I know Lillian Faderman for her histories of lesbians in the U.S., Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love Between Women from the Renaissance to the Present and Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers : A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America. (Someday I will read them!) I didn’t know Lillian Faderman put herself through school working as a stripper.
When I read that she’d stripped at the Hotsy Totsy Club I said to myself, “The Hotsy Totsy Club is a strip club. That explains the name. I’d always wondered about its cute/racy, quaint/titilating name.” I’ve passed the Hotsy Totsy Club lots of times going up San Pablo Ave to Target or Abby Pet Hospital. From the outside it’s a dark little box. No windows. One neon sign, not too garish, the name and nothing else.
Having looked up their website I wonder if perhaps the Hotsy Totsy Club is a strip club no longer. (Faderman’s stint there was all the way back in 1958.) Nothing about stripping on the Hotsy Totsy Club website. Alongside the logos for Best Neighborhood Bar 2010 (awarded by the San Francisco Chronicle) and Best Dive Bar Renovation 2009 (awarded by The East Bay Express), the homepage does offer, “Transgressive cinema, adults only, always free,” so there seems to be something Hotsy-Totsy-ish still afoot.
source: Travels in a Gay Nation: portraits of LGBTQ Americans by Philip Gambone