SEX AND THE CITY"Everyone has a passion in their life and this just happens to be mine” - Julie Bates, Urban RealistsThe Cross’ disappearing...

Kings Bloody Cross: Sex and the City


The World Bar
2011 NSW


Lesley Hancock

Lesley Hancock

Having spent most of her career in the events and entertainment industry, Lesley’s talent is being able to write and produce and perform corporate comedy. She has worked on a multitude of corporate and public events including the Sydney Olympics, Australia Day Sydney and Darwin for the last 5 years, and was show director for the Launch of V Australia in Brisbane , Sydney and LA. As a children s author of recently published book ‘S.E.A.T  The Little Chair That Could’ Lesley has travelled the globe  with her own brand of creativity.

Over the last ten years she has been the fearless leader and major conceptualist behind her corporate entertainment company, Leave it to  Divawriting and performing for major clients such as Qantas, Virgin, Hong Kong Cancer Foundation, Optus, Telstra and Macquarie Bank. Her long running theatre restaurant show Come Fly with Me has delighted audiences and just finished a long run at Slide Cabaret in Darlinghurst.

Her career also includes film and television, both in Australia and the UK including shows like Home and Away, All Saints and the notorious Madam Dawn in Underbelly 3 The Golden Mile. You may also recognise her from the occasional ad on commercial TV!

Julie Bates

Julie Bates

Julie is the principal of Urban Realists, a town planning, health and safety consultancy providing advice and support to non government organisations representing sex workers and people who use drugs illicitly. She provides specialist advice to the NSW sex industry and other stakeholders on various aspects of legislation and local government regulation, health promotion, harm reduction and research needs.

Over the years she has also participated in a number of social research and evaluation projects including investigating community development needs for sex workers, evaluation of health promotion resource materials for organisations representing sex workers and people who use drugs illicitly, as well as the harms associated with poor legislative and regulatory responses to the sex industry.

Professor Basil Donovan

Basil Donovan is a NHMRC Practitioner Fellow and a registered sexual health and public health physician. In 2009, he established the Sexual Health Program at the Kirby Institute for infection and immunity in society.
The Program is invloved in wide-ranging research including national surveillance networks. Donovan is on the Board (President 2013-2015) of the International Society for STD Research. In September 2015, he Chaired the World STI & HIV Congress in Brisbane.


Stephen Allkins

Stephen Allkins (AKA [Love] Tattoo) is considered by those who know him as dance-music royalty in Sydney. Delve a little into his long, long career and you start to understand why. He was dancing to disco before it was even called that as a teenager on the burgeoning gay scene in mid-’70s Darlinghurst.

Soon his passion for the music — and his growing record collection — led him to get behind the decks and take on a number of residencies. For decades afterwards, Allkins ruled as an innovator on his hometown scene — helping to break successive waves of crucial new sounds to the clubbing masses both gay and straight, from garage to electro and post-punk to house.

At the turn of the millennium, Allkins applied his long experience to finally producing his own tracks as [Love] Tattoo. Beginning with 1999's History of Disco on Pete Tong’s Essential imprint, Allkins’ output led to a series of hit records, wider recognition on the international stage, and a 2001 Dance Music Award for Outstanding Contribution to Dance in Australia. He’s now happily semi-retired, playing just a few times a year — including next week at Soul of Sydney’s “disco boogie block party” with Dutch funkmeister Marcel Vogel.

As an expat I had a lot to learn about Allkins’ 35 years of moving bodies on the dancefloors of Sydney, so I jumped at the chance to talk to him in person. The warm, gregarious and wryly funny Allkins sat down with me in his Darlinghurst flat one afternoon and, with hardly any prompting, proceeded to spin one fascinating tale after another about the early days.

His enthusiasm for nightlife and music of all kinds is infectious — and his knowledge of classic records is encyclopaedic. But it’s not mere nostalgia — his reminiscences are filled with eerily sharp and clear glimpses of what the music meant to not only a city but a world exploding with cultural, political and sexual awareness.

Elizabeth Burton

Elizabeth Burton

Burton began working in strip clubs in the early 1970s, when the conventions of burlesque were still evident. Burlesque was a form of theatrical or cabaret entertainment featuring crude comedy and risqué dancing that often mocked a serious subject.

