Saturday, April 9, 2016

Naked celebrity selfies suggests time right for free expression documentary

The Pink Pussy Kat in Orangevale went to court over the right to dance fully nude.

In many ways, a documentary was the logical step.
From the moment I pulled the fading stack of newspaper clips on Sacramento's Pink Pussy Kat trial I knew I wanted to tell the story somehow.
I'd brushed aside earlier consideration of doing a documentary, preferring to keep my eye on the prize: a major release feature film.
I'm not saying my initial mission was wrong, but it's time to pivot. This is a story that's ripe for the telling. Big stars like Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian West and Emily Ratajkowski are making news by sharing their naked bodies in the name of free expression.
Hey, Emily, Kim and Miley here is a more meaningful way to address the issue of free expression.
Here are some of the questions our documentary will tackle:
Was the push to go full nude at strip clubs in the late 1960' about free expression or exploitation?
How have our social more changed since the flower power movement?
How is it that Sacramento has all but eradicated strip clubs, yet they're all over Portland?
With our the acquisition of KCRA's coverage of the trial, for the first time we're able to see and hear the players first hand. It's 20 minutes of some pretty amazing footage: including some of Carol Doda dancing during the trial.
The question before my cohorts is whether to go after a modest prize of a 20-minute documentary or to develop the plan for an hour-long version that could land on HBO or Showtime?
Secondary question: How do we get Emily, Kim or Miley involved?

Don't miss future developments sign up for the Perpetual F mailing list . See out other project at 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Fashion short film happy detour from feature project

In my perfect world, I'd be an idea man.
I'd dream up applications, inventions,  movies and a team of engineers, scientists, planners and artisans would execute the plan.
The closest I ever came was when I mused about putting our female high school principal's head on playboy spread's body and a classmate brilliantly executed that idea in an era before photoshop. (But I digress. )
The point is I get a lot of ideas.
And with my "you can't do that filter" set to "off," I tell myself I can do a lot of things.
Time and money define my limits.
New to this world of "yes, you can" my natural tendency is to flit. Start a script, begin a project, plan a revolution.
(But) Success isn't the number of ideas you hatch, it's the number that survives.
It's dogged determination (and positive encouragement) that have got me this far with my film project and script "Pink."
But at the same time bring an evolved artist means knowing how to juggle. Using other parts of the brain is helpful. So is thinking about another work. Sometimes a short project is just the distraction that shakes the mind into seeing the evasive solution to your original story.
So it was with that I launched "le chapeau genial."
You can hardly tell by looking at me, but I've never been into fashion.
Several years ago, I left a film mixer determined to come up with a viable idea for "Fashion on Film," an exhibit of films created through the California Film Foundation for Sacramento Fashion Week.
I can't remember exactly how the idea hit me, but I remember it being clear. Based on a story my dad Joseph Fletcher told me, the script wrote itself.
Then it sat for multiple years.
As this year's "Fashion on Film" approached, I had plenty of reason to let it go, again.  I'm in the middle of a rewrite. I couldn't find fashion partner. We got a late start. We had no budget, couldn't get key prop, the location fell through and snowstorm came rolling in.
But there were plenty of good reasons to do it.
Fashion week would/will provide another opportunity to seek support for the feature film.
On a more personal level, it would provide an opportunity to do something suitable for my two school age nieces to see -- something I can't say about earlier projects.  It would also feel good to do it for my dad. He's a storyteller. Sometimes a long and meandering storyteller. I'm listening, Pop.
Several times in the one-week preproduction, I thought "well this is when we quit." I'm not sure if director DQ Hayes thought the same thing. But he didn't say it. And I didn't say it. And we just kept putting our head down and finding solutions.
A storm Friday dropped heavy rain in the valley and snow in the mountains. But by 8:30 a.m. Saturday I-80 was clear and our caravan of parents and crew arrived in Soda Springs without incident.
The shoot went great and we even had some time for sledding afterward.
Le chapeau génial is expected to screen Feb. 24 during Sacramento Fashion Week. It features fashion from Girly Sparkles & Handsom Shop and stars Alexandria Williams.
"Le chapeau génial" (the funky hat) tells the story of a little girl who decides the hat her mother wants her to wear isn't cool.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Carol Doda's dead, now what

