Archive for taxi dancer

Taxi Dancers by Eve Linkletter (Fabian Books Z120, 1958)

Posted in pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , on August 14, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Who was Eve Linkletter? We cannot seem to find any info on her and if anyone knows, please do drop a line.

It does not seem she was a man writing under a female pen name.  One, Taxi Dancers has a womanly touch and understanding to it; two, other Fabian titles she did, Our Flesh was Cheap and The Gay Ones, sports back cover photos of the author, an attractive woman, so we see Fabian leading the way of author looks marketing before the NY trade houses did, starting with Truman Capote’s first novel…

Little has been written, in fiction and non-fiction, about the curious early 20th Century occupation of taxi dancing, the precursor of stripping and lap dancing.  According to a wikipedia entry, the taxi-dance hall

is a uniquely American institution that was first introduced in 1913 within San Francisco’s Barbary Coast neighborhood. At that time reform movements were shutting down many bordellos and red-light districts within America’s cities, and strength for Prohibition was gaining. In 1920, when the taxi-dance halls began to enter their steep upward climb to popularity, Prohibition was enacted and made serving alcohol in saloons, bars, and cafes illegal. The taxi-dance hall’s roots can be traced to a number of earlier dance establishments.

There was an early Chicago School of New Sociology study, Paul Cressey’s The Taxi-Dance Hall, started in 1925 and published in 1938, and June Miller worked as a taxi dancer, that Henry Miller wrote of in various books, most notably Sexus. At the end of Last Tango in Paris, we see Marlon Brando at a taxi dance palace (hence the double meaning of the title). In my ethnography, Zona Norte, I discuss the evolution of taxi dancing, and while it is no longer something you can find (in old form) in the U.S., it is still common in Mexixo, where women dance for a dollar or ten pesos per song, and get drinks and tips too.  (NOTE…Borgo Press will soon release a cheaper paperback edition of my dissertation on sex workers in Tijuana and San Diego.)

In Taxi Dancer, women get ten tickets per song, each ticket costing ten cents…they can also get drinks at the bar, and they can get tips from men.  Some meet the men outside the dance palace. The book mainly revolves around young Linda, who went to New York as a high school theatre star, knowing she would take Broadway by storm, and soon destitute and desperate for work…so like many young women in that era, being a call girl, streetwalker, or taxi dancer were quick options.  She is naive about what happens and what is expected at such an establishment.  She is lured in with the promise of making 100 bucks a week, which turns out to really be more like 30 or 50, unless she is willing to sell her body…

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