Rocket Queen Volume II: Tales of Restrained Pillage

Review by Mila Monroe:
After I read the first couple lines of Rocket Queen (written by Janet) and realized what it was about, I think my mouth hung open for about a minute. A zine written by a stripper about her pole dancing lifestyle? I didn’t know if I was appalled by the bold moves of zinester Janet, or excited to see what the rest of Rocket Queen would be like. However, after the first page I was already intrigued by the intelligence of this women who had not only made such a drastic decision about her life’s occupation, but who also wanted to share her story with the world.

Even though this zine succeeds in debunking a lot of negative generalizations about “dancers” (i.e. what she actually does in the VIP room), Janet tries not to glamorize her job. Just like the darkly contrasted pictures that give the zine a shady atmosphere and underground feel, she tells of the horrible moments, the sleezy men, the feelings of violation and exploitation, and of the “occupational hazards” of being a dancer. What I thought was interesting was that she feels like she exploits men more than she feels that men exploit her. She talks of the embarrassment and sadness she has felt for taking drunk men’s money just as much, if not more than, confessing to be embarrassed or hurt by men.

Although many people will be skeptical about this zine and this woman in the beginning, it actually might change their views on “dancers” and make them see these women as actual people for the first time.

Review by Lizzie Lanyard:
Rocket Queen has gone to New Orleans, and the almost-cheery tone of Vol. I worn thin is replaced by a jaded voice:  “This machine that runs on greed and domination keeps churning out miserable men.” The zine also explores the history of the sex trade in New Orleans; indeed, the front cover is a photograph taken by Bellocq in the 1890s of a female prostitute in the infamous Storyville District of New Orleans, stronghold of this city’s sex trade for many years. If you are interested in the sex trade in New Orleans, past or present, this is a very intimate look at its wiles.

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