April 17, 2018

Beemer memory 21: Pillow (She-Beast) & The Hungry i


Today, April 17, is the birthday of Pillow (aka She-Beast). Commemorating her birthday brings back all the marvelous memories I have from when I danced and performed with her in the "Love Act" at The hungry i nightclub during my early biker years. 

photographer unknown

I had several partners with whom I danced over the course of my nightclub career but it was Pillow who was THE one that, as a team, we propelled the act into high gear.       

with Dana
photo by Pillow

Pillow with Fawn 1977
photographer unknown

Pillow (right) in Alaska - 1980's 
photographer unknown

The Pillow "Space act" - 1980's
photographer unknown

The Pillow Star Trek years - 1980's
 photographer unknown

Pillow as She-Beast
photographer unknown

After we ended our night club act due to my back injury, Pillow went on to become a bodybuilding chanpion (link below).       

She was among the first muscular female bodybuilders and won the 1983 Gold's Classic as a heavyweight, beating lightweight winner Lori Okami, middleweight Alison Brundage and other weight class entrants, Reggie Bennett and Sue Ann McKean. She is sometimes confused with a later and less notable female bodybuilder who used the same name.      

Pillow - 1983
Gold's Classic competition 
photographer unknown

A long time ago, the world famous body builder, Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, “The worst thing I can be is the same as everybody else.”  

Although she is not credited, she had a small role in the 1986 film, Echo Park, directed by Robert Dornhelm starring  Susan Dey and Tom Hulce, star of the film version of the Peter Shaffer play, Amadeus, directed by MiloŇ° Forman.       

Pillow is still a performance artist; she is very much in demand as a popular drag king. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, several drag kings became British music hall stars, and British pantomime has preserved the tradition of women performing in male roles. Starting in the mid-1990s, drag kings started to gain some of the fame and attention that drag queens have known.

Pillow as drag king, Hughes - 2017 
photographer unknown

While the term drag king was first cited in print in 1972, there is a longer history of female performers dressing in male attire. In theatre and opera there was a tradition of breeches roles and en travesti.      

Viewfinder link:       
Net links:       
Revolvy ~ Pillow (bodybuilder) bio           
Star Advertiser ~ Lori Okami: What Happened to Women’s Bodybuilding? 
YouTube links:       
Pillow ~ The She-Beast       
            ~ Return to the Stage     
            ~ Tribute         
            ~ Original Bump & Grindstone Promo  
            ~ Pillow Breaks  
            ~ Kay Baxter versus Pillow  
            ~ Just a Job   
            ~ Women’s bodybuilding: The best of the 80’s   

Happy birthday, Pillow!
Styrous® ~ Tuesday, April 17, 2018       


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