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Journalist fighting for fellow strippers

Last week, a few people wrote me emails complaining I had interviewed Houston, one of America’s most legendary porn stars. So now, I’m talking to an intellectual with a master’s degree.

Today, I’m interviewing Sarah Tressler. She earned a master’s in journalism at New York University. She teaches journalism at the University of Houston. And she worked at the Houston Chronicle.

Well, she worked at the Chronicle until editors found out she was stripping on the side. Then they fired her. Her lawyer, Gloria Allred, has filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint.

I met Tressler at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas the other day. She told me she is embarking on a coast-to-coast stripping tour from Los Angeles to Chicago, New York, Miami, Tampa and Atlanta.

Here in Vegas, she will be a red-carpet stripper July 20-21 at Crazy Horse III.

The last time Tressler was in Vegas was to cover a New Year’s Eve red carpet at Beso, featuring Eva Longoria and Mario Lopez, for US Weekly. Her deadline was 5 a.m. that morning.

“I sat in the parking lot of McDonald’s and wrote out my (article),” she told me.

Then she slept in her car on the side of the road, between here and L.A., and missed her flight home to Houston. That’s a hardworking journalist/stripper.

The crazy thing about Tressler’s dismissal from the Chronicle is the cause they gave her. She hadn’t signed a morals clause.

And though she was blogging at Diary of an Angry Stripper, she wasn’t in trouble for that site. (She just released a book by the same title, chronicling her stripping adventures.)

She says editors fired her because she didn’t list stripping on her job application. But in Houston, like in Vegas, strippers aren’t employees. They’re independent contractors. They pay clubs to let them strip, then they keep tips.

Also, does every writer at the Houston Chronicle list their service-industry history on applications?

“I’ve worked at KB Toys. I’ve worked at a surf shop. I’ve worked at multiple coffee shops. I’ve worked at Taco Bell. I’ve worked as a line cook at a restaurant,” Tressler said. “Do you really want me to put every single one of those on my job application?”

She started stripping to pay for nearly $100,000 in student loans while unemployed during the recession.

But now she enjoys stripping for the exercise, to hang with co-worker friends and because meeting people is easy, she said.

At the Chronicle, she covered society functions. Money from stripping paid for her ball gowns to black-tie events. The Chronicle didn’t buy those dresses for her.

She wants her newspaper job back. But she doesn’t want to give up her hobby.

“I do think it’s important that girls who have been dancers shouldn’t have to be scared they’re going to get fired later in their life.”

I agree. Now let the anti-stripper people send me emails.

BOWLING FOR KIDS

Football great Warren Moon on Saturday hosted his Sports Dream Bowl charity event at Texas Station – a scholarship fundraiser for kids in need in Vegas and elsewhere.

Julius “Dr. J” Erving’s team won the bowling contest. Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton wore insane Prada shoes. Newton told me his favorite thing to do in Vegas is people-watch.

“You never know what you’re gonna see in Vegas. You just walk down the Strip. You see tall, short, fat, skinny, cool, weird, the list goes on,” he said.

Among others who helped raise money: Robert Horry, Michael Irvin, Von Miller, Shawne Merriman, Tony Gonzalez, Dwight Freeney, Andre Reed and Chris Doleman. For more, check www.Sports1Marketing.com.

Doug Elfman’s column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Email him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.

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