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Morning Poll: Nudity at the Theater

by ARLnow.com — October 13, 2011 at 10:15 am 3,291 48 Comments

A new play that’s currently being performed at Gunston Theater  One (2700 S. Lang Street) contains full-frontal male nudity.

“Take Me Out,” a Tony Award-winning play about a baseball player who comes out to his teammates, includes extended nude locker room scenes. Produced by Dominion Stage, the play runs though Oct. 22.

It’s not the first time that a production at a county theater has included nudity. As the Sun Gazette recounts, there was an all-nude Washington Shakespeare Company production of “Macbeth” in 2007 and a show called “Puppetry of the Penis” at the Rosslyn Spectrum in 2003.

County officials have said in the past that they don’t regulate the content of productions at public theaters. But is nudity appropriate at a taxpayer-supported venue?

  • Helen Lovejoy

    Won’t somebody please think of the children!

    • m

      beat me to it. Well played Helen

      • G Clifford Prout

        In case anyone wants the visual….

    • Newtdog73

      Just another lesson in poor parent skills if you take your child to a play prior to investigating what its about.

  • Steve

    smh. Another poll with poorly worded choices. It is possible to be in favor of not regulating artistic decisions and still against supporting art with government funds.

    • KalashniKEV

      Exactly my thoughts. Strongly recommend a poll edit.

      I don’t think the government has any role in regulating artistic expression, but also don’t think my income should be wrongfully appropriated and doled out to some Penis Puppeteer, or worse… the ongoing folly that is ArisFAIL.

      • drax

        I also don’t think my income should be wrongfully appropriated and doled out to some Penis Puppeteer, which is why I won’t be voting for Rick Santorum.

    • meh..

      yes, ARLnow has like zero polling skills lol. I can’t think of any that were properly formulated.

    • brendan

      on the positive side of the flawed wording… sometimes a yes, no = true and no, no = false question indicates a more “sincere” baseline for the ‘true’ responses which for lopsided results, such as the voting pattern so far, can be somewhat useful.

  • G Clifford Prout

    Why have we made the human body such a naughty thing? Anybody know if that actor has a big bat?

  • Chris Slatt

    All art is offensive to someone.

    • Art Schmart

      And having no art is offensive to others.

  • Novanglus

    It’s easy to say that there shouldn’t be ANY content regulation, or that there shouldn’t be ANY government subsidies for the arts. Both those positions are unrealistic.

    There’s going to be a line drawn somewhere between Mary Poppins and full-on pornography. There’s going to be a line drawn somewhere between no govt-funded venues and free tickets for everyone. We elect people who hire people to make those decisions. In this case, I think the line has been drawn correctly.

    Gunston is also a middle school. Our taxes support the building operations, the school’s drama classes and extracurricular theater activities. That’s good. But some government official (teacher, principal, ass’t superintendent) regulates the content of the work the kids see and perform. That’s also good.

    Also, the nudity in Take Me Out is essential to the plot. The only people who see it are people who are warned about it in advance. If no one attends because of that, the county will get no revenue from the theater rental and will be reluctant to rent to that troupe again. Everything’s working fine.

  • Nudist

    I would appreciate it if you left my morning poll out of this.

  • KalashniKEV

    “…or that there shouldn’t be ANY government subsidies for the arts. Both those positions are unrealistic.”

    I don’t think so. You blatantly shift the topic to a High School drama program… which is “Education.” Education is very important. The Government has no business acting as a patron of the arts with funds appropriated from it’s citizens.

    “…the county will get no revenue from the theater rental and will be reluctant to rent to that troupe again. Everything’s working fine.”

    The county is not motivated by lost revenue… just look at ArtisFAIL. It’s part of social engineering. Just sit back and tune out. It’s for your own good.

    • Tim

      Why shouldn’t government be a patron of the arts? If they don’t, then who will? Corporations? Rich people? Should they be the ones who decide what forms of artistic expression people can see? Or do you expect all forms of art to support themselves? What kind of art will we have then? You already know the answer to that question: Jersey Shore and Real Housewives. Some forms of art will never make money, and should not be expected to. And we cannot have gatekeepers that will only allow art that will further their own interests. There must be someone who will support art without attempting to shape or censor it’s content, and government is the only entity we have that can do that. Plus, art is cheap. We spend over a trillion dollars every year on the military; if we can tolerate that we can tolerate a few million spent on the arts.

