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OVER A QUARTER CENTURY OF DEDICATION TO PROTECTING, PRESERVING AND PROMOTING EROTIC ART.
November 15 - December 29, 2005
Los Angeles, CA

Flazh!Alley Studio
presents:
Hotter Than Helendale!
A Pictorial Essay of the Exotic World Burlesque Museum
by Liezel Rubin


Photo: Liezel Rubin

Open to the public on San Pedro’s monthly 1st Thursday Art Walk
on December 1, 2005 from 7–11 PM.

Controversial Long Beach, CA lesbian art photographer, Liezel Rubin, ventures into the arena of documentary with her new series, “Hotter Than Helendale!,” where she visually captures a subject with deep roots in San Pedro history and culture, The Exotic Burlesque Museum in Helendale, CA.

Once upon a time, there was a strippers’ hall of fame, a burlesque museum, a school for aspiring strip teasers and two bars where topless dancers and burlesque queens performed all of them on Pacific Avenue in San Pedro, CA (1969-1975)

Three of these spots were established by famous ex-burlesque queen, Jennie Lee, aka “Miss 44 and Plenty More” and “The Bazoom Girl” who owned the Sassy Lassy Club at 755 N. Pacific Ave., The Strippers Hall of Fame/Burlesque Museum at 2317 S. Pacific Ave., and taught the venerable art of strip tease at Bronco Billy’s Bar at 1909 S. Pacific Ave.

The Bazoom Girl significantly affected the cultural scene of Southern California. In 1958 rock icons Jan & Dean wrote their debut single and first big hit, ”Jennie Lee,” after catching her act at the New Follies Burlesque in downtown Los Angeles. Nevertheless, Jennie’s world faded into an almost forgotten memory. Jennie claims to have been harassed out of San Pedro and closed shops in 1975 and moved to Hesperia, CA.

In the early 1980’s Jennie and her husband, Charlie Arroyo (The Singing Cowboy), established The Exotic Burlesque Museum on a 40 acre ranch just outside of Helendale; an idea that started in San Pedro but arrived in Helendale in order to survive.

Jennie herself passed away from breast cancer in Helendale fifteen years ago.

Today, the museum houses a wealth of memorabilia, including photographs and playbills, pasties, lip-prints, and even the jewel-encrusted G-strings of such Burlesque legends as Blaze Starr, Lili St. Cyr, Candy Barr and Gypsy Rose Lee as well as the annual, “Miss Exotic World” contest where amateurs from all the world travel to strip for the coveted title.

Liezel Rubin colorfully merges the “naughtiness” of a long ago past with the even “naughtier” Los Angeles of the 21st Century.

Well known in the national erotic art world, Rubin’s objective eye and deep appreciation of the American nature of the Jennie Lee brand of burlesque inject new life into an almost vanished phenomenon.

Rubin’s images of Jennie’s present day followers and supporters of her legacy are inspired by photojournalistic instinct combined with a strong “Felliniesque” influence of surreal demimondes where circus/burlesque performers cavort for their own amusement. Desolate desert landscapes where scantily clad, tattooed women, of all ages, leisurely stroll under multicolored parasols, while bizarre white-faced comics play with Barbie dolls and pastie-adorned showgirls perform their acts for the cacti constitute the world of today’s Burlesque that Rubin effectively captures.

Flazh!Alley Studio
Gallery Hours: By appointment and invitation. Adults only.
1113 S. Pacific Ave. Suite 'B', San Pedro, CA 90731 Map 310.833.3633
(Park in the large city parking lot behind Ramona Bakery at Pacific Ave. & 11th Street.)
e-mail: flazhalley@aol.com

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ENCOURAGEMENT
"My drawings are primarily meant for guys who may have experienced misunderstanding and oppression and feel that they have somehow failed in their lives. I want to encourage them. I want to encourage this minority group, to tell them not to give up, to think positively about their act and whole being." (1990) — Tom of Finland