Blast From the Past

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When Exotic Dance Costumes Were Actually Costumes

When I came across (on tumblr) this old photo of a proud stripper, showing off her turquoise fringe satin jacket and the matching chaps that bare her French-cut tan lines, I had to know where and who it came from. These days, Rhonda B-Chaparro, aka Odd Artist, works more with melting and painting found plastic objects, but she used to have a business sewing exotic dance costumes.

Blast From the Past: “Miss Temptation”

“Miss Temptation” is a short story that Kurt Vonnegut originally wrote for the Saturday Evening Post in 1956. You can find it in Welcome to the Monkey House. I read the anthology in high school, but this piece really resonated with me the second time around, oh, twelve years later.

It’s about a soldier who has just returned from serving his country in the Forgotten War. Corporal Fuller has never done well with women, which he credits to his not being good looking or rich enough, and not simply because he’s a jerk. He tells off a beautiful young aspiring actress named Susanna, publicly humiliating her, because he doesn’t like the way she “makes” him feel. He had never met this woman before, yet she incited such a strong reaction that he yelled at her and spent the rest of his day moping and snapping at his mother.

Blast From The Past: Striptease (1996)

Until several days ago, Striptease was a glaring oversight in my otherwise comprehensive history of sex work film viewing. I thought I should rectify that problem in light of my grousing about Demi Moore’s ham-handed anti-trafficking efforts, so I did. Sort-of. (Halfway through, I had to turn it off. It is unwatchably, un-fun-ly bad.)

Here are the highlights of what I saw before then. They should tell you everything you need to know:

What really happens in the dressing room

photo by Honey sfhoneypot.blogspot.com

Tits and Sass loves Lily Burana‘s piece in Salon this week, When We Were Strippers.

The Happy Hooker (1975)

Aside from having one of the best theme songs in the world, Willie Dynamite being the film with the best so far, The Happy Hooker was also one of the cutest films I’ve watched in a long time.

We’ve been here before, so I don’t need to stress how much I love 70s fashion. I mean, it’s garish sometimes, but so is the austere minimalist stuff Phoebe Philo was selling us a couple of seasons ago, so… I also adore Xaveria Hollander for riding a bike to sessions, because I am a bike-riding sex worker myself.

I suppose this story is pretty normal, right? Lady has a taste for independence and uses sex work to better her life. Lady sees a hole in the market and uses her ability to fill it. This story is cute, even if it’s not groundbreaking. Actually, she’s charming. I think we are supposed to understand that she’s kind of irresistible. I doubted her appeal at the beginning, but afterward I was in love!