To men a titan is but a nind. Who
cares what face he carries or
ghat fora lhe wears?
But a wonan's body is the woman.
-Ambrose Bierce r
Night Editor: Chris Steele
March 161 969
By BILL LAVELY
THE DIMLY LIT lobby of the Esquire Burlesque
Theatre, with its scarlet carpet and walls and
paintings of naked ladies, suggests the opulence
of the richly furnished salon of a Mississippi
I had been there only a moment when I was
approached by Tom, the ubiquitous assistant to
owner/manager Rose LaRose.
He assured me that he would let me know
when Miss LaRose was ready to see me; that at
the moment she was backstage "solving a prob-
lem," and wouldn't I watch the show until then?
An old vaudevillian was on stage when I
entered. The sparse Tuesday night audience con-
sisting of 41 men and two women was crowded
into the first three rows of the theatre.
FINALLY, WHAT everyone had come to see.
I sat back in awe as the spectacle unfolded.
Band music of the Noxema genre blared from
speakers. The drummer, from' a cage in the
corner, struck up a crass but catchy beat.
High heels and an evening dress. First, the
long white gloves, then the skirt and then the
top. All slip off so easily. A swagger, a playful
tug at a strap, and off with the bra-then down
to a G. The pasties sail into the front row one
by one. A slow, muscular grind like the beat of a
diesel engine-then the curtain.
NOT BAD. BUT, the next dance is always
better, and the better strippers, like the better
professors, are specialists.
Take Charmaine, for instance. By outward
appearances alone, nothing would seem to recom-
The eternal truths Of Pizza Bob
OFTEN SOME PEOPLE go unnoticed just because their lives are
more humdrum and more usual than ours.
Pizza Bob, manager of Loy's Pizzeria at State and Packard, has
never been in the public's eye. You might very well ask how a human
being weighing nearly 300 pounds and standing only 63 inches high
could avoid it.
But there are no ballads about Pizza Bob, even though he rolls
along as well as the Mississippi River ever did.
mend Charmaine to a career as an ecdysiast. Yet,
once laid bare before you, Charmaine's flabulous
rear will roll and ripple in ways you would not
Sandra Sexton is a stunning young stripper
who has augmented her prodigious endowment
with yet another unique talent, thus falling heir
to the title "Queen of Quiver."
BUT THE BEST is saved for last. That is the
invariable law of strip. And last is Morganna.
Morganna is not just beautiful. She is radiant.
She smiles and fills the theatre,with sunshine.
Her stage set is pastel. The evening gown bit
it not for her. Her image is mod, and she starts
light in a cutaway leotard.
The nusic plays, the drum beats, and Mar-
ganna, innocent imp that she is-so ladlylike
and yet slinky like a cat-seems to prance about
the stage possessed, her feet barely touching the
A bit of her leotard falls away. Smooth skin
shines in the pale purple light. Then she takes
off . . . ah . .. she takes . . . a feather and . .
WHEN URBAN renewal last spring eliminated
Toledo's Town Hall Burlesque, city fathers be.-
lieved they had seen the last of strip tease in
their fair city.
At least they hoped so. For when they heard
the plans of former burlesque star and Town Hall
owner Rose LaRose to relocate her strip joint in
the heart of Toledo's uptight downtown banking
district, they reacted with the altruistic zeal of
the Ann Arbor vice squad attempting to head off
an obscene drama.
Last March the Toledo city council passed an
"anti-burlesque ordinance" which specifically for-
bid "lewd dancing" in the city.
But a year later strip tease still rivals the art
gallery as Toledo's biggest cultural attraction. Af-
ter a suit brought by Miss LaRose, a federal court
ruled that the antistrip doctrine could not go
into effect until its constitutionally has been
tested. In the meantime, it is business as usual at
IT WAS TIME for my visit with Rose LaRose.
Tom led me to Miss LaRose's private office. There,
ensconced behind a desk,, and next to an obvious-
ly never used dressing table constructed entirely
of mirrors, was Rose LaRose.
Rose LaRose was dressed in black tights and
leotard, a black skirt, a large white furry hat,
and a pendant with the name "Rose LaRose."
She was definitely middle aged, but judging from
her remarkably youthful figure, I could easily
believe that she had been a star stripper only 10
"How did you like the show?" she asked.
"It was very impressive. The girl
young and attractive."
"I'm glad you noticed."
We sat down on a white leathe
began to talk about burlesque.
"How did you start in burlesque?
"I started at Minsky's in New
Billie Minsky's secretary."
