Saturday, August 08, 2009

Portland, ME City Council Bans Shakespeare, Worried About Rowdiness

There is to be no more Naked Shakespeare in Portland, Maine, because it might lead to rowdy crowds. Because as everyone knows, Shakespeare fans are just a bunch of degenerates prone to drunken debauchery.

Fat, drunk, and literate is no way to go through life, son.

According to an article in the Portland Press Herald, the city of Portland has a zoning rule that says bars cannot have an entertainment license within 100 feet of another bar with another license. And since the Wine Bar & Restaurant is next to a bar that already has one, the Acorn Productions' Shakespeare Ensemble may no longer perform their monthly Shakespeare readings for the patrons.

Verily, this is the dizzying pinnacle of beef-witted loggerheadedness.

Mike Levine, artistic director of Acorn Productions, told the Press Herald that because of the short-sightedness on the part of the city council, the entire ensemble may leave the city for some place less motley-minded.

"You would think it was something you should be celebrating, rather than trying to contain," Levine told the Press Herald.

Tough noogies, codpiece, said Mayor Jill Duson at the Cicy Council meeting. (I'm paraphrasing.)

"It's interesting that they grapple with this versus grappling with a place that wants to have more dancing girls in short-shorts and cowboy boots dancing on the bar," said Scott Berry, one of the owners of the Wine Bar & Restaurant.

The city council voted to renew the Wine Bar's liquor license, but denied their request to approve the Naked Shakespeare performances, probably out of fear that the cheese-and-cracker nibbling, wine-sipping Shakespearean crowds might get out of hand, and scoff openly, as ne'er-do-wells and ruffians are wont to do.

While some councilors would like to see the rule abolished, some others are still unclear on the concept of Shakespearean theatre as an art form.

"I want to see a fair amount of analysis before I would consider altering it significantly," said Councilor Nicholas Mavodones Jr. "It  makes sense to not have establishments with entertainment butting up against each other."

Yeah, I can see how readings of the Merchant of Venice can interfere with a Journey cover band's draw. I'm surprised there haven't been any big brawls or anything.


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