Burlesque West: Showgirls, Sex, and Sin in Postwar Vancouver by Becki Ross

By Becki Ross

After the second one international warfare, Vancouver emerged as a hotbed of striptease expertise. In Burlesque West,the first severe heritage of this infamous striptease scene, Becki Ross delves into the erotic leisure on the northern finish of the dancers' west coast journey - the North-South direction from la to Vancouver that supplied rotating paintings for dancers and diversity for membership clientele.

Drawing on wide archival fabrics and fifty first-person bills of former dancers, strip-club vendors, reserving brokers, choreographers, and musicians, Ross finds tales which are deeply flavoured with an period earlier than "striptease fell from grace as the international stopped dreaming," within the phrases of ex-dancer Lindalee Tracey. although jobs during this specific are usually perceived as having little in universal with different different types of paintings, retired dancers' debts resonate strangely with these of up to date provider employees, together with perceptions of unionization and place of work advantages and dangers. Ross additionally strains the sanitization and next integration of striptease type and neo-burlesque developments into mass tradition, reading continuity and alter to eventually exhibit that Vancouver's glitzy nightclub scene, usually condemned as a quasi-legal pressure of city blight, actually greased the commercial engine of the post-war city.

Provocative and difficult, Burlesque West combines the industrial, the social, the sexual, and the non-public, and is bound to intellectually tantalize.

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Extra info for Burlesque West: Showgirls, Sex, and Sin in Postwar Vancouver

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111 And in 1975, the Greater Vancouver Visitors’ and Convention Bureau estimated that the tourist and convention business pumped $200 million into the local economy. ’112 Civic boosters never included venues for striptease as legitimate grounds for play, or as choice bait to lure vacationers. 113 That the economic and cultural heritage of Vancouver’s striptease industry has been hidden, or at best treated as a source of collective shame – a punching bag for zealous moral conservatives – betokens the depth of unresolved cultural anxieties about flaunted, for-profit female sexuality.

Certainly, by the late 1960s, the sexual revolution that reverberated across North America had unleashed considerable sexual energy and experimentation prior to the HIV/AIDS crisis of the early-to-mid-1980s. From ex-dancers, I wanted to know what was ‘golden’ about the business, and what was not? Unlocking the Memory Vault: Ethically Negotiating Oral Histories While poring over primary documents, including dancers’ autobiographies, photographic records, newspapers, and government files, I soon realized that the patchy archival and scholarly record necessitated in-depth interviewing.

Here, I pay particular attention to the racialized expectations and queer dimensions of strip culture, as well as to the artistic, cosmetic, and athletic traditions that shaped – and were shaped by – dancers’ repertoires. Accepting ‘business insiders’ as expert knowers, following the lead of Dorothy E. 136 In chapter 4, I explore dancers’ working conditions, relationships with co-workers and patrons, efforts to supplement striptease income, and the pressure, by the early 1970s, to tour for a living.

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