Missouri Strip Club Gets Creative to Stay Within New Law

KANSAS CITY, Mo.—The only proof necessary to realize that the intention of Missouri’s new strip club law is to drive all clubs out of the state is the fact that it was drafted with the help of the Missouri/Kansas faction of the American Family Association, which, among other things, likes to generate national headlines by organizing boycotts of companies that provide corporate support for the gay community. More treacherously, though, the group that loves to hate has managed to parlay its social intolerance into political influence in states whose legislatures have taken a very hard turn to the right.

A perfect illustration of the insidious and anti-American influence of this and other like-minded groups is the success they have had getting supposedly lethal laws like the strip club ordinances either passed or in motion in states like Missouri, Ohio and Kansas, as well as in counties and cities throughout the nation. These ordinances are generally similar, imposing restrictions on hours of operation, dress codes, and the amount of physical contact allowed between dancers and customers, if any, especially if alcohol is served.

Missouri has been particularly hostile to adult speech as it has been traditionally practiced in clubs that already prohibit access by minors. As AVN reported last year, even the state’s Supreme Court took a blatantly antagonistic posture when First Amendment attorney J. Michael Murray appeared before its seven justices in September to argue against the state’s restrictive new law, which they ultimately upheld in November.

Despite that loss, the Kansas City Star reported yesterday that one club in the state, Bazooka’s, is testing the limitations of the law in a very creative way, and thus far is not only getting away with it, but is creating very happy customers as a result.

“Bazooka’s, an adult entertainment venue in downtown Kansas City, now offers videos of its nude and seminude dancers on large, flat-screen televisions adjacent to the stage,” the paper reported. “While a dancer performs live with her intimate areas covered, as the law requires, a video of the same dancer—with those areas exposed—appears on the screens.”

According to the club’s owner, Dick Snow, the idea behind the videos is to meet the language of the law while still allowing the club to stay open after midnight, while also giving his clientele what they came for.

“We’ve always been in the entertainment business,” he said. “[The video] adds to our entertainment. The customers like it. Sometimes we get applause.

More importantly, he said, they comply with the law. “There is some full frontal nudity in these videos, but there’s full frontal nudity in every theater in the city,” he said.

The Star actually assigned two reporters to observe the entertainment at the club and report on the work-around, including getting reaction from supporters of the law and the police.

Needless to say, the AFA thinks Bazooka’s is in violation of the law despite the use of video. “We anticipated these creative props to try and circumvent the law,” said Phillip Cosby, executive director of the American Family Association of Kansas and Missouri. “We will pursue it and see if we can get some remedy.”

Attorney Scott Bergthold, who also helped draft the law and argued on its behalf before the state supreme court, had no comment. Nor did Matt Bartle, the Lee’s Summit Senate Republican who sponsored the bill in the General Assembly.

But the police did, saying as far as they were concerned the club was operating legally.

“A spokesman for the Kansas City Police Department said the department had received no complaints about Bazooka’s videos and said it did not appear that the establishment was violating any local or state laws,” reported the Star.

Expect the legislature to try to plug the hole, though. A creative work-around like that employed by Bazooka’s is an insufferable obstacle to the true intent of the law and cannot be abided by organizations like the AFA, which are solely dedicated to turning America into a land that reflects its own intolerance and hatred for people who think differently.