Live Nude Girls UNITE!
A documentary about strippers unionizing
This first person documentary follows Julia Query, lesbian/stand-up comedian/peepshow-stripper, and daughter of a feminist activist, on her raucous journey to help organize the only union of strippers in the United States. Shot on a variety of formats, Live Nude Girls Unite! weaves backstage and dancing footage with labor organizing, street protests, stand-up comedy and comic-book style "animation" making an intelligent and dramatic cutting-edge film.
Needing a job to support her comedy habit, Julia finds that the most lucrative work available to her is as an exotic dancer at San Francisco's notorious Lusty Lady Theater. Never shy about her body, she decides to give it a go. She finds a world full of tough, iconoclastic, independent and joyful women whom she quickly comes to love. But Julia learns that these powerful women are outraged at being exploited by club owners. The women complain of newly instituted stage fees which make dancers pay to work; of being asked to "date" the owners' friends, and of work that is becoming less like performing and more like prostitution every year.
When dancers discover that they are being covertly videotaped for amateur porn, they decide that enough is enough.
Julia and her colleagues head for the Service Employees International Union. Management responds by hiring a notorious anti-union law firm.
So begins a battle that rocks the sex industry with street protests, lock-outs, and confrontations.
Then Julia gets a call from the producers of the First International Conference on Prostitution inviting her to both present about the union and perform her comedy routine. After accepting the invitation, Julia discovers that her mother, Dr. Joyce Wallace, well-known for her pioneering work with prostitutes and AIDS, is also scheduled to present at the conference. In an amazing and painful "coming out" sequence, Julia reveals to her mother that she is a sex-worker fighting to help sex workers, similar to her mother's efforts to save street-working prostitutes. But Julia's mother sees them as on the opposite sides of the sex war debates that have rocked the feminist movement for decades. While Dr. Wallace ardently speaks about the victimization of the women she helps, an equally impassioned Julia jokes that as a professional dominatrix she is working for social justice.
But Julia's joking around barely covers up the cracks occurring in the world around her. The union drive is far more difficult and complicated than imagined, spirits are low, and her mother, furious at Julia not only for being a stripper, but also for tainting her professional reputation with the stigma of a sex-worker daughter, is not speaking to her. Live Nude Girls UNITE! brings the parallel stories of unionizing and Julia's relationship with her mother through to their poignant resolution.
Executive Producer GINI RETICKER joined the team to guide LIVE NUDE GIRLS UNITE!through completion. Credits include: Executive Producer/Director THE HEART OF THE MATTER; premiered 1994 Sundance Film Festival, Freedom of Expression Award recipient; played at festivals worldwide including Berlin, Galway, Paris, Creitel, Sarajevo, Cairo, Tokyo, Beijing, Sao Paulo, and The Human Rights Watch Festival. Broadcast P.O.V. Producer/Director NEW SCHOOL ORDER; premiered 1997 Sundance Film Festival. National broadcast 1997. Editing credits include: ROGER & ME; SIS: THE PERRY WATKINS STORY, winner Best Video, 1994 San Francisco Gay & Lesbian Film Festival; THE ROMANTIC COMEDY, PBS American Cinema Series, National PBS Broadcast 1995; FIRE FROM THE MOUNTAIN, premiered at 1986 New York Film Festival, screened 1987 Sundance Film Festival, Emmy Nominee for 1987 P.O.V. broadcast. Post-Production Supervisor on 1999 Academy Award-nominated DANCEMAKER. Reticker recently received a Gracie Award for her work on women's issues on public television.
Producer/Co-Director JULIA QUERY is making her directorial debut on LIVE NUDE GIRLS UNITE! As performance artist and comic, she wrote and toured three solo hour-long performance pieces. She established a video collective in 1993 that produced short documentaries; was Associate Producer on "Dykes, Camera . . . Action!" about lesbian media activism; Consulting Producer for "All I Know: Women and Breast Cancer in Oregon." She founded the University of Oregon Queer Film and Video Festival. She supports herself as a stripper at the Lusty Lady.
Co-Director/Editor Vicky Funari is a film/videomaker whose work focuses on women's stories and questions of cultural and gender identity. Most recently she produced, directed and edited "Paulina," a non-fiction feature film about the life of a Mexican maid. "Paulina" was an IFP/IFFM No Borders Project in 1996, and premiered at the 1998 Sundance film festival, screened in the Berlin film festival's European Film Market as part of the IFP/AIM program, and is currently showing in festivals worldwide. "Paulina" won best documentary at the San Antonio Cine Festival, the nations' oldest Latino film festival. "Paulina" won Grand Jury prize for Best Bay Area Documentary at San Francisco International Film Festival. "Paulina" won the Hamptons' Film Festival/ Lifetime's Women's Director award. Funari also produced, directed and edited "Skin-Es-the Si-A" an 18 minute experimental film which explores the codification of the female body. "Skin-Es-the Si-A" won Honorable Mention at the 1996 Oberhausen International Short Film Festival and a Jury Award at the New York Expo of Short Film and Video and has screened at festivals on three continents. Cablecasts of "Skin-Es-the Si-A" and "Paulina" are upcoming. Funari began her film work in 1985 as Assistant Director of the fiction feature "Working Girls" directed by Lizzie Borden. Subsequent credits include producer and camera on "Alternative Conceptions" a half-hour documentary about lesbian mothers; editor and assistant editor on PBS documentaries; and camera on documentary and experimental woks. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Latino media arts organization Cine Acción. Funari also worked at the Lusty Lady, and her article about it is in the anthology "Whores and Other Feminists".
Annimator Isis Rodriguez was born in Los Angeles California and was raised in Topeka Kansas. Underdog, Snagglepuss, Josie and the Pussycats, and Scooby Doo, were some of her favorite cartoons that she liked to draw in the late 60's and early 70's. She became a surrealist painter and printmaker at the University of Kansas where she received her BFA in 1988. Shortly after, she attended the San Francisco Art Institute. For the past 10 years, she has developed unique characters and stories that are filled with symbolic and humorous interpretations of freedom, independence, and fantasy. Her images are inspired by her own adventurous experiences. She also has done numerous murals and has worked in a craft-type genre, including wood carving and quilting. Currently, Isis is living in San Francisco and is working on a comic book/ animation based on her cartoon character named "Little Miss Attitude."
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