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Live Nude Girls Unite!

About the Film
Year Released: 
Running Time: 
“Thanks for the six years of ballet lessons, Mom,” says Julia, a wisecracking dancer at San Francisco’s Lusty Lady peepshow. Considered progressive, the club attracts self-confident, intelligent, educated performers. When a coworker is unjustly fired, they decide to join a union in a scenario right out of Norma Rae. Julia decides to document the union’s developments, which start out as an effort to protect their jobs. But before long, it turns into a fight for human dignity as the women demand an end to rules that classify them by race, hair color and breast size. Management brings in the union-busting corporate lawyers; workers are fired for joining picket lines. When your struggle is on the nightly news, there’s no way to avoid telling your family what you’ve been doing, which pushes Julia to come to terms with her mother.
Pendás, Miguel. “Live Nude Girls, Unite!” San Francisco International Film Festival. Accessed December 2 2012.
Poster Image: 
Film Director: 
Production Info
Reported or Estimated Budget: 
San Francisco
Other Interesting Production Info: 
Query got a Pacific Pioneer Fund grant for $7,000 to help fund the film.
Categories About the Film
activism and social justice
urban life
Racial/Ethnic Affiliation: 
North American
Filmmaking Team
Writer's Name: 
Julia Query, Vicky Funari
Julia Query, John Montoya
Julia Query, John Montoya, Sarah Kennedy, Vicky Funari
Primary Cast: 
Vicky Funari, Julia Query, Stephanie Batey, Darrell Davis, Joyce Wallace
Exhibition/Distribution Info
First Run Features
Box Office Earnings: 
Where to find it/How to get it: 
DVD widely available
  • World premiere at SXSX in 2000.
  • At the San Francisco International Film Festival in 2000, it won Audience Award for Best Feature and a Golden Spire Award for Bay Area Documentary. 
  • Boston Women’s International Festival of Women’s Cinema in 2000. 
  • Los Angeles Outfest in 2000.
Personal Film Review and Cultural Context: 

Live Nude Girls Unite! captures the first successful movement to unionize strip club workers in the US and is the debut film of co-directors Julia Query and Vicky Funari, and premiered at SXSX in 2000. We follow Julia Query and her fellow dancers at The Lusty Lady, a strip club with the reputation of being feminist and empowering, the film footage crosscut with clips of campy animation that is both purposeful and self-aware. The selectively grainy film quality and handheld camerawork of Live Nude Girls Unite! sutures the viewer into the world of San Francisco’s strip club dancers, transporting the audience into the struggle and frustration of union organizing. These workers and their allies fight to resist exotification and lesser work opportunities for people of color while countering the strip club industry’s idea of “marketable,” mainstream beauty. As co-director, Vicky Funari thoughtfully negotiates direction so Query can have authorship of the film and be a subject at the same time, an untraditional circumstance in the industry. 

- Maria Aghazarian