'Naked Girls Reading' Fall Foul of D.C. Licensing Laws

22 comments
Naked Girls Reading

I mean, what’s not to like? Naked women reading “tales of school girls getting spanked and Sleeping Beauty seducing other women” in a small bar. To cut a long story short, Naked Girls Reading is an international phenomenon with events taking places in 18 cities in the UK, Canada and the U.S. The Washington, D.C. events started in October at the D.C. Arts Center, but when they needed a new venue for the January show, the owner of Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar in North East D.C. offered his tiny upstairs bar.

The resulting publicity for the erotic-themed show ensured the place was packed, including a mention in Washingtonian’s weekend entertainment listings. The next show was scheduled for Valentine’s Day with a vampiric ‘Love Bites’ theme, but last Friday the management of the bar told the group they’d have to cancel because it “would violate the bar's license”.

'It is with a heavy heart that I must announce we have canceled this month's show,' Cherokee Rose, the producer of Naked Girls Reading D.C., wrote on the event's Facebook page. 'There were unfortunately licensing issues that came up with the venue that have made it impossible for the show to go on as planned.'

It makes me laugh, but here's how the laws sum up: while actors in a theatre can get as naked as they like, a bar would have to have a license like the ones given to strip clubs, rather than the usual “bands, karaoke, comedy shows, poetry readings, and disc jockeys”.

While I suppose it’s to stop just any bar bringing in strippers, it seems like there should be some kind of theatrical equivalent for bars that do cater for this sort of event - it is the 21st Century, after all. Are you disappointed they’re not going to be performing? I know I am…

Dean Fetzer

News by Dean Fetzer

Dean Fetzer is originally from a small town in eastern Colorado, but has lived in London, England, for the past 21 years. After a career in graphic design, he started a pub review website in the late 90’s; He left that in 2011 to concentrate on his thriller writing, as well as offering publishing services for authors, poets and artists. When not writing - or in the pub - he can be found in the theatre, live music venues and travelling.

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Frank Chapel's picture
Frank Chapel from California is reading Thomas Ligotti's works February 12, 2013 - 3:21pm

No ones keepin' 'em from wearing Micro-bikinis!

Ivan Amaro's picture
Ivan Amaro February 12, 2013 - 3:38pm

They still could get prettier girls. I mean come on there are strippers with less stretch marks

Renee Miller's picture
Renee Miller from Tweed, Ontario is reading The Wolf Gift February 12, 2013 - 4:20pm

They still could get prettier girls. I mean come on there are strippers with less stretch marks

 

Nice. Apparently with nudity comes douchebaggery.

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading Stories of YOUR Life February 12, 2013 - 4:25pm

They still could get prettier girls. I mean come on there are strippers with less stretch marks

Sigh. This is why we can't have nice things.

Frank Chapel's picture
Frank Chapel from California is reading Thomas Ligotti's works February 12, 2013 - 7:14pm

Way to focus on the negativity!

Carly Berg's picture
Carly Berg from USA is reading Story Prompts That Work by Carly Berg is now available at Amazon February 12, 2013 - 9:43pm

Interesting article. Bars and nudity are tricky together legally, but didn't they know that? There were two strip clubs near where I used to live, next door to each other and owned by the same man. Because of the laws, the one that served liquor was topless only and the one that was totally nude served no liquor. The customers walked across the parking lot from one to the other. I don't understand it, but it seems a bar owner and the others would be well aware of that strictness and check into the ordinances before scheduling this. Just because it's not an ongoing thing wouldn't mean the law doesn't apply. It is a nude, sexually oriented event, in his bar, that customers pay to attend.

I also recall businesses years ago where the women wore lingerie (or less, I guess) and read erotic stories to customers. They were definitely considered sexually oriented business and regulated accordingly and no liquor was served at all, as far as I know. I don't see the difference here, except that it's a travelling thing.

There was an event a while back where the authors of erotica read their own works and it was meant to be some kind of artsy empowerment thing. This is not that. It's a for-profit business that promises "beautiful girls" (not the authors of the stories), and says something like "What's art without a little T &A?" This is just a sexually oriented show, that's it (I clicked on the link and skimmed it but someone please let me know if I misunderstood).

