I was given the opportunity to review a private screener of "AKA Blondie", a 52 minute documentary feature directed by Jon Watts, also included in the AFF (Arlanta Film Festival) this year. The synopsis on the festival’s website disclosed “Blondie,” also known as Anita Strange, as “the most famous exotic dancer in Southeastern, U.S.” Right away, I was curious as to what made a stripper famous? When I begun to watch the feature, at first sight, I was taken aback by what appeared to be an unkempt, beyond middle age woman. ‘You have got to be kidding. This is, “the most famous exotic dancer in the Southeastern, U.S.”,’ I thought. And, many who pre-judge -without taking a second look- will probably agree with that reaction.
Yet, the statement was without exaggeration. Anita Strange (Blondie) is as much an iconic figure of Atlanta’s adult entertainment scene as Mike Vick was for football when he played for the Falcons. Blondie, a stripper for over 30 years at Clermont Lounge, who initially became famous for her ability to crush beer cans with her breast; is more than an Atlanta novelty. The film revealed Strange’s true identity as a woman who writes poetry, loves gay men, and has a strong sense of spirituality. After spending 51 minutes, hearing Blondie’s story I accredit her fame more to her charismatic persona that she embodies in both her onstage and offstage identities.
All people - all walks of life, no matter their circumstance - yearn to be loved, accepted, and ultimately seek positive recognition for what they do and say. Unfortunately for whatever reasons, some individuals never fill those voids and resort to create an identity that can attract those common emotional needs. Further tragic, sometimes the lines between reality and character creation become blurred. Then decades pass and the created character becomes the set persona of that individual. Hence, you can’t really know a person until you know his or her experience. Or, equally said, you can not judge someone until you walked along the same road. This film is a testament to both those statements. Whether one works in the adult entertainment industry or not; overall, "AKA Blondie" is a story about life's defining choices.
This film is a must see for those who haven’t learned truly how NOT to judge a film by it’s subject!