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PR 101: Press Release Service

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Brea Bennett at Twistys

April 16, 2003 04:59pm
PowerHouse Books Releases Lapdancer
Source: PowerHouse Books
by: Company Press Release

Determined to supplement her meager income as a novice photographer and recent college graduate, in 1992 Juliana Beasley embarked on an eight-year odyssey as a professional nude dancer, specializing in "lap dances," where a woman dances above a seated customer, erotically brushing against his body. From New York to Reno, Beasley worked in over two dozen strip clubs in the United States, dancing for twenty dollars a lap, experiencing the rewards and pitfalls of the profession: A variable income, emotional and physical exhaustion, ex industry camaraderie--and an arrest for prostitution.

Though she was a professional dancer, Beasley never forgot the purpose of her studies in documentary work. Along with the negligees and stilettos, she regularly brought a camera to the clubs, and began recording testimonies from the managers, dancers, and patrons. The result is Lapdancer, her inside look at the world of professional nude dancing. Culled from thousands of photographs and endless hours of interviews, Beasley documents an oft-caricatured but seldom understood universe--a closed and controlled world of rules and rituals, hermetically sealed from society by an army of bouncers and surveillance cameras.

Beasley's ultra-vivid color images, shot with Contax cameras on open flash, shine a light on a typically darkened environment. Utilizing specially processed 35mm movie film, the resulting images, neither glamorous nor grotesque, often resemble traditional bachelor-party snapshots. Among the pasted-on smiles, among the leering or self-conscious faces, one slowly becomes aware that Beasley's subject is Men as much as it is Women, and most often is the relationship between the two.

Through text and images, Beasley, like Dante's Virgil, guides us through the clubs--onstage and on laps, backstage and back rooms--detailing its ruthlessly economic underpinnings, as well as the intimate-yet-anonymous currency between dancer and customer. Here, at society's edge, Beasley uncovers a treasure trove of fin-de-siecle metaphors for sexuality, gender politics, capitalism, therapy--even love.

"Some nights, there seems to be a foul curse upon me and however coy and charming I might be, I can't convince a customer to 'dance' with me. The more customers wave me away...the more self-conscious I become. Customers can smell desperation, just like they can sense the magical glow enveloping the most popular dancer in the club. She's the one whose customers line up outside the private area waiting for her to finish with another customer. She's the one who runs late to the stage when the DJ calls her name. Her hair is disheveled and makeup running off her face. She's been marked by every man in the pack who wants a piece of the action. Sometimes I am that girl." --Juliana Beasley

Juliana Beasley, born in Philadelphia, graduated from the photography department of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She has worked in a number of industry-related jobs, including a four-month stint printing Annie Leibovitz's project on the Mark Morris Dance Company. After completing a photographic report on Albanian child laborers, in 1992 Beasley began an eight-year project on her life as a professional nude dancer that culminated in Lapdancer, her first book. Beasley's work has also been published in the Village Voice, the Christian Science Monitor, De l'Air, and German Max. The creator of LapDancerTheBook.com, Beasley lives in Jersey City, NJ, and works in New York.

Photography/sex Industry Gender Politics/Current Events Hardcover, 7.825 x 10.25 inches 160 pages, 152 four-color photographs Isbn: 1-57687-139-8 $35.00

High-res scans to your specification are available upon request; scanning from the book or lifting images from the Pdf file are strictly prohibited. Mandatory credit line: from Lapdancer: Photographs, Interviews, and Text by Juliana Beasley, published by PowerHouse Books, LapDancerTheBook.com

For more information, please contact Sara Rosen, Publicity Director PowerHouse Books, 180 Varick Street Suite 1302, New York, NY 10014 Tel: 212-604-9074, Fax: 212-366-5247, email: Sara@PowerHouseBooks.com


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