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entertainment

Author Dana Seith Talks “No Cameras”

She tells all about the famed Clermont Lounge

no cameras!

You’ve always wanted the Clermont Lounge in your living room. (Right?) Dana Seith’s No Cameras,(photographed by Artem Nazarov, designed by Ryan Wood, and published by PC Press at Portfolio Center) is a tastefully done book about the iconic strip joint; it’s our humble opinion that every Atlantan should own it.

Luckily, the author (and former DailyCandy editor) sat down with us for a tete-a-tete.

q&a!

What was your favorite part of the book creation process?
Favorite part, hands down, was interviewing and researching the stories — talking to the Clermont customers, girls, and owners (that skill set is in my wheelhouse for my day job).

Were all the girls willing to talk right away?
Some talked the very first time I showed up (Maggie, Little Kathy, and Chandra were all so gracious and willing to share). Others (Blondie and Porscha, particularly) took a long time to open up. Barbie was tough also. I mean, at the end of the day, they are there to work (I was, too, in a different way), and time they spent with me was time they could be making cash.

Speaking of Blondie, what’s a little-known fact about Atlanta’s favorite can-crushing bombshell?

She walks a mile to and from work, singing a spiritual mantra along the way as she goes.

Most surprising fact about the Lounge itself?
So many bands got their start there! This didn’t make it into the book, but owner Kathi Martin tells a great story about Cat Power singing her first song ever on that stage and how she seemed like a scared little kitten.

Cat, kitten. I see what she did there. If we read one story, which one should it be and why?
The book, mostly, is a juxtaposition of photos and text with loads of room for the visual storytelling (photos galore!), but my favorite part of the project was the historical element. So I’d have to say the Owners and History section. In today’s world of shiny and new, the fact that this place has existed since 1965 and there are two women owners running it after being willed the club is remarkable.

no cameras!

Do you have a favorite photo in the book?
My favorite photo is of Haley and Erin. Erin is holding a tray of money and the two of them are just being really playful in the shot. Everything about that image represents the Clermont Lounge. They are having fun and not taking themselves too seriously.

What do you think makes the women stay there?
I think for most of [them], this is their only viable option.

And what brings the patrons back?
I think the Clermont is a bit Cheers-esque (if Cheers were filmed inside a David Lynch movie), where the regulars really are close with one another and care about the girls. People keep coming back for the sheer experience of it firsthand.

Indulge us: If you were doing a striptease, what song would you put on the jukebox?
I’d just go for it with something like “Cherry Pie,” by Warrant. I mean, does it get any more ironic than that? And I’d have to be really drunk.

No Cameras is available at Clermont Lounge, 789 Ponce de Leon Avenue Northeast, Poncey-Highland (404-874-4783), $40; at clermontlounge.net, $50.

Photos: Artem Nazarov / Courtesy of PC Press at Portfolio Center

LOCATION
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789 Ponce de Leon Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30306
404-874-4783
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