Magic Gardens Cover



This month, publisher Jen Weaver-Neist was thrilled to sign local talent Viva Las Vegas as Dame Rocket Press’s newest “eclectic and passionate” author. Replete with star backing and starry-eyed ambition, Magic Gardens: The Memoirs of Viva Las Vegas does not disappoint.

While seeking a publisher this past fall, Viva had to shift her focus when she discovered that she had breast cancer, which she writes about in “The Last Days of My Left Breast” in the March 2009 issue of Portland Monthly. While undergoing surgery and chemotherapy treatments, she continued her quest with an even greater determination, eventually partnering with Dame Rocket Press to deliver this story of the early days in her exotic dancing career.

Here’s what people are saying about this Dame Rocket Press discovery:

  • The memoirs of Viva Las Vegas are “Pure Viva.” —Gus Van Sant, filmmaker (MILK)
  • “In the sea of memoirs…Viva’s story is an island.” —Andrei CodrescuJealous Witness: New Poems
  • “Seeing life through this broad’s eyes is a strange and beautiful blessing the likes of which words bring.” —Nick Tosches, journalist and author, King of the Jews
  • This book is “the how-to manifesto of a Diva of the Demimonde, and a love song to life on the shady side.” —Katherine Dunn, author, Geek Love

Whether naked onstage at a dive bar in Portland, Oregon, or walking the red carpet at Cannes, Viva brings passion to her performances and audiences to their feet.

A preacher’s daughter and a graduate of Williams College, Viva could’ve been an Ivy League diva but found her calling as a stripper. Magic Gardens is her story, a memoir both gritty and glorious, taking readers through the murky caverns of the sex industry. She offers intelligent and witty arguments in support of the trade, her passionate, smart, entrepreneurial co-workers—a mother of three, a law student with loans—dancing right into our hearts.

While most stripper memoirs distance themselves from the sex industry, Viva brings her stripper family home. She dares us to embrace the humanity within to engage the humanity in them. Women are well paid and appreciate their bodies—unlike the corporate world, she argues, where women are stuffed into ill-fitting pumps and cubicles, doing data entry for meager wages.

For Viva, stripping is an art form as valid as Manet’s depiction of “Olympia” or Degas’s ballerinas. Audiences revel in her gifts. She is a sage, an activist, a compassionate voice that rocks polite society.

Dame Rocket Press is also happy to enlist the publicity expertise of Connie Kirk for this project, and looks forward to getting the word out to all of Viva’s coast-to-coast haunts. (Connie is the promotional genius behind Portland’s KenArnoldBooks).

Stay tuned for more information in the coming months, including the upcoming launch of Viva’s site,

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