Skip to comments.BOARD MEMBERS DEFEND ‘PUPPETRY OF THE PENIS (Freep Em!)
Posted on 07/22/2003 6:40:00 AM PDT by chambley1
County Board members said Saturday they have neither the power nor the intention to stop a troupe called Puppetry of the Penis from performing at the county-operated Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre, despite complaints that the shows content makes it inappropriate for a municipal venue.
Practicing what troupe members call the ancient art of genital origami, Puppetry of the Penis is slated to perform at the Spectrum from July 22 to Aug. 17. Performers manipulate their private parts into everything from a hamburger to their signature effort, the Eiffel Tower.
A few Arlingtonians are not amused.
We should not be pandering to those who confuse artistic expression with boorish exhibitionism, said Richard Kelsey, a local attorney who is the Republican nominee for County Board in the fall.
I am embarrassed that our county is the first in the United States to allow this production in a publicly funded venue, Kelsey said. Its contents far exceed our community standards.
Even one County Board member, Chris Zimmerman, seemed unsure that Rosslyn Spectrum was the appropriate setting for the show.
The nature of this production makes a lot of people in this community uncomfortable, he said.
But other board members said that they have no authority to censor Puppetry of the Penis, which is renting the Rosslyn Spectrum space and is not receiving any subsidy from the county.
The public always has the right to choose what they see, what they dont want to see, said Vice Chairman Barbara Favola. There are freedom-of-expression issues here . . . in this county, weve always valued freedom of speech.
County Manager Ron Carlee said that the county could run into legal problems if it tried to restrict what performers can do on stage.
We do not regulate legitimate art content, Carlee said.
Carlee said the group would be paying $16,000 to rent the space, with the funds used to help support community-based arts groups.
Puppetry of the Penis also is playing venues in Philadelphia and Seattle this summer, with additional productions slated for the United Kingdom and Australia in the fall.
Others are movies that attract an audience not because of the brilliant plot or the professional acting, but because of the special effects, or the level of gratuitous violence, or because an actress shows her breasts (or an actor, his butt).
"Art" today relies on the shock value. The funny thing is, if these performers had their way and this became common, this type of activity would be no more interesting than watching a person twisting balloons into various shapes or creating origami.
Frankly, we Freepers have been going on for some time (and rightly so) about public funding for bizzare art through the NEA and various publicly funded Arts Councils. We talk a good game about if they want to pursue their art, they need to do it on their own dime at their own risk.
As far as I can tell from the article, not one penny of public money is going to this "exhibit." If they can make a living at manipulating their manhood into hamburgers and Eiffel Towers, well so be it.
I'm not saying it's good art, but at least I'm not paying for it. I can live with that.
I certainly won't be attending, but I do admit to a being a little curious. The Eiffel Tower?
By the way, for a real artsy nude male theatrical extravaganza, I used to do my original Dance of the Flying Wanker for my wife when we were first married. It got rave reviews.
BTW, I wonder how they stage this show. I mean, how can you tell from the back row that it's supposed to be a hamburger or whatever?
I can't imagine that they have a camera filming close-ups that's projected onto a large screen...
The "exhibit" is to be held at the county-operated Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre. I think the county should have a say on what is to be held in their public theater built with public money.
I wonder it the county board would allow a religious service to be held there. I believe that's also covered by the First amendment.
But my point concerned public funding. The penis people are paying the county what I'll assume to be a fair rate to use the facilities.
In a way, rather than the public having to pay for this nonsense, they're actually profiting (financially, anyway) from the rental of the theater... again, assuming that the theater would have gone unused during this time.
I'm a little uncomfortable defending this on any basis but principle, because I think the whole notion of grown men playing with their wieners as public entertainment is ridiculous.
It was juvenile and also pretty funny. Pretty harmless, considering that nobody sees it who doesn't pay to see it.
It's not like they're following you into your house to show you their version of "The Hamburger." (which was gross, btw)
It's deja vu all over again.
The medical director of the Philadelphia High School for Girls claimed in the Twenties that "the consensus of opinion of leading medical and scientific authorities is that [jazz's] influence is as harmful and degrading as it has been all along among the savages from whom we borrowed it" and warned that if the disease continued to spread it "may tear to pieces the whole social fabric." Leonard, p. 11-2
Oh, wait. I know. "This time, it's different."
I think that would make a good FR tagline.