Pleasant Gehman is a true renaissance woman: best-selling author and journalist, international dance performer and instructor, punk rock historian, blogger, Tarot card reader, and a critically acclaimed actor, musician and painter. A Hollywood icon, her multi-disciplinary creative output is nothing short of staggering.
During the 1970's, she was one of the first punks in Los Angeles, documenting the music scene she helped create in her fanzine Lobotomy, which lead to her writing for mainstream music and entertainment publications. From the age of sixteen onwards, Pleasant worked as a journalist and cultural commentator with literally thousands of articles published nationally and internationally (both in hard copy publications and on the web) on everything from the arts and entertainment to Hollywood stuntwomen, sex workers and homeless teenage runaways. She has worked as a staff writer for LA Weekly, Los Angeles Magazine, Variety, And The Hollywood Reporter and often free-lanced for Billboard, Spin and Rolling Stone. She has also written liner notes for numerous recording artists and compilations, and worked for several entertainment companies writing artist biographies, press releases, film synopses, advertising and poster copy. In 1999, her alternative city guide book The Underground Guide To Los Angeles spent nine weeks on The Los Angeles Times Best Sellers List.
In the early 1980's, Pleasant collaborated with producer/director Max Tash on a script based on her all-girl band The Screaming Sirens, called The Runnin' Kind (which she also starred in) released theatrically by MGM in 1989. The Screaming Sirens toured extensively throughout North America and released two albums on Enigma Records, Fiesta and Voodoo, as well as many singles. The band appeared on numerous film soundtracks and compilations in the 1980's and 1990's. Concurrent with The Screaming Sirens, Pleasant and life-long friend Iris Berry founded The Ringling Sisters, a writing and spoken word group made up of female lead singers from popular Los Angeles bands. The Ringling Sisters soon morphed into a band, and were signed by Ode/ A&M Records, releasing the spoken word and music LP Sixty Watt Reality, produced by Lou Adler. Along with Ringling Sisters guitarist Dave Catching, Pleasant conceived the wacky Ringling Sisters side project, outrageous X Rated trailer trash country band Honk If Yer Horny, which went from being a one-night wonder to having a five-year career, including headlining South By Southwest.
Under the stage name Princess Farhana; Pleasant has been an icon in the fields of belly dance and burlesque since the early 1990's. She has produced and started in seventeen instructional DVDs, and been featured on numerous performance DVDs. She is the author of The Belly Dance Handbook, considered by many to be the definitive resource. She has headlined both belly dance and burlesque festivals all over the world, appearing to perform and teach in Egypt, Turkey, Australia and China, toured many times across Europe and The United Kingdom, Mexico and Canada as well as throughout the USA. As a belly dancer, she has judged numerous competitions, and appeared on the covers of every belly dance trade publication. As a burlesque artist, she has been a judge at the USA's legendary international burlesque competition, The Miss Exotic World Pageant, and was the 2014 keynote speaker at BurlyCon. She has been featured on the covers of numerous mainstream publications and on the cover of the London, UK Sunday Review's feature on American Burlesque.
For over a decade, she was a soloist in America's very first and foremost burlesque troupe, The Velvet Hammer, and was featured in three documentary films on the troupe. The Princess has also been featured in the burlesque books The Velvet Hammer Burlesque, The New Burlesque, Jo Weldon's The Burlesque Handbook and Wild Things: Burlesque Beauties And The Pets They Love. She has appeared in many exotic dance documentaries, including Dirty Martini And The New Burlesque, A &E's This Is Burlesque, and was the subject of Steve Balderson's 2009 documentary film, Underbelly: A Year in The Life Of Dancer Princess Farhana with camera crews following her performances throughout the world. The film was released theatrically as well as on DVD.
Under the names Pleasant Gehman and Princess Farhana, she has acted and danced in numerous motion pictures, in music videos-for Madonna, Ricky Martin, Margaret Cho, and many others- and network television shows, including The Nanny. From 2006- 2009 she was the principle dancer in comedian Margaret Cho's touring burlesque show, The Sensuous Woman and also appeared dancing and being interviewed in segments in Margaret Cho's DVD Assassin and her television series The Cho Show.
Pleasant's memoirs, short stories and poetry have been widely anthologized and many works were recorded on her spoken word CD Ruined. Additionally, she has written and recorded many music CDs and spoken word tracks, including Blacklite Sleaze, 2006 collaboration with noted house music producers Peace Division, which became a hit in Europe and The United Kingdom, entering the British Charts above Madonna. She is one of the many authors featured in Under The Big Black Sun: A Personal History Of LA Punk, compiled by curators John Doe and Tom De Savia. The book also features Exene Cervenka, Henry Rollins, members of The Go-Go's and several others involved in the late '70's Los Angeles punk scene.
Pleasant's most recent projects include the art show (Teenage) Lobotomy, with collaborator photographer Theresa Kereakes. Based on their 1970's punk fanzine the interest in the exhibit and their stories sparked the forthcoming book, which will be released by Punk Hostage Press in late 2016. Currently, she is also working on a paranormal memoir (Super) Natural Woman, as well as Walking The Tarot Path with co-author Crystal Ravenwolf.
Pleasant is still on the road constantly, visiting different cities to lecture on punk history, perform spoken word, teach writing and professional development intensives for artists. Under the stage name Princess Farhana, she performs and teaches belly dance and burlesque worldwide.
Pleasant lives in Hollywood, California.