04-22-2004, 09:00 AM #1Former Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2003
- In heels
'Bare as you dare'
SPRINGFIELD - It wasn't your average bar scene.
Pulsing music and cigarette smoke aside, Club Xstatic on Chestnut Street in Springfield was holding an impromptu nudist revival in FebruaryFollowers flocked by the droves.
As the clock struck 10:30 p.m., patrons began removing their clothes - some down to their underwear. But more than a few stripped to their birthday suits, opting to sport only shoes and socks.
"Hey, do you know there are naked guys in here?" screeched one customer who had just walked into the club.
Welcome to what was "Naked Night" - a theme event for the alternative bar that caters to a gay clientele but is, according to Manager Jeff Parker, "open for everybody."
"Who is it hurting?" asked Parker, who prides himself on always complying with the law.
But not everyone is taking Naked Night lightly. After two recent visits from undercover Springfield police, and a few complaints that made their way to Mayor Charles V. Ryan's desk, the Springfield Liquor Commission is seeking to clarify the terms of Parker's license.
The mayor's office referred all questions to the commission.
Cheryl A. Stanley, chairwoman of the commission, said the decision to scrutinize the goings on at Club Xstatic was sparked by a combination of old and new complaints.
"We basically get complaints, and we have investigators find what is going on," she said.
In May, the Liquor Commission will hear testimony on a year-old complaint involving a patron touching a nude dancer during the club's popular male strip show and will attempt to define what is permissible entertainment.
This month Parker voluntarily amended Naked Night to Underwear Night while awaiting the ruling.
"I showed the officer the wording on my license and he was OK with that, but he did have some questions about what he considered health issues," Parker said.
For example, the officers wondered, is it acceptable for a bartender to be totally nude and serving drinks? Or is it sanitary to sit on a barstool naked?
And Parker of course has questions of his own: Why is it acceptable for a bartender to dance nude on a bar, but not serve drinks behind the bar?
Naked Night customers have their own gripes with the controversy.
"I believe it's about equal rights. Women can do everything (in terms of stripping), and men are not allowed to do as much," said the patron, who was wearing shoes and a red bikini brief.
The 56-year-old Springfield man said he has come to the club three times because he finds the former Naked Night and now Underwear Night liberating.