Friday, January 25, 2008


Strippers pull on sentimental strings

Re: "Developers peel off another layer of old Granville," Jan. 16.

To the editor:

I was filled with mixed emotion when I read that the Cecil was being developed from an old western-style hotel and rooming house into a 23-storey residential highrise, and that the establishment would no longer feature strippers in the downstairs bar.

"The exotic dancing is probably not such an appropriate business for a residential neighbourhood," said Mark Shieh, development manager with Rize. I wonder where exotic dancing would be such an "appropriate" business? Wait, I know — nowhere.

When I was growing up, at 16 we would grow our facial hair and slip into the local bar just to get a chance to see the strippers. We were young men struck with awe. Beautiful showgirls with big feather boas, gloves and sequins — and tiny g-strings. They were both sassy and demure.

Back then, almost every little bar in every little town could have a stripper, or usually two. Agents would book the girls all over Canada and sometimes even the U.S., except in cities where individual strippers had to carry a municipal licence. Two dear and talented artistic friends of mine met in such a bar. They knew they had something in common when one of them undressed as a stinky clown, while the other dressed as a mummy slowly unraveling herself. Sure, they were oddballs, but they were also true striptease artists.

I lived for several years above an old Chinese restaurant on Granville Street near Davie. Since then, I have seen the rapid change of the "neighbourhood." Like the conversion of several hotels such as the California. Does anyone remember the huge mural of Marilyn painted on the side? And the loss of The Kitten Theatre — there was potential for classic heritage.

I have to wonder, does anyone up at city hall at least feel some nostalgia, ever? Have any of them ever eaten at The Grade A, or met some of the old men who wandered Granville Street who used to live in those old hotels?

There have been, and will always be, that group of privileged people who righteously believe that there is no place appropriate for "such businesses." But I for one believe that striptease artists have as much right in our neighbourhoods as anyone else.

A. Sorfleet,

© Vancouver Courier 2008

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Created: January 25, 2008
Last modified: June 29, 2009
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