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Author Topic: 80-year-old Vegas stripper still does it ‘classy’  (Read 1495 times)
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WhiskeyGirl
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« on: July 12, 2008, 04:11:17 PM »

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80-year-old Vegas stripper still does it ‘classy’

‘Girl with the Fabulous Front’ still taking it all off — very slowly


LAS VEGAS - Tempest Storm is fuming. Her fingers tremble with frustration. They are aged, knotted by arthritis and speckled with purple spots under paper skin.

But the manicure of orange polish is flawless and new, and matches her signature tousled mane. She brushes orange curls out of her face as she explains how she's been slighted. She is the headliner, you know. She is a star. She is classy.

"I don't just get up there and rip my clothes off," she says.

Indeed, the 80-year-old burlesque queen takes her clothes off very slowly.

More than 50 years ago she was dubbed the "Girl with the Fabulous Front" and told by famous men she had the "Best Two Props in Hollywood." Since then, Storm saw the art that made her famous on the brink of extinction. Her contemporaries — Blaze Starr, Bettie Page, Lili St. Cyr — have died or hung up the pasties.

But not Storm. She kept performing. Las Vegas, Reno, Palm Springs, Miami, Carnegie Hall.

(snip)

Storm is rarely wistful. She has no doubt she still is what she once was. Although she performs just handful of times a year, she would do more, if asked. She chides those who think age takes a toll on sex appeal.

(snip)

She was Annie Blanche Banks then. The 22-year-old sharecropper's daughter had fled sexual abuse, two loveless marriages and poverty in small-town Georgia, she says. She was working as a cocktail waitress but wanted to be a showgirl. First, she needed her teeth fixed.

(snip)

"Do you think my bust is too big for this business?" she asked Hunt at her audition.

Hunt put her in the chorus line, told her not to gain a pound and called a dentist.

In Storm's telling, she didn't stay long in the background. She got a new name. ("I really don't feel like a Sunny Day.") She took to the spotlight quickly. Then and now, she blossomed to the chorus of hoots and cheers.

The trick is having a warm presence, an inviting smile, she says.

When she takes the stage, she lets her mind float back to "Georgie." She imagines herself as a little girl, in her best dress, running down the road to meet her daddy coming home from work.

"I feel that I am that little girl dressed up out there. I got a picture in my whole mind of it. I can see that little girl," she says.

On stage, the image is frozen there.

But it's not the end of the story Storm tells. If she plays out the memory, the little girl is stopped in her tracks as an aunt blurts out a truth that pains her today.

"That's not your real father."

Never stop doing what you love
On Sundays, Storm tunes in to a televangelist who tells her anyone can overcome odds. It's the only religion she's ever taken to.

She believes this is the lesson of her life. Be a survivor. Never stop doing what you love, it makes you who you are.

"If you want to get old, you'll get old," she says.

There have been men who disappointed her, financial strain, brain surgery.

After it all, she sits on her couch and exercises in front of the television on a small stationary bike. She doesn't smoke or drink or eat much.

"I'm just blessed, I think. And I know when to push myself away from the table."

If some might see all this as chasing after lost youth, she says she cares little. Younger dancers tell her she is an inspiration to them, and she has no reason not to believe them.

"I feel good about myself. And I enjoy it," she says. "I have fun when I'm onstage, and the audience loves it. Nobody ever said it's time to give it up. Why stop?"

(snip)

Staring up at the 80-year-old woman in fishnets, a sheer rhinestone bra and a G-string, a young woman turns to a young man and declares:

"I want to look like that when I'm her age."

read the rest of the story and watch the video here -

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25640691/&GT1=43001
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