Also, if someone would be charged to see naked strangers read erotic stories, I don't think they're out of line to expect a certain level of attractiveness.

Frank Chapel's picture
Frank Chapel from California is reading Thomas Ligotti's works February 12, 2013 - 11:36pm

@Carly publicity stunt? Hrmmm...

Carly Berg's picture
Carly Berg from USA is reading Story Prompts That Work by Carly Berg is now available at Amazon February 13, 2013 - 1:47am

 publicity stunt? Hrmmm...

 

I didn't think of that but they sure do seem to have gotten publicity.

Renee Miller's picture
Renee Miller from Tweed, Ontario is reading The Wolf Gift February 13, 2013 - 6:54am

@Carly

I don't think they're out of line to expect a certain level of attractiveness.

Just like reading, attractiveness is a subjective thing. There are many out there who would find the women in the picture beautiful. What I see is four attractive women that represent a range of body types an a range of appealing physical attributes. None of the women are ugly.

To point out stretch marks, which are not in fact stretch marks in the photo, but cellulite from what I can see, which most women are quite familiar with, and insinuate they equal unattractiveness is ignorant.

 

Carly Berg's picture
Carly Berg from USA is reading Story Prompts That Work by Carly Berg is now available at Amazon February 13, 2013 - 11:58am

@Renee- Of course it's subjective, but the "I'm offended that women are being treated as sex objects" stuff just doesn't apply when the women actually ARE working as sex objects. Also, I've never heard anyone say they consider cellulite attractive.

Renee Miller's picture
Renee Miller from Tweed, Ontario is reading The Wolf Gift February 13, 2013 - 11:57am

My comment to you had nothing to do with taking offense. I'm not offended that they're being treated as sex objects. I expect that when one is sitting in front of a crowd of people naked, one is being viewed as such. That's not what irritated me. Your comment about having the right to expect a "certain level of attractiveness" is what makes no sense. How can you rate attractiveness when it's different for every person? How do you decide what type of body is attractive enough to warrant paying to see? There's always someone who is going to be all "Ew, I'm not paying to see that girl naked. She's too skinny/pale/fat/muscular."

The point of the article is not whether or not we should pay to see these particular ladies read naked. It's not about whether we should pay at all. It's about whether or not anyone at all should be allowed to read naked without first getting the same licensing a strip club requires. Is this particular event artistic expression or is it pornographic? This is what should be discussed, not whether the ladies have too many stretch marks or if their bodies are worth the price of admission.

Carly Berg's picture
Carly Berg from USA is reading Story Prompts That Work by Carly Berg is now available at Amazon February 13, 2013 - 12:19pm

Did I not just say that what is "attractive" is subjective? When they are advertising  "beautiful girls, reading erotic stories" and charging people to see it, again, I do think people have the right to comment on whether or not they believe the girls actually are beautiful. It doesn't make sense to argue that good looks don't count in the sex industry just because what constitutes "good looks" can't be 100% inarguably defined. What I didn't like is your use of the words "douchebaggery" and "ignorant" to anyone who has a different opinion from yours or and/or is not discussing only those parts of what was presented that you believe should be discussed.

Renee Miller's picture
Renee Miller from Tweed, Ontario is reading The Wolf Gift February 13, 2013 - 12:17pm

Did I call everyone with a different opinion a douchebag? No. Just one guy, making one comment.

Yes, you agreed that attractiveness is subjective, but then you go on to say that I make no sense. So I thought I was clarifying what I meant so that perhaps it might make sense. I did not intend to imply that you didn't have a right to an opinion. I guess I should frame everything in "My opinion is...." so that no one feels I think they don't have the right to one.

Also, I didn't say that looks don't count in the sex industry. I said the comment about the stretch marks was douchebaggery, IN MY OPINION. I said that the idea that such things make a woman's body so unattractive that it's not worth viewing is ignorant, IN MY OPINION. And then I said that these things are not what the article is about anyway, IN MY OPINION.

Actually, I'm kind of feeling offended that you're offended that I stated my opinion to begin with. Isn't discussion about different opinions and debating them? Not getting your panties all in a bunch when someone replies to a comment?

The naked reading concept is cool. I'd never get up on stage naked, but kudos to anyone who does. Yes, even stretch-marked strippers. It's a shame that this event is being equated to stripping and pornography. It's not either of those things, in my opinion.

