Burlesque Legend Dusty Summers is as nimble with her words as she is with her feet. She’s direct, opinionated, and seasoned with a sass decades in the making. Interviewing Summers was one of the highlights of our documentary team’s recent trip to Las Vegas and the Burlesque Hall of Fame weekend event June 1-4. During the trip we also visited Lacy’s Lounge, a more traditional strip club, but one that emphasizes performance over transactions. Documentary “Do the Dance” uses the examination of a precedent-setting 1969 strip club indecency trial to tell a broader story about the limits to Free Expression. The trial over bottomless dancing (full nude) go-go dancing made national news when Judge Earl Warren Jr. ruled the jury needed to see the dancer ‘do the dance.’ Summers worked at the trouble-making club, the Pink Pussy Kat in Orangevale, before embarking on a career as a touring exotic dancer. At age 69, Summers is still working as Las Vegas’ only stripping magician. Summers left the Pink Pussy Kat before -- at the urging of the club’s owner -- the performers started dancing bottomless. The fully-nude go-go performances starting a multi-year battle between the beer bar and the local authorities.
Years later, Summers shared a billing with the performer at the center of the trial Susanne Haines. After the trial, Haines won Miss Nude Universe in 1972 and was the headliner. While Haines famously fought to go fully naked, Summer didn’t want to show it all then and doesn’t now. To find out just what the sharp-tongued Summers said you’ll have to watch the documentary.
She was one of the featured performers at the Burlesque Hall of Fame weekend. Dustin Wax, executive director of the currently expanding hall was another one of our interviews.
Our two-night stay, also took us to Lacy's is located in North Las Vegas. It bills itself as Las Vegas' only Atlanta-style (hip hop) strip club. To pull himself out of a hole, longtime Michael Jackson impersonator and dancer Craig Parks started performing in male review shows then hosting big booty events before taking on his own space connected to the historic Palomino Club. We also talked to dancers Destiny and Dream.