By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Inspired by a randomly received instructional package from the Women's Institute of Learning (based in Fort Worth), two "random" staffers (we'll call them Bella and Kittie) decided to embark on a striptease adventure.
Bella and Kittie began by contacting Paulette Belmore, president of the Women's Institute of Learning, who explained that the idea for the package was spawned during a discussion with her married friends about how to spice up their relationships. They had noticed that magazines were becoming more sexually explicit, but "15 Months of Kama Sutra" and "How to Tickle His Fun-cy" weren't necessarily realistic or doable for many women. Stripping for your significant other was suggested, but with no specifics. Belmore asked, "If you wanted to learn to do a striptease for your husband, where would you go?" No place, she found, outside of a distasteful and not wholly informative trip to Dallas' strip-club district.
Belmore researched various types of "instructional" stripping videos, but found them to be less than instructional and more often bordering on soft-core porn. The editing, camera work and even scenery seemed to be aimed at a male market, and the videos included a great deal of "in-your-face" elements that were not particularly women-friendly. The goal for her first project was now obvious: create a tasteful, educational tool to teach women to perform a choreographed striptease for a committed partner. Because, as Belmore says, "Does a man really want to see his wife do what a professional stripper does?" (Editor's note: Yes, please.)Maybe so, but does he really want to tip her?
With choreography reminiscent of the styles of the 1930s and 1940s, the video focuses more on the tease as artistic expression and less on techniques associated with the exotic, more "porny" dancing found in strip clubs. For His Eyes Alone--How to Strip for the Man You Love is more akin to a Gypsy Rose Lee performance than a Jenna Jameson tour.
Given this sort of information, anyone would be intrigued. So Bella and Kittie, daring and tenacious, took home the package (available at www.learningwomen.com and including a video, informational pamphlet and accompanying CD) and started taking off their clothes...
8:00 p.m.: Bella and Kittie dress in garments appropriate for stripping among friends.
8:10 p.m.: Insert tape (B and K read the pamphlet earlier in preparation for the night's events).
8:11 p.m.: First giggle. Tape explains basics concerning the lesson, including some warnings to the effect of "you might fall down, pull something or seriously damage the ego."
8:25 p.m.: The budding strippers demand more air conditioning and wish their clothing choices had not included angora or 5-inch heels.
8:30 p.m.: B realizes the difficulties in quickly unbuttoning whilst performing the "seductive walk." Tiny buttons, bad. Snaps, good.
8:35 p.m.: Dripping with sweat, B and K's attempts at the "seductive walk" and "hip swivel" come off more like the "painful lumber" and "hip replacement."
8:43 p.m.: Feeling accomplished having mastered the "cha-cha-cha" and "passe point," they are once again humbled by "floor work" (which is not recommended for those with knee or back problems...or in this case, for those with hardwood floors). K counts three dust bunnies under the couch during this portion.
Bella: "I discovered that I am a clumsy oaf. Plus I felt a pang of sympathy for men everywhere who have tried to unhook a bra in one smooth moment and failed miserably. But if I had to depend on stripping for my livelihood, I would die of starvation within the week."
Kittie: "I didn't feel like a graceful temptress or even the center-stage star of a champagne room. I did, however, feel aerobically challenged and ready to perform my new 'comedy routine' for my man. And yes, it does work."
Sack of Kittens
This week in Sack of Kittens: Supercell. Looks like? If this were, say, 10 years ago, they'd be suited up in flannel and ripped denim. Five years before that, hairspray and high heels. In 2002, that means the occasional pair of leather trousers, a so-last-season cowboy hat and so on. Because, as they explain, it's all about "maintaining the cutting-edge visual styles so desperately sought after by the MTV generation." Sounds like? A band that, as recently as six months ago, was probably making the cover-band circuit under the name the Doo Doo Golls or some such. Maybe Boys Named Goo or Black Balloons or something a little more subtle. You get the idea. Sample lyrics? "I find that walking away always seems to get me somewhere/And I find that I don't have the time for the things that get me nowhere," from the unsurprisingly titled "Walk Away." Which, after three or four listens, we rewrote. See if this grabs you any better: "I find that walking away (from this band) always seems to get me somewhere/And I find that I don't have the time for the things that get me nowhere (like this song)." Claim to fame? In March 2002, "Walk Away" reached the top of the charts on StationMP3.com in the alternative category, and the site later made the group one of its featured artists. StationMP3.com should not be confused with MP3.com or anything anyone would give a damn about. Quote from someone who sounds like he should be someone important but really isn't? "With music being pushed into the realm of pop, it's refreshing to hear music that has meaning and rocks," says Mike Turley, who apparently works at The Ticket, and we're pretty sure he was talking about Supercell. Number of kittens in the sack they're currently standing on? Four, because you have to stop this crap before it gets out of hand. --Zac Crain
Supercell performs November 8 at the Hard Rock Café, and November 10 at Trees.