Oregon

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(Screenshot of Association of Club Executives newsletter.)

Mayang Prasetyo, a trans woman sex worker, was killed by her boyfriend in Australia (trigger warning: article describes a brutal, perverse murder).  The Courier Mail used some unconscionably unfeeling headlines in relating the murder, and is being called on it.

Oregon lobbyists are working with strippers and social workers to come up with legislation that will offer protections to strippers, reinforcing their labor rights given that, in Oregon as in so many other places, strippers are illegally classified as independent contractors. Mary Emily O’Hara notes:

Though the panel won’t finalize the bill until later in the year, everyone seemed to agree on one thing: if you’re going to work as a stripper, some sort of basic education that clarifies rules around touching, employee status, and other workplace protections is desperately needed.

The Association of Club Executives was way less than thrilled by O’Hara’s article, as you can see from the screen shot above, taken from their newsletter. “Empowerment Enterprises”! That’s some beautiful cheek.

The Cambodian government is also proposing to enforce the labor rights of workers in entertainment venues, including sex workers.

A recent study of sex workers over 40 in India found their circumstances to be very distressed, often exacerbated by the Devadesi system.

Another sex worker is on reality tv: Former stripper Courtney Lapresi is on Master Chef, and the response to this from contestants and critics has been even more negative than Irish response to sex worker Kate McGrew on Connected. Naysayers theorize that Lapresi might exchange sexual favors in exchange for winning. As Esmerelda Murray reports, Lapresi herself is framing stripping as an embarrassing and regrettable decision she made while she was broke.  What’s embarrassing and regrettable is that, after making it on to a cooking show, she felt she had anything in her past to apologize for. Badly done, Master Chef.

Several cases of male violence after rejection made the news this week, only one involving a sex worker (progress?): An English sex worker was attacked on the outskirts of Manchester after attempting to keep walking and ignore a man who wanted her attention.

A days-long trafficking investigation/sting across Canada, which interviewed over 300 sex workers, resulted in 9 arrests, although police in Edmonton, for example insist that they got a very guarded feel from many of the women.  You don’t say.

[READ MORE]

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What's got two thumbs and 93 unregulated strip clubs? This state!

What’s got two thumbs and 93 unregulated strip clubs? This state!

You can’t just take at face value the unofficial slogans of the Portland Chamber of Commerce. “There are more strip clubs per capita than any other city in the country,” “You’re never more than fifteen minutes by foot from a microbrewery,” and “We do too have a professional sports team in one of the major leagues!” That first statement, especially, is one that gets thrown around a lot. A lot a lot, by people who’ve never set foot in a club and yet find it one of the charming defining characteristics of the Rose City. Portland has a strip club culture like nowhere else, complete with its own magazine, celebrities, and scandals.

This week, a curious reader wrote into the city’s Pulitzer-winning alternative paper, Willamette Week, to ask if this is actually true. It is. If, like me, you took issue last summer with Tampa’s claim to this title in every article about the RNC, you’ll be please to see that the WW writer calculated a 1:9,578 ratio for Portland and 1:10,813 for Tampa. That’s a close enough margin to where the two cities could probably trade places on the list depending on the fortunes of a few clubs. It’s unquestionable, though, that Portland is the single easiest place in the U.S. to open a strip club, and that’s what lies at the bottom (lol) of its saturated nudie-bar market. [READ MORE]

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The Lucky Devil dressing room

In the city that has so many sexually oriented businesses that it’s known as “Pornland, Whoregon,” we asked a handful of dancers what they’d like to strive for in 2013. To find an upcycled brass pole for the house? To save up for that tattoo of a zombie bacon cupcake with a mustache?

It turns out that the stripsters of Portland want the same things that strippers everywhere want: to drink less soda and tell more lies. You’re welcome to share your own work and/or personal resolutions in the comments section. 

“I want to be more positive and spend more time appreciating what life has given me.” —Oasis, Mystic

“I will publish my first book and be on a cover of a tattoo magazine!” —Elle, Lucky Devil

“This year I think I’d like to start an intense savings plan, commit to a more healthy lifestyle, and take a tour of the east coast—visit all the historical sites and whatnot.” —Juniper, Lucky Devil

“I’m going to give myself a breast self-exam once a month and walk my dog more.” —Caprice, Golden Dragon

“I’m going to keep putting cash before ass (but hopefully get some action sometime before 2014), travel dance, finish my stripper comic, and get into grad school.” —Red, Casa Diablo

“I’d like to quite drinking soda… not the most exciting but that’s it.” —Gabriela, Lucky Devil

“First is taking more time to let my creative side run wild and second, I am going to snail mail five handwritten, heartfelt letters to people who positively affect my life.” —Holladay, Pirate’s Cove

“[Mine are] to read all my favorite classics again, to be more consistent with practicing yoga, and to have more eye contact with customers once my clothes come off on stage.” —Natalia, Dolphin II

“I’m not going to give out as much personal info at work and lie more.” —Holland, Exotica International

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Kat and I have both danced at the club where this video was filmed, Stars Cabaret in Bend, OR, which is the only reason I watched this video all the way through. That and I was expecting a funny kicker that never came. I would recommend that you hit the mute button or listen to another song while you watch this video if the words “singer-songwriter from British Columbia” make you nod off, but it’s your call.

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Elle and friends rallying in Portland.

On the day of SlutWalk Portland, I was irritated because I was running late; I’m consummately punctual and tend to feel anxious if otherwise. (I’m the girl who arrives one hour early to her strip-shift, every night for the last two years). So I was relieved when my boys found a parking spot reasonably close to the starting location of SlutWalk, at the park near the courthouse in downtown Portland, at 4th and Jefferson.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from SlutWalk, but I had high hopes. Previously, I had been asked by a man named Sean Scott to speak candidly for a short video that he was working on. Sean asked me what I hoped to experience at SlutWalk Portland. Speaking honestly, I replied that I was hoping that it would be a gathering where victims and survivors could feel free from harassment, in public, together.

There were dozens of bicycle cops in small hordes, lining the street. Faces partially obscured by identical sunglasses and helmets, standard issue no doubt. They, for the most part, looked less than amused. Another gathering, another parade to babysit. I tried to smile sheepishly at them as we crossed the street. [READ MORE]

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