Wondering... Inappropriate Dressing and Undressing

Who knows, maybe Funny Van Money will start a new trend of suburban al fresco stripping that will sweep the nation. It would certainly liven up living in the goddamn crabgrass.

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Aug 28 2012, 10:51pm

As a committed contrarian, I’ve always supported certain kinds of behavior that are counterintuitive or that directly conflict with societal norms and conventions, even those supported by logic or reason. An example of this would be inappropriate dressing, i.e., contravening the general protocol for how one is supposed to dress according to one’s age, or for the weather. This is why I have a soft spot for 50-year-old prostitutes and strippers, or girls who wear the briefest little mini-skirts with bare legs in the dead of winter. (In Winnipeg, a decidedly snow-swept city for long parts of the year, girls on weekends parade around in alarmingly skimpy outfits while clubbing to avoid the long coat-check lines, which I suppose has a certain logic to it.) On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve always had a deep appreciation for Jennifer Herrema of Black Bananas (formerly Royal Trux), who always seemed to wear multiple parkas and fur pieces on hot stages even in the summer months. Flying in the face of nature is always a valiant struggle.

So you can be sure that when I was approached in the early spring of this year in Berlin to photograph a stripper plying her wares in the great outdoors using any available pole that she could find, I jumped at the chance. The stripper in question goes pseudonymously by the name of Funny Van Money–a sweet German girl carrying on the timeworn tradition of putting herself through university by performing in strip clubs for geezers. But being a scholar of sorts, she decided to write a book about her experiences for an academic publisher, and she decided to enlist me for a photo shoot of her working the pole in the wide open spaces of a couple remote suburban districts, namely Berlin-Neukolln and Berlin-Britz. Her written work, alas, is available only in the German language. The publisher describes the book thusly:

“This is Niedersachsen and not Las Vegas, Honey is a stripper memoir by a cultural studies student with a certain approach. It tries to avoid the redlight-writing-cliches by phenomenological descriptions of what happened, but is also quite self-reflective. The main tone is a funny one–not the least reason why the author calls herself ‘Funny van Money.’ Funny travelled around Germany from one table dance bar to another, where she danced, talked and wrote. What came out is a sharp society analysis and reflection on temporary culture without any judgment. It is brought to the reader with a friendly and easy-going post-feminism point of view."

As a rather demure, post-feminist lady, she didn’t want to get naked for the photo shoot, as she does in the clubs. For this, she dressed up in her stripper gear and found some ad hoc poles in unlikely places on which to pose. After this, who knows, maybe she’ll start a new trend of suburban al fresco stripping that will sweep the nation. It would certainly liven up living in the goddamn crabgrass. What follows is a previously unpublished series of the resultant photos.

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