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Historical Wardrobe Malfunction

This is kind of neato—The Star Tribune has a blog called “Yesterday’s News” where it digs up old-timey newspaper articles, photos and ads. This week’s feature made the front page of the Minneapolis Tribune on May 9, 1953: Darlene LaBette Varallo, an “esoteric dancer”, was jailed for disorderly conduct. Two follow-up articles detail the handling of the evidence (“two little rhinestone-studded cones, a few lengths of gauze, a fringe and a pair of black net tights”) and the trial, which was complete with a lie detector test and testimony where the defendant explains that she was only guilty of a wardrobe malfunction:

SHE DESCRIBED her dance as a “can-can” plus a mixture of “a shuffle, ball hop, kick, twirls.” She denied Sullivan’s charge that she had bent over and shaken parts of her anatomy at the audience.
“You can’t bend over when you dance or you lose your equilibrium,” said Darlene, who testified she has danced since the age of 3 and was an Arthur Murray instructor for two years.
She said she certainly was wearing state’s exhibit F (the brassiere) when she began to dance but had to discard it because a strap broke. She also denied removing the state’s exhibit E (a tasseled fringe) from its original position around her – ah – middle.

A “Whore” of Many Colors

I just want to know what these people want from us. They argue over which term to use like we are animals, where using the wrong genus actually matters. It is not difficult to figure out. We are sex workers because we use our sexuality to make money, period. All of us: strippers, escorts, dominas, whatever. It is an umbrella term because we can all fit under it. Why is that so hard? Why do they need everybody to be ultra specific before they can tuck themselves in at night?

I know why: this isn’t really about trying to figure out what to call us. This is the kind of classification you use so you know how to react to someone, you know what I mean? They want to know which kind of sex work we do so they can know how to treat us, because “sex work” doesn’t have the same hateful baggage as “whore” or “stripper” does for some people, and it is hard to throw at someone. “This is one sex worker with chutzpah” just doesn’t have the same sting; it sounds like something you say to an equal, not something you say to classify another group of women as less worth respect than you are. I’m looking at you, Andrea Peyser.

The Daily Show on Megan Piper’s Thwarted Prom Night

Minnesota teen Mike Stone spammed adult performers on Twitter to find a prom date (if I’d gotten one of those messages, I would have blocked the kid, but it goes to show that spam works), and Megan Piper said yes. When his school heard about it, they forbid him from bringing her. What a buzzkill. Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams interviewed the pair and a concerned area mother—who had some great sex ed tips—for a segment that aired last week, and we love it.

“And we all know that if you do something for a living, that’s all you ever do. Like how pro football players tackle everyone they see, and therefore would never be allowed at prom.”

 

The Angry Stripper Outed (?)

from the @AngryStripper Twitter feed

Today the Houston Press published a blog post by Richard Connelly about stripper blogger/tweeter @AngryStripper (Sarahtress), with what they seem to think is the bombshell revelation that a stripper is also a journalist working for the local daily. But really. How closeted is a stripper who posts face photos and whose Twitter profile lists something close to her real full name?

Sarah is kind of snobby in her stripper posts and tweets, but her bluntness is part of her charm (except for the occasional racism). Reading that she writes society coverage for the Houston Chronicle is unsurprising to readers familiar with her sweetly bitchy tone. Plus, what better background could there possibly be for covering Houston socialites? Anna Nicole Smith was far from the only woman to go from stripping at Rick’s to marrying a millionaire, y’all. There are undoubtedly a good number of former dancers and escorts among the women throwing charity balls and volunteering at (probably) MD Anderson.

More things that Portland did first *

this post made me realize how much American Apparel is made for stripper wardrobes

Have you heard about this supposed “hipster strip joint,” the Westway, in New York? Stories about it usually are sprinkled with HI-larious commentary about how funny it is to mix hot nightlife spots with tits. SORRY NEW YORK, Portland, OR has been doing this for years. Mary’s Club, Union Jacks, and Devils Point are all strip clubs that draw crowds heavier on leather jackets than raincoats. This results in varying levels of profitability for the strippers (needless to say, Portland hipsters are not necessarily a cash-laden customer base). They might stare for free, or they might give you fifty bucks to play “Roadrunner.”

Will the Westway actually operate like a strip club, though? From the coverage, it seems like it might just have topless go-go dancers—on one night a week, at that—and people got hyperbolic in calling it a strip joint. Can you get a lapdance? Is there going to be a DJ announcing the names of the dancers? Will the dancers be paid or will they be paying the club to work there? And most importantly, who wants to go with me the first Monday in April?

Oh, New York, I hope you get some real hipster strip club fun, like maybe a chef brawl over local pork.

* (in addition to Stumptown, competitive facial hair growth, and urban farming)