Death of would be documentary star adds urgency to project 

Carol Doda performing at Chuck Landis' Largo during Sacramento obscenity trial 

By Ed Flethcher
Meeting Carol Doda always seems a matter of when, not if.
Once I began to pursue producing a film about Sacramento’s infamous strip club indecency trial, I’d decided Doda could be key in securing more media coverage and access to financial backers.
The world famous San Francisco entertainer turned the 1969 trial into a national story when she was called to testify by performing a striptease for the jury.
Doda’s cooperation and (hopefully) support would open the doors to media coverage and financial backers, I’d reasoned.
While I briefly spoke with her (more on that later), I never got my interview.
She died Nov. 9  at age 78 due to complications related to kidney failure.
Doda’s death and the passing of Sacramento County Undersheriff Larry Stamm is a sad reminder that time is of the essence when it comes to uncovering dusty historical gems contained in human memories.
When the project was first conceived it was singular in focus: produce a feature-length film on the arrest and trial -- think “American Hustle” meets “The People Vs. Larry Flynt.”
Maybe some screenwriters have a clear distinction between research and writing phases while writing a historical fiction. That has not been the care for me. I researched and wrote, then researched some more.
All along the way, I’ve been sharing the process and the bits history I’ve uncovered.
Somewhere along the way, we decided this rich American story is worth sharing as a documentary.
Doda would have been one of the stars.
I’d resisted the urge to rush right into calling Doda early in the process, but more than a year ago a summoned the courage to call Miss Doda. I looked up the number to her San Francisco lingerie shop and dialed it up.
The problem was she said she had not been to Sacramento and did not perform at the trial. Rather than trying to convince her otherwise, I politely let her off the hook and resolved to try to meet her face-to-face once I had the pictures to show her.
Now I have the photos, but Doda is no longer with us.
Former KCRA reporter Steve Swatt said her appearance was a highlight of the trial.
“Carol Doda was the main attraction in Sacramento's famous topless-bottomless obscenity trial in the late 1960s. She testified at the trial by performing her San Francisco act -- topless, of course -- at what was then the Largo nightclub on Fair Oaks Boulevard,” said Swatt, who covered the trial. “Needless to say, her appearance in front of judge, jury, attorneys, media and curious onlookers was the highlight of the trial.”
The San Francisco Chronicle credited with helping take the strip tease out of the fringe and exposing it mainstream audiences.
Using her loss as added motivation, stay tuned for announcements aimed at kicking the documentary project into high gear. If you’d like to help please contact Ed Fletcher at

Monday, October 19, 2015

Carol Doda performs during Sacramento stripper trial

So exciting about these images I found of the Pink Pussy Kat trial that I can't want to share what I found at the U.C. Davis Speical Collections. They were taken by the Sacramento Union newspaper on Sept. 22, 1969. 

Sacramento's 1969 "bottomless" stripper trial reached another level of media hype when San Francisco performer Carol Doda arrived to dance for the 10 men, 2 woman jury. The Sept. 22, 1969 court proceedings took place at Chuck Landis' Largo. Pink Pussy Kat performers Susanne Marie Haines and Sheila Brandenson, as well as owner Leonard Glancy were arrested after performing fully nude.

The presiding judge Earl Warren Jr. is surrounded by the media. The fact that Warren is the son of Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren added another story line.

While the trial hinging on "contemporary community standards," in addition to watching the offending dance, the jury received testimony from Doda and watched the film "I Am Curious Yellow."

Carol Doda surrounded by the Sacramento media including radio station KFBK.

Trial judge Earl Warren Jr. outside of Chuck Landis' Largo. All image used on a provisional basis. Images from Sacramento Union archives maintained by the U.C. Davis Special Collections

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

How I electrocuted my pants before I got to Burning Man

I ruined a pair of pants and I'm almost ready to cry.
These weren't any pair of pants. They were my new sparkly red stretch pants -- ready for their first trip to Burning Man.
My Burning Man wardrobe slants utility and function over sexy and flare. Despite boasting only one real pair of sexy pants, my playa name is Major Sexy Pants, more on that later.
These pants, made lovingly by my campmate Tractor, were going to redefine my swag.

How they died: The pants were placed in a bag with also contained a block-sized (5ah) 12-volt battery. The pants connected the circuit and the pants were fried as the wire melted.
Assessment: No reasonable person thinks "Don't put the pants next to that rechargeable battery." But no reasonable person transports large batteries in the same bag as funky red stretch pants.
Are the pants safe? Hell yeah. If I were in said pants and came in contact with a live battery, I would move. Ladies weren't safe around these pants either. In a small sample size, they demanded to be rubbed.
Burner Bio: Attended six consecutive after first 2009 burn. Camp GYST elder. Major Sexy Pants playa name references my general helpfulness as much as the cut of my pants.

