SHARE BUT CREDIT

SHARE BUT CREDIT

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Misty Monaco Eddie Suez and Miss X True Burlesque



I guess if the pinnacle of your peeling career is appearing in a mask as "Miss X" you don't leave much of a paper trail, but I'll do my best here.

Misty Monaco billed herself as "The Rage of the Riviera" to cash in on interest in Monaco after Princess Grace took the tiny casino-sized country and tax-haven by storm.  House of Burtman printed her as Miss X.  Thanks Lenny.

Misty toured with Torchy Blair and Lenora d'Gama and was represented by the ex-boxer and ex-hoofer Eddie Suez, a promoter in Philadelphia.  Suez coincidentally purchased Club Avalon in Jersey shortly after the main competitor for nightclub dollars in the area burned down.  He bought the club from Frank Palumbo.  Frank Palumbo was the "subject of regular insinuation and speculation" according to Wiki, but rumors of his Mafia connections were "unsubstantiated." Hmm…maybe Palumbo should have gone by the name "Torchy" too.  Though Palumbo was known as a "fixer" and in 1950 one of his clubs was the "meeting place for "fifty of the mob's Philadelphia number's bankers."  Well, I'm sure Eddie kept his nose clean.  Eddie operated the Club Avalon only during the summer.
Eddie made most of his dough promoting "Sepia" vocal groups and swing acts. but he also kept "six lines of girls working" which is probably where Miss Misty fit in.  Unless they were exceptional the dames made $25 a week.  Small time.  Eddie had a stable of songbirds, magicians, roller skating acts and comics.  Oh…and cash-cow horrible "spicy" comic and Oliver Hardy imitator Johnny Cahill. Hyuk! 
Eddie Suez also represented Tirza, the wine-bath stripper, who WAS exceptional and earned more than a grand a week.

Anyway, I digress…but only because I can't find any more good stuff about Miss Monaco.


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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Covering the Burlesque Market Leonard Burtman Entertainment Reporter True Burlesque


Of all the astounding periodicals dreamed up in Lenny Burtman's fevered, fetid and fetishistic mind, the funniest was certainly Striparama.  To think there was a day when "rama" wasn't ironic!  Well, it was burlesquearama and boobarama in every issue of Striparama!  There were several slightly more legitimate periodicals "uncovering" the burlesque industry, for example Cabaret, a true industry organ, and even Billboard, which covered the market extensively with reported grosses and industry trends.  Lenny, I think, just wanted to print the boobs and reap the profit.  At least he did a good job of it...which is why the magazine is collectible today, and why there seems to be a thriving business in reprinting the things in ebook form. 

When the profit for Lenny dried-up, however...largely due to expensive printing, distribution costs and censorship battles, the empire was dispersed. 

Some of Lenny's successful slicks were picked up by Health Knowledge, the folks behind some of those "physique" magazines featuring buff archers with bows in posing pouches which took coins from the closeted gay market before there was a real gay market.  Others were adopted by mobster Reuben Sturman.  Striparama was taken in and nurtured by Acme News Company, the forerunner of Health Knowledge.  When Health Knowledge went broke, another sleaze, Myron Fass bought THEM out, or at least the skin titles.

Striparama, as you can certainly see, was certainly unique. Pictures of Selbee and Burmel regulars appear alongside publicity photos, planted press puff pieces and a considerable number of advertisements for OTHER Burtman stuff.  TONS of it, and all from his interlocking industry of ill-repute.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Tami Roche and the Domino Lounge Snake Holes Rat Holes Pigpens and True Burlesque


Another unfortunate tale of true burlesque gone bad. Tami Roche, once crowned "Miss Burlesque" as shown above,  in a photograph taken by the talent agency  of  "Johnny O'Leary" in Atlanta.  Fresh-faced Tami poses with her trophy .  She earned the cup as "The Tassel Twirling Tami" which was her skill.  In fact, it was once reported she could "twirl four tassels simultaneously as well as sequentially"  by a newspaper.  What year did Tami earn her title?  That is unclear, but quite likely in the late 1950s or early 1960s.   Much later, she was scheduled to appear as "The Bolivian Bombshell" in Russ Meyer's film "Blitzen, Vixen and Harry"  but I don't know if it happened. There you go…end of story.

Get ready…things are going to get a bit dicey here.

Tami was well-known in the Atlanta area during the 1960s.  As legendary as a peeler can be, the web has remembrances from now aging fans.  Most often queries like  " What ever happened to Tami?" or "Is Tami still alive?"   One writes "Keep twirling those tassels Tami."   Her name could have been Rabia Roche, or Raisa Roche it seems, but then those who write comments on porno websites aren't often journalists.   

One of Tami's best sketches involved her impersonating the Statue of Liberty, a performance she apparently created for live performance and eventually the film This Was Burlesque…one of those nostalgic docujunk things shown on HBO.

