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All I Could Bare: My Life in the Strip Clubs of Gay Washington, D.C.

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All I Could Bare: My Life in the Strip Clubs of Gay Washington, D.C. Cover

ISBN13: 9781416542056
ISBN10: 1416542051
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A FRANK, FUNNY, EXPLICIT, AND INSPIRING MEMOIR ABOUT HOW DANCING NAKED IN GAY CLUBS IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL HELPED A COLLEGE PROFESSOR DISCOVER HIS TRUE SELF.

I felt that I'd made a transformation as surely as Superman slipping out of a phone booth or Wonder Woman doing a sunburst spin. I was bare-ass in a room of paying strangers, a stripper. After years of wondering what it would be like, I had done it — faced a fear, defied expectation, embraced a taboo self. It was only the beginning....

All I Could Bare is the story of a mild-mannered graduate student who "took the road less clothed" — a decision that was life changing. Seymour embarked on his journey in the 1990s, when Washington, D.C.'s gay club scene was notoriously no-holds-barred, all the while trying to keep his newfound vocation a secret from his parents and maintain a relation-ship with his boyfriend, Seth. Along the way he met some unforgettable characters — the fifty-year-old divorcé who's obsessed with a twenty-one-year-old dancer, the celebrated drag diva who hailed from a small town in rural Virginia, and the many straight guys who were "gay for pay." Seymour gives us both the highs (money, adoration, camaraderie) and the lows (an ill-fated attempt at prostitution, a humiliating porn audition).

Ultimately coming clean about his secret identity, Seymour breaks through taboos and makes his way from booty-baring stripper to Ph.D.-bearing academic, taking a detour into celebrity journalism and memorably crossing paths with Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Mary J. Blige along the way. Hilarious, insight-ful, and touching, All I Could Bare proves that sometimes the "wrong decision" can lead to the right place.

Review:

"If an account of one's tour of duty as a stripper and sometimes prostitute in seedy downtown Washington, D.C. gay clubs could ever be called 'breezy,' Seymour's achieved it. Sure to please the hedonistic gay man in (almost) all of us, Seymour is frank and entirely explicit as he chronicles his journey from diligent Masters' candidate (developing a thesis on gay strip clubs) to onstage talent working every night to make a living. Unafraid to bare it all, in person and in prose, Seymour details his brief foray into prostitution as well as the (very) personal stories of his fellow dancers. Seymour can dissemble, first pinning his stripping career on low self-esteem, but later admitting to some early success with more traditional dancing and acting; it becomes clear that the author is a bit of a narcissist, but a charming one. The last fifty pages, accounting for his subsequent work as a celebrity interviewer, are pure filler; when he sticks to the clubs, though, readers will feel they're in the hands of an expert." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

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Grady Harp, December 25, 2008 (view all comments by Grady Harp)
Fascinating, informative and intelligently written Memoir/Exposé

Craig Seymour writes with the abandon and grace of a wordsmith with years of experience instead of a young writer for whom this is only his second book. Granted he has practice gained from academic studies and from writing for the media as a critic and interviewer of pop stars and those attributes give his book a uniquely credible flavor. But whatever the combination of elements upon which he draws, Seymour simply writes very well, capturing the interest of the read from page one to the last without a moment for pause.

The very amiable Seymour shares his personal life, first as a somewhat sexually identity confused child from an African American family in Washington, DC to his years as a university student when he gradually confronts his early questions of who he is by having the courage to try the challenging aspects that have always been his approach/avoidance conflict under the guise of an academic thesis: he will investigate the culture of gay strippers by first observing and then participating. From Seymour's fluid writing style the reader flows along with him, learning the idiosyncrasies and very humanistic situations he confronts in the world of the physically relaxed stripper bars of Washington, DC.

What makes Craig Seymour's memoir many steps above other attempts to tell-all about the netherworld of strip clubs is his manner of sharing the real responses of both the strippers and the clients who pay for the services. Yes, he does touch on some strange tales of experiences related by other strippers and personally witnessed on his own, but the overall feeling is the discovery of the reasons and motivations on both sides of the dance bar. He also shares his first hand (and rejected) introduction into the other aspects of the porn industry and escort concept and one reason these episodes are touching is Seymour's valued sharing of his investigations with his significant supportive partner Seth, an honesty that pervades all of his reporting.

What this book offers is entertainment and a very well documented evaluation of the years when the most daring strip bars in the country were in the capital city of the nation! Seymour ends his book with his experiences as a celebrity interviewer, and these last chapters seem at first to be far less well written, less interesting that the major portion of the book - until Seymour ties his life experiences together in the last chapter, opening windows of self discovery and the resultant quiet advice that leaves the reader feeling endeared to the writer. This is an important book, not just a passing fance type exposé but instead a beautifully wrought slice of American life we should all share. Highly recommended.

Grady Harp
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781416542056
Subtitle:
My Life in the Strip Clubs of Gay Washington, D.C.
Author:
Seymour, Craig
Publisher:
Atria Books
Subject:
cultural heritage
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Gay Studies
Subject:
Gay men
Subject:
Washington, d. c.
Subject:
People of Color
Subject:
Specific Groups - Male Gay Studies
Subject:
Seymour, Craig
Subject:
Gay men - Washington (D.C.)
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Atria Bks Hdcvr
Publication Date:
20080617
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 in 12.53 oz

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Related Subjects

Gay and Lesbian » Fiction and Poetry » General

All I Could Bare: My Life in the Strip Clubs of Gay Washington, D.C. Used Hardcover
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$7.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Atria Books - English 9781416542056 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "If an account of one's tour of duty as a stripper and sometimes prostitute in seedy downtown Washington, D.C. gay clubs could ever be called 'breezy,' Seymour's achieved it. Sure to please the hedonistic gay man in (almost) all of us, Seymour is frank and entirely explicit as he chronicles his journey from diligent Masters' candidate (developing a thesis on gay strip clubs) to onstage talent working every night to make a living. Unafraid to bare it all, in person and in prose, Seymour details his brief foray into prostitution as well as the (very) personal stories of his fellow dancers. Seymour can dissemble, first pinning his stripping career on low self-esteem, but later admitting to some early success with more traditional dancing and acting; it becomes clear that the author is a bit of a narcissist, but a charming one. The last fifty pages, accounting for his subsequent work as a celebrity interviewer, are pure filler; when he sticks to the clubs, though, readers will feel they're in the hands of an expert." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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