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Neon Girls – Author Talk with Jennifer Worley and Marian Solis | New Labor Book Series #12
Wednesday June 14 at 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm PDT
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Join us for a discussion with Dr. Jenny Worley about her book, Neon Girls: A Stripper’s Education in Protest and Power, which documents Worley’s experiences as a graduate student and stripper at the Lusty Lady Theater in San Francisco, and Marian Solis, current UCLA Labor Studies major and dancer and organizer with the Star Garden campaign in North Hollywood, CA. Amidst management’s discriminatory practices and the rise of hidden cameras stir up tension among the dancers, Jenny was part of organizing the first strippers’ union in the world and journey to take over the club and run it as a co-operative.
Marian will share insights about their strategy and where they’re at now, having recently won a very important victory and has more work ahead of them to negotiate their first contract. We will discuss both Jenny and Marian’s experiences in this fiercely feminist world within the sex industry, what keeps women from fighting for their rights, who benefits from capitalizing on desire, and how we can change entrenched systems of power.
About the author
Jennifer Worley is a professor of English at City College of San Francisco and President of the faculty union, AFT 2121. Her film Sex On Wheels, documents the history of San Francisco’s sex industry and sex worker activism and has played at film festivals and universities worldwide. Her writing has appeared in Bitch, Captive Genders, Invisible Suburbs, The Queerist, and PRI’s Outright Radio.
Praise for Neon Girls
NPR’s Best Books of 2020
“Galvanizing and urgent….a slice of queer urban history and a necessary rethinking of sex work as a site of collective labor struggle.” -National Public Radio
“A piercing examination of gender politics and a gritty insider’s account of union organizing. Worley adroitly captures the devastating dichotomy of feminist power running headlong into the realities of work built around the whims of men. A vivid and erudite exploration of class struggle and gender identity.“-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“I tore through this with a bedtime-be-damned voracity normally reserved for mysteries and thrillers, and though I already knew the broad-strokes version of the story, I was nonetheless completely enthralled by this firsthand account. Neon Girls chronicles Worley’s journey from fledgling stripper to full-fledged labor activist; the creation of the Exotic Dancers Union; and the transformation of San Francisco’s legendary Lusty Lady into a unionized, worker-owned co-op peep show. An inspiring, nostalgic, feminist, and unequivocally badass tale, with moments of solidarity that will trigger many happy tears, this book is a gem.”-Powell’s Books (Portland, Oregon), Staff Pick
- Real News Daily: Twerking-Class Heroes: LA Strippers are Fighting for a Union
- Jacobin: It Looks Like a Strippers’ Union Is About to Become a Reality
- New York Times: Strippers and California Club Reach Accord on Union After Long Fight
- Salon: How working in a strip club taught “Neon Girls” author lessons about unions and solidarity
- Jennifer Worley’s website
- Star Garden campaign Twitter
The event will be recorded but not publicly shared.