1993 Lakeport Revival Bikini Contestants

Back in 1993, the band I was in at the time, was booked to play a weekend at a club in Lakeport, California, which is about a two hour drive north of San Francisco. While I was up there, I caught a poster advertising the Lakeport Revival Classic Car Show (now defunct), which included a bikini contest, at the Lake County Fairgrounds. Me, being a fan of classic cars and an even bigger fan of bikini contests, decided to go check it out and I made sure to bring my camera along. (35mm, this was the pre-digital age.)

Most of the contestants were from  Northern California (Santa Rosa, Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, etc.) and were obviously professional or semi-professional models, with one notable exception, who gave away her amateur status with her less-than-perfect posture. I don't remember who won, or even the names of any contestants, but "Stars and Stripes Girl" here, was the show-stealer who got the biggest response from the crowd once she dropped her white blazer to show her patriotism.

As I look at these photos now, I notice there doesn't seem to be any real differences between the hair and fashion styles of these ladies vs. those whom would be competing in such contests today. However, I can point out the absence of tattoos and piercings (visible ones, anyway) on these ladies vs. the inked and body jewelry-laden bodies you'd be likely to see in bikini contests these days.

Japanese Female Celebs' Final Acts

There have been many comparisons made between Japanese and Korean cultures. One such comparison is the how changes, pressures, and social stigmas of modern life has effected the two, and who are more prone to commit suicide due to the aforementioned factors. In recent years, several top Korean entertainers have committed suicide when it seemed like they had everything to live for. Money, fame, family, friends. Yet, they still felt like they needed to end it all and checked out at young ages. I wrote this piece on that Korean "cultural phenomenon" back in October of 2008 and have updated it several times since, every time another Korean female celeb has taken her own life.

In the almost four years since I wrote that entry, I've been asked how the celebrity (more specifically female celebrity) suicide rate in Japan compares with that of Korea. I'm, in no way, going to present any analogies or official statistics of this, but since it's news whenever a famous person dies (by whatever means), all it took for me to find out how female celeb suicide rates compare between Korea and Japan, was some Internet research. In short, Korean female celebs have been more prone to take their own lives in recent years (the "trend" beginning in February, 2005 with actress Lee Eun-joo's death) but the suicides of Japanese female celebs started two decades earlier. Also, the Japanese ladies seem to be a bit more creative than their Korean counterparts when it comes to the method to end it all, sometimes employing the use of toxic chemicals while the Koreans overwhelmingly favor hanging as the preferred means.

In my initial search for Japanese female celeb suicides in recent decades, I came up with six names. However, I later found out that one lady, whose cause of death was reported by most sources as heart attack, was actually a suicide, so that made the count seven. Of those names, the suicide of the one who was best-known occurred 26 years ago and the ones since weren't all exactly household names in Japan (as Choi Jin-sil was in Korea). The most recent being gravure idol Miyu Uehara (above), who was found hanged in her apartment on May 12, 2011. She left no note but was apparently unhappy with her chosen career, despite becoming quite popular in her field, and with over 400 television appearances to her credit.

Annie Cruz

I don't remember the very first time I heard of adult video actress Annie Cruz, but I do remember the first time someone asked me if I'd heard of her. It was a friend who asked me if I knew who she was after catching her on KOFY San Francisco's Creepy KOFY Movie Time during their "Ask an Adult Film Star" segment.

Having been in the adult entertainment business since 2003, Annie has good things to say about the industry, in which she has become a top name. According to the Internet Adult Film Database, to date, she has 373 titles to her credit. (However, Annie later told me that they have it wrong and she's actually appeared in over 600.) During her time in the biz, Annie has pretty much done it all on camera, says she hasn't done anything on camera that she hasn't done in her personal life, and even says she'd do it all again. Known for a particular, special talent (Yes, you'll find out what that is in this interview ....if you don't already know.), her enthusiastic performances, and the fact that she can actually act, it's no wonder she's one porn's major stars and a future AVN hall of famer.

Besides smut (a term she joyfully uses herself), Annie has been involved in boxing, professional wrestling, plays golf, and has been a prolific blogger since 1999. She's also a horror film fanatic and has appeared in some indie films of that genre, most recently Streets of the Dead, where she plays a zombie and a SWAT team officer. I was recently fortunate enough to get Annie to take some time out for an interview in which she revealed she's about much more than just being a porn star.

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