Liberty Con AAR

At this point, it is almost anti-climatic to do a Liberty Con AAR, since it started a week ago today, and I’ve been home for half the week.

I’ll just say that having come home to a power line downed by a tree threw a bit of a spanner in the works, not to mention making crossing our yard verah interesting.

That’s taken care of, and I’m working again, so there is no excuse not to do an AAR.

I’ll start by saying the day we were to leave, my husband woke me up with the words “I think we’ll have to cancel.”

Here among friends, I’ll have to admit that part of me had been looking for an excuse to cancel for at least two weeks. No, not because I didn’t want to go, but because being an introvert and being away from cons for two weeks, going to a “biggish con” seemed almost unbearable. However, when he said that — besides feeling really guilty — I knew we couldn’t cancel. We couldn’t cancel, because there were people who — if not booking on purpose to meet me — had booked with that in mind.

But our air-conditioning had failed, and we couldn’t leave the cats to bake. They can’t open a window, after all. Lack of opposable thumbs. We considered boarding them, but that meant leaving Dan’s piano exposed to warping temperatures. Um…..

After much futzing around, we got it going halfway through the day, which meant getting to the con barely in time for my first panel, at 1 pm on Saturday.

Still not sure our fix would hold, we left a local friend in charge of checking (I owe him so many low-carb cookies) and took off.

The drive was unexceptionable, except for being through some very very beautiful country I’d never crossed and we got there as my panel was starting. Dan dropped me up front, and I ran in, while son went to the registration table to get my tag and little name thing for the table. He was also on that panel, which somehow got mucked between my concept and the panel person, so it wasn’t “Barbarella, teaching my mom to write comics in the 21st century” but just “Barbarella”. Also my need for a projector somehow got lost, probably my fault, as I was dealing with floor installers most of the last few months, and a little more brainless than usual. So, Marshall wasn’t on the list, but he was supposed to be.

We made do without the projector, but here I must break for proud mommy thing: Marshall who is the most introverted of the family, did wonderfully. (I have started introducing him to being in public/public personas, because at long last, very reluctantly, he’s started admitting he writes. He has always written. He wrote a play that followed the hero’s journey at THREE (It was a chameleon in search of a magic leaf. Don’t ask) and enacted it with puppets, but he’s so contrarian he didn’t want to join the family business. However, he still wrote. Now he’s writing a novel with me, and maybe I can get him to publish his sf mysteries too.) Anyway, I had doubts about how he would do at public appearances, but he was very good.

I was surprised the room was full that early, and more surprised by scattered clapping as I came skidding in at a half-run. I met a bunch of you there, particularly Herb and Ian.

Anyway, this was Friday and Dan and I realized we were busy the rest of the con, and if we wanted to go to the Acropolis — the best Greek restaurant anywhere we’ve been — it was our only chance. So we went out for a quiet dinner. As it turned out, the waiter was a fan, and had mistaken the date of the con, which is why he wasn’t there.

Afterwards we came to the memorial late (Seriously, guys, Chattanooga has GROWN and the traffic is horrendous.)

There was a miscalculation there. I didn’t realize for a bunch of introverts talking about feelings is painful. So we put the names of the honored dead up, and then chitchated about noting. I think we mortally offended people looking in.

If I had a suggestion, it would be that during opening or closing ceremonies, the names of the honored dead that year (people related to the con or people in our community) be read and a minute of silence observed. That would make it more proper, and easier on us who have trouble with feelings in general.

Anyway, after that I don’t remember the order of panels super-well. I remember the panel for the Give me Liberty Anthology, because it was next door to an Indian wedding. The music was so loud we could barely ear ourselves THINKING much less talking.

Any implication that the author was dancing through that panel is calumny. She’s not that type of writer! Any implication she involved Chris Kennedy in her malfeasance is even viler calumny. He’s not that kind of editor! (To be fair, he’d been there for 3 panels straight and was going a little nuts at the music.) Any further implication that Larry Correia was also dancing is further calumny. He’s not that type of mega bestseller! (He came up with the best theory, which is that the music was revenge on Larry and myself, because of what our ancestors did to Goa. I’ll buy it.)

