Synopses & Reviews
A Midwest preacher's daughter with a fabulous academic pedigree, Viva could have chosen any career, but chose to become a naked girl. This personalized tour of her milieu offers a unique perspective on a thriving industry that is largely condemned or ignored, while painting portraits of women who are passionate, smart, and entrepreneurial. With language that is at turns gritty and glorious, she preaches new paradigms regarding the sex industry and the women who work in it. Part coming-of-age story, part Portland (Oregon) love letter, and filled with sexy strippers, Magic Gardens appeals to diverse audiences worldwide. It's a magical tale that makes a valiant case for following one's dreams, whatever they may be.
"Viva's memoir/novel is as affecting as Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer, and has more than a passing kinship to the work of Anais Nin and Jack Kerouac. Hers is the classic American tale of wanderlust, updated for the 21st Century with additional layers of heartbreak.... In the sea of memoirs... Viva's story is an island. You'll circumnavigate it breathlessly, like I did, reading first for the titillation then rooting, with increasing sympathy, for the utterly charming and oh-so-hip and so-sad ingénue." Andrei Codrescu, Jealous Witness: New Poems
"Seeing life through this broad's eyes is a strange and beautiful blessing the likes of which words bring." Nick Tosches, journalist and author of King of the Jews
"Magic Gardens is no mere memoir all snap, verve, and eloquence, it is the how-to manifesto of a Diva of the Demimonde, and a love song to life on the shady side." Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love
About the Author
Viva Las Vegas has been a force in the arts for over a decade, performing on stage as a stripper and as a singer, appearing on several TV shows and in more than a dozen films, and writing and interviewing for publications both local and national. Born in the Midwest as Liv Osthus and educated at Williams College in Massachusetts, her unusual resume includes Paranoid Park and First Kiss (films by Gus Van Sant); The Auteur (a 2008 James Westby film); and articles in the New York Times, Village Voice, Portland Monthly, and Exotic Magazine. In addition, her Portland band, Coco Cobra and the Killers, has recorded five albums, and she is frequently interviewed as a spokesperson for strippers.