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Description - Strip City by Lily Burana

Lily Burana accepts a marriage proposal - but first decides to strip her way from Florida to Alaska before settling down. An 18-year-old dropout when she first entered the world of exotic dancing, Lily, now a successful journalist, looks at stripping with a writer's perspective, open to the paradoxes and challenges that face exotic dancers. She takes the stage name of Barbie Faust and strips her way across the country. Her funny but hard-edged memoir describes funky clubs and off-beat characters, the exhilaration that overtakes a dancer on stage - and the darker realities that assail her when she's out of the spotlight. The book is both an insider's account of a hidden world and a voyage of self-discovery.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781860499340
ISBN-10: 1860499341
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 126mm x mm)
Pages: 352
Imprint: Virago Press Ltd
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 4-Apr-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Book Review: Strip City by Lily Burana - Reviewed by (11 Jul 2011)

Review Written by Bernie Weisz, Historian, Pembroke Pines, Fl USA contact: If you don't know what that means, don't feel bad! Neither did I, when first reading Lily's Burana's explanation in her book "Strip City" of what brought her into stripping in the first place. Ostensibly written as a memoir/catharsis prior to her marriage, Lily Burana wrote "Strip City" as part of her personal process to bid the world of stripping permanently goodbye. But prior to saying her marriage vows, she decided to keep a "farewell journal" as Burana for the last time stripped her way from Florida to Alaska, in her last fling with the profession after a five year hiatus. 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". 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". 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. 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!

Author Biography - Lily Burana

Lily Burana has written for The New York Times Book Review, GQ, New York magazine and The Village Voice. She lives in Wyoming and New York State.

Books By Lily Burana

Grace for Amateurs by Lily Burana
Hardback, October 2017