Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Though billed as a look "inside the sex industry," this toneless work is essentially a book of black-and-white photography buttressed by the testimony of New York area sex workers. The stories they tell are about their daily lives and the details of their jobs, which are at times interesting if unsurprising. Missing are any data or analysis that would give the reader an idea of the size of the sex industry, who supports it, who reaps the profits, and how it is regulated. Depicting strippers, sex film actors and actresses, and prostitutes plying their trade, Plachy's (Unguided Tour, LJ 11/1/90) photographs might be mistaken for porn were it not for the overlong text by Village Voice writer Ridgeway. The pictures, which depict banal moments that ironically personalize their subjects, are darkly comic and would have been better served with simple captions. Not recommended, in spite of the compelling and often affecting photography.Adam Mazmanian, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
The sex industry, declares Village Voice Washington correspondent Ridgeway, is an agent of social control, a safety valve for a repressed, confused patriarchal culture that transforms the hunger for sex and power into a commercial product laden with worn-out male fantasies of a prefeminist world. This survey of the sex business combines Ridgeway's essay incorporating strenuously nonjudgmental interviews with prostitutes, porn-video makers, actors, strippers, topless dancers, a dominatrix and other sex workers in the New York metropolitan area with arty, often explicit photographs by Village Voice staff photographer Plachy. Some interviewees speak of sex work as a socially valuable or personally empowering profession; for others, it's a way to get by. Ridgeway looks askance at an impersonal industry where contact with another human body is increasingly replaced by electronically enhanced onanism, but he is equally critical of the "sex police," by which he means law enforcement agencies, often in league with conservative family-values groups and antiporn activists. With its jazzy layout and garish photos, this volume comes across as a celebration of an arena it purports to analyze. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved