Usher the word on your tongue like a forbidden invocation.
Strrrrriiiiiiippppppp......An morticious and torturous peel of skin.
Teeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasssssse...A viper bite, that delights with its poisonous invective, hitting the blood stream invoking one's Kundalini to shimmy.
Noir......A Dark, Holy, Moist Underworld. A catacomb where both crucifixion of flesh and psyche unfolds.
The three words are married by their psychic power and primal etymology.
This is my religion.
This is my culture.
This is my Heroin.
The great literalist H.L. Mencken of that famed 1930's New York salon of the Algonquin, defined the striptease as a 'A delicious terror'.
His term, is the template on which my new novel STRIPTEASE IN NOIR has been chiselled.
But it is more.
Striptease is an erotic and gnostic sacrament in which over twenty five years I have had the privelege to enact as low priest / entertainer in both the exotic and jazz entertainment industry. (I having always utilised an ecdysiast to act as muse / interpretor of all my songs I have crafted with my two combos: the crime jazz noir'd BLACK DAHLIAS with Liliana Scarlatta and the cocktail fused collective BLACK LIST with Mia Mortal).
Yet the art of the striptease in my narratives transcend the mere gaudy sporting of undulating serpentine flesh.
It is the invocation of woman's divine mystery.
A striptease can be an act of melancholic grief of a woman's loss and exposing of vulnerability.
It is an ritual of the ripping away of her own consciousness, to a greater dance with her darker psyche.
The fan dance, too, can be considered as a ceremony of the diabla godess Lilith, earth damned, who vainly flares her wings dying to raise herself to fly from the spoiled soil that her feet are not deigned to touch.
An Exotic's lascivious immersion in an giant perspex cocktail glass, can be celebrated as a godess' self baptism.
The striptease is an arcane rite birthed from the loins of the ancient temple dancers of Abysynnia.
She healed, she resurrected, she cursed.
Within the power (hermetical not political) of a woman's striptease declares a dance of eros and damnation to an underworld, that drags the male voyeur beyond the belly of La Urban-noir, into the psychic terror of not merely his own physical death but his potential soul extinction.
For woman's spiritual dna = psyche / underworld.
In my novel STRIPTEASE IN NOIR out now on New York publishers BEAR MANOR press, I run through the forgotten veil of nineteen Forties Lost Angeles.
Mine is not a Hollywood hallmark postcard of a star riddled premiere at Graumanns Chinese, nor an hokey sepia vintage sponsored by Coca Cola, but a taxi dance through a crude brittle and bawdy neighbourhood.
Mine is the sordid vale of the cribs of Fifth and main, execution tanks in San Pedro warehouses, the front row throne in a downtown grindhouse, with the fug of desperate lust hanging like halitosis, sneering red velvet curtains with their labial denial, the stonk of poor boy tokay, Surrender Parfum, and the ubiquitous milk bottles placed strategically between the teeth of skid Joe's frustrated zippers, as Miss Strip sashays, towering on the catwalk above, offering bleak seduction, without copulation or tenderness.
Got the vision?
Well now dig the subtitles:
An ecdysiast, one Maya Lilitha, arriving out of TJ, becomes burley queen-headliner of a downtown Los Angeles grind-house. Her powerful ritual of pagan deshabille, draws in crime czar (Bugsy Siegel), a new age messiah, Avak Argopian, and a crooner / low priest Jay in a 'erotic roulette de noir'. Her affect on all three is charismatical and ends cataclysmical.
The novel is not a tract of striptease as a flag for feminism empowerment, unlike the naive mantra heralded by the 'neo- burlesque' practitioners here on the West Coast, but returns the 'strip' back to its original gnostic roots. Maya's tussle with the new messiah, may appear to be a set up that is going to play out like Salome and St John the B, yet there are other occult blinds. Where the ancient temptress Salome's strip and the decapitation of the prophets head, was a symbol of the destruction of the 'capo' of the new patriachal religion Christianity that was destroying the Godess worship cults, Maya's mid 20th century battle with her nemesis is more atomic in nature as forthcoming sequels in the S.I.N. series will reveal.
But enough of the girls already, as they don't say in burleycue.
Bring on the Guns!!!!
For birthing from all unrestrained female eroticism is the ministry of male violence.
And a number of other side characters from LA legend make their appearance. The overweight and unfortunately overlooked Jack Dragna, crime king of L.A.s Mickey mouse mafia makes a brief entrance and triumphant exit , alongside the vicious thug / Matinee idol Benjamin Bugsy Siegel.
The link between crime and religious charismaticism is very strong, particularly in the rackets of Los Angeles noir. Blood is not shed in the name of Jesus Christ but the illusory nature of redemption offered by a bulging pimp roll.
Heroin, Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Armenian Apostolic Church, all serve as foot-stools for the ascending Maya's dominatione heels.
Los Angeles may well be the City of the Angels.
But this winged creature is not Gabriel's tribe.
She is a custodians of an L.A. which is little more than an slipstreamed dyna-flow Gehenna.
Simonized in sin.
And it is here in this scratch-house that you may well find salvation in a G string and redemption in a Stripper's veil.
Not the sort of resurrection however, offered every Sunday at St. Vibiana's over on Second Street.
:: Buy Striptease in Noir from Amazon.