, a pack of women whispered into their hands and pointed at the strippers, and the Old Guy Who Sells Roses was weaving his way through the audience, muttering “Rose for the lady?” Dancer Ari from the Boom Boom Room giggled to me, “I just saw my dentist. He asked me, “How’s everything going? I asked him, “Like, in my mouth?” A fish-faced middle-aged man stood behind the judges, his mouth agape, not moving except to lick his lips every few minutes.

The bartender laughed at me when I asked “Do you serve hot tea?” and instead I settled for ice water with a lemon, dunking in my own smuggled tea bags. Once the contest began, the next four hours were a blur of vaginas and stilettos. [READ MORE]

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150463_637864889576301_2061639033_nFamous for being helmsman Hikaru Sulu of the USS Enterprise in the original Star Trek series, actor and author George Takei is America’s clever gay grandfather. Takei currently plays to an audience of thousands via social media and is known for quotable and insightful Facebook and Twitter posts on everything from politics to gender issues to cute animal macros. On April 2nd, George alienated a decent amount of his followers when he posted this meme.

As a mother, wife, and child, I was annoyed and almost a little hurt.

My 54-year-old mother sat nearby, her eyes deep in her Catherine Crier book. We had stayed up late despite her return flight being early in the morning. I was rubbing my wrists in anxiousness, set back from the laptop when she glanced over. I turned the screen toward her.

“Who posted that?”

“George Takei.”

“The actor?”

“Yeah. He posts a lot of stuff, but nothing like this usually.”

“Weird.”

“Mom, how does that make you feel? That society says you’re a failure? That I’m a failure?”

A very long pause.

“Well, it doesn’t make me feel good.”

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FamilyGuyOvalOrificeMy generation has seen its share of dysfunctional cartoon characters. Many of us were raised on The Simpsons, which arguably paved the way for South Park. I recall South Park making a huge impression on television and popular culture, even though I wasn’t allowed to watch it when it premiered in 1997. Adults older than I are more likely to associate their adolescence with Beavis and Butthead. All of these shows have incited controversy at some point and all were popular. So it should come as no surprise that another occasionally controversial animated comedy would succeed with the same audience. But oh, it irritates me when people assume that I like Family Guy.

I have never felt comfortable with Seth MacFarlane’s brand of humor. And I’m not alone, judging by the reactions to the multiple gross sexist offenses during his turn hosting the Oscars. There is always something about his jokes that gets under my skin and causes me to consider the implications of certain statements.

For one, there are so many rape jokes. [READ MORE]

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Portland Strippies Tonight

by Elle on December 4, 2012 · 0 comments

in Strippers

Photo by Happy Robot Photography/Kyle Helstein

It’s that time of year! No, not Christmas. ‘Tis the season of The Strippies, Portland’s only exotic dancer awards show based entirely upon votes by industry workers and fans! I took a moment to speak with one of the co-creators, former dancer Hezzy Tayte, about this year’s show.

What are some of the major differences between this year and the prior two years?

We’re changing up a lot of the voting rules this time. Our main goal is to make things as fair as we can. First of all, you can only win a maximum of two categories. This time nominations will be voted on by the public, but the winners will be decided by a secret panel of judges, who will be revealed at the show. The exception is the Stripper of the Year award. The three nominees will perform at the show and the winner will be decided by a live vote, which we did the first year.

What are some of the new categories?

We’re adding the Golden OG award this year. Two dancers will be chosen to be inducted into the Stripper Hall of Fame each year.

Who will you have performing?

The show will be hosted by me and Ed Forman. We’ll have Ozzy, Remmington Reignz, and Holladay performing, who all won awards last year, as well as the three nominees for Stripper of the Year, and some special surprise guests. We’ll also have a fashion show to kick things off and the big screen debut of the Shit Strippers Say videos.

What have been some of the challenges in creating this awards show?

It’s challenging to keep things fair. We started the show because we wanted there to be a competition free from strip club politics and bought votes. We really want girls from every club to be represented and have a shot at winning. But mostly it’s getting all those drunk people on stage at the right time. It’s like wrangling cats! Except sexier!

The Third Annual PDX Strippies are tonight at Star Theater. Online tickets here. Find more Strippies on Facebook and twitter

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