Albert, Alexa 1968- (Alexa Elizabeth Albert)
Albert, Alexa 1968- (Alexa Elizabeth Albert)
Born January 26, 1968; married Andy Sack. Education: Brown University, B.S., 1990; Harvard Medical School, M.D., 1999.
Writer, doctor. Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, Seattle, WA, pediatrics resident.
Brothel: Mustang Ranch and Its Women, Random House (New York, NY), 2001.
Brothels of Nevada: Candid Views of America's Legal Sex Industry, photographs by Timothy Hursley, Princeton Architectural Press (New York, NY), 2004.
While she was an undergraduate at Brown University, Alexa Albert became interested in public health issues. She learned that Nevada had licensed brothels that were AIDs-free and had laws established to protect the health of the public, which also reduced the dangers, such as drug use and diseases, that were common with street prostitution. Nevada is the only state that has licensed houses of prostitution. For three years, Albert tried to get permission from the executive director of the Nevada Brothel Association to do research from inside a brothel. Finally, in 1992, she was given permission to spend twenty-four hours a day in a brothel called Mustang Ranch. She initially spent four weeks at the brothel. Two years later, between her first and second years of medical school, Albert returned to Mustang Ranch to do more research, and she continued her research over the next four years and spent a total of nearly seven months there.
Brothel: Mustang Ranch and Its Women is Albert's account of her seven months of research inside the Mustang Ranch. In Brothel, Albert discusses what it is like for the prostitutes to work in a legal house of prostitution. She explains a day in the life of the prostitutes, the amount of money they can make, the dangers they face, the effect prostitution has on the rest of their lives, and more. A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented, "Albert convincingly dispels myths about this mysterious world and provides a strong defense for the legalization of prostitution."
In her 2003 work, Brothels of Nevada: Candid Views of America's Legal Sex Industry, Albert teams with photographer Timothy Hursley to provide text to his 166 "garishly colored photos," as a Publishers Weekly termed them, which document almost a score of years in the life of the women who populate thirty-four of Nevada's legalized brothels. From exteriors to interiors—many of them decorated by the women who work in the brothels—Hursley provides a glimpse into a culture most are not familiar with. Albert and Hursley's work is intended as an addition to works on domestic and vernacular architecture, but as the Publishers Weekly contributor commented, it "may inspire less aesthetic pleasure than pathos and concern." Library Journal contributor Rebecca Miller was more positive in her assessment, however, noting that "this is the most complete depiction of the contemporary brothels of the American West."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Book, July, 2001, Ellen Emry Heltzel, "Dr. Albert's House Calls," p. 50.
Booklist, May 1, 2001, Bonnie Johnston, review of Brothel: Mustang Ranch and Its Women, p. 1646.
Entertainment Weekly, May 18, 2001, "The Week," p. 74.
Esquire, May, 2001, Ken Kurson, "Miscellany," p. 32.
Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2001, review of Brothel, p. 373.
Library Journal, June 15, 2001, Kim Clarke, review of Brothel, p. 93; September 15, 2003, Rebecca Miller, review of Brothels of Nevada: Candid Views of America's Legal Sex Industry, p. 53.
Nation, July 9, 2001, Leah Platt, "Stopping at a Red Light," p. 40.
Psychology Today, January-February, 2002, Pepper Schwartz, review of Brothel, p. 68.
Publishers Weekly, March 19, 2001, review of Brothel, p. 84; October 20, 2003, review of Brothels of Nevada, p. 51.
Brown University Web site,http://www.brown.edu/ (November 9, 2001), "1990."
International Herald Tribune Online,http://www.iht.com/ (September 4, 2001), Michiko Kakutani, review of Brothel.
Nerve.com,http://www.nerve.com/ (September 4, 2001), Albert Lee, "Love Shack."
Random House Web site,http://www.randomhouse.com/ (November 9, 2001), "Alexa Albert."
Seattle Weekly,http://www.seattleweekly.com/ (November 9, 2001), "Seventeen Seattleites Who Will Be Big in the Next Twenty-five Years."
University of Washington School of Medicine Online News,http://depts.washington.edu/ (November 9, 2001), "Resident Publishes Book on Culture of Legalized Prostitution."