The Unveiling

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Documentary

A tale of two exotic dancers -- one male and one female -- who work primarily in gay venues, this rough-around-the edges documentary shines a spotlight on some fascinating personalities and offers an up-close and personal look at their performances. Two women dominate the proceedings. The first is exotic dancer Michele Watley -- sister of singer Jody Watley...read more

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A tale of two exotic dancers -- one male and one female -- who work primarily in gay venues, this rough-around-the edges documentary shines a spotlight on some fascinating personalities and offers an up-close and personal look at their performances. Two

women dominate the proceedings. The first is exotic dancer Michele Watley -- sister of singer Jody Watley -- who's as charismatic offstage as she is on, and brings considerable intelligence to her observations about the overall dynamics of performing in a sexually charged atmosphere, and the

particular issues that arise from the fact that she's a bisexual African-American woman performing for other women, many of them white. The second is Dixie Evans (no relation to the filmmaker), a former stripper whose career peaked in the '50s, when she was billed as the "Marilyn Monroe of

Burlesque." Evans runs a striptease museum, sponsors an annual exotic-dancing competition and provides invaluable (if occasionally dubious) insight into the background of stripping. She's a blast: funny, occasionally raucous and a natural-born storyteller. It comes as no surprise when archival

footage of one of her routines reveals that it's built around an elaborate and witty narrative. Evans' final subject, Eldad Sahar, is more reserved and considerably more ambivalent about his dancing and sexuality than the women, though he can snap a G-string with the best of them. The film ends on

a surprisingly sweet note, with Evans in a studio with the younger dancers, praising their artistry -- which is evident, even within the raunchy context of their club dancing -- and exhorting them to hold onto their ambitions. If she weren't such a no-nonsense old broad, it would be positively

saccharine. But she is, so it's not.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A tale of two exotic dancers -- one male and one female -- who work primarily in gay venues, this rough-around-the edges documentary shines a spotlight on some fascinating personalities and offers an up-close and personal look at their performances. Two w… (more)

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