Thursday, May 20, 2010

Reading And Writing And Nudity

Imagine, if you can, the cafeteria of your former grade school.

Got it? Now, put a couple of stripper poles in there, some black lights, a mirrored wall...

Welcome to what was once Pioneer School in the formerly sleepy Neoga school district of central Illinois.

Locals are furious that the building that once housed a center of learning, that was bustling with innocent children, is now a strip joint.

Ever harbor a fantasy about your smokin' hot seventh grade teacher? There's lap dancing in the teacher's lounge. May all your pubescent dreams come true.

No one wants to live in a town that's known for a strip club, even if the owners came up with a clever theme that plays on the building's former use. In the eyes of Bob Kearney and Travis Funneman, they're giving back to the community by purchasing a derelict building, rehabbing it, and providing employment for thirty people.

Mr. Kearney scoffs at the locals, who see the strip club as something dirty. Why, this isn't Nazi Germany or the Taliban, he says. His business is perfectly legitimate. He's even planning on rehabbing the classrooms to provide party areas. Not breaking any laws, there's no liquor served, so where's the welcome for a couple of guys who have brought business to town?

The residents understand that they can't force the place to close. What they can do is stand out in front every night the club is open, praying in loud voices, providing some light in a dark place by lighting a bonfire.

They can shame the place out of existence, and in a small rural town, it's not impossible.

Men might drive some distance to watch women take off their clothes, but there's a limit to how far they might go. And if you live in the area, you sure aren't going to show up at a strip joint when your grandmother or your minister might be watching the door.

It might take some time, but Mr. Kearney should keep in mind the fate of the Cafe Risque in Lavonia, Georgia. The locals didn't care for the business. They fought against it, and today, the place is gone.

Of course, the property's owners made a tidy profit on the sale. Maybe that's what Mr. Kearney has in mind after all.

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