At some point in her career Tami married Johnny Kirk.   Johnny eventually owned the Domino Lounge.  Or should I say "The glamorous Domino Lounge?  No.  It was a dump which stunk like smoke, old beer and had pink dominos painted on the walls.  At one time the club was owned by "Chick" Hedrick.  The Domino was located on one of the many Peachtree streets in Atlanta, this one at 355 Peachtree in the Imperial Hotel. Over the years the Imperial held the Copa Caprice Lounge, The  Domino (from  late 1953 until 1968) The "Whisk A Go-Go" in an attempt to rebrand for "hip" kids, and then back to the Domino.  Somehow the Wikipedia article on the Imperial Hotel omits the string of strip clubs there…but does mention it is now low income housing in financial distress.  Who the hell would write a Wiki article without mentioning a strip club in the joint for 15 years?

What does the originator Little Richard say about the Domino Lounge?  "I played in some dumps.  I played some snake holes, some rat holes, and some pigpens.  Oh my God!.  The Domino Lounge in Atlanta…" (The Life and Times of Little Richard" by Charles White) 

Chick held three shows nightly, each with a stripper,  a B-grade performer like Jerry Van Dyke as comic and MC   and a bad band like "The Brutones."  They even once presented Frank Sinatra Jr.   As late as 1964 they still hired blackface performers.  Chick also seems to have owned "The Rose Room" which featured "a cowboy lingerie show" in 1968…along with a certain disc jockey named "Johnny K" which could have been Tami's future husband Johnny Kirk, but that is a guess.  A cowboy lingerie show? 

Tami had a love/hate affair with nightclub owners. One of them apparently beat her in the late 1970s…Russell S. Weiss, who must have been a real peach.  He was also, at various times, charged with bribery, which he claimed were "payments, not bribes" according the the Atlanta Constitution.  Guilty?  Who knows…I don't care about sleazeball Weiss, this post is about Tami.  I'm just adding some color to the story.  Like the Domino Lounge added color to their entertainers.

So why is my profile of Tami Roche so concerned with the Domino Lounge, even if her husband owned it? This is why:

Tami Roche Kirk, individually and as administratrix of the estate of her deceased husband, John Acel Kirk, brought a complaint against James R. Hasty, doing business as the Imperial Hotel. She alleged: Her husband and the defendant entered into an oral partnership agreement whereby her husband furnished capital and the defendant transferred one-half of his interest in the hotel and realty on which it is located. At the time of his death her husband operated a business in the hotel, independently of the partnership, under the name of the Domino Lounge, as a tenant pursuant to an oral lease with the defendant. She is presently conducting this business as administratrix and sole heir of husband's estate. The defendant is attempting to oust her business operation from the hotel.

Because in 1977 the owners of the Imperial tried to kick her ass out of their place, that's why.   After Johnny Kirk passed away, and Tami was trying to hold onto the Domino.  You can read the outcome HERE.
 

Regardless, Tami continued to fester in the seedy underbelly of burlesque.  To the extent she pumped up her breasts to balloon size, began posing for big boob fetish magazines like Juggs, grew spiky "new wave" hair and made some of the worst smut films in history.  Like bleached color trash in which she pretended to "work out" on a slant board topless, her implants towering over tiny hand weights she pretended to wield.  At the age of around 50 years.   A case of mistaken identity?  I don't think so...the same mole.
    
 And worse…it appears  she put her own daughter, Lisa, in the business, who ALSO appeared on the cover of Juggs.  I'm not too sure of that, but you can look it up yourself.
 

Where is Tami today? I'm afraid to find out.

Domino Lounge images from ATLANTA TIME MACHINE   

"Miss Burlesque" Publicity Photo collection Victor Minx and True Burlesque

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Strip Tease at the Fair! A Passel of Rubes Gawks True Burlesque


Strip Tease 1948.  (Acme Roto Service, Photographer Unidentified 1948)
Original Press Photograph Collection Victor Minx 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Too Soon Way Too Soon Midnight Ramble at Noon True Burlesque


Child labor laws seem not to have applied to carnival sideshow grinds during the 1930s as this photograph attests. The young dancer can not be much more than 16, but I guess it is hard to tell. She certainly doesn't quite match up to the painted silhouette on the barker's stand...for one thing her hands are hardly thrown up in joy. It is quite rare to see a photo of a dancing girl (literally) taken during the daytime at even the sleaziest carnival...but one "H. H." has done just that. Girl shows of this nature are as old as the carnival itself, but they frequently took place at night after most patrons (and the law, who was frequently paid off) went home. Hence the name "Midnight Ramble. In this case, they should have been checking ID around lunchtime. A young hoofer to be sure, but to me, a bit too young. Show business of any kind is hard despite the facade of glamour...this photo shows an underside not often (or easy) to see.