Anyway, none of that happened, though if it had happened it would be tons of fun.

There were …. other panels. And there was a Hoyt reading which….

So I said I was proud of my kid, right? Yeah. Except this is the one that’s exactly like me, from the top of his little horns, to the bottom of his little hoofkins, which he don’t have.

In describing the book we’re writing together, he gave the impression…. Well, Herb asked if it was for adults only. I vehemently denied it, waving my hands and saying it’s not that type of book, I’m not that type of writer. To which my son OF COURSE responded by saying “So, we’ll start with the stripper scene.” There is no stripper scene. I’m not that kind of writer!

And so it went, with him reading in a weird British accent I had trouble understanding. In his defense, he trained himself out of a speech impediment at 11, by learning to speak in a posh British accent. He defaults to it when nervous.

Anyway, I read from Bowl of Red, which is ALSO NOT THAT KIND OF BOOK. And I’m not that kind of writer.

Then we closed with a comics panel where — heaven helps us — I might have been the only one doing the traditional thing in comics. I posted my thoughts on that panel here: How many miles to Babylon?

Anyway, Dan cut out his last panel on editing, because we had to leave. The guys wanted to stay till Monday, but I had a bad feeling we needed to get back home. I was right as we had downed power line shortly after getting back. And see our strong objections to baking cats.

Hopefully next year — supposing everything else holds. Yeah, I know — we’ll be able to stay a day before and a day after, because the recovery was monstrous, particularly from introvert-shock after that many people for three days.

Anyway, the weird thing about this con was how little time I had with friends. I was happy to see the Correias again and to meet Hinkley, who is older son’s secret sister (Seriously, they look more like siblings than they do like their real siblings. Curiously older son was also first published at thirteen. Something in the design, maybe?) I was both surprised and happy to see Kevin J. Anderson who used to live just down the road from us, and who, now with shaved head, looks rakish and piratical. Also glad to see all my LC friends, including Uncle Lar, who didn’t recognize me.

Oleg Volk took pictures of me, and there will be a new profile pic, by and by. (It was sudden and unexpected, so no make up and I look a bit iffy, but hey.)

And now I’m going to figure out why the dryer is trying to break itself on the sheets, and do some quick house cleaning (like two hours) before I sit down to finish the Malta Story, because I don’t want Law Dog to kill me.

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot the most fun part of the con: I assaulted Law Dog TWICE, by hugging him. TBF the second time I didn’t see him, until he stood in front of me and demanded to be assaulted. But let it not be said I let a redhead go unassaulted. As grandma would say “I’m married and old, but not dead or blind.” Or to put it another way: I’m not that kind of writer.

Darkship Thieves was supposed to go up for pre-order this weekend, but between my editor and I we had some version control issues, so it’s adjourned till next week.

And I think that’s it. Till tomorrow.

137 thoughts on “Liberty Con AAR

  1. And about the only delivery (and not ACME)… and just what did that fellow on the panel get up to earlier, anyway? };o) He seemed… a bit.. concerned.

    1. Oh, yes. Dear Lord. I can’t believe I forgot to write that.
      So, Acme delivered me THREE AXES. (Y’all are warned. I have worse than fish to throw.)
      As it happened, I was arguing with the panelist next to me when it was delivered, and he immediately said “I don’t know why the gnu gave you axes, but I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.” 😀
      I am SO HAPPY with my axes, Particularly this weekend. 😀

              1. Grumble Grumble

                Yes, I meant the fish not the word for feces/garbage/trash.

                Still I spelled it correctly even if it was the wrong word. 😉

      1. Can’t believe it took me this long. Are you going to call your three axes X, Y and Z? 😛

  2. “If I had a suggestion, it would be that during opening or closing ceremonies, the names of the honored dead that year (people related to the con or people in our community) be read and a minute of silence observed. That would make it more proper, and easier on us who have trouble with feelings in general.”

    If you insist, but we Irish do wakes. We’ve been known to get boisterous.

