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Pretty Things: The Last Generation of American Burlesque Queens

- 304 Pages
Published: 03/01/2011

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Liz Goldwyn's lifelong fascination with the inimitable glamour of classic burlesque inspired her to spend the past eight years corresponding with, visiting, interviewing, receiving striptease lessons from, and forming close relationships with the last generation of the great American burlesque queens. In Pretty Things , Goldwyn invites us to step back into an era when the hourglass figure was in vogue and striptease was a true art form. Meet Betty 'Ball of Fire' Rowland, who was known for her flaming red hair and bump-and-grind routines (it turns out she once sued the author's grandfather, Samuel Goldwyn Jr., for using her stage name and costume in his Hollywood picture, Ball of Fire). Meet Sherry Britton, who, with her long black hair and curvy, trim physique, was among the most stunning of the burlesque stars before Mayor LaGuardia outlawed burlesque in New York. Meet Zorita, whose sexually explicit Consummation of the Wedding of the Snake dance (performed with a live snake) and other daring performances earned her legendary status. Goldwyn draws back the curtain to reveal the personal journeys of yesteryear's icons of female sexuality and power, restoring their legacy to an age that has all but forgotten them - despite today's resurgence of the art of burlesque. 'Lovingly documented' ( W Magazine ) Goldwyn draws from hundreds of archival photographs, costume sketches, newspaper clippings, and mementoes that she has collected along the way. Pretty Things is at once a feast for the eyes and a tale of fleeting stardom and self-discovery.