Should you find yourself in the middle of a labor dispute, you might want to bring along the exotic dancers of San Francisco's Lusty Lady strip club to the bargaining table. In 1997, these tough, headstrong ecdysiasts negotiated a contract with their employers that
made the Lusty Lady the first unionized establishment of its kind. Vicky Funari's eye-opening documentary tells their story, or, more specifically, the story of Funari's co-writer/co-director, Julia Query. A nice Jewish girl from New York, Query dropped out of grad school and moved to San
Francisco to pursue a career as a writer and stand-up comic; to make ends meet, she took a job in the sex industry. Query became a nude dancer, shaking her moneymaker behind Plexiglas at the Lusty Lady's peep-show section. Conditions at the double L were better than those at many of San
Francisco's strip joints, but they weren't great, especially for dancers of color. Dancers were classified and scheduled according to "type" (race, hair color and bust size), and dark-haired black women consistently worked fewer shifts (and therefore made less money) than white-skinned blondes.
So Query, Isis, Naomi, Decadence and a few of their fellow dancers got organized, recruited a union rep and entered months of negotiations that lead to walkouts, lockouts and firings. Prurience aside, their story makes for surprisingly exciting viewing, particularly when it comes time for Query to
tell her mother, a respected doctor famous for her outreach work with prostitutes, that her daughter is a stripper. Funari and Query include bits of Query's stand-up routine, as well as scenes of the women at work, uninhibited views from other side of the glass that fully capture the daily grind
behind the old bump-and-grind.
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- Released: 2000
- Rating: NR
- Review: Should you find yourself in the middle of a labor dispute, you might want to bring along the exotic dancers of San Francisco's Lusty Lady strip club to the bargaining table. In 1997, these tough, headstrong ecdysiasts negotiated a contract with their emplo… (more)