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Strip City: A stripper's farewell journey across America Paperback – 4 Apr 2002
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Burana has enormous talents as a writer... she exposes herself with pride, style and a great sense of humour (PUBLISHING WEEKLY)
Remarkably well-done: a complex and warm insider's take on a booming industry (KIRKUS REVIEWS)
She is frank and funny and very good company. Her candid, juicy, streetwise prose rolls along merrily and, sometimes, heartbreakingly (NEW YORK TIMES)
A stylish and candid account. (HOT STARS)
* The ultimate road trip - a stripper's farewell journey across America
* Compelling and unswervingly candid, Strip City is both a hugely entertaining insider's account of a hidden world and a moving voyage of self-discovery.
Top Customer Reviews
When Lily gets a marriage proposal she decides to do one final stripping tour through the US (after a seven year break.) What follows is a funny, brilliant and candid account of her experiences. We learn about her background, how she came to stripping in the first place, her vulnerability and we meet lots of great women along the way.
This isn't just a glitsy history of stripping and doesn't dwell on Burana's love of dancing and the stage. We get to witness her facing her demons.
Burana is far from your stereotypical stripper. She is a woman who is equally comfortable talking about heavy metal music, politics, great literature, the history of burlesque and human frailty.
I loved it, I loved it, I loved it!
And I also learned how to set my nipples alight, should I ever need to...
This book is her road trip as she strips across all the US states. Her memories of stripping when she was younger and how she fell into it. The thrill of getting back in the proverbial saddle. The tricks of the trade. The history of stripping. Insider info into the industry. How the industry differs from state to state and ultimately, as the rose tint of memory fades - what its really all about.
This is not a judgemental book, if anything it is affectionate. It is very personal and it offers a view of a very womanly profession from a woman who has been there. I found it gripping, moving and fascinating and would highly recommend it to anyone.
Very entertaining and easy to read.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
Describing a trip to Wyoming, Burana met, fell in love with, and agreed to marry Randy, a local cowboy. Realizing that settling down was a permanent proposition, Burana set on a quest to examine and analyze the realm of stripping, which she had immersed herself in and consequently became quite well off up to this point in her life.The Lusty Lady Although this profession eventually caused emotional burn out, Burana became obsessed with examining the world of stripping by undertaking this farewell journey across America that would allow her to explore, digest, and allow her to say her farewell to a field she was determined never to return to. In this regard, "Strip City" is a fascinating account of Burana's final pilgrimage across the strip bars of the United States.
Why did Burana decide to take this cross country trip before marriage? Burana answers this by asking the reader the following: When a man get's engaged, his friends might throw him a bachelor party. They'll herd him off to a club to see strippers, or order them in, and raise a glass to the groom. One final night with the anti wife before wedding your wife-to-be, it's a time-honored way of saying, "Goodbye to all that". But what does a former stripper do when she's about to get married?" Some of My Best Friends Are Naked: Interviews With Seven Erotic Dancers Claiming that stripping around the country was an old fantasy of hers that had resurfaced, Burana called her coast to coast stripping trek "my own bachelorette odyssey". While insisting that there is much more touching in stripping now more than ever, she quipped about her return: "I used to be able to do the wild stuff, but in the time I've been away from dancing I've gotten in touch with my inner prude". Stripped: Twenty Years of Secrets from Inside the Strip Club
After five years out of the stripping game, Burana had become an accomplished writer, with spots in established papers such as the "New York Times Book Review," "GQ", "The Washington Post" and "The Village Voice". However, she wrote that she missed the bright lights and the showmanship, and even more startling, Burana wrote: "when I stopped (stripping), I charged right into a new life as a writer, and never took a long look back. I left a lot of loose ends dangling. I sleepwalked my way through stripping the first time. When I quit, I wanted out so badly and now the pull is just as strong to go back in. I need to go back in order to move on". "Strip City" eloquently describes this journey. I Love a Man in Uniform: A Memoir of Love, War, and Other Battles
There is much more to this book than Lily Burana's naked American tour. Prior to embarking on this journey, Burana writes: "If I'm to return to dancing, I want to be as good as I can-or at least better as I was. So, what does a woman do when she wants to improve and expand herself in an area of study? She goes to school. Stripper school". I thought Lily Burana was making this up to enrich her story, until I googled "The Pure Talent School of Dance" in Clearwater, Florida, which turned out to actually exist as America's only stripper school in existence. For $750 and one week, Burana was intensively schooled in dance instruction, how to be a "stripper star", stripper costuming and stripper music selection, stripper pole techniques and stripper stage presence.The Stripper's Guide to Looking Great Naked Furthermore, intensive training in different dances, e.g. dancing at bachelor parties, stage dancing in clubs, table dancing, and lap/couch/bed dancing is vividly described. Although an interesting description of Burana's reeducation is told here, she boldly wrote that under no circumstances would she partake in the last three types.
