It only took a few weeks before 23-year-old music and entertainment entrepreneur Sol Bloom was making a weekly stipend equal to the president of the United States, Grover Cleveland. Bloom was in charge of the Midway Plaisance at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. The Midway Plaisance was home to the mysterious, naughty, and “oriental” fair attractions. According to Rachel Shteir, author of Striptease: The Untold History of the Girlie Show (which—speaking of origins—my dad reviewed in the Reader in 2001), much of Bloom’s success stemmed from the dance, the exotic belly dance routine known at the hoochie coochie.

The hoochie coochie was performed inside the fair’s Algerian Village—one the many “ethnic” villages along the Midway Plaisance. Thousands migrated toward the Algerian Village to see the dance performed by the infamous Little Egypt. The audiences grew so large that Bloom claimed he was making $1,000 per week.