Striptease

Striptease : The Untold History of the Girlie Show

3.56 (66 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

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.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 448 pages
  • 165.1 x 241.3 x 38.1mm | 748.44g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195127501
  • 9780195127508

About Rachel Shteir

Rachel Shteir is Associate Professor and Head of the Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism Program at the Theatre School of DePaul University. She has written for The New York Times, The Nation, and the Chicago Tribune.show more

Review quote

"The first serious history of the form...could prove to be a landmark work.... Meticulous."-- Francine Du Plessix Gray, The New Yorker"Fascinating and well-researched.... Rachel Shteir's accomplished book leaves one longing for the mystery of a white mink merkin from Harry Bosen's New York Costume Shop in Chicago, or the charm of Lili St. Cyr's roaming radium gadget.... Striptease is a genuine contribution to the history of American culture."--Toni Bentley, The New Republic"Packed with historical detail and contemporary feminist insights.... Happily, Shteir's book provides a record of the golden age of American striptease, and she gives a persuasive account of its democratic verve and feminist appeal. Striptease, Shteir argues, 'gave women a chance to realize the American dream' and a way to 'overcome their working-class origins and make it.' Both flaunting sexuality and making fun of it, the girlie show found an irreverent way to educate Americans about sex. Shteir's scholarly and very entertaining book is part of that great tradition."--Elaine Showalter, Washington Post Book World"Offers fascinating details about stripper subculture, past and present, and includes numerous photographs of and quotes from stripping's famous practitioners, such as Gypsy Rose Lee.... Shteir's discussions of the ways that striptease informed American culture and her careful descriptions of the women and their milieu are bright moments."--Publishers Weekly "The first serious history of the form...could prove to be a landmark work.... Meticulous."-- Francine Du Plessix Gray, The New Yorker "Fascinating and well-researched.... Rachel Shteir's accomplished book leaves one longing for the mystery of a white mink merkin from Harry Bosen's New York Costume Shop in Chicago, or the charm of Lili St. Cyr's roaming radium gadget.... Striptease is a genuine contribution to the history of American culture."--Toni Bentley, The New Republic "Packed with historical detail and contemporary feminist insights.... Happily, Shteir's book provides a record of the golden age of American striptease, and she gives a persuasive account of its democratic verve and feminist appeal. Striptease, Shteir argues, 'gave women a chance to realize the American dream' and a way to 'overcome their working-class origins and make it.' Both flaunting sexuality and making fun of it, the girlie show found an irreverent way to educate Americans about sex. Shteir's scholarly and very entertaining book is part of that great tradition."--Elaine Showalter, Washington Post Book World "Offers fascinating details about stripper subculture, past and present, and includes numerous photographs of and quotes from stripping's famous practitioners, such as Gypsy Rose Lee.... Shteir's discussions of the ways that striptease informed American culture and her careful descriptions of the women and their milieu are bright moments."--Publishers Weekly "The first serious history of the form...could prove to be a landmark work.... Meticulous."-- Francine Du Plessix Gray, The New Yorker "Fascinating and well-researched.... Rachel Shteir's accomplished book leaves one longing for the mystery of a white mink merkin from Harry Bosen's New York Costume Shop in Chicago, or the charm of Lili St. Cyr's roaming radium gadget.... Striptease is a genuine contribution to the history of American culture."--Toni Bentley, The New Republic "Packed with historical detail and contemporary feminist insights.... Happily, Shteir's book provides a record of the golden age of American striptease, and she gives a persuasive account of its democratic verve and feminist appeal. Striptease, Shteir argues, 'gave women a chance to realize the American dream' and a way to 'overcome their working-class origins and make it.' Both flaunting sexuality and making fun of it, the girlie show found an irreverent way to educate Americans about sex. Shteir's scholarly and very entertaining book is part of that great tradition."--Elaine Showalter, Washington Post Book World "Offers fascinating details about stripper subculture, past and present, and includes numerous photographs of and quotes from stripping's famous practitioners, such as Gypsy Rose Lee.... Shteir's discussions of the ways that striptease informed American culture and her careful descriptions of the women and their milieu are bright moments."--Publishers Weekly "The first serious history of the form...could prove to be a landmark work.... Meticulous."-- Francine Du Plessix Gray, The New Yorker"Fascinating and well-researched.... Rachel Shteir's accomplished book leaves one longing for the mystery of a white mink merkin from Harry Bosen's New York Costume Shop in Chicago, or the charm of Lili St. Cyr's roaming radium gadget.... Striptease is a genuine contribution to the history ofAmerican culture."--Toni Bentley, The New Republic"Packed with historical detail and contemporary feminist insights.... Happily, Shteir's book provides a record of the golden age of American striptease, and she gives a persuasive account of its democratic verve and feminist appeal. Striptease, Shteir argues, 'gave women a chance to realize theAmerican dream' and a way to 'overcome their working-class origins and make it.' Both flaunting sexuality and making fun of it, the girlie show found an irreverent way to educate Americans about sex. Shteir's scholarly and very entertaining book is part of that great tradition."--Elaine Showalter, Washington Post Book World"Offers fascinating details about stripper subculture, past and present, and includes numerous photographs of and quotes from stripping's famous practitioners, such as Gypsy Rose Lee.... Shteir's discussions of the ways that striptease informed American culture and her careful descriptions of thewomen and their milieu are bright moments."--Publishers Weeklyshow more

Rating details

66 ratings
3.56 out of 5 stars
5 18% (12)
4 33% (22)
3 36% (24)
2 11% (7)
1 2% (1)
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