Also posted on Dull Tool Dim Bulb the Blog

Original Snapshot circa 1930 Collection Jim Linderman

Friday, November 9, 2012

When Bubbles had Better Days True Burlesque





Bubbles has had better days. In 1952, she was created to puff up her boobs like a balloon dancer with remarkable boob power (or a fellow who can stick his gut out from here to there)...but if you tried to squeeze her today she would break like a cookie. Remarkably, there is no manufacturer indicated on the box, the insert, or even on Bubbles herself. She is a kind of gummy, cellulose thing, a chemical process which probably went out not soon after she was molded. I'm not saying Bubbles is toxic, but I wouldn't put her in my mouth, then OR now. I considered equating her name with the now fairly widely known expression "bubble-butt" which some of you may or may not have heard, but as her "bubbles" came from above the waist-line, it would be a stretch.


The real bubble dance is, of course, a part of show-biz history. Sally Rand probably perfected it rather than invented it, but it remains associated with her. Burlesque, striptease or pole dancing...the whole game is about hiding and revealing. But in this case the game was to blimp out anatomy portions like a Thanksgiving day float.

Bubbles Toy 1952 Collection Victor Minx

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pure Hell of the Champagne Girl Exclusive in Youngstown True Burlesque





You know things are going to get dicey when researching an establishment and the first thing which comes up is an article opening with "The once proud..." Urban decline usually means strip clubs, I'm afraid, and the Park Theater in Youngstown was no exception.


However, according to one "wolfgirl500" who is seemingly the expert on the Park, there was a WORSE Park Theater called "The NEW Park Theater" which was run by mobsters and "burned down by a disgruntled performer!" Now THAT is the one I'm really interested in, but since my ephemera here is apparently from the "legitimate" theater which ran porn movies and featured "Busty Russell" I'll have to work with this one.


There were several "Champagne Girls" including a fairly famous one from New Orleans named Rita Alexander. This ain't her. Rita had a blond bouffant and you can see her down a few drinks on YouTube. Our Champagne Girl here seems stuck in the Bettie Page bangs era, but there is no date on the card.


Whenever the card reads "EXCLUSIVE APPEARANCE" you can be sure the performer will be stripping "exclusively" down the road next weekend at another dump. Sorta like when you read on a product label "NEW, IMPROVED" but the stuff inside is the same, only the box and logo are improved.


There was also a woman informally named "The Champagne Girl" who worked for Lawrence Welk, one Alice Lon...who was HELD HOSTAGE, FORCED TO STRIP and had nude photographs taken of her! This happened in 1955, and it isn't funny. Sheesh! I guess the moral of that true story is one should avoid the use of the name Champagne girl...it's asking for trouble.

A few observations about THIS Champagne Girl? Well first of all you can see her hoisted champagne tankard is nearly as big as her waist. I'm not sure that is healthy.

You can see the "live shows" went on practically all day. On weekends, Miss Champagne had to disrobe 6 times! I am going to hope she nursed that drink, or her 1:00 am performance might have gotten a bit sloppy.

Note "amateur night" every few weeks? That was the sleazy practice of using locals who weren't in the union and paying them nothing. Often they were hookers who did it to attract clients. Sorry, you "glamor of burlesque" folks...it happened. To be fair, were there a few legitimate "amateurs" who wanted to get up there and see if they had what it took to be a star? Um, no. Sorry.


Also of interest here is the use of alliteration (Lydia Love) which frequently means
a show girl (or in the case of double L initials, you want to make it with Superman.) You can also be assured there are lots of strippers with the fake last name of Bardot, and that they all have a first name starting with B.

"Busty Russell" is shown on the reverse...Let's just say her career is sagging, if you know what I mean. She was still a $7.00 performer instead of a $6.00 performer, but if gravity kept on working, that might not have been the case for too much longer.


Was there glamorous burlesque? I don't think so. It was hard, sleazy work for the performers, who lived out of trunks (and no, living out of a trunk was NOT glamorous, no matter how many show biz histories you see in the movies) who were often stiffed by the management (who often had guns and were frequently "connected" and paid off the cops) and the joints were smoky and full of drunken pigs. To my way of thinking, that is like looking for glamour in Hell.


Park Theatre "table card" with The Champagne Girl. No date (circa 1970?) Collection Victor Minx.

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Russ Meyer Films, Then Loses His First Film French Peep Show True Burlesque




28 year old Russ Meyer filming his first film, now lost, with producer Peter DeCenzie peering over his shoulder at the talent.  Russ had done industrials, but French Peep Show was his first nudie cutie, and consisted of an elaborate staged burlesque show at the El Rey Theater.  DeCenzie slipped and fell while ogling during production and spent some time in traction.  If any copies of the film remained, it would have been a valuable artifact, not only of a typical, if torrid example of a night of Burlesque, it would also featured the acts of Tempest Storm, Lily Lamont, Shalimar and other peelers, and unlike the lame films done around the same time as Irving Klaw's, it was staged and featured more than a single figure vamping.  It would have probably also been the first example of Meyer "shooting from below" which he used to great effect in every subsequent film.

Even this  34 page program is quite scarce, but at least one or two still exist.

The French Peep Show Program 1952  Collection Jim Linderman


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