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The League of Exotic Dancers
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The Burlesque Hall of Fame reunion has been an annual tradition since 1955, when the League of Exotic Dancers (LED), one of America's earliest unions for women in exotic entertainment, held its first meeting. Today, situated in downtown Las Vegas, often called "Old Vegas" or "50s Vegas," The Burlesque Hall of Fame reunion takes the form of a social club and support group where these late life dancers perform their half-century-year-old routines from the golden age of burlesque to a rally of counter culture neo-burlesque fans. Over the past four years, documentarian Kaitlyn Regehr and photographer Matilda Temperley have embedded themselves within this community - a group, which like "Old Vegas" itself, continues to survive and thrive sixty years past its supposed prime. Here, in a smoky, off-strip casino, they found women, at times well into their 80s, subversively bumping and grinding away preconceptions about appropriate behavior for a pensioner. This collection of interviews and photographs is drawn from the backstage dressing rooms, homes, and lives of this aging burlesque community, as well as the young neo-burlesque community who adore them. The authors present an inter-generational sisterhood that is both unique and socially significant. However, the authors also warn that glamorizing these histories can at times trivialize the difficult realities experienced by these dancers. Through a range of experiences - from discussing struggles for wage equality, to helping stabilize an 85 year old as she steps into a sequined g-string - the authors describe the complexity of the lives of these performers and the burlesque history from which they come. Regehr and Temperley present multidimensional portraits of this community and conclude that they are at their most vital when read with all the nuances, troubles, trials, and triumphs that they formerly and currently experience.
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About the Author

Dr. Kaitlyn Regehr is a writer, documentarian and scholar of cultural studies. Her work has been published internationally across academic and popular print media. In addition to serving as a topic specialist for BBC World, she has created documentary content for iTunes and networks including Super Channel (CA), SWR (DE) and ARTE (FR). Regehrs work has explored intersections between gender, performance and politics in female driven communities. Matilda Temperley is an award-winning photographer. Her work regularly appears in international publications such as, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Harpers Bazaar and National Geographic. Matilda's work is inspired by marginalized societies. Her sell out book, Under The SurfaceSomerset Floods won the Royal Photographic Societys Vic Odden Award in 2015. Her second book, Omo- Change In The Valley documents human rights abuses in Ethiopia.

Reviews

Complemented by Kaitlyn Regehr's detailed, analytical text, Temperley's images celebrate her subjects in dynamic performance shots, informal documentary images and posed portraits. * Royal Photographic Society Journal * Five stars: a fascinating visual documentary. * Amateur Photographer * Wonderful * Jonathan Gray, Dancing Times *

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