"What did you think of 'The N
"It was very cleverly done-very
But that's not the way it happened
"What do you mean? How DID i
'Strip tease really started witha
Cary Finell . . . when her dress strap
"What is strip tease?"
"Strip tease is simply the art
gracefully through dance."
"What do you think of the ant
law in Toledo? Do you think stripp
and tends to corrupt the morals
"I don't want to make any spec
on the law because I am currently
city of Toledo in federal court and
to prejudice the case. But I will say t
is wholesome by comparison to movi
never have violence or crime on ou
shows are funny. The word burlesque
an Italian word 'burlo,' which means to make fun
of. We make fun of sex."
"In Ann Arbor recently the police closed
a performance of a play because of nudity.
Has your theatre ever been raided by police?"
"In 10 years in Toledo we have never had any
trouble with the police. The audience gets a little
noisy sometimes, especially the college students.
But we like that. We know they're enjoying the
"I NOTICE THAT some strippers are not
really built like . .. that is, they are not as
bosomy as . . . is traditionally advertised. Is
the bosom receiving less emphasis nowdays?"
"No, I wouldn't say that. All strippers don't
have bodies like Miss America-and why should
they? We have tall strippers, short strippers,
plump strippers. We give them the skyscrappers
is were very and midgets along with the Miss Americas. We
try to account for the varying tastes of our
r couch and "What type of girls are strippers?"
"There is no one particular 'type' of girl that
becomes a stripper. Strippers are extroverts and
k Ithey like show business. That is about all they
York. I \a have in common. And they all do it because they
, love it. I don't approve of the ones that do it just
Night They for the money."
"You are obviously enjoying your career
entertaining, in burlesque. Would you recomnmend a career
in strip tease to a Michigan coed?"
t happen?" "I don't know why not. In fact, the winner of
a girl named our amateur show last fall was a coed from Aiin
broke." Arbor. She was tall, and she came wearing bells
and beads. She really stole the show, even in the
of disrobing lobby. We called her 'Pat the hippy-stripper'."
i-burlesque WHEN THE INTERVIEW was over, Rose La-
ing is lewd Rose, along with Tom, Val Valentine, 'and Sand-
of Toledo ra Sexton, sat down to discuss. next weeks show.
They sifted through piles. of sheet music, hum-
ific comment med tunes to each other, and discussed costumes.
fighting the Miss LaRose exclaimed over the price of some
I don't want colorful sequined ribbon that will undoubtedly ap-
hat burlesque pear soon on the stage of the Esquire.
es or TV. We It was one in the morning, and I left with the
r stage. Our distinct impression t h a t the business of strip
e comes from tease was. as much a science as an art.
Miss Sandra Sexton
By HOWARD KOHN
(First of a three-part series)
JOHN WATSON was acquitted March 6
on a charge of assaulting newsman
Joe Weaver of Channel 2 (WJBK-TV).
But John Watson's dreams and convic-
tions are still on trial.
Watson's trade is journalism. His work
is revolution. He is editor of The South
End, student newspaper at Wayne State
"I am not interested in putting out a
newspaper according to so-called objec-
In high school he was quickly disgusted
by the attitude of educators who thought
they were doing him the world's biggest
favor in freeing him from the ghetto.
Instead he was captivated by Marx, Lenin
and Mao-writers who .are now outdated
according to most white radical ideolo-
gicians but who still speak the gospel to
religiously revolutionary blacks. ,
Watson emerged as a force in Detroit's
black proletariat groups, especially in the
League of Black Revolutionary Workers.
And in late 1967 he became a spokesman
as editor of the now defunct Inner City
and the'scene of two of this century's
bld'odiest race riots.
The change was more than symbolic.
Johnston redefined news to mean skep-
ticism and criticism of the WSU admin-
istration in exciting and exciteable essay-
editorials-in strong contrast to the old
Daily Collegian's campus calendar ap-
He also hacked expertly at the meat
of professional journalism, investigative
reporting, for which his paper elicited
praise from the executive director of the
300-member United States Student Press
fraternity socials no longer made the
front pages and dismayed because John-
ston compared Che Guevera to Jesus
Christ, started a competing paper. Despite
open support from administrators, the
challenger failed to last out the fall term
and Johnston stayed around to recom-
Husband and father of two children,
Watson dresses passively and carries little
of the embellished look of the propa-
ganda-paraphernalia on his office walls.
He is strangely, ethereally intense, pos-
sessing a sensitivity to history.