    1. The last “wake” that my daughter and I attended at a local small bar/restaurant (for a very dear friend) got so … interesting when an exchange between the sister of my late friend and one of the acquaintances got so heated that a pair of police officers got involved. The officers were in the main dining room on their supper break, but still…

  3. Sorry I missed you there. You were swarmed after the Barbarella panel, and I missed the others.

  4. Well, I remember sitting with you and Dan, along with Stephen Euin Cobb and his mom and sister, and J. D. Beckwith, as the Baen reception wound down, talking about nothing in particular and anything that came to mind. Good times…

  5. Please clarify two points: did you get there on Friday or Saturday? If Friday, why was that just in time for a 1300 Saturday panel?

    More importantly, how does one fix one’s own AC and can this technique be applied to heat pumps, or better, can I do it?

    1. Friday. The panel was at 13:00 Friday.
      Oh. We just turned off power to the entire house then back on, and that WORKED.
      The electrical is borked and we don’t know which circuit is the AC. The one marked AC is actually the upstairs floor, not the AC at all.
      We also power washed the condenser, or our friend did while we were gone, which made it not pop again.

      1. Yeah; our breakers have typed labels, but about half are in red ink, which is starting to fade after forty or so years.

          1. Yeah, we found out ours were too when we got the home generator installed….. Grrrr.

            If you don’t know what you’re doing, leave it alone.

          2. The Reader’s sons house is the same. However, it was built in 2015. The Reader had to trace some circuits to support some home automation for his son. It took most of two days and left the Reader wondering how the electrical passed inspection.

        1. Yeah, I need to relabel the main panel. Who wrote it had worse handwriting than me.

          FWIW, there’s a two part widget for tracing 110 V circuits. Plug the first part in the socket under question (be very German about the questioning…), and the second part will let you trace the wires back. When it gets to the breaker box, the second part will have a hissy fit and you won’t be able to trace the active circuit with the sensor. All/most of the wires will do the “I am Spartacus” bit. Start throwing breakers until the beeping quits. It’s a bit faster than getting shouty between the outlet/equipment and the breaker box. Usually.

          I haven’t seen one for 220V setups.

          I had to unbork some outlets at church one time. For reasons known only to the installers and God, they did two circuits and fed them with a 220V circuit, sharing the neutral. The finish wiring was creative, and I had a few outlets that fried their neutral pigtails. Outlets on poorly insulated really cold at times outside wall, in a kitchen/dining environment. No idea why it was only the neutral. To make things more fun, part of the circuits were on the upper floor. I fixed what was necessary, prayed a bit (Saints Ampere, Volta and Watt might have been invoked. Loki was not called. No sir! No comment on Coyote…) and stayed away from the electrical panel from then on. The church is still standing; I think the congregation that bought the building fixed a lot of problems.

      2. When we moved to this location (alright, before the actual move) we made a point of mapping out the electrical system. It… well, it’s very 1949. Which is why we ran a couple 20A circuits to places we knew we’d need them. The phone lines… as the guy from the telco summed it up, “$PreviousOwner thought he was a telephone engineer.” So.. his stuff was abandoned-in-place and we ran all new for phone & network. It was easier that way. Really.

        1. Our place, the previous owner has apparently run an Ethernet line through the wall to connect the office area with where the main cable dropped.

          Funny thing is, I never really figured out how to get at the line and discovered Wifi6 seems to be both just as fast, and way easier to deal with, especially in a house full of electronics.

        2. The Reader in his previous house ran Cat-5, coax, phone and speaker home runs everywhere in the house during construction. Did the plans in 1995 and did not anticipate the impact of RF technologies. Didn’t end up hooking most of it up – it was coiled in the electrical closet (fortunately well marked). When the Reader sold the house a couple of years ago he gave the new owner the plans but told him he’d be better if he ignored it all. Current house has 6 Ethernet jacks placed strategically for mesh WiFi nodes and nothing else.

        3. The worst I heard was a guy who worked for Western Electric and brought home a boatload of the multi-wire cable. Which he used to power the basement electrics. All done in the days before home inspections were common.

