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Burlesque West, the book that spurred a national controversy over public funding of academic work on sex history, is the first to take a critical look at western Canada's history of burlesque, peeler bars and the lives of strip-tease workers. Becki L. Ross's extensive research, with first-hand accounts from exotic dancers, club owners and bookers, delves into the exciting world of the entertainment industry that held Vancouver as one of the most notorious and sought-after night-scenes of the burlesque circuit era. Ross's recognition of the complex and multifaceted lives of exotic-dancers, from work-related issues such as fighting for unionization, to their efforts for entrepreneurial self-promotion really strips bares superficial stereotypes of the sex club industry. Taking into account the class and racial geographical divide of west versus east Vancouver, Rossi's historical work operates with an anti-racist and cross-sectional framework, looking at the influences of different communities on the exotic entertainment industry that helped fuel the economy of one of Canada's largest city.
By Becki L. Ross, 373 pages, 2009. Published by University of Toronto Press.
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