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Bars Find Unique Way To Beat New Smoking Ban
City News ^ | Friday March 7, 2008 | CityNews.ca Staff

Posted on 03/07/2008 11:36:12 AM PST by dickmc

Whatever your feeling on smoking bans, you kind of have to admire the way some bars in Minnesota are getting around their state's tough new restrictions on the practice. Like Toronto, Minnesota has banned smoking in its pubs and nightclubs, but the legislators did leave one loophole - actors on stage are allowed to light up a cigarette if it's something their characters would do in the context of a play.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Health/Medicine; Society
KEYWORDS: bar; libertarians; minnesota; smokers; smoking
And therein lies the nefarious plot of this multi-act drama.

Some bars, faced with the dilemma of having to tell their patrons to butt out or leave, have decided on an alternate plan that's as devious as it is bizarre. They've officially proclaimed their evenings 'theatre nights' and designated all their customers as 'actors', insisting they're part of a 'play' being performed at the establishments. And as members of the 'cast', they're legitimately allowed to light up.

The obvious ploy hasn't fooled anyone, of course, but it seems to have taken on a life of its own. Some pubs have begun printing up playbills and encouraging their customers to come in costume, getting into a spirit of the protest while using real spirits. Many have embraced the ridiculous idea, speaking in accents and improvising, all with plumes of smoke emanating from between their fingers.

One spot even put up a sign reading "Props Department". What was located there? Ashtrays for those whose characters feel the need to smoke.

But even those whose "extras" sit around smoking and drinking like before are claiming - in their best Jon Lovitz-impression - "I was acting!"

"They're playing themselves before Oct. 1," explains Brian Bauman, who owns a bar called The Rock. "You know, before there was a smoking ban. We call the production, 'Before the Ban!'"

At another night spot, owner Lisa Anderson has gone all out to attract her own group of local 'thespians.' "I was dressed in a Victorian dress with the old fluffy thing that weighs 500 pounds," she recalls. "We had some fairies and some pirates and a group of girls - I'm not sure what they were, but they had big boas and flashy makeup ... It's turned into the funnest thing I can imagine."

Another watering hole has dubbed its 'performances' "The Tobacco Monologues."

So far, about 30 establishments have adopted the idea and it's not something authorities are toasting. They intend to stop the practice, warning fines as high as $10,000 will be levied for those caught breaking the rules. "The law was enacted to protect Minnesotans from the serious health effects of secondhand smoke," state Health Commissioner Sanne Magnan relates. "It is time for the curtain to fall on these theatrics."

But it's obvious the idea is getting rave reviews from some. Many of the bars that have opted to take advantage of the situation say their business has increased, with Anderson noting her profits went from $500 when the ban took effect to $2,000 once the theatre nights began.

Despite the bad reviews from critics, there's no sign these 'plays' will be closing anytime soon.

1 posted on 03/07/2008 11:36:14 AM PST by dickmc
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To: dickmc

LOL....I’m perfectly willing to be an “actor” too.


2 posted on 03/07/2008 11:40:21 AM PST by indcons (FReepmail "indcons" to get on the Barack <<redacted>> Obama ping list)
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To: dickmc
I live in Minnesota and I went to one of these. It was a barrel of laughs. Took 2 Rocky Patel Sun Grown sumatras and became a Thespian for the night. It felt good to go to a bar again.
3 posted on 03/07/2008 11:40:49 AM PST by timydnuc (I'll die on my feet before I'll live on my knees.)
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To: dickmc

American ingenuity at it’s finest.


4 posted on 03/07/2008 11:40:51 AM PST by stevio (Crunchy Con - God, guns, guts, and organically grown crunchy nuts.)
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To: dickmc
So far, about 30 establishments have adopted the idea and it's not something authorities are toasting. They intend to stop the practice, warning fines as high as $10,000 will be levied for those caught breaking the rules.

Because they have their AUTHORITY, dammit! How DARE private establishments use clever ways to get around those totalitarian, socialist laws the AUTHORITIES love to enforce?? How DARE private business try to promote subversive ideas like FREEDOM??

5 posted on 03/07/2008 11:41:48 AM PST by Allegra (Posting without being logged on since 2001)
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To: dickmc

Outstanding. Genius, even.


6 posted on 03/07/2008 11:42:35 AM PST by Ramius (Personally, I give us... one chance in three. More tea?)
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To: dickmc

> “The law was enacted to protect Minnesotans from the serious health effects of secondhand smoke,” state Health Commissioner Sanne Magnan relates. “It is time for the curtain to fall on these theatrics.”

Can’t allow the plebs to have a good time, ay. The wowsers will be all over this one in no time.


7 posted on 03/07/2008 11:43:42 AM PST by DieHard the Hunter (Is mise an ceann-cinnidh. Cha ghill mi do dhuine. Fg am bealach.)
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To: stevio

Agreed

I love America


8 posted on 03/07/2008 11:43:58 AM PST by wastedyears (Iron Maiden in two weeks' time.)
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To: dickmc; Gabz; SheLion; CSM
Here is a good one.

Of course, it won't last but it's darn ingenious.

9 posted on 03/07/2008 11:45:27 AM PST by Just another Joe (Warning: FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: dickmc
How fun to go in as a one-man act! Hal Holbrook's "Mark Twain" or some such!

I could park myself there and swear I'm doing a rendition of The Vagina Monologues! LOL!!

-Joan

10 posted on 03/07/2008 12:01:51 PM PST by JoanVarga ("Por qu no te calles?")
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To: dickmc

I can see the two Guiness cartoon guys standing there talking about this and saying “Brilliant” “Brilliant”


11 posted on 03/07/2008 12:05:39 PM PST by mrmargaritaville
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To: dickmc

This is the best thing I’ve read in a long time! Kudos to them.

But alas....smoking, drinking, fun CANNOT be tolerated in Minnesota!!


12 posted on 03/07/2008 12:09:17 PM PST by the lastbestlady (I now believe that we have two lives; the life we learn with and the life we live with after that.)
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To: mrmargaritaville

13 posted on 03/07/2008 12:15:07 PM PST by kingattax (99 % of liberals give the rest a bad name)
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To: Just another Joe

I love it. The best part is that the nannies are openly admitting that they are really out to ensure that no one has any enjoyment in their lives. Like true socialists, they want to ensure that everyone suffers equally.


14 posted on 03/07/2008 12:30:57 PM PST by CSM (Kakistocracy: Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens.)
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To: Allegra

Watch out or there will be a thespian pride parade.


15 posted on 03/07/2008 12:32:53 PM PST by weegee (Those who surrender personal liberty to lower global temperatures will receive neither.)
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To: dickmc

Performance art.


16 posted on 03/07/2008 12:32:58 PM PST by Sam Cree (absolute reality)
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To: dickmc
Yes. American ingenuity.

Restaurants have been clever about it, too.


17 posted on 03/07/2008 12:40:49 PM PST by Lady Jag (If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you)
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To: CSM
I love it. The best part is that the nannies are openly admitting that they are really out to ensure that no one has any enjoyment in their lives. Like true socialists, they want to ensure that everyone suffers equally.

Yes, all this stuff about the "authorities" stating that they'll "put an end to it" really chaps me.

Our forefathers fought and died for our nation's freedom. We don't have that anymore. We need to get it back.

18 posted on 03/07/2008 12:55:29 PM PST by Allegra (Posting without being logged on since 2001)
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To: dickmc

Of course, the legislation is moving quickly to quelch this brilliant loophole.


19 posted on 03/07/2008 1:18:04 PM PST by McKayopectate
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To: Allegra
"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

- C.S. Lewis

20 posted on 03/07/2008 1:21:54 PM PST by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Joe 6-pack

Good quote! I’ll have to save that one.


21 posted on 03/07/2008 1:27:57 PM PST by CJ Wolf
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