Alum Jennifer Worley's New Memoir Is 'Neon Girls: A Stripper's Education in Protest and Power'

Thursday, July 23, 2020

SFGATE -- The signage once provided a beckoning glimmer in the entryway of San Francisco’s last peep show in North Beach: The Lusty Lady Theatre, located on the southwest corner of Broadway and Kearny Street. Now, it provides Worley with a reminder of her previous identity: a girl in a blonde wig named Polly — sometimes Delinqua — who funded her way through graduate school at San Francisco State University by dancing in the late ’90s. What she didn’t know, however, was that her efforts for strippers to have better working conditions would forever shape the history of San Francisco’s sex industry.

That’s the focus of Worley’s newly-released memoir, “Neon Girls: A Stripper’s Education in Protest and Power,” which recounts her time dancing and organizing at the Lusty Lady: a club where dancers formed the world’s first stripper’s union and became worker-owners of their own cooperative theater. Though the Lusty Lady closed in 2013, their activism had a lasting impact on organizing of efforts of strippers and sex workers to this day, and might just hold the key to surviving closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.