cover image Naked: On Sex, Work, and Other Burlesques

Naked: On Sex, Work, and Other Burlesques

Fancy Feast. Algonquin, $18.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-64375-237-2

Burlesque performer Feast debuts with a frank and riotously entertaining memoir in essays. From a young age, Feast loved making costumes, and in high school, a production of Cabaret kick-started a lifelong love of performing risqué dance numbers. Into adulthood, Feast’s parents remained supportive of her interests, with her mother attending her burlesque performances while her father politely stayed home, sometimes brainstorming business strategies and branding opportunities. Feast supplemented her dancing income with a $12-an-hour day job at a sex shop, where she hawked sex toys, fended off handsy customers, and answered intimate sex questions from patrons who’d received subpar information from their doctors. In addition to her professional exploits as an entertainer and de facto sex educator, Feast graphically recounts many of her own sexual encounters, which involve pushing all manner of boundaries and sexual mores, including but not limited to group sex, bondage, and notions that fat women should be ashamed of their bodies. The effect is never purely titillating: she uses her experiences in the bedroom and on the burlesque stage to illuminate the human need for acceptance, love, comfort, and community. Such softness suffuses the volume and helps it touch readers’ hearts. This mind-expanding peek inside the erotic entertainment industry has more than its fair share of pleasures. Agent: Connor Goldsmith, Fuse Literary. (Oct.)