I was browsing the GBH.tv web site tonight (web home of the promoters of Lotus) and came across a link to a story about the “Let’s make dancing legal in NYC” petition.
Through the web site, LegalDancingNYC.com, NYU Law Professor Paul Chevigny is assisting four dancers and a social dance organization, John Festa, Gotham West Coast Swing Club, Byron Cox, Ian Dutton and Meredith Stead in suing the city, charging that the Cabaret Laws, which prevents clubs and bars from allowing patrons to dance unless they are a licensed venue, limits freedom of expression.
On June 23, 2005, the group filed suit and, of course, the City of New York is now working hard to have the law suit dismissed. In support of the group, you can sign the petition online at http://www.petitiononline.com/DANCENY/petition.html
I’m all for good solid policework to help kids beat the scourge of drugs…yada…yada, but we’re giving up way to many freedoms in this country. To be protected from what, I have no idea? Of all people, I agree government should protect its citizens, but how far do we go? When do we stop? As fear of the unknown continues to grip us, we’re giving up our rights for something that may never happen. If you watch Fox News, you’ll get my point. They drill it into you.
By the way, totally off topic, but I was watching Bill O’Reilly the other night while I was in Boston for the holiday’s. If the fruit cake didn’t make me sick, his show certainly did. And Curtis Sliwa? His own show on national television? I heard nothing of substance coming out of his mouth, but…no wait…there was something. I think he mumbled, “Yo, ah yoo liss-in-en to me…ahhhhh yooooooooooooooou liss-in-en?” Who the hell put this guy on TV? First the Gotti’s get on, for what I don’t know? They get cancelled. And, now Sliwa, who the big boss tried to murder (but was let go on a hung jury), has his own show. I’m so proud of my media brother’s and sister’s for airing two shows that make Gilligan’s Island look like the McLaughlin Group.
Back to the topic at hand. So, I e-signed the petition tonight, and in the comments section, I wrote the following:
Dancing is an art form, a personal freedom that allows one to express themselves creatively in front of other’s for the purposes of entertainment, enjoyment and in some instance, it is a mating ritual that is normal human behavior. While the judges who rule on preventing dancing in small clubs and lounges in New York City dance with their daughters at weddings in Westchester and Greenwich, the less fortunate have these small venue, which do not charge a cover to freely express themselves through open and stylistic bodily movements. To limit someone’s ability to dance to the rhythm of a musical work is to limit their freedom of expression, and therefore their freedom of speech. We are not a totalitarian society. If the police and government want to find ways to stop the use of illicit drugs, then they must come up with alternative ways rather than limiting the personal freedoms of millions of people who just want to enjoy themselves. I think the cabaret laws are archaic, prejudicial and racist.
If you live in New York and you really want to see the Cabaret Law repealed, this is one way in which you can get involved.