Carly Berg's picture
Carly Berg from USA is reading Story Prompts That Work by Carly Berg is now available at Amazon February 13, 2013 - 12:25pm

Yes, we are all stating our opinions, but the rest of us are doing so without name-calling.

And, how is  it "a shame that this event is being equated to stripping and pornography?" It clearly calls itself erotic entertainment, just like stripping and pornography.

I think you really don't have a point but just want to be right and I'm not up for your continued rude comments, so you worry about the state of your own panties, Missy. I'm done for now.

Renee Miller's picture
Renee Miller from Tweed, Ontario is reading The Wolf Gift February 13, 2013 - 12:43pm

Sigh. Yep. You're right. I was completely rude and totally having to be right. *hangs head in shame*

NotMarilyn's picture
NotMarilyn from Twin Cities, MN is reading Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn February 13, 2013 - 12:44pm

Carly, it is not AT ALL equal to pornography. Have you ever been to one of these events? Doesn't sound like it, considering you're speculating what it "would" be like and what one "should" expect from it.

I live in Minneapolis where there happens to be a Naked Girls Reading chapter, headed by a good friend of mine named Sweetpea Konyobeck who is also a burlesque entertainer. (I DARE you to call that pornography as well.)

The dynamic of the attendees at these events are not drooling, sniveling, smoke-stained and drunk, handsy men (and sometimes women) you find at a strip club. You'll find people interested in story. A lot of times, the reading is followed by burlesque, drag, and other stage performance. We don't spend three hours staring at naked women. There's more to it than that.

I don't know about other chapters in the US, but I know that the message Sweetpea puts forth in her NGR performances is that beauty is everywhere. Some of the women who have the balls to get up in front of a crowd, stark naked, are outside the realm of what YOU might call "a certain level of attractiveness," but holy crap when their faces light up and they read with enthusiasm and they're laughing with each other and the audience and everyone is just having a good time enjoying literature, it doesn't matter. 

In any case, I agree with Renee in that you seem to have missed the point of the article. 

Should these performances be allowed in a place not licensed for stripping? Yes. Because it's a performance akin to a play. People don't wait at the edge of the stage with a dollar in their teeth. 

Carly Berg's picture
Carly Berg from USA is reading Story Prompts That Work by Carly Berg is now available at Amazon February 13, 2013 - 1:22pm

NotMarilyn, this thread has gone on for a little ways now, so please read what all I've actually said first if you're going to direct your own position against it. I don't even recognize most of that, it wasn't my point at all. Aside from that, I think your post is interesting.

NotMarilyn's picture
NotMarilyn from Twin Cities, MN is reading Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn February 13, 2013 - 1:28pm

 "It clearly calls itself erotic entertainment, just like stripping and pornography."

"I don't think they're out of line to expect a certain level of attractiveness."

I did read what you've said, thank you. But I appreciate your concern. I was arguing my position against only a fraction of what you said. I didn't feel the need to comment on all of it.  

Carly Berg's picture
Carly Berg from USA is reading Story Prompts That Work by Carly Berg is now available at Amazon February 13, 2013 - 1:47pm

?

According to their website, their own advertisement, do you not think they are selling "erotic entertainment?" I do not personally feel that means it is only for bottom-feeders or that other erotic entertainment can't be artistic as well. My thought is that liquor/erotic entertainment ordinances just aren't set up for or designed to make calls about artistic merit. It is probably not their usual issue nor their main concern. I said I was surprised that those involved didn't realize the laws on that were likely to be an issue before they scheduled it.

http://nakedgirlsreading.com/

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer February 13, 2013 - 2:53pm

Looking at the pictures, I'm not sure I see a difference between this and art pornography, or other forms of erotic entertainment. They can call it whatever they want, but the difference between this and other nude photoshoots thare are definitely considered erotic entertainment is that there is a book in frame.

I'm not saying that is a bad thing. I have nothing against it. And granted, I haven't seen the live shows. But I have seen nude pictorals, and that's what they are. Take the tattoos out of suicide girls and give them hardbacks to hold and there you are.

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts February 14, 2013 - 2:29am

Are they reading good books, though?

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer February 14, 2013 - 5:51am

Sometimes.