Tree-hugging with actress Sherry Glaser, Mendocino CA

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I was born and raised to be a nice Jewish girl, so naturally I always wanted to be a stripper - and I felt it was my personal responsibility to save the world.

But a few things got in the way.

I grew up in the fifties, in the suburbs of St. Louis, as Donna Sue Scissors.  My mom looked like Doris Day.  My dad subscribed to The Flying Saucer Newsletter. I was supposed to be a little princess in patent leather shoes and white gloves - but instead I was a tomboy with scraped knees and frogs in my pocket. Some of my best friends were trees. The others had tails. I read Mad Magazine, dug Maynard G. Krebs, and developed early - into a teenie-bopper wanna-be beatnik.

At twelve I heard Martin Luther King, Jr. give his "I have a dream" speech at a local synagogue.  At thirteen I was the only one from my temple (besides the rabbi) to join the Civil Rights March in downtown St. Louis. (My parents were aghast, but I was marching with the rabbi. Who could say no?) We marched right past the Grand Theatre, home of my secret idol, burlesque queen Evelyn West, and her $50,000 Treasure Chest (insured by Lloyds of London.)  When the rabbi said, "Maybe some of the strippers want to march. Strippers are people, too," I felt my most secret fantasy had been blessed. But, like the rabbi who shot the hole-in-one on Yom Kippur, who could I tell?

At fourteen I wrote my first novel. At fifteen I organized students from my suburban high school to tutor under-privileged inner-city kids. At sixteen I snuck into a lecture given by a charismatic Irish psychology professor on the lam from Harvard - Dr. Timothy Leary. I signed up for his mailing list and plunged head first down the rabbit hole into the Wonderland of the sixties.

With my perfect SAT scores I could have gotten into any college in the country, but my parents forbade me to go to Berkeley where the action was. So I went to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and majored in Protest Marching and English Literature, with a minor in Philosophy. When the Viet Nam war protests heated up to the point of college students burning down buildings, I began to wonder what had become of the "Peace" movement.

Then I saw the movie Easy Rider.  I dropped out of college, gave my Phi Beta Kappa key to my mom, and headed directly to the New Mexico commune where Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper had found their groove in nature. Rumor had it that Easy Rider was filmed on acid.  I had been intensely curious about LSD since I got on Leary's mailing list, and was hungry to experience viscerally what I had been reading about. My Eastern Philosophy classes had also talked about the Bliss beyond ego. I realized the only way I would ever know for sure whether these ideas were true ("death is not the end; the material plane is only an illusion") was to go out on a mountaintop, drop acid, and see God. Except that I was still a little chicken-shit about taking drugs that can melt the human mind in one gulp.

But I got over it.

Thus began a rollicking adventure that took me deep into the underground nation of teepees, yurts, geodesic domes, houseboats, log cabins, tree-houses, communes and hot springs lurking in the back woods and on the back roads of TV-dinner America.Swimming gleefully against the mainstream, I learned to go with the counter-culture flow. From naive teenage flower child to shit-kicking menopausal earth goddess, the road was never straight.  And what a long strange road it was -- paved with stoners, nuclear-free-zoners, and cosmic beachcombers.

Then I had a dream of my own. I was camping out on Mt. Shasta and was furious to see clear-cuts on the sacred mountain. In my vision, I saw Mother Earth emerge from a tree: naked, beautiful, crying. I saw Her confront the loggers. I saw them bow down before the Goddess and halt the destruction. This vision haunted me. I wrote a screenplay, a poem, and a one-woman show based on it.

'On Oct. 10, 2000, I found myself standing half-naked in the middle of the road, stopping logging trucks with my bare breasts and my Goddess poem, defending the ancient redwood forest near my northern California home. My dream had come true in a most unexpected way. I never thought I would stand in for the Goddess!

Suddenly, the woman who never owned a TV was on the nightly news. Within hours, pundits from Jay Leno to Rush Limbaugh were ranting and raving about me. The cops busted me but the judge gave me and "The Mendocino Ten" a commendation for protecting endangered species -- instead of a sentence for trespassing.

Two years and two dozen logging trucks later, my "art attacks" had succeeded in saving the world's two tallest trees, helping to bring indictments against law-breaking developers, and inspiring other feisty females to stand up and strip down for what they hold sacred.

And when the documentary film, Striptease to Save the Trees played at Sundance in 2002, my dream came full circle.  My fantasy of Mother Earth confronting loggers had started as a screenplay, then it became my daily reality, and at last it became a film.  John Lennon was right. Imagine the future and it will happen!

I continue to work for world peace with "Baring Witness," a group of women who are making global news by spelling out "PEACE" with our naked bodies. ( And I'm busy finishing my memoir, Rebel Without a Blouse; working on my second CD, Bio-sexual; and touring in support of my first CD, Naked Sacred Spoken Word.

As I say in my one-woman show, The Cosmic Cabaret, "Who says a stripper can't save the world?"