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Since Time to Laugh Comedy Club is not licensed to offer "entertainment or services designed to appeal to erotic or sexual appetites or inclinations", it cannot host the Chippendales.
visited his club. He quickly sold out two shows and added a third.
More specifically, Leonard says that the performances by the Chippendales meet the definition of "adult entertainment establishment": "entertainment or services designed to appeal to erotic or sexual appetites or inclinations".
It's not easy to run a small business in Kingston, says Hausen, who has owned and operated businesses across Canada since he was 17 years old.
Why, he wonders, do the Chippendales, performing upstairs at his windowless club for people who have paid to see them, fall afoul of the bylaw when just down Princess Street female mannequins in flimsy panties and bras expose themselves to passersby. Are these not "designed to appeal to erotic or sexual appetites or inclinations"?
"It's a professional show and it's one of the most fun nights we've had. My wife, Tracy, saw all three shows and was extremely impressed with their professionalism."
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Hausen was dumbfounded. Other clubs in 'The Hub', near the intersection of Princess and Division Streets, had had similar shows without complaint.
In the end, they got what they came for: an uproariously fun girls' night out with buff dancers who never revealed more than their chiselled abs and kept their boxer briefs up and on at all times.
But since the bylaw division acts on complaints, Leonard informed Hausen that he could be fined up to $5,000 and that the police could close the show down.
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owner Chris Hausen is not amused.
"It's not stripping," he says of the Chippendales' show. "It's a performance.
"I have never encountered so many issues," he says of opening a business in Kingston. "It's ridiculous!"
That night there were no visits from bylaw officials or police. But the threat of a fine still hangs over Hausen's head.
Kim Leonard, Manager of Licensing and Enforcement, says three November 6 performances by the Las Vegas based Chippendales at Time to Laugh Comedy Club violated Bylaw 2006 213, 'A Bylaw to License, Regulate and Govern Certain Businesses'.
A Kingston comedy club and the city's bylaw department are at odds over what whets the sexual appetite.
And of the 594 women who attended the three shows, almost all signed a petition to bring the boys back.
and health services.
The problem is, the only business licensed as an "adult entertainment establishment" in the city of Kingston is the strip club, Shaker's Lounge, at the Plaza Hotel.
Leonard says that the bylaw governing adult entertainment establishments is restrictive and intended to protect the health and safety of the people who work there, their clients, and the community. These establishments must be a certain distance from schools and churches, for example, and pay a hefty licensing fee every year. They must reapply for a licence every year and be inspected by building, fire, police Nike Vapormax Gold Swoosh
But two weeks before the Chippendales were to hit the stage at Time to Laugh, Hausen received a phone call from Leonard. She told him that she had received a complaint about the poster advertising the Chippendales and said the club could not host the Chippendales because the men are strippers and Time to Laugh is not an adult entertainment establishment.
Hausen says he tried repeatedly to reach Leonard after November 6, but it wasn't until he contacted the mayor's office that Leonard returned his calls. She told him that unless the bylaw is changed, the Chippendales are not welcome at Time to Laugh.
What about Time to Laugh's annual uncensored comedy festival, advertised as "dirty, dirty shows" which this year includes an XXX rated hypnotist and a comedian who once worked as a male stripper?
Why did no one complain about Time to Laugh's poster advertising "Randy and Mr. Lahey Live", in which a topless Randy flaunts his glorious gut, hairy chest and even a nipple?
Hausen faxed the bylaw to his lawyer, who didn't think it had grounds to make it stick.
Hausen was worried, but it was too late to cancel the show. He had already sold nearly 600 tickets and figures he could have sold a thousand more based on the phone calls he was getting. People were coming from as far away as Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and northern New York State to attend the shows.
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But Hausen feels he is being unfairly targeted by a complainant who can remain anonymous. As a small business owner, he cannot afford a $5,000 fine. He believes he has done nothing wrong and that the Chippendales benefited a host of businesses besides his own, including downtown restaurants, hotels, taxis and limousine services.
Leonard told Kingston This Week, "He was warned not to go ahead. Where we're going from here, I can't tell you."
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