“The most comprehensive study on the era of burlesque.” —
Training her journalist’s eye on the glitter and glamour of American burlesque’s Greatest Generation, Liz Goldwyn takes readers on an enthralling tour of the original queens of the striptease. Goldwyn’s incisive expose is a retrospective of the sights and spectacles of burlesque’s golden age—and an intimate look at the women whose sexuality, ambition, and verve brought the cabaret stage to life. Today, as burlesque enters a heady resurgence worldwide—with festivals around the globe, popular books like
Burlesque Fetish and
The Burlesque Handbook, and even a School of Burlesque in New York City—
Pretty Things offers a unique and exciting look at its formative past and its earliest heroines.
“This coffee table treasure serves as . . . a fitting paean to this once-forgotten generation of women.” -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Liz Goldwyn illustrates an era in classic American entertainment with hundreds of archival photographs, costume sketches and newspaper clips.” -- Time
“Pretty Things is now the most comprehensive study on the era of burlesque.” -- V Magazine
“In Liz Goldwyn’s Pretty Things, stripteasers bump and grind into the often dark reality of modern burlesque queens.” -- Vanity Fair
“The art of burlesque is lovingly documented through long-lost photographs as well as designer sketches and interviews.” -- W magazine
“[Pretty Things] celebrates the performers once dismissed as second-class citizens.” -- Tatler
Liz Goldwyn''s lifelong fascination with the inimitable glamour of classic burlesque inspired her to spend the past eight years corresponding with, visiting, interviewing, receiving striptease lessons from, and forming close relationships with the last generation of the great American burlesque queeens. Goldwyn invites us to step back into an era when the hourglass figure was in vogue and striptease was a true art form.
Meet Betty "Ball of Fire" Rowland, who was known for her flaming red hair and bump–and–grind routines. (It turns out she once sued the author''s grandfather, Samuel Goldwyn Jr., for using her stage name and costume in his Hollywood picture, Ball of Fire.)
Meet Sherry Britton, who, with her long black hair and curvy, trim physique, was among the most stunning of the burlesque stars before Mayor LaGuardia outlawed burlesque in New York.
Meet Zorita, whose sexually explicit "Consummation of the Wedding of the Snake" dance (performed with a live snake) and other daring performances earned her legendary status.
Goldwyn draws back the curtain to reveal the personal journeys of yesteryear''s icons of female sexuality and power, restoring their legacy to an age that has all but forgotten them–despite today''s resurgence of burlesque.
Liz Goldwyn has worked in fashion, art, and photography since the age of sixteen. She has produced major fashion shows and art installations, helped establish the fashion department at Sotheby’s New York, and was a global consultant for Shiseido America. She writes feature articles for national magazines, and designs her own collection of jewelry. Her documentary film on burlesque queens, Pretty Things, premiered in July 2005 on HBO. Goldwyn lives in Los Angeles.