Striptease : The Untold History of the Girlie Show: The Untold History of the Girlie Show

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Oxford University Press, USA, Nov 1, 2004 - Performing Arts - 448 pages
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The fascinating, untold story of the history of undressing: over fifty years of taking it off. Striptease combined sexual display and parody, cool eros and wisecracking Bacchanalian humor. Striptease could be savage, patriotic, irreverent, vulgar, sophisticated, sentimental, and subversive--sometimes, all at once. In this vital cultural history, Rachel Shteir traces the ribald art from its nineteenth century vaudeville roots, through its long and controversial career, to its decline during the liberated 1960s. The book argues that striptease is an American form of popular entertainment--maybe the most American form of popular entertainment. Based on exhaustive research and filled with rare photographs and period illustrations, Striptease recreates the combustible mixture of license, independence, and sexual curiosity that allowed strippers to thrive for nearly a century. Shteir brings to life striptease's Golden Age, the years between the Jazz Age and the Sexual Revolution, when strippers performed around the country, in burlesque theatres, nightclubs, vaudeville houses, carnivals, fairs, and even in glorious palaces on the Great White Way. Taking us behind the scenes, Rachel Shteir introduces us to a diverse cast of characters that collided on the burlesque stage, from tight-laced political reformers and flamboyant impresarios, to drag queens, shimmy girls, cootch dancers, tit serenaders, and even girls next door, lured into the profession by big-city aspirations. Throughout the book, readers will find essential profiles of famed performers, including Gypsy Rose Lee, "the Literary Stripper"; Lili St. Cyr, the 1950s mistress of exotic striptease; and Blaze Starr, the "human heat wave," who literally set the stage on fire. Striptease is an insightful and entertaining portrait of an art form at once reviled and embraced by the American public. Blending careful research and vivid narration, Rachel Shteir captures striptease's combination of sham and seduction while illuminating its surprisingly persistent hold on the American imagination.

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Rachel Shteir uses primary sources poorly, if at all. Her description of Sol Bloom's income from the Algerian Village and the danse du ventre. is completely inaccurate and sensational. Bloom's outrageous income was a result of his position as the manager of the Midway Plaisance, not the dancers of the Algerian Village. Her accounts of the danse du venter at the Columbian Exposition of 1893 are also sensationalized to promote her scandalized version of the dance. The Persian Palace of Eros did feature corseted Parisian dancers performing pseudo-Oriental movements to popular music. The Algerian dancer performed a variety of dances that were eventually lulmped into the danse du ventre or belly dance. It appears this is attributed to the origin of the strip tease by some autors, In reality Strip tease and exotic dance do not have the same ancestry. The teas exsisted in many forms long before the introduction of Oriental dance. As such her interpretation of history of the dance casts doubt on all her research and analysis. If you really care about dance history don't waste your money on this sensational trash. 


A Startled Fawn upon the Stage
The First Undressing Acts
Respectable Undressing and the Rise of Modern Burlesque
The Invention of Modern Striptease
Nudity in Burlesque and on Broadway
The First Strippers and Teasers
The Birth of Modern Striptease
Striptease at the Worlds Fair
Striptease during Wartime
The Private Lives of Strippers
After the War
StriptySecond Streets
The Seamy Sides of Striptease
Striptease Confidential
You Gotta Get a Gimmick

A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody Sort Of
The Burlesque Soul of Striptease
The Golden Age of Striptease
Fans and Bubbles around the Nation
LaGuardia Kicks Striptease out of New York
Striptease Goes to War
From Literary Strippers to Queens of Burlesque
Sexual Revolutions
Topless Dancing
Who Killed Striptease?

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Page 14 - Bowery, pack'd from ceiling to pit with its audience mainly of alert, well dress'd, full-blooded young and middle-aged men, the best average of American-born mechanics —the emotional nature of the whole mass arous'd by the power and magnetism of as mighty mimes as ever trod the stage— the whole crowded auditorium, and what seeth'd in it, and flush'd from its faces and eyes, to me as much a part of the show as any...
Page 30 - ... and upwards. Clothed in the dress of an honest woman, she is worth nothing to a manager. Stripped as naked as she dare — and it seems there is little left when so much is done — she becomes a prize to her manager, who knows that crowds will rush to see her, and who pays her a salary accordThere are certain accomplishments which render the Nude Woman "more valuable to managers in the degree that she possesses them.
Page 30 - Commonly, however, the members of these burlesque troupes, though they were not like men, were in most things as unlike women, and seemed creatures of a kind of alien sex, parodying both. It was certainly a shocking thing to look at them with their horrible prettiness, their archness in which was no charm, their grace which put to shame.

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