Striptease: The Untold History of the Girlie Show

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Oxford University Press, Nov 1, 2004 - History - 438 pages
9 Reviews
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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Review: Striptease: The Untold History of the Girlie Show

User Review  - Max - Goodreads

Historical read only--not masturbatory material at all. Interesting tidbits and trivia on the history of the art of stripping. It's a decent read but quite long as it IS a historical read. Read full review

Review: Striptease: The Untold History of the Girlie Show

User Review  - Dfordoom - Goodreads

Possibly the definitive history of one of America's characteristic art forms, strip-tease. Read full review

Contents

A Startled Fawn upon the Stage
11
Legs
19
The First Undressing Acts
35
Respectable Undressing and the Rise of Modern Burlesque
49
The Invention of Modern Striptease
67
Nudity in Burlesque and on Broadway
69
The First Strippers and Teasers
79
The Birth of Modern Striptease
92
Striptease at the Worlds Fair
207
Striptease during Wartime
215
The Private Lives of Strippers
234
After the War
245
StriptySecond Streets
247
The Seamy Sides of Striptease
267
Striptease Confidential
277
You Gotta Get a Gimmick
296

A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody Sort Of
114
The Burlesque Soul of Striptease
122
The Golden Age of Striptease
131
Minskyville
133
Fans and Bubbles around the Nation
146
LaGuardia Kicks Striptease out of New York
156
Gypsy
177
Striptease Goes to War
193
From Literary Strippers to Queens of Burlesque
195
Sexual Revolutions
315
Topless Dancing
317
Who Killed Striptease?
323
Conclusion
337
Notes
343
Acknowledgments
419
Credits
421
Index
423
Copyright

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About the author (2004)


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.

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