The joys of burlesque

We thank Stormy Leigh for introducing us to burlesque and to the Surly Wench. She is wonderful.

We thank Stormy Leigh for introducing us to burlesque and to the Surly Wench. She is wonderful, and so is the pub.

I discovered the joys of burlesque relatively recently. Maybe six years ago. Something like that. Yvette and I do our best to follow Black Cherry Burlesque at the Surly Wench pub on 4th Avenue in Tucson. They perform there on the first Friday of each month.

Burlesque appeals to me for many reasons that I share in this post.

The first reason is that I adore women. Second, I love it when they remove their clothing in a leisurely way that provokes my curiosity.

I am delighted that the women show no concern for any concepts of perfection in body shape. They just present themselves to entertain the audience. Glory be. I am always entertained.

I took the photo of Stormy on a group photo shoot. We were at The Domes, north of Tucson. Stormy twirls tassels posted to her lovely butt. It is worth the price of admission.

Another source of delight is the master of ceremonies. It is often Stephka Von Snatch, her stage name. I think she is adorable. She is spirited and fun, and she owns the pub.

Another source of joy for me is the audience. The enthusiasm level for the performers is the same regardless of their size, shape, or other measure of perfection. The cheering is always loud and enthusiastic.

The audience throws money at the performers. Yvette and I sit in the “deluxe” seats in the front row, and we gladly retrieve bills that fall short of the stage. I consider that job a privilege.

These ladies set a standard for kindness, courage, imagination, and fellowship. We can all learn from them.





Today we have no concept of Legitimate Power, and certainly no concept of Grateness. Beware, young people. This is now your world.

Pictures that include favored parts of female anatomy are often coded NSFW, which means Not Safe For Work. Do not access this website from your desk top at work. No, no. Bad boy.

There are many things that are NSFW that are all about behavior and self-respect. I’ve been laid off three times for taking NSFW to an office.

Things that put people at risk: imagination, variety, self-confidence, courage, respect for others, a desire to explore unproven paths, and a sense of invention. This is not a complete list.

The United States is more fragile today than at any time in my life, and I’m an old guy. What concerns me most is the widespread passion for safety. There is none, my friends. Safety is a dream. A myth. The reality, as I understand it, is to challenge concepts such as NSFW, and to do it boldly. However, I understand that boldness is NSFW. I turn this challenge over to young people.

Call me if I can help in any way. To use an old figure of speech, that takes some balls.


On the state of pornography


I would be pleased if more people would speak up. We need that. Silence is not golden, in the context of saving the world.

I started watching pornography when it required going to a movie house and sitting in plain view of others. We sat as far from other people as we could.

Now it is is available on the Internet. And for free.

What has the porn industry innovated during this period of 40 years? They now consider incest an appropriate theme. They present step moms having sex with their sons. Brandi Love tells her stepson, “Your father doesn’t need to know about this.”

Pornography offers us a potent classroom for examining the state of our values, assuming that we have some.

There are other industries equally void of creativity and innovation. I think the value of examining and discussing pornography is that we can avoid the politics of talking about, well, politics. Nobody is going to defend porn on the grounds of some alleged virtue. It has no virtues that I know of, so we can use it as a case study without stirring up conflicts. At least, I hope so. I see the Republican party as an expression of pornography, but that’s just me. Companies that profit from fossil fuels seem pornographic to me. Just an opinion. Universities that create decades of debt for their graduates seem to me to be pornographers. Just saying.

The defining character of pornography, in my opinion, is that it allows us to express lust without any sense of responsibility for it. Our culture, generally speaking, mistrusts responsibility and welcomes lust. We would do well, in my opinion, to talk about that.

Your thoughts?

On prostitution and pornography


Casting this mannequin as a hooker is an injustice on my part. I admit my guilt.

I’m in favor of dignifying both prostitution and pornography. This TED Talk by Toni Mac sets a groundwork for the prostitution piece of the equation. Porn is, in my view, a variation on prostitution. People have sex just for the money and suffer the indignities that go with the experience.

Toni’s TED Talk is, I believe, very relevant to our values and the way we make laws. I admire her.

Pornography is in the state it is in because men hope to profit from it financially regardless of its lack of taste, finesse, or educational value. I want to emphasize their lack of taste as well.

Pornography could serve us in several ways. One of them is to be instructional. Another would be to show us the range of possibilities in the realm of sexual interests and appetites. Another might be to relieve tensions among the lonely, if you get my drift.

Attaching stigmas to prostitution discourages people from expressing compassion and creativity through those channels. It tells us the subject is off limits. We all lose value when that happens.

