Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Block the booze and bosoms bill

Charles Ray, "Fall '91, 1992," The Broad, Los Angeles.

     A confession: I never quite got strip clubs. They seem so dreary and beside-the-point. (“You just haven’t gone to the right strip clubs,” growled a colleague, when I aired this theory in the newsroom, praising Indiana strip clubs with a gleam in his eye that made me want to rush out and investigate the situation. …)
     Sorry, where were we? Yes, strip clubs. Kinda like paying to go to a restaurant where they wheel the meal out, let you look at it a bit, and then return the food to the kitchen untouched. What’s the purpose of that?
     The Chicago City Council is threatening to change the city’s long-standing separation of booze and bosoms. Right now, if one of Chicago’s four strip clubs wants to have topless dancers, it can’t sell beer. Except for one club, VIP’s A Gentleman’s Club on Kingsbury, which has somehow skirted the law by paying millions of dollars in back tax in 2012. (Well, four clubs and numerous steampunk “neo-burlesque” special events that pop up at midnight shows all over town, but they dwell in the shadows, in ephemeral, quasi-legality and aldermen seem not to know about them).
     Ald. Emma Mitts (37th), chairman of the licensing committee, was sponsoring an ordinance that would allow alcohol in strip clubs. Underline “was.” In the kind of Keystone Kops confusion typical of the council, she said Tuesday she was shocked, shocked to find that her law allows full nudity. The law appears to have been written by VIP’s owner, Mitts suggested, and the alderman only glancingly acquainted herself with it before adding her support. So rather than the law being voted on Wednesday, she has clawed it back for airbrushing....

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  1. "The law appears to be written by VIP's owner, Mitts suggested...." And there's the money quote - it doesn't matter who's in charge; every politician with half a brain is just given a document to enter into a law by some lobbyist at a fancy dinner, and later finds out that it's not what was discussed.

  2. There's an interesting double meaning to the caption of the statue.
    The Broad Los Angeles, is a museum named after builder & egomaniac Eli Broad, pronounced "brode", not like broad.

    1. But for a statue, she's a good looking broad!

  3. Like it or not, most large cities that attract conventions have strip clubs with alcohol as available entertainment. I don't think the 4 figure bill pay or a beating is really relevant - most guys are on an expense account and their biggest challenge will be how to slide those charges past the company bill payer. I would think almost as much business gets handed out over bikini waxed bodies as bikini waxed golf greens (see: Gary McCord/Masters).

  4. Reminds me of my days (or rather nights) haunting the Rialto and the Follies Burlesque Theatres on South State Street. And much later envying the Nelson Algren character in one of his short stories who had a personal relationship with one of the performers. The attraction of Burlesque (certainly for my 16-year-old self) was undoubtedly the nearly naked women, but there was more than that. I have to admit that I first heard Begin the Beguine at a Burlesque show and saw slapstick in the raw as it were. Alcohol wasn't allowed of course, but I'm sure I wasn't the only one who gulped cheap whiskey beforehand. No nostalgia for those old days, I guarantee you. It was all a sad waste of money and time and pathetically risky as well.


  5. You are quite the naughty one, John.


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