"Burlesque venues taught me the craft of stripping. You’d get up between comedians and novelty acts. All the girls would have a character and a gimmick. There was less emphasis on nudity and more emphasis on tease. For a fifteen or twenty minute show you would have twenty or thirty garments to remove. Costumes were very important," Burton once said. 

Although she had no training in dance, Burton mastered the choreographic gestures and rituals of striptease. By the mid 1970s she was reputed to be Australia’s highest paid stripper, working at the Pink Panther club in Kings Cross with a supporting cast of seven female and three male nude artistes. She pioneered a modern style of striptease that moved beyond the traditional bumps and grinds. She added elegant gymnastic twists and turns, executed with grace. At the same time she pushed her performance towards contortionism and acrobatics. She finished her routine completely nude. She chose her own music and used special lighting effects.

Burton regards striptease as a craft in which costumes become important props in creating a fantasy on stage. Her act was often built around a theme. For example, she appeared on stage as a boxer (complete with boxer shorts and boxing gloves), a biker girl wearing a leather vest, a can-can dancer, a harem girl and a private detective (dancing to the ‘Peter Gunn’ theme). However, her signature act was as ‘Miss Modesty’, making her entrance fully dressed, complete with hat, gloves and shoes. She would wear lots of garments to prolong the act, including hats, stockings, suspender belts, underwear and several g-strings.

Burton presents striptease as an exercise in empowerment and a way for women to be unashamed of their sexuality. According to Burton, "People have not been educated to be comfortable in their own bodies with their own sexuality. We’ve never been taught to enjoy, respect and love sex. We’ve always been taught it’s a rude and dirty thing."

"When I first started out I made it a point to always present my body as an object of beauty, not just a sex symbol. I felt that as long as I was going to remove my clothes, I was going to do it with as much aesthetic appeal as possible." (Liz Burton quoted in New Nation, 16 July 1976)

At Kings Cross striptease became very much a tourism industry, with predominantly male patrons. However in the 1970s at clubs like the Pink Panther, men were sometimes accompanied by women. Burton appreciated the applause of female spectators, stating "I really feel thrilled when the women clap. I think their reaction is more important to me." (Liz Burton quoted in New Nation, 16 July 1976.

Burton found the work enjoyable and financially rewarding. "Life can be very exciting and financially rewarding for a top stripper, providing she’s prepared to travel. If you’re good you can make quite big money." (Burton quoted in Australasian Post, 7 Oct 1976).

Striptease dancing exemplifies and challenges generally understood notions of male-female relationships. At one level the female is predatory, the male submissive. The female is active, the male is passive. However these roles are acted out within a wider social context that restricts well paid employment opportunities to young, unqualified women. As the ritual of striptease is deconstructed, simple explanations of ‘dominant male-subordinate female’ or ‘dominant female-submissive male’ become inadequate.

Event Details


"Everyone has a passion in their life and this just happens to be mine” - Julie Bates, Urban Realists

The Cross’ disappearing red light district has made way for small bars, apartments, empty streets and empty shop fronts. As brothels vanish from Kings Cross to the ‘burbs, we speak with Julie Bates, Principal of Urban Realists, a long-term activist and coach for the human and legal rights for the sex industry.

Julie’s story working the streets and brothels of Kings Cross during the seventies is portrayed in Hidden Sydney-The Glittering Mile. From striptease to street work, women were starting to gain control. Meanwhile, the hangover from free love was fast approaching.

Host: Lesley Hancock
Guests: Julie Bates, Professor Basil Donovan, Stephen Allkins and Elizabeth Burton

For more details visit

This session is part of a curated season of raw and riveting 'in conversation' events featuring Kings Cross luminaries. Rub shoulders with artists, idealists and opportunists and hear fascinating stories about 'ungentrified' Sydney — the heady days of rock 'n' roll, free love, corruption, opportunity, sex and politics during the twentieth century. Presented over three weekends, Kings Bloody Cross will engage audiences with thrilling insight into the dirty half mile's people, bohemia and place. 

Curated by Olivia Ansell. 

Presented by Live Ideas and Working Management.

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