A Pictorial History of Striptease: 100 Years of Undressing to Music
By Richard Wortley, 1976
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I am a huge fan of striptease--not just burlesque striptease as it developed on the burlesque circuit in the mid-twentieth century, but all striptease, stripping, and exotic dance. It's my favorite, favorite thing.
In the title of this book, Richard Wortly defines striptease as "Undressing to Music," and while he certainly shows what that can look like, he also shows a parade of other public representations of creatively unclothed women. While this isn't the strongest resource for burlesque research, it's a very entertaining look at women undressing, or simply appearing undressed, in glamourous and playful ways.
I love this book and have given it to other students of burlesque (I consider myself a student as well as a teacher) who have already seen books more familiar to burlesque aficianados. It's a fun addition to a stripteaser's library, and a different aesthetic than the 30s-50s burlesque striptease we see so often. While that is the era that most inspires me, I like to draw on every era and every attitude to show my appreciation not just for an aesthetic but for the energy women who are undressing onstage bring to the audience. I'm for ALL the naked ladies!
This book is out of print, but may be purchased on EBay and Amazon, as well as other outlets for used books.
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Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque, for burlesquedaily.blogspot.com.