          I have a WiFi router sitting next to the satellite internet receiver. Older (2.4GHz) equipment doesn’t work well in the kitchen when the microwave is active, but the 5GHz is fine. When our old Dish TV receiver died, the replacement uses both the satellite dish for content, plus the internet for administrivia. The TV is dumb, and any replacement will be used as such, assuming I can set it up that way.

      3. They make gizmos that have a thingummy that you plug into an outlet, and a beep-boop whatisis that you point at the circuit breakers and it goes beep-boop when you find that outlet’s circuit breaker. (Yes, those are the correct technical terms.) We have a 100+ year old house, and it has proved to be worth every penny. (Although there are some breakers that, while there are wires connected, don’t seem to power anything anymore. I think all I can do with those is switch them off and see if anything stops working. That’s a mystery for another day.)

        Here’s the assortment you get when you search “circuit breaker finder” at Lowes:
        I imagine that you could find the same things elsewhere.

    2. Hmm. Now I’m wanting to see you start the book with a scene where the main character is stripping wallpaper off the walls… But you’re not that type of writer and it’s not that type of book.

      (I had a good friend who stripped floors at the university as his evening job and he would comment on working his way through seminary as a stripper.)

      1. Well, we are due at least 3 more furniture finishing mysteries.

        And let’s not terrorize Pythagoras by being in the chase scene this time 🙂

      1. Well, to Chattanooga, anyway. My wife and I had to stop by the Hot Chocolatier, a small shop over by the (late and lamented) Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel. I will admit to being a bit disappointed that their squirrel blend hot chocolate only contained hazelnut and cinnamon along with the chocolate, but no actual squirrel…

          1. I haven’t eaten it in years, but as a boy it was a regular part of the meat we got in the winter, coming from the barrel of a 16 gauge…

        1. We were driven to the Chattanooga airport by a Uber driver who was also a chocolatier. Robert Emery Chocolates, though.

  6. Definitely looking forward to Bowl of Red after hearing the reading, and I also picked up Uncharted at the con and am thoroughly enjoying it!

    RE the introvert thing, yeah, this is the biggest con I go to; the only other regular con I go to is a gaming con (North Texas RPG Con) which is both smaller than LC and a pure gaming con: there are no seminars or panels (though this may be changing) just gaming sessions. So we’re forced to interact with each other, but only in groups of four to ten.

    I interacted less with people at LC 2022 than I did at any of the other three I’ve been to, including my first one. Tended to go right back up to my room to veg out with a book between cons (Heinlein’s Friday).

    I did make it a point to interact with the con suite staff by bringing donations (oatmeal-cranberry cookies, chocolate-almond meringue-like cookies, and maple-coconut candies). For liberal definitions of “interact”.

  7. “And now I’m going to figure out why the dryer is trying to break itself on the sheets.”

    If the dryer came with the house, the most likely cause is the hose felting up. You can get lint-cleaning brushes on Amazon or you can call a chimney-cleaning service to clear out all the lint.

    If you brought the dryer with you, but didn’t install a new hose, it could also be that, or possibly interior build-up of lint. See above.

    1. A couple of years after getting my current dryer, it stopped drying when I came back from a vacation. It would stop itself automatically a few minutes after starting up. Checked the hose, and something had built a nest inside; it was filled with brush and grass! No idea where the grass came from—my lawn certainly didn’t provide it.

      1. Had to get new springs (or struts or springs or snubbers or some such) on our washer not that long ago. Franklin & Grant handled it, IIRC.

    1. Cons can be a blast. It’s usually better to go with friends, or to meet them if they’re already there. Going by your lonesome can be counter-productive, especially if you let your introversion take over. I’ve found the best way to overcome the introversion is to keep a particular extroverted persona in mind, and do your best to become that person. Sort of cos-play yourself as the cool person who likes everyone and wants to talk and hear everything they have to say.

      And yes, it can be exhausting being a better you.

      1. I always try to believe that the person or people I’m with are very similar to me, and would really appreciate a smile and an amusing word or two from a stranger who just happened to jump on the elevator with them (or wherever we meet). It usually works, both to get me a bit outgoing and to make them smile at my temporary company.

