In 9 1/2 Years Behind the Green Door, readers are taken back to 1980s San Francisco and into the world of Simone Corday, a stripper working during the heyday of the infamous Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theater. Opened as an X-rated movie theater by brothers Jim and Artie Mitchell, the O'Farrell was and remains one of America's oldest, most notorious adult-entertainment establishments. This nightspot was the major force behind the normalization of lap dancing in strip clubs nationwide. Corday's memoir is a lengthy peek at the lives of the theater's management and employees, most notably her lover of ten years, Artie Mitchell.
The Village Voice
Brothers Jim and Artie Mitchell are sex-industry legends. They're the best known for producing several porn films (including Behind the Green Door) and running the infamous strip club, the O'Farrell Theater. Opened in 1969, the O'Farrell occupied a unique place at the center of a burgeoning San Francisco sexual subculture. It featured rooms with different themes, live girl/girl action, and stage shows, some of which were less standard striptease and more avant-garde performance art. Nina Hartley, a house dance at the O'Farrell in the mid-80's, says it was freewheeling, open, and laid-back: "What made it special was that there was live, hardcore lesbian sex. ...I loved that it was so easy to get some action every week. All I had to do was ask one of three or four women if they wanted company onstage. ...At least one woman per week would say yes, so I was like a kid in a candy store." Behind the scenes, the brothers hosted outrageous private parties where special guests were treated to fisting, bondage shows, and orgies. The theater attracted celebrities, rock stars, politicians, artists, writers, including Hunter S. Thompson, who spent a great deal of time there during Hartley's era researching a book called The Night Manager that was never published.
The brothers constantly pushed the envelope when it came to how much contact dancers could have with customers. It was one of the first clubs to offer live sex shows -- without glass separating the dancers from the audience -- and also nude lapdancing (until both were outlawed). The San Francisco mayor and district attorney repeatedly attempted to shut down the Mitchell brothers, conducting stings, raids, and arrests. The two spent a fortune defending themselves and won more than they lost. By many accounts, Jim and Artie were both inseparable best friends and frequently warring siblings.
Charles Gatewood graciously allowed me the use of one of his post-modern pinup photos for my bookcover. His books, prints and videos, plus a gallery of his images are available at http://www.charlesgatewood.com/. His photos document the history of the alt-sex community for the last 40 years.
The Center for Sex and Culture hosts a wide array of classes and events, including the monthly Erotic Reading Circle. Its site is sexandculture.org. The Center thrives because of the efforts of its founder, the accomplished author, speaker, and performer, Dr. Carol Queen. www.carolqueen.com
Good Vibrations, which is more than just the premier San Francisco Bay area & online sex-toy emporium. It was established by Joani Blank in 1975 as a friendly, "clean, well-lighted" alternative to conventional "adult" bookstores. They also offer books, videos, community events, and classes. http://www.goodvibes.com/
Jen Cross facilitates supportive erotic writing classes and workshops. Her site is www.writingourselveswhole.org/
Annie Sprinkle, Ph.D., Porn Star and Prostitute turned Sex Guru and Performance Artist, has written several books and co-directed and appeared in the terrific Annie Sprinkle’s Herstory of Porn --ANNIESPRINKLE.ORG. Annie appeared as a star at the O’Farrell when I was dancing there.
Susie Bright is a prolific author, speaker and editor of the popular Herotica series. She blogs at Susiebright.com. Susie appeared in Behind the Green Door, the Sequel.
Nina Hartley, sex-positive porn star, performer, speaker and author of Nina Hartley’s Guide to Total Sex, has a blog at www.nina.com Nina began dancing at the O’Farrell, appeared in the Mitchell Brothers film The Grafenberg Spot, and has frequently appeared as a star there.
Deborah Sundahl is a sex educator, author of Female Ejaculation and the G-spot, and director/producer of a video series on the subject. Her site is www.deborahsundahl.com. Deborah danced at the O’Farrell in the 80s and appeared in two Mitchell Brothers films.
Jamie Gillis is a legendary porn star and director. He developed the “On the Prowl” Gonzo porn series. His site is www.jamiegillis.com/
Spread Magazine is written by and for sex workers of all genders, sexualities, and backgrounds, and their allies. Its site is http://www.spreadmagazine.org.
www.Diaryofapeepshowgirl.blogspot.com is written by Chelsea O'Neill .
Strip City, a Stripper’s Farewell Journey Across America, was written by journalist/novelist Lily Burana. She danced at the O’Farrell in the early 90s, and was a named plaintiff in the class action suit against the theater. Lily’s blog is at www.lilyburana.com/
Candy Girl, A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper, was written by Diablo Cody, who worked in clubs in Minneapolis, and since then has become a screenwriter, and appeared on David Letterman. Her blog can be read at diablocody.blogspot.com/
How to Make Love like a Porn Star, A Cautionary Tale is the best-selling memoir by mega-star Jenna Jameson. Jenna’s site is at www.ClubJenna.com.
Lapdancer, by photographer/writer Juliana Beasley, was published by Powerhouse Books.
Heather Hunter made star appearances at the O’Farrell. She wrote a novel, Insatiable: The Rise of a Porn Star, that was published this summer. She is now a hip hop artist and painter whose site is www.heatherhunter.com/
Pretty Things, The Last Generation of American Burlesque Queens was written by Liz Goldwyn, who also produced and appeared in an HBO documentary of the same title.
Burlesque and the Art of the Teese/Fetish and the Art of the Teese, by Dita Von Teese. Her website is www.dita.net/