This it/was the year I planned to step up my playa wardrobe. "Radical Self-Expression" is one of the 10 of Burning Man. People have generally interpreted that to mean you don't ware your "default" world wardrobe.  The dusty surface of the lake bed his highly acidic so it makes sense not to ruin your regular clothes, but it also encourages you to step further out of your regular life. (Discussing life outside of Burning Man id generally discouraged.)
Tractor is passionate about getting people out of the cargo pants that she intends to dress 1 percent of Burning Man in booty shorts. Assuming a population of 60,000, that's 600 booty shorts. She's done that number and well beyond, helping people like me and many others.
My first years, we're all about survival, but as my camp has grown I've found campmates that care enough about me to upgrade my style package. The loss of these pants is such a setback.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Orangevale's Pink Pussy Kat left legacy

Orangevale's Pink Pussy Kat a Go-Go may have been short-lived and lacking in grandeur, but it left its mark on American culture through its challenge of perceived and later instituted indecency standards. Having found no recorded account of the club or the trial, I wrote one based on news stories obtained through The Sacramento Bee and an autobiography written by former exotic performer Susanne Haines Register. Please help me improve on this article. -- Ed Fletcher

Tavern owner Leonard Glancy
 is flanked by dancers
Susanne Haines (left) and Shiela Brendenson  
Sacramento Bee August 27, 1969

Orangevale strip club impact outlasts club
The Pink Pussy Kat was a beer bar and strip club noted for its legal wranglings with county and state authorities over indecency standards in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was located in Orangevale, Ca about 25 miles northeast of Sacramento. 

The bar, which featured beer, food, pool tables and topless (and sometimes bottomless) barmaids is believed to have closed on or around the March 1976 death of owner Leonard Glancy. It was located in a drab Orangevale shopping plaza at 9346 Greenback Lane.
Sacramento County Sheriff "Big" John Misterly actively sought to reign in the 1960s counterculture movement and tasked detectives making regular check at the region's adult-themed bars.
On July 27, 1969, dancers Susanne Marie Haines, 22, and Sheila Brandenson, as well as owner Leonard Glancy were arrested after performing fully nude. Topless had been the acceptable practice. Presiding over the trial was Sacramento Superior Court Judge Earl Warren, Jr., who happens to be the son of former California Governor and Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren. Warren still resides in the Sacramento area.
The trial made national headlines after Warren agreed to a defense motion to temporarily move the proceeding to strip club and allow the jury to see the offending performance. On Sept. 17, Haines attempted to replicate the dance for which was was arrested, she danced to "Suzy Q," and songs by the Byrds and Jimi Hendrix while illuminated by dim lighting and psychedelic art was projected. On Sept. 22, noted San Francisco topless performer Carol Doda also performed for the jury.
The dancers and Glancy were acquitted Oct. 2, 1969, by the 10 man, 2 woman jury, but that was far from the end of the legal fight over nude dancing.
On Oct. 21, Sacramento County enacted an ordinance prohibiting topless and bottomless dancing and topless waitresses.
Glancy and Haines challenged the constitutionality of the ordinance.
During the legal fight, Glancy turned to various other means to keep his business going including: offering patrons a closed-circuit broadcast of on-site strip performances and putting dancers in see-through panties.
The result of the case, which was combined with other challenges of similar laws, is California’s current practice of not allowing alcohol at fully-nude strip clubs based health code rules.
On May 12, 1970, Glancy was arrested for shooting a patron in the parking lot. Glancy claimed it was in defense.
Shortly after her acquittal, Haines left the Pink Pussy Kat. To further her career as striptease performer and capitalized on her notoriety she began touring gentleman's club across the country as a featured performer. In 1971, she won the title of Miss Nude Cosmos, often referred by it more legally dubious name Miss Nude Universe. During her time on the road, doing a week or more stints at strip clubs, she was arrested more than a dozen time times for performing bottomless. By her account, these busts were a part publicity stunt, part legitimate act of free expression.
Death records indicate Glancy died in March of 1976.
It’s unclear when the club closed.  
In 1978, Haines under her married name Susanne Haines Register wrote, “Take It All Off,” an autobiography the followed here path from Mormon schoolgirl to, dope smoking dancer and her eventual “salvation.”