Saturday, February 12, 2011

Karen Abbott

Karen Abbott worked as a journalist on the staffs of Philadelphia magazine and Philadelphia Weekly, and has written for and other publications. She is the author of Sin in the Second City.

From Abbott's Q & A with Randy Dotinga at the Christian Science Monitor about her new book, American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee:

Q: What's interesting to you about Gypsy Rose Lee?

Her story is the quintessential rags-to-riches story. A half century before Madonna, she knew how to make performance out of desire. There's the timeliness of her story – if Lady Gaga and Dorothy Parker had a love child it would be Gypsy Rose Lee – and the fact that she was this brand before branding existed.

Q: How did you discover her?

I blame everything on my grandmother; I blame all the fun things on her.

She's 92, and she was always telling me stories about growing up in the Great Depression. She told me about a cousin who saw Gypsy Rose Lee in 1935 and said it took her 15 minutes to pull off a single glove. She was so good at it that he would have given 15 minutes more to watch her take off another glove.

Q: There were other strippers at the time, but she stood out. How come?

She has this really...[read on]
Read another interview with Karen Abbott and visit her website.

The Page 69 Test: Sin in the Second City.

The Page 99 Test: American Rose.

--Marshal Zeringue