Strip City : A Stripper's Farewell Journey Across America
Strip City A Stripper's Farewell Journey Across America Author:Lily Burana The ultimate road trip; a daring and disarmingly honest odyssey across America with an ex-stripper who dusts off her dancing shoes for a farewell tour. Lily Burana had been working as a journalist for five years when, on a cross-country assignment, she meets a cowboy in Cheyenne, Wyoming. They fall in love quickly, and in short order he propos... more »es to her. Her cowboy doesn't flinch when she tells him about her past, but as the reality of the engagement sets in, Burana realizes that she can't settle down until she comes to terms with the business of stripping--the controversial but exhilarating crucible in which she came of age. She packs up a hairpiece, hairspray, Lucite platforms, garters, neon thongs, and body glitter, and enrolls in a stripping academy to perfect her routine. Zigzagging across America from the topflight gentlemen's clubs of Dallas to the blue-collar go-go bars of New Jersey, from Anchorage to Tijuana, Las Vegas to Los Angeles, she even competes in the Miss Topless Wyoming competition. Along the way, she seeks out a host of colorful women who share with her the unwritten history of striptease: an over-looked and under-recorded American art form. And what she discovers--about the business, about the culture of strip clubs, and about herself--is truly remarkable. While on the road, she recalls her start in the peep shows of Times Square and her groundbreaking legal battle for strippers' rights, waged against one of the most notorious strip club owners in the country. With the benefit of her independence and experience, she's shocked to learn how much, yet how little, the world of striptease has changed. Insightful and reflective, Burana describes the clubs and bars, the patrons and other dancers in striking detail, and takes us into the nitty-gritty of a dancer's life, bringing to light the variety of techniques and tricks of the trade. Burana writes with immediacy and candor; hard-won wisdom and hard-bitten humor; a novelist's voice and a journalist's eye. Strip City is a shrewd take, free of illusion, on the darker, seamier side of America. She effortlessly conveys the atmosphere of a seedy strip joint; the exhilaration of a dancer on stage when she gets into her zone; and ultimately the complex emotional repercussions that arise when a woman takes off her clothes for money.« less
I am a feminist. In college, I minored in women's studies, and I ended up taking lots of classes with some very earnest, intelligent women about various "women's issues." Inevitably in these classes, the sex industry would come up for discussion at some point or another -- stripping, pornography, prostitution, etc. I didn't know what I thought about the subject back then, and I still don't today. I'm deeply ambivalent about it. On the one hand, I agree with the argument that says that all sex industry workers are being exploited, degraded, and objectified; on the other hand, I agree with the argument that glorifies sex industry workers for taking charge of their sexuality, and asks what's wrong with being (or being seen as) a sexual being anyway? I have absolutely no personal experience with the sex industry, so all this discussion was purely theoretical. So when I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. Surely I would find some clarification, some resolution to this conundrum, in the memoirs of an ex-stripper?
As it turns out, not so much. Lily Burana herself is deeply ambivalent about stripping, about what it means to her, to her friends and family, and to society at large. That's why she decided to write this book in the first place -- to get some closure on a sticky subject. In the end, she finds personal peace of mind, but no absolute answer, no epiphany. The truth, I think, probably lies somewhere in the middle of those two opposing points of view -- as well as at both extremes. The two different arguments are both true, at the same time. It's enough to give you a headache!
The book itself was very good, I thought. I found it entertaining, informative, and intersting. The author has a gift for descriptive prose, for immersing the reader in a particular time and place so that you feel you're there, part of the action. I enjoyed the parts about the various strip clubs she worked at and the parts about her personal life and history equally. Ms. Burana is a gifted autobiographer, and she wrote the book so that her personal journey interwove itself with the nitty-gritty details of what it's like to live as a working stripper seamlessly, each half of a larger whole.
An excellent book! Very different from my normal reading fare, but worth the trip!
I enjoyed this book much more than I expected! The book is a very personal and insightful account of a former stripper's journey across America to strip in various clubs one more time before "retirement". She gives readers insight as to why women turn to stripping, the different types of clubs, and the reasons why men go them. Often funny and even sweet at times, this book shows that stripping as a profession and not as the butt of jokes.
During one of her jobs as an exotic dancer, the author uses the stage name "Tawdry" ... but that is the only thing that is tawdry about this book. It's intelligent, well-written, insightful & funny, "the thinking girl's" look at the world of strip joints & exotic dancing. The journalist Lily Burana spent years working at these places during her youth, but became a writer instead & got out of that life. When she falls in love & receives a proposal of marriage, she realizes she never made peace with her former profession. So she returns, temporarily, to being an exotic dancer & does a circuit of the clubs, observing the trends & changing customs, interrogating her own emotions about what she's doing & interviewing other strippers & recording what she sees. I recommend this if you are curious about the subject.
Heather reviewed Strip City : A Stripper's Farewell Journey Across America on
Helpful Score: 1
This is a great book !Well written ,and goes to show that stripping can be a legit career, and not an easy one if you want to play it straight and make good money.This reminds you of the lost art, Before all they did was swing on poles with a G string. I read this in a day.
I've never even considered stripping as a career, but Lily writes this memoir so well, that I almost was sad I never tried it! As she says, after 25 you are somewhat washed up, and as I'm way past 25, I feel I may have missed a fun time. While stripping has some negative aspects attributed to it, Lily manages to remain somewhat normal...no drugs, alcoholism, or prostitution...and even makes you understand why she loved it so much. Very interesting book...a different memoir than the usual.