      • KalashniKEV

        “What kind of art will we have then?”

        We will have the “kind of art” that is valued and appreciated by society. Think iTunes vs. Penis Puppetry.

        The simple mindedness on this board never ceases to amaze.

        • Tim

          First, that’s a false dichotomy. Second, you are saying “art” should be limited to Lada Gaga and Will Ferrall? There’s a big beautiful world outside of iTunes, you should try to appreciate it sometime.

      • Zoning Victim

        “There must be someone who will support art without attempting to shape or censor it’s content, and government is the only entity we have that can do that.”

        Haha, that actually made me laugh out loud. Seriously, the government is the only entity that doesn’t try to censor content? I don’t even know where to begin with that one.

        Art is art and it’s done for the sake of art. Most artists don’t get into art expecting to make a lot of (or in some cases any) money. They do it because they enjoy doing it. Some artists are so good at what they do they are able to make money, but the vast majority of the art created in the world never nets anyone any money at all. I find the argument that art will simply cease to exist if the government doesn’t support it to be bogus.

        • KalashniKEV

          +1

          Errors in Logic are present.

          • Tim

            Stunning rebuttal. You must’ve been a real asset to the debate team.

          • PghBigDog

            Mistakes WERE made!

        • Tim

          Those are some nice arguments, but I don’t know what they relate to because the certainly don’t relate to anything I wrote.

          I never wrote that the government doesn’t try to censor content. It may be hard for you to understand this concept, but government is not a single monolithic being that acts with single will and purpose. Certain parts of government certainly do try to censor and limit information. The military is an obvious offender. Just about every bureau and department associated with “defense,” in fact. Congress does it all the time. But parts of government (or entities funded by government) do in fact try promote content without censorship. OMB is one part, NEA and PBS are others. (Just as a sidenote, notice how the republicans are trying to kill every one of them).

          Art certainly is done for art’s sake, but artists still need to eat and have a place to live. Also, some forms of art can cost more than artists can spend or can earn. And the value of art certainly isn’t a function of it’s earning potential. Would you claim that Transformers has more value as art than Shindler’s List? Guess which one is worth more money?

          I also never wrote that art will cease to exist if the government doesn’t support it. I have no idea where you got that from.

          • KalashniKEV

            “Art certainly is done for art’s sake, but artists still need to eat and have a place to live.”

            Not with my taxes. NEXT!

          • Tim

            Why do you even bother to post? You are obviously not interested in a debate or even in hearing differing viewpoints. I think you just like shouting down others and think that it’s some sort of victory.

            In any case, you know what I don’t want to be done with my taxes? Dropping bombs on civilians. It happens anyway.

          • KalashniKEV

            It will be interesting to see what gets cut first as we enter the age of austerity…

            National Defense Spending, or funds allocated for Penis Puppetry.

          • Zoning Victim

            Really, a direct quote of what you posted doesn’t relate to what you said? It may be hard for me to understand the simple concept that the government isn’t one monolithic being, when it’s not a being at all, and you complain about the way other people debate on here?

            Saying that the government is the *only* entity that that that can support art without trying to shape or censor its content is just wrong. To say anyone can do that is to ignore human bias. I’ve never understood why liberals think that the government or any of its agencies can act any differently than the humans it’s made up. It’s like you guys think that some magical transformation to altruism occurs when a person is hired by or appointed to the government. Furthermore, PBS most certainly censors content: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/08/every-inch-a-king-but-no-nudity-in-pbss-lear/

            As for artists needing money to live, so do all of us. Most of us understand that we need to be good at something that people either need or desire to get that. I see no natural reason why artists should be supported to do work that isn’t good enough for them to support themselves when no other profession in the country enjoys that protection.

      • Sam

        Not to mention that the US Constitution specifically empowers Congress to promote the arts, up there with establishing post offices and declaring war.

