Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Dancing is not a Crime! - Oh wait, yes it is!

Has anybody noticed how hot everything is right now? I'm so hot I can't even feel my skin anymore. And that's really weird.

I haven't posted in a while as I've been avoiding life, conflicts, projects, and things in general. I'm in a malaise and goodness only knows how I'm going to get myself out of this personal quagmire.

But enough of me, how's the rest of the world? Hmmm... let's see, I can sum it up in one word: crappy. C-R-A-P-P-Y. CRAPPY!!!!

Hell; we're about to all go there, at least according to the Bible-thumpers as the Middle East explodes; Iraq is still harsh, and now Turkey seems to be a tad upset as the Kurds are restless on the Turk's Southern border. Oh joy, oh bliss, oh rapture.

Oh... scratch that last one.

So into the fray is a bit of local NYC politics. In the five boroughs of New York City, it is illegal to dance in a bar, club, theater, etc., where three or more people congregate and where food or drink is served. So, no swing dancing, no moshing, no tango, no jazz tapping, no nothing, unless the venue has paid the city of New York a sum of money which legally allows patrons to dance.

There are currently 244 active cabaret licenses, a number that fluctuates depending on approvals, fines, and dormant licenses.

Sounds like, I don't know, Taliban country, eh? Well, I've been hearing that even in Afghanistan you can dance now, though I haven't been able to confirm it.

Back in 1926, these laws grew out of the jazz era in New York, when the races were mixing and the dance was hot and heavy; the last thing anyone needed was a meeting of the... coloreds and the whiteys. A Prohibition definition of lewdness was being regulated, and somehow, in 2006, the laws are still on the books. The background has changed, but the laws are still used to wontanly crack down on New York nightlife and keep our citizens in line.

There's been a few lawsuits in the past several years attempting to get rid of or modify the laws. Most attempts have been failures, though Paul Chevigny was able to strip the regulations concerning musicians: for years New York musicians had to have a license to play. One blight on their record and they could be denied the right to make a living by being denied the right to play. This law was stricken back in 1991. Musicians all over NYC went HOORAY!

Now, the last vestige of these laws lay in the anti-dancing portion of Public Law 20-359 regulating Public Dance Halls, Cabarets, and Catering Establishments in New York City, presumably one of the most enlightened places on Earth.

The bottom line is that dancing, my friends, is illegal in New York.

So, since all politics is actually local, on July 22 from 2-4 PM, there will be a protest at the corner of 5th Avenue and 79th Street, in view of Mayor Bloomberg's house. We are hoping to move the Administration to change the law and allow dancing while developing other regulations to control noise, overcrowding, and whatever else the City of New York needs to do to make places safe physically while allowing dancing.

So, see you there!

When: Saturday, July 22, 2006 from 2-4 PM

Where: At the corner of the Honorable Mayor Bloomberg’s home.
East 79th Street and Fifth Avenue.
Take the 6 train to 77th, the M79 or M2L buses to 79th and Fifth, or the M1, M2, M3, or M4 buses to 79th and Madison.

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