  8. I remember the panel for the Give me Liberty Anthology, because it was next door to an Indian wedding. The music was so loud we could barely ear ourselves THINKING much less talking.

    Any implication that the author was dancing through that panel is calumny. She’s not that type of writer! Any implication she involved Chris Kennedy in her malfeasance is even viler calumny. He’s not that kind of editor! (To be fair, he’d been there for 3 panels straight and was going a little nuts at the music.) Any further implication that Larry Correia was also dancing is further calumny. He’s not that type of mega bestseller! (He came up with the best theory, which is that the music was revenge on Larry and myself, because of what our ancestors did to Goa. I’ll buy it.)

    Here, Sarah, you and Larry have it totally wrong. The music was a sign from God that your books should be made into Bollywood musicals. I’ve already suggested that Bollywood should do the movie version of Son of the Black Sword and sequels, but now that I think the Shifters series would do even better in that format; Tom and Kyrie’s courtship would be perfect if accompanied by sitars. Someone with contacts who have contacts who have contacts in the Indian film industry needs to hook Sarah and Larry up with that ASAP, along with figuring our which sexy Indian actor would be perfect for the role of Tom.

    1. The Shifters books would be perfect for Bollywood.

      And I say that as a committed Bollywood fan. Hollywood should relearn how to make movies from them.

    1. Hey, it’s AAR, not ARR! You’re getting LibertyCon mixed up with PirateCon! 😛

  9. Yep, a LOT of people were having problems ‘peopling’ again… I didn’t get an assault, but I at least waved to you as we passed in the hall. I spoke to Dan once, but that was it. Everybody was busy, but it was nice to get back to a Con with friends! Next year will be better!

    1. Entrapment works too. Bring a tray with a bunch of yummies on it and offer them to people you’re interested in. The inevitable question of where you got the snacks makes a sneaky icebreaker. (Obviously that won’t work if you’re in one of those places that doesn’t allow outside foods to be brought in. Barbarians!)

  10. She left out the part where some random troublemaker trolled the hell out of Marshal after a panel. Probably cruel for one so introverted, but then the inflictor wasn’t particularly advanced in social skills either.

    1. I might not have seen it happen but I don’t think either you or him is going to live that one down!

  11. My wife and I were there for the reading, and it was a hoot! Please assure Marshall that even if he was either nervous or introverted, it didn’t show and he did a fine job.

  12. I am so happy to hear you made it to LibertyCon!! I’m totally jealous. I’m aiming for BasedCon this September but this requires serious ammo in my moneycannon…

    I am stuffing dolla bills in the barrel now.

  13. Come, the title is (for the uninformed) “Cat Valour and the Cosmic Twins”.

    How can it NOT be that kind of book?

    PS. If any of the Little Brothers are harmed by the plot not only will I be very cross but I’ll see to interception of any orange kittens. You have been warned.

          1. Understood.

            However, given Ian’s comment, how could I be expected to resist the opportunity to provide some gunnery practice for the carp gunners of whatever era (catapult, trebuchet, cannon, etc.).

  14. I wish I’d been able to go. I have a reminder set for July 16 to get tix for next year. I am going to FenCon here in Dallas in September. That will be my first con evah!

    1. Just a note for anyone planning to get LC tickets. When they say ticket sales start at noon (EDT) on July 16, THEY MEAN “BE THERE!” They sold out in 27 minutes after opening sales, last year.

    2. It would have been nice to have you there for sure! I still had a lot of fun even just hanging around the lobbies to chat and eat with Huns between panels!

  15. Thanks for mentioning the Acropolis! We’ll have to try it next time. We were happy with every restaurant we went to — have to confess that going out to eat is a major hobby of ours. The Boathouse, Tony’s Pasta, Tupelo Honey, City Diner… we’re also diner fans.

      1. That’d be cool. LibertyCon was my wife’s first SF con, but we didn’t have enough time to talk with folks. Great panels. A few extra conversations in consulted and the halls, but just not enough.

        And next year we won’t have to leave early to set out for wife’s family reunion, which involved driving home Sunday to leave Monday on a road trip to Montana.