        • Zoning Victim

          And it’s very specific about how it can do that:

          “To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;”

    • Novanglus

      It’s not a blatant topic shift — it’s very relevant to this production. The county does a very good job of making full use of its school facilities when the schools are not using them. That’s why this play is being done in that theater. It’s revenue for the county, not a subsidy.

      Artisphere was an un-rentable space. The landlord gave it to the county in exchange for being allowed to add a few more floors on a nearby building. Yes, it’s running in the red, but even most businesses do during their first year. It’s scheduled to become a non-gov non-profit org in a few years, and will do for Rosslyn what other theaters have done for Shirlington, Penn Quarter, and Crystal City.

      • Steve

        I had to step in here to make something clear. The company that developed/owns the Artisphere building did not “give it” to Arlington. They provided them with a rent-free lease of the space in exchange for the nebulous “community benefit” that the county required at the time their site plan was approved.

        The lease can not end quickly enough for a lot of people, who feel they got the short end of the stick on a “community benefit” that has become a money pit for the Rosslyn BID and the county as a whole, and serves only a portion of the community.

        • Novanglus

          You’re right, it is a rent-free lease, not a transfer of ownership. I was using the term “gave” loosely.

          I think Artisphere can be successful. But they need to set higher sights than what we’d find in college town warehouse districts. For starters, they need a more mainstream resident theater than Avant Bard (Keegan and Constellation come to mind). They need to show art and films that attract people, especially tourists. They need to fix the issues that prevent ballroom rentals when there’s a show in the black box.

  • novasteve

    I have a feel ing you people saying this is okay and publicly funded would be calling for hate crime legislation if a play involved burning a koran, let alone publicly funding such a play.

    “The only people who see it are people who are warned about it in advance. If no one attends because of that, the county will get no revenue from the theater rental and will be reluctant to rent to that troupe again. Everything’s working fine.”

    By your logic cigar bars and smoker only bars hsould be allowed given they were forewarned about what’s going on inside.

    Why the double standards?

    • sigh,,,,

      nobody ever got cancer from seeing a weiner

    • Zoning Victim

      “By your logic cigar bars and smoker only bars hsould be allowed given they were forewarned about what’s going on inside.”

      Yes, exactly. And for the record I think I think “hate crime” legislation is unconstitutional (and stupid). So I don’t have a double standard. If you don’t want to see naked people in a play, don’t go to a play that has nudity in it. If you don’t want to be in a smoky bar, don’t enter one. If you want to burn a Koran, a Bible, a flag, or whatever else floats your boat, feel free; just understand that you and you alone will bear the consequences of your actions.

      • sigh,,,,

        “If you don’t want to be in a smoky bar, don’t enter one.”
        And the people who work there don’t count because they are your indentured servants and should be glad of your tips and not worry about being exposed to your toxic fumes?

        • steve

          Were they forced to work at that bar?

          Should people be forbidden from being firefighters or police officers given their job could lead to them being burned or shot?

          What about construction workers? Do you really need that building? They are exposed to exhaust, chemicals, and risk falling. Why should they be allowed to work a dangerous job?

          • sigh,,,,

            so your need to indulge in your filthy toxic habit is equivalent to the need of a person to be rescued from a burning building. The world revolves around you and your cigs doesn’t it?

    • Novanglus

      There’s no double standard, in fact there’s no absolute standard.. As I said, “we elect people who hire people to make those decisions.” If you don’t like where the line is being drawn, vote for someone else. If there’s no one else on the ballot, run yourself.

    • drax

      “I have a feel ing you people saying this is okay and publicly funded would be calling for hate crime legislation if a play involved burning a koran, let alone publicly funding such a play.”

      Not me.

  • Rick

    “Artisphere after dark” might make more money than the Artisphere

  • John Fontain

    In college I saw a poster for a college play that said “Warning: Contains Nudity.” While I wasn’t the type to frequent theatrical productions, I thought it would be a good time to go see some women in their natural state so me and a few buddies went to the play.

    About two-thirds of the way through the play, at about the time that we were wