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Who Am I ?

VIVA LAS VEGAS

July 2011

1: Who am I?

I am stripper-musician-actress-writer, daughter-of-a-preacherman, Leo female.

2: What do you do and what project are you currently working on?

I wake up early, freak out about how fucked up humanity is, then try my best to create as an antidote and to keep myself sane. Currently I’m working on a column for Alibi Magazine (debuts this fall), prepping for teaching a memoir course, promoting my two books, playing a lot of music with my bands Lesser Saints and Les Trois Bergerettes, and planning my outfit for the premiere of Gus Van Sant’s Restless. I also strip, bartend and proofread for cash.

3: Where are you from and where are you going?

I’m from Minnesota/South Dakota. I love it there. I’m heading back next week for my birthday and a family reunion.

4: Who is your biggest hero?

Bob Dylan. Emmylou Harris. Martin Luther. Chrissie Hynde. Jesus.

5: What book is your bible?

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote. A Whore Just Like the Rest by Richard Meltzer. Also, Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle is phenomenal, especially when your soul is under attack.

6: What are some things you love? And some things you hate?

I love animals, strippers, dive bars, back roads, rock’n’roll, Bach & Mozart, and kisses. I hate humanity, though individual humans tend to win me over.

7: What is your raison d’être?

Speak truth, celebrate beauty, honor life.

8: What is your favorite color?

Pink, in spite of its being co-opted by breast cancer.

9: Who is your favorite comic book superhero?

Spiderman.

10: What is your favorite NYC hot spot?

On a barstool next to Nick Tosches in TriBeCa. Sunday mornings at Trinity Lutheran Church on Central Park West.

11: What turns you on?

Kisses. Not compromising. Motorcycle rides. Kindness.

12: What would the last question of this questionnaire be if you were the one asking?

“What color panties are you wearing and how long have you been wearing them?”

Viva Las Vegas is a Portland-based artist and whose media include writing, acting, music, and stripping. She has been juggling these since she moved West fifteen years ago after graduating from Williams College. She came out here to play rock’n’roll, but got wickedly distracted by stripping and the sociological, economical, artistic and personal aspects of the work. She calls it her muse and her “rich uncle,” and it has allowed her to undertake projects as diverse as publishing two books: 2009’s Magic Gardens and 2010’s The Gospel According to Viva Las Vegas, writing for periodicals including the New York Times, Village Voice, and fabulous Exotic Magazine, acting in a dozen+ films (including three directed by Gus Van Sant and two directed by James Westby), and, her dream-come-true, fronting half-a-dozen rock bands, most notably Coco Cobra and the Killers (who have three albums out, a comic book, and quite a kickass presence on YouTube) and Lesser Saints (a country-ish band featuring lots of heros and heroines of the genre). She is frequently interviewed as a spokesperson for strippers and occasionally teaches and lectures on the subject. In a strange twist of fate, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, got a mastectomy, and assumed she’d never strip again. A year later she returned to the stage of Portland’s legendary Mary’s Club and has never looked back. Perhaps most importantly, she is the current reigning Celebrity Spelling Bee champion of Portland, Oregon.

LINKS:

Viva Las Vegas’ Website

Breast Cancer Article

MySpace: CocoCobra

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Questions by PMc Magazine

Edited by Tyler Malone

Photography by Marne Lucas

Design by Jillian Mercado

Contact Jillian Mercado if you’re interested in becoming a “Who Am I?”


Caption:

Viva Las Vegas, at Mary’s Club, Photography by Marne Lucas

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