      2. A Hun dinner would be awesome! They ‘re also doing the banquet again next year, which is .. Friday night? Saturday night?

  16. Sarah A. Hoyt In my defense I was as usual focused on catching the next elevator and where I was going when a VERY enthusiastic lady leaps upon me and smothers me in a hug. My specs are for distance and you were right up in my face so I had to take them off to see who you were and glance at your badge. Once you spoke your identity was of course obvious. Then too, before I recognized you my situational awareness kicked in as you were escorted by these two very large and threatening gentlemen. Cut me some slack, haven’t seen Dan in person in what three years, and cannot even remember the last time I was introduced to Marshal.

  17. We had our powerlines buried from the road to the house. Cost a bit more, but we don’t have to worry about wind, snow, ice, trees, bad drivers, or government agents easily bringing down the lines. (The bad guys have to either kill power to the entire neighborhood, or break into locked steel transformer boxes – they want to kill my power, they have to work for it.)

    1. Our feeds are underground, but the 12.5kV line is on poles.

      Ten years ago the pole transformer started blowing its fuse. Pac Power came to replace it; worked OK until I started to draw more than a few watts, so they had to come again. The lineman told me that at one point (before 2004 anyway), it was legal to run the 220V feed without conduit, leaving it potentially susceptible to ground squirrels. Joy. Not!

      As it turns out, the pole transformer was from a crummy batch, and swapping to a new transformer was the appropriate cure.

      It’d be possible to kill power by cutting the wires at the conduit from the pole transformer.

      One could get creative with a D4 Cat to take out a transformer box where the 12.5kV line is buried.

  18. Your use of the definite article “the,” when mentioning finishing the Malta Story, implies that it is a single Malta Story.

  19. Good clear report. You keep it up and you’ll make that second stripe in 12 or 15 years.

    Glad the cats survived, too.

  20. I really, really should go to BayCon and write up an AAR of the con, but I suspect it would read like a massive, cocaine-and-speed-and-booze-fueled rant, something that even Hunter S. Thompson would go “maybe you should lay off some of the stuff and relax a bit.”

    Which sucks, because I considered this one of my “home” conventions once upon a time.

    But, I’m glad you had as enjoyable a time as was possible under the circumstances.

  21. “why the dryer is trying to break itself on the sheets” — I realize that proper American society no longer views an old-fashioned clothes line as respectable but wind and sun not only dry sheets but they sanitize as well.

    1. We curtailed the use of the thermonuclear dryer when $TINY_TOWN dust soiled the sheets before they could dry. The occasional bird droppings didn’t help, nor did the neighbors who felt it was their duty to drive as fast on their gravel drive as possible.

      I redid the mount location to be a bit less susceptible to dust, but it’s going to be iffy.

      1. Er… I’m not the patriarchy.
        And in my defense, yer honor, LawDog is a cute redhead. I’m married and faithful, but not dead.
        hug-assaults are permitted.

  22. As an introvert making a living in sales, I can testify that it can be done- I’ve even learned to enjoy interactions with folks I don’t know. Manners give us the framework (and I live in an area where manners are prized, and expected)- once you understand the framework, it gets easier. I’ve learned to control conversations (in sales), and to speak up when people get too inquisitive. I do need my recharge “alone” time in the workshop- but once I realized that interacting with people is a skill that can be learned, my life changed.

  23. I know I’m late to the party and it is possible somebody has already addressed this, but I could SWEAR there were stripper scenes in the Dyce Dare Mysteries! Heck, the first book is freaking titled “DIPPED, STRIPPED AND DEAD”.

        1. BTW: This was in the Washington Post today (link is paywalled), noting the passing of an era:

          Betty Rowland, the last grande dame of burlesque, dies at 106
          Betty Rowland, the original “Ball of Fire,” was a grande dame of burlesque, a voluptuous 5-foot-1 dancer with flaming red hair — thus the stage name — and an energetic bump and grind. Her striptease, she liked to say, was more tease than strip, although she often left the stage wearing nothing more than sequined pasties and a G-string.

