'Girls Night Out' shut out at last minute in Minot for being too risqué
"There was a lot of money and effort and time put into this,” said the bar owner who was going to host the event. “Literally four days before it was supposed to happen I had to cancel.”
MINOT, N.D. — A show pegged to perform inside a Minot bar was canceled at the 11th hour after it was deemed too sexually explicit by city council members and police.
The Drop Zone bar and nightclub, at 101 Main St. in Minot, was slated to host "Girls Night Out," a 21+ show on Tuesday, March 21, before it was shut down due to violations within city ordinances.
Anthony Barrette, owner of the Drop Zone, told Minot City Council during their meeting on Monday that he'd be considered not in compliance with city ordinances and "steps would be taken."
The show features dance performances from a variety of men, according to their website . Performances are intended to appeal to women, and dancers dress up in elaborate costumes which include cowboys, firemen, or knights.
"There was a lot of money and effort and time put into this,” Barrette said. “Literally four days before it was supposed to happen I had to cancel.”
City officials assert the show violates ordinances around sexually oriented businesses, as well as their liquor licenses laws that prohibit nudity, semi-nudity and sexually explicit acts .
Calling it an unfair assessment, Barrette wished council members would have given the show a chance before canceling it.
Event organizers said the show would be performed within the ordinance, Barrette said, adding the company has done performances in other cities with similar ordinances.
“We are not a sexually explicit business,” Barrette said. “This was an event that we were having, we’re normally just a bar and nightclub.”
The event was also unlikely to run afoul of the ordinance regarding nudity, Barrette noted. Language within the law does not apply to male chests.
Minot’s City Attorney Stefanie Stalheim saw things differently.
The city’s nudity ordinance outlines that various sexual acts cannot be simulated. Touching anyone's breasts, buttocks or private areas in liquor establishments is also prohibited.
“It’s our understanding that this could be concerning with the event that you were going to host at the Drop Zone,” Stalheim said.
Interaction and participation within the event in particular makes city officials believe it would violate city ordinances, according to council member Carrie Evans.
The "Girls Night Out" webpage summarizes the show, which includes "amazing dances...interactive games (and) audience participation."
"Girls Night Out isn’t the type of show you sit back and watch – GNO is a fully interactive experience!” the webpage reads.
Bennette first made a permit request three weeks ago to host the event. Minot Police Chief John Klug initially recommended the bar not to host the show, citing its complications with city ordinances and that it likely wouldn't be allowed.
Some confusion arose, however, when the city reconsidered his request and gave Barrette the go-ahead on the event.
While it only took the city two hours to retract that, according to Klug, Barrette said he advertised his event during that window.
“It was kind of a big hit for me,” Barrette said. “There was a lot of money, a lot of advertising, that was already put into (the event), that I now just sort of have to eat.”
He estimates an initial revenue hit of $5,000.
The late nature of the request caused the mix-up, according to Stalheim. The city was forced "to scramble" to determine if the event was permissible under current ordinance, and what council members who passed the ordinance originally intended, she said.
“If it had been without the interaction part, I think we could have found space in our ordinance for it,” Evans said, adding the city is already reexamining how it will react to one-time shows and see if the current ordinances are still consistent with what city officials want.
As for the show, it was moved to neighboring Velva roughly 25 minutes at the Rope Lariat Bar and Grill.
“These guys needed a new venue and who are we to say no?!?” the bar said on their Facebook page.