There are other little pearls about the stripping profession Burana revealed. She met men in strip clubs who propositioned her constantly. These men, usually with wedding rings on, would tell her that they would put her up in an apartment, arrange it so she would not have to work anymore and be supported if she would "be with them". Ditch That Jerk : Dealing With Men Who Control and Hurt Women She writes her private thoughts, while non committingly accepting bundles of cash from one particular customer, the following: "Hmmm, interesting! I have no intention of taking him up on his offer, but he doesn't have to know that. Now I want to see how far I can push this. It's hard to work up sympathy for a self-professed serial cheat. I feel almost vindicated taking him for all he's worth".
What is Lily Burana's opinion on why some men visit strip clubs? Her explanation is as follows: "I suspect the fascination is a testosterone thing. I recall reading an interview with a female to male transsexual who said that once she started taking the male hormones, she understood what men got out of looking at skin magazines. For the first time, she said, the pictures came alive as s/he looked at them". Throughout the book Burana calls strip club going men "marks" and that her theme in this profession was "take the money and run", she qualified her thoughts with the following comment: "Maybe the intense visual stimulation is a male province. I'm sure I would enjoy a woman table dancing for me, but not enough to drop a hundred bucks to have her do it again and again". Treating Pornography Addiction: The Essential Tools for Recovery Burana also claims that another leading lure for men to go to strip clubs is the "mystery" of the stripper. In explaining the "mystery", Burana wrote: "the fact that you can't definitely state what makes one woman stand out from the next. That some tiny part of every dancer's soul spills out when she performs, whether she means it to or not. That you can see a woman totally nude before you, and there's still so much about her that you don't and can't know."
Why did Lily Burana quit stripping permanently? Her main reason, she wrote was that she learned to dislike and distrust men. In writing what stripping ended up feeling like, Burana wrote: "Walking the bar, moving from guy to guy, shimmying or winking or tugging at my thong to get him to give me a dollar, begging with my body is precisely what it feels like".Sometimes, when Burana wasn't seeing tips coming fast enough, she would ask her customers questions like: "What are you doing here? "Is that a wedding ring" Why aren't you home with your wife". Never Satisfied: How & Why Men Cheat Although Burana admitted that if an economic emergency occurred, she would return to stripping in a flash, she wrote a chilling lament of the cold callous side of this life. Burana asserted: "Stripping takes out of me things I didn't even realize I had. The near-nudity isn't the problem, or the physical vulnerability, or the working well outside the margins of acceptable female behavior. It's the damn neediness:Angry men scowling at me like they can buy me for a dollar, lonely men professing love after a ten minute chat, confused and desperate men convinced that if only they could get a girl to do they ask, however outlandish, things will somehow be better".
In reading "Strip City" it put me inside the mind set of a dancer and let me see through the eyes of the participant herself, a vicarious experience of a point of view I never knew existed. When a man goes to a strip bar, he is duped into thinking that the dancers are in love with him, with emotionally desirous women leering leering with supposedly wanton lust. Live Sex Acts: Women Performing Erotic Labor Dispelling this, Burana thought anything but this. Explaining this, she wrote: "I had one focus-making money. I made myself slick and efficient. Anything else that crossed my mind seemed superfluous, almost irrelevant. If something disturbed me, or touched me too deeply, I would push it away or float up into the ozone of my own head and keep right on going". "Strip "City" is truly a psychological unpeeling of the mind set of a stripper and what goes on inside those clubs, told with colorful anecdotes, an incredible vocabulary and mental imagery unique to Lily Burana's persona. A very worthwhile read!