Steve Barnes on Stephen Colbert on art and strip clubs

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Here’s the story by Steve Barnes:

The nearly nude dancer climbed atop me as if I were a jungle gym.
She tossed her hair and gyrated her hips downward, pressing her buttocks into my lap.
“Spread your legs wider. Let me get in there,” she said before swinging around and rubbing her chest across my face. When she leaned back, I had breast sweat on my askew glasses. A photo taken by a friend shows a red oval outline on my forehead that could be an injury or giant ringworm. In fact, it is a lip print from the dancer.
I went to the nude juice bar Nite Moves in Latham at the behest of the Comedy Central show “The Colbert Report,” which was eager to exploit the humorous potential of a tax dispute between the club and New York state. My role in the segment of the show, which aired Thursday night, was to review the dancing from an artistic perspective.
I seem to have been insufficiently compensatory for my dancer’s services, performed in the club’s main room, because she said, “You need to read up on strip clubs and strippers.” A buddy handed her more cash.
Although chastised and apparently clueless about tipping nuances, I still recognized that what I’d been watching was art.
The state Court of Appeals disagrees. In a split decision released Oct. 24, New York’s highest court ruled 4-3 against Nite Moves, which has been arguing that its dancers’ performances are akin to ballet and thus entry fees and payments for lap dances are not subject to sales tax. The club’s outstanding tax bill is about $400,000.

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  1. Bravo! I see an Emmy nomination in your future. Seriously, starting the day with some good laughs sure beats the depressing AM news. Thanks for sharing.


  2. The claim of erotic dancing as art reminds me of Darlene and her parrot in John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces. Life imitating art?


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