I own a book titled She Comes First, The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman. All the guys I’ve seen in pornographic videos would do well to read the book. That’s my point. I have rarely seen a guy in porn who showed any evidence of thinking or caring about anyone but himself.

My partner is the original John Wayne – to the core. And for him to read a “how to” book on anything just isn’t going to happen. Well, he doesn’t have a lot of experience in the art of pleasing a woman…you know, cowboys just get on and ride! Well, somehow, he heard about this book and has it ever made a difference. A difference in everything – our level of intimacy, our happiness, everything we do…we are now closer than ever before…and we’re both in our 60’s!—A review on Amazon

Dignifying porn would be an event I would deem a miracle. I like to think big.


On authenticity

rosieMy favorite source of guidance on being authentic is movies. I watched Sirens again today. The film came out in the United States in 1994, and I have seen it many times. Siskel and Ebert gave it two thumbs up. Rolling Stone described Elle Macpherson as ravishing. I totally agree. Actually, all the women in the film are wonderful, sexy, and gorgeous. And they generously display those qualities in many scenes.

Hugh Grant’s character is stuffy and judgmental. His wife, played by Tara Fitzgerald, discovers her true nature under the influence of Sam Neill and his various models who populate his paintings wearing little or nothing. She discovers that she has passion, a quality Grant’s character does not understand or value.

Portia de Rossi plays Giddy. She is now married to Ellen DeGeneres. She discovered her own authenticity, both in the film and in life.

I have said many times in this blog that authenticity is discouraged by most of the authority figures in our lives. This movie provides many examples of that. The campaign against authenticity extracts a high price from all of us. That is one of my primary themes in this blog.

Another of my favorite films on authenticity is Field of Dreams. We can thank film makers for making entertaining and compelling statements about being authentic. They also give us models of what authenticity looks like. They provide us a great service.

I invite you to post a comment about one or more of your favorite films on the subject, especially any that have enriched your sense of authenticity.

Some thoughts on fast food


Being a servant is now a foreign concept, but we have re-invented slavery.

I had lunch today with a friend who is employed, more or less, by a fast food chain. By policy they limit employees to 28 hours a week. As I understand it, this limit is intended to prevent any obligation to provide health insurance.

My friend is limited to 14 hours a week. She is paid minimum wage. I picked her up at her home. It is, shall we say, less than glamorous.

I don’t buy fast food for several reasons. The primary reason is the avarice of the companies that sell it. Grease, fat, and salt are also considerations.

Fast food might be considered a metaphor for the condition of the United States of America. Ray Kroc discovered fast food in San Bernardino, California at a hamburger stand owned by the McDonald brothers, at about the time I was in high school. Kroc sold milk shake machines. That was his reason for being there.

His invention of creating a fast food chain was documented in a book titled Grinding It Out, written by Ray Kroc. I enjoyed the book oh those many years ago. Might still be entertaining.

What I don’t enjoy today is the contempt for responsibility among business owners. This young lady works 14 hours in a week, has no car, and lives in a shack.

This is a time for reckoning about the future we want. I’ve watched these United States spiral down into greed and contempt for several decades. I assure you we are in deeper trouble than we have ever seen. It’s not my world any more. It’s yours.

Speak to me, if you’ve a mind to. Or just let us sink farther into the swamp of greed and contempt. Your choice.

On intelligent pornography

My favorite burlesque performer. Also Yvette's.

My favorite burlesque performer. Also Yvette’s.

I have photos of Brandi Love that I pulled from the web, but I have no rights to them. So I offer you this lovely derrière that belongs to a good friend of ours.

Our global failure to achieve trust is a disaster of massive proportions. Consider nations, employer-employee relationships, and on and on.

I propose that we enter the world of pornography as an exercise in learning how to create trust. The porn industry is a massive wasteland of male dominance and failure. Well, that is what guys do. We don’t acknowledge the failures of men, and doing so is our only hope for salvation.

I have some favorite porn performers who set an example for us, given the limitations of their professional environment. One of them goes by the name Brandi Love. From my point of view she is a delight, yet the men she works with take her for granted. That’s what guys do. I also adore Rayveness. Men abuse her too. They take her for granted.

I have often said that the planet’s problems are all created by men. Challenge me, if you like. I would be pleased by that. Porn is an inviting field of study and trust, in my opinion. I especially like it because it is considered off limits. I watched a video of David Bowie performing with Tina Turner. Mr. Bowie said in another interview that if your feet touch the bottom, you have not ventured far enough into the water. I think he said it well.

Men would enrich the world by dignifying porn. My opinion, any way.