"This engaging supernatural adventure will particularly appeal to fans of literature set in the Bay Area. . . . An eventful and enjoyable romp."– Kirkus Reviews
In Corday’s (9 ½ Years Behind the Green Door, 2011) fantasy novel, dancers at a San Francisco burlesque theater—some living, some dead—go in search of a mobster’s money.
Alice starts working at the Moulin Rouge with her friend and fellow dancer Deirdre, who’s just confided to her that she’s pregnant and that the club owner’s son, Tommy, is the father. Soon after, Deirdre reveals the pregnancy to Tommy, who eschews responsibility and starts having an affair with a different dancer. An ensuing argument ends with Deirdre losing her footing and falling down a set of stairs, killing her. Later, Alice’s friend Miranda casts a spell of protection on her fellow dancers when the club’s ownership tries to force them into freelance employment. However, the spell has the unexpected effect of conjuring Deirdre’s ghost as well as those of other long-dead dancers. Alice and her new phantom pals soon hatch a plan to go to the Cal Neva Lodge in Tahoe, where they plan to search for Mafia cash hidden there long ago by one of the ghost’s mobster boyfriends. (They plan to open a new club, The Blue Angel, with the loot.) The ghost of Cal Neva’s former owner, Frank Sinatra, haunts the club, and the group later comes face to face with the spirit of Marilyn Monroe. This engaging supernatural adventure will particularly appeal to fans of literature set in the Bay Area, as the characters travel extensively around familiar parts of San Francisco and its environs in Alice’s Volkswagen van. It will also interest those with an enthusiasm for burlesque-theater history. The story is basically split into two sections: the group’s journey to find the Mafia money, and the bureaucratic process of opening up its new nightclub. In both parts, though, Corday makes sure that there’s a lot going on, as the dancers deal with ghost hunters filming a reality show; the return of Alice’s estranged lover; a new ghost friend, checking in on the family that he left behind; a break-in at Alice’s house; and even a lost cat.
An eventful and enjoyable romp.
This debut memoir follows a stripper from her first days at the infamous Mitchell Brothers club to the fatal shooting of her lover.
Corday (her stage and pen name) began stripping in early 1980s San Francisco, seeking more freedom and money than her office job allowed. After winning an amateur night contest, the author quickly found an artistic home at the O’Farrell Theater, run by the enterprising Mitchell brothers. Jim and Art “Artie” Mitchell were known for the theater, which was constantly sued or shut down by the police, and for producing the 1971 porn film Behind the Green Door, starring former Ivory Snow model Marilyn Chambers. Early on, Corday began a sexual relationship with Artie, which led to a long-term connection. The author staged several of her own shows at the O’Farrell, including an act where she portrayed then-San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein, who vehemently opposed the club. Corday also befriended legendary writer and longtime Mitchell Brothers ally Hunter S. Thompson, and performed with burlesque and pornography luminaries like Tempest Storm and Traci Lords. The author acted in three Mitchell Brothers porn films, including the long-anticipated sequel to Behind the Green Door. Artie’s constant substance abuse as well as his harem sometimes compromised but never dimmed the powerful bond Corday experienced with her boss, who was shot by his own brother in 1991. The author delivers incredible tales of a strip club post-sexual revolution, offering rich details and historical tidbits. But her writing style is somewhat flawed. Though she has a master’s degree in English, her sentence structure is repetitive and her use of past and present tense inconsistent. She’s also highly critical of certain fellow dancers and performers, often commenting on their weight and her own superiority. In one behind-the-scenes story, Corday refers to a little person as a “freak.” Though memoirists don’t require likability to be compelling, the author’s judgmental attitude and habitual telling rather than showing transform what should be a titillating read into a bumpy experience.
An uneven ride through an intriguing journey of sex, lies, and videotape.