Friday, September 23, 2016

Former strip club site set for redevelopment

The longtime owners of the faded strip mall once home to the Pink Pussy Kat strip club have sold the property to a new owner who is planning to erect a new 40,000-square-foot shopping center in its place.
The new owner Cliff Wylie said he heard about plans to produce a documentary about the Pink Pussy Kat, but wasn’t interested in restoring the long-closed club.
“I’m tearing that building
down,” Wylie said.
He plans on combining Orangevale Plaza (9346 Greenback Late) with two neighboring plots to create Orangevale Downtown Plaza. Plans have already been submitted to Sacramento County.
“We want to revitalize this end of town,” said Wylie, a first-time developer who owns the granite shop across the street. Wylie said he’s looking for national tenants “like a Beach Hut Deli” and a drive-through coffee retailer to bring a little sizzle to the site.
A documentary on the Pink Pussy Kat and the indecency trial are well underway. The film-making team has secured some of the historic footage needed and are securing funds needed to green light the project.
If Pink Pussy Kat A Go-Go’s old strip mall  ever had any luster, it has lost it decades ago. The entire mall showed signs of its age. The parking lot barely defined. Business signs old are old and hard to read. The actual location Pussy Kat houses an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting location.
The former owner John Lydon Byrne said he was happy to be done with Orangevale Plaza, which he said had turned into a money pit as the building aged.
Byrne was in his 20s when his father bought the site in the early 70s, after the 1969 indecency trial that brought the club into the national spotlight.
When the trial ended and its semi-famous dancer Susanne (Tropper) Haynes hit the road business drooped.
 He said the club remained open three to five years after his family owned it, but he could not pinpoint an exact year. He said his father was friendly with Leonard Glancy, the club’s owner, but wasn’t fond of the business.
“He wanted them out of there,” Byrne said.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Progress, setback in search for crusading stripper

Exotic dancer Susanne Haines (edited)
Yesterday was one of those "good news, bad news" days in my on-again search for Susanne Haines -- the dancer at the center of Sacramento's landmark 1969 strip club indecency case.
The case made national headlines when Judge Earl Warren Jr. decided the jury needed to see the dance to decide whether it violated community standards. It also featured a performance from San Franciso dancer Carol Doda. It remains relevant because the case helped set the rules for exotic dance in California.
The bad news: new clues lead to yet another dead end (for now).
Good news: I found her sister Evangeline Fullmer AND she agreed to be interviewed on camera.
Finding Susanne has been no so simple get.
She was Susanne Haines
But first she was Susanne Tropper
then she was Susanne Register
and now Susanne Medina
Suddenly after months of no progress, I had actionable intelligence (i.e.  a phone number and address).
But alas it appears Susanne sold her central Florida residence and moved again. (Confirmed by a neighbor and If she not running sometimes it appears that way.
In the great news category, I've tracked down both her siblings Carlton Tropper and Evangeline (Tropper) Fullmer.
I spoke with Evangeline for about an hour.
The conversation started awkwardly, as one might suspect. I call out of the blue and her I am asking about things that happened nearly 50 years ago. But once we started talking, I think she enjoyed the trip down memory lane. At 73, she's sharp and thoughtful.
As a teen herself, Evangeline became the de facto mother to her younger sister Susanne and brother Carlton after their mother died and their father slid into alcoholism.
Susanne emerged as a free-thinking firebrand, unafraid to do her own thing.
"Susanne was different. She beat to her own drummer," Fullmer said. "Knowing Susanne I wasn't surprised," she said of her sister's path into stripping.
Susanne's sister won't be much help finding her. She didn't know Susanne had moved and isn't in regular contact with her once newsworthy sister.

Monday, May 9, 2016

News writer Ed Fletcher turns eye toward film

One should always have a bio ready for job they want. But I'd neglected one for film. After all, what am I going to say "I attend the CFAA screenwriters group monthly." That's true, mostly.

So while I've been steadily trying to convert creative ideas into action, I hadn't written a film bio. It's funny the things to fear.

Some months ago I agreed to host a school film forum. So when my contact (a teacher) messages me Saturday asking for a bio and reel of my work I finally had a deadline I couldn't shrug off. The highlight reel is above. The narrative film projects included are "Dance Step of Death" (2012) "Goldie" (2014) "Le Chapeau Genial" (2016) and "Save Quentin" (2016). It also including some of my work as a swashbuckling video reporter. Here's my film bio raft:  

Longtime Sacramento Bee reporter Ed Fletcher looks to follow a long line of journalists to transition into writing for film. Unlike many developing screenwriters, Ed has the fortitude, drive, and collaborative skills to bring those stories to the screen.As a writer and producer, Fletcher is not one to be typecast. His projects have tackled zombie outbreaks, gender identity, adolescent yearnings, mascot abduction, and free expression.His 2016 short film "Le chapeau génial" received an award of distinction at the 2016 Sacramento International Film Festival. Fletcher's most recent completed project was a transmedia narrative "Save Quentin" that used social media, television, and radio to chronicle the abduction and rescue of local non-profit's mascot. Fletcher's creative exploration has included performing improv and standup comedy as well as attending the Burning Man counterculture festival annually.  He's an active member of the community and serves on the local community cable channel board of directors. After growing up in Sacramento's suburbs, he attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He returned to Sacramento in 2000 as a staff writer at The Bee.

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