          A contemporary of 1930s and ’40s burlesque stars such as Gypsy Rose Lee, Sherry Britton and Zorita, Ms. Rowland filled theaters from Times Square in New York to Main Street in Los Angeles, where West Coast promoters dubbed her “the biggest shake since the 1906 quake.”

          As an orchestra played jazz standards like “In the Mood,” she pirouetted across the stage in a Grecian gown or a floor-length dress with a slit up to the hip. Then, to the horror of the Vice Squad, she would perform a languid maneuver known as the German Roll, in which she bent forward, touched her hands to the floor and rolled upward, with her feet turned out in the fifth position.

          “Let’s put a little juice in the Ballets Russes,” she would say in one of her signature routines, “and give the dying swan a little goose.” She went on, “In a classical kind of way, do you mind if I put a bump in this ballet?”

          Ms. Rowland was 106 when she died April 3 at an assisted-living center in Culver City, Calif. Her death, which was not widely reported at the time, was confirmed by her friend Leslie Zemeckis, who did not give a cause. It was reported by the New York Times on Wednesday.

          “She was absolutely the last burlesque legend,” said Zemeckis, who interviewed Ms. Rowland for “Behind the Burly Q,” a 2010 documentary about the art form. In a phone interview, she described Ms. Rowland as a crucial link to an era when burlesque was more or less mainstream entertainment, a staple of theaters like the Minsky’s burlesque chain in New York, where dancers shared a bill with comedy acts, singers, jugglers and gymnasts.


          Ms. Rowland launched her career in show business at age 11, performing in a vaudeville act with her sister Roz Elle, also known as Rosie. As she told it, they danced together for about four years before drifting into burlesque during the Depression, when they were booked for a week at the Old Howard theater in Boston.

          “We told ourselves we wouldn’t pay any attention to those horrible people taking their clothes off and telling dirty jokes,” she told the Los Angeles Times in 1966. “But we found that backstage it was like one big family. And those free Saturday night lunches! Well, we stayed another week.”

          Ms. Rowland went on to work with comedians including Abbott and Costello, Joey Faye, Rags Ragland, Phil Silvers and Joe Yule, the father of actor Mickey Rooney. By the standards of the pornography and strip clubs that followed, her performances were tame.

          “The girls now, they start where we used to leave off,” she told the Los Angeles Times in 1992. She recalled that well into the 1940s, men came to her shows accompanied by dates. But over the next two decades, burlesque performances grew raunchier as they competed with television, movies and the rise of men’s magazines like Playboy.


          By age 14, Ms. Rowland was doing a full striptease. She and her sisters settled in New York, where Dian, the oldest, performed as “Society’s Favorite,” carrying a diploma onstage and stripping with a cap and gown. Roz Elle was known as the “Golden Girl,” doing acrobatic routines while wearing nothing but a layer of gold paint. She later became a baroness after marrying one of the wealthiest men in Europe, Jean Empain of Belgium; when he died of cancer in 1946, she married his first cousin, who was also a baron.


          At times, Ms. Rowland’s striptease got her in trouble with the law. She was fined $250 for lewdness in 1939, after a police officer imitated her routine on the witness stand, and in 1952 her act was shut down altogether. According to Ms. Rowland, the theater manager was filling in at the box office that night and failed to recognize a pair of Vice Squad officers, refusing to let them in free.


          Like other burlesque queens, Ms. Rowland effectively self-produced her own shows, selecting her music and wardrobe. “Zippers aren’t safe,” she observed. “The glamour’s all gone if you have to stop and wrestle with a zipper that gets jammed.”

          She ran into other issues at the start of her career. During her first striptease performance, she became so involved in the music and dance steps that she forgot to take her clothes off. “I remember my one sister standing in the wings, and she’s saying, ‘Why don’t we take off a jacket?’ I was more interested in music,” she told Goldwyn.

          The audience “all thought I was teasing,” she added, “and I really wasn’t.”

      1. I remember teasing you because you once mistyped the title as “Dipped, STRIPPER and Dead.” Are you sure there’s not secretly a porn writer in your subconscious struggling to get out? 😛

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