Live Nude Girls Unite!

Stand-up comic and stripper Julia Query collaborated with Vicky Funari on this 1999 documentary, about unionizing Query’s coworkers at San Francisco’s Lusty Lady, a North Beach peep show. However groundbreaking the labor struggle, at no point does the resulting movie ever threaten to become truly interesting, perhaps because the feminist discourse, prostripping and antistripping alike, remains fairly primitive and sound-bitey. This is somewhat more serious than the recent Sex: The Annabel Chong Story, but the exhibitionism trivializes and vulgarizes the investigative journalism, so that when Query decides to videotape herself telling her feminist mother for the first time that she’s a stripper, at a conference on prostitution at which they’re both giving presentations, the ploy makes her look fairly shallow and heartless while her mother comes across with considerable dignity. The closing epigraph from Emma GoldmanIf I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolutionepitomizes this documentary’s tendency to piggyback on the serious work of others to score its not terribly well-defined points. 70 min. (JR)

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