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 proposes 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.