December is my favorite time of year. The sun sets early in the afternoon and festivals of lights illuminate the night. It’s cozy; people move at a slower pace and even seem to be more kind and generous. Finally, the year ends, prompting everyone (journalists especially) to reflect.
Today, as I write from my usual perch at Huber’s, I too am feeling generous and nostalgic. The last year has been quite a ride—bumpy as hell but with some definite peaks, heights at which I could glimpse bits of the future. And the future looks dreamy, darlings, but some of the bumps have been heartbreakers. Take last month, for instance, when I was fired from the Magic.
I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. I always knew that my job wasn’t secure and that management wasn’t fond of me. Actually, I’d been waiting for the jig to be up since Day One nine years ago, when all my fabulous stripper friends were fired within months of my arrival.
My friends were canned for reasons ranging from predictable (Mona assaulted someone) to ridiculously ironic (Lara Lee was too famous after being named “Portland’s Best Stripper” by the Willamette Week). Like Lara, my relationship with management cooled considerably every time I was named “Portland’s Hottest Stripper,” “Best Reason to Visit Sin City” or “Best Butt.” Still, the Magic was home—a place I championed over all others and a place where Portlanders knew they could find me, whether they came in six days a week or had been away for six years.
In the end I was fired for breaking up a fight. Two gentlemen—an inebriated punk rocker and an inebriated New Orleansian—were ready to do battle over who got the chair at my rack. I—half-nude, onstage—talked them down, using my best conflict resolution tactics to persuade them that no chair was worth fighting over. Still, a fight’s a fight, and because it happened at my rack, the bartender (who was god-knows-where while the feathers were flying) found me at fault. It was the moment management had been waiting for. I was fired three days later.
In spite of my love for the Magic, dealing constantly with management that doesn’t respect you is no party. Getting fired was something of a blessing, and ultimately it wasn’t much skin off my back or dough out of my pocket. There are as many strip clubs as Starbucks in this town, after all. Within a week I was enjoying a hero’s welcome at Mary’s Club.
I adore Mary’s. The girls there are family. Coming back after two years away was like slipping into my favorite jeans after a month in nothing but fishnets and stilettos, on tour with my greasy punk rock band. It felt grrreat.
Which brings me to the topic of THE FUTURE. Two thousand and six is around the corner, and it looks bitchin’ from here. Early in the year, Coco Cobra and the Killers’ second album will be released and a tour of northern Europe is in the works (you can catch us States-side @ Doug Fir on Jan. 19th for FREE).
More future: This is the last editorial I will write for Exotic. After six years as editor, scribbling mad ravings over Spanish Coffees at Huber’s, I’m hanging it up. The book I’ve been slaving over has piqued the interest of a shit-hot literary agency. Now I need to polish it and promote it to people who aren’t necessarily strip-club savvy. To that effect I’ve been courting the local weeklies, both of which are eager to pay for my words.
So please, dear readers, don’t desert me! Watch for me in “those other papers,” look for my book in Powell’s come 2007, and in the meantime come visit me at Mary’s Club, where I’m still cracking jokes in five languages, singing along to Clash songs and smiling from ear to ear, proud to be doing a job I love.
In closing I’d like to thank all of my fabulous fans. I’ve shared my life with you and you’ve given back in spades. Thanks especially to my darling Frank from Exotic, Everett from the Magic and Vicki and Co. from Mary’s; to Dennis from Beverly Hills, Hilary the poetess and Hundred Dollar Dave. Thanks to Big Al for all the liquor, art and encouragement. Thanks a zillion to Bobby Baldwin, Lee “poster boy” Nelson, Frankie and Lenny. Thanks Van for EVERYTHING! Merci, Zussy at the Willy Week and Skinner at the Merc. A million kisses to Richard Meltzer, Nick Tosches, Handsome Dick, Andrei Codrescu and Chuck Eddy. Hi-fives to Russell Simins, Lux and Ivy, and Andre Williams. Danke schön Marne Lucas and Michael Horndog. Thanks, finally, to all my friends and lovers. That would be every naked girl EVER and—of course, darling—YOU.