Documentary film can take audiences behind the curtain to explore institutional spaces that are seldom seen. When that glimpse exposes systemic injustice, audiences may be compelled to empathize and even rally behind a cause. As a means of galvanizing supporters around a struggle, documentary film can be a powerful tool for activists; especially for marginalized activists who may have limited resources to get their voices heard.
Her legs are splayed open to reveal a hairless vagina, more of a cleft than anything else. A waterfall glitters in the background. She could be a corpse but for the fact that she is holding a lantern with her left arm.
The high cost of living in San Francisco has claimed another casualty: the iconic Lusty Ladythe North Beach strip club that boasted being the last old-school-style peep show in the country as well as the first such place to unionize and eventually become a worker-owned co-op. In losing the Lusty, the city loses a lot — a legendary haven of feminist sex-positivity, an idealistic business model for an industry rife with exploitation, and a place where a sexually adventurous, broke female could make a creative paycheck, gaining a few lifelong friends in the process. From its beginning inthe Lusty has always been different from the other clubs that dot the North Beach landscape. Their original Seattle place included male performers, not just women, so it was very different than your average exotic-dance place.
With a catalogue this diverse and provocative, it was both easy and very, very hard to choose a handful of titles to discuss here on BMD. When her husband died Doris Wishman decided to do something to fill her time rather than grieve, and so she started making nudist films. In doing so she became one of the most prolific female directors in history and a seminal figure in the history of exploitation film and cinematic outsider art.
You have to be mostly naked, or impossibly thin, or both. But at least, women wield more power in their sexualized roles. Her co-star, Kelly Monaco, dances nude for a while, except for a G-string and chest coverage.
They are seeking absolution, acceptance, compassion, kindness, and caring from a willing, friendly woman — if she is pretty, so much the better. They believe themselves to be fundamentally unlovable because of their sexuality. Granting these men acceptance and understanding instead of disgust and ridicule is the single most profound aspect of sex work.
What we have, then, is thus a peep show within a peep show. And indeed, throughout the eight minutes that Peep Show lasts, these two levels coalesce into a commentary on spectatorship, a commentary which is largely based on reversal. That this is so is arguably revealed through the range of reversals that follows more or less directly from that of the gender of the spectator, which is the reversal that constitutes the main premise of the film.
Soho in the early s was very different from the throbbing metropolitan hub we know today. Back then it was still sleazy, disreputable and not a fit place for a lone year-old woman to wander on her own after dark, unless she wanted to get propositioned by scumbags. So naturally I wandered it, repeatedly.