Skip to comments.Bars Find Unique Way To Beat New Smoking Ban
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.
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.
LOL....I’m perfectly willing to be an “actor” too.
American ingenuity at it’s finest.
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??
Outstanding. Genius, even.
> “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.
I love America
Of course, it won't last but it's darn ingenious.
I could park myself there and swear I'm doing a rendition of The Vagina Monologues! LOL!!
I can see the two Guiness cartoon guys standing there talking about this and saying “Brilliant” “Brilliant”
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!!
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.
Watch out or there will be a thespian pride parade.
Restaurants have been clever about it, too.
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.
Of course, the legislation is moving quickly to quelch this brilliant loophole.
Good quote! I’ll have to save that one.
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