A star-spangled celebration

For the past few months the American flag has been even more visible than Britney Spears. The terrible events of last fall put us in a patriotic lather that saw the stars and stripes waving from every flag pole and car antenna in town. We suddenly were mindful of our freedom and determined to celebrate it at every possible turn.

Then we remembered there was a fascinating way locally to celebrate some of our more controversial and enjoyable freedoms, one that is also an exotic and brilliant scheme to get students interested in Shakespeare. Patriotism and adult education have been meeting under the most peculiar of roofs for quite some time in the surprising and overlooked location of Club Juana.

It was accidental, but the greatest discoveries always are. Some time ago, an ordinance was approved in Seminole County that said exotic dancers couldn’t appear totally nude, but rather had to wear pasties and G-strings, which slightly diluted the meaning of the term “strip club.”

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But prudery proved no match for wits and tits. The wits belonged to club owner Michael Pinter, attorney Steve Mason and playwright Morris Sullivan. Pinter already owned the stage; Mason pointed out the loophole in the ordinance that allowed for nudity in “legitimate” theatrical productions; Sullivan then combined a few lines from “Macbeth” with a few of his own to help make Club Juana’s offerings exactly that: legitimate theater.

The performers themselves completed the equation, as witnessed a couple of weeks ago when we decided it finally was time to check out the “Macbeth” scenes and Sullivan’s original contributions, which comment on the club’s struggle to retain the civil right of on-the-job nakidity. It’s not exactly Ghandi, but then, these girls look a lot better than a guru in a diaper.

As theatrical venues go, Club Juana is a nice one, and, to our surprise, attracts a largely youthful audience, albeit one in which the men outnumber the women like they do in Alaska. Another difference was that not every theater offers alcohol before, during and after performances. After eleventeenhundred drinks, the ladies could have burped and I’d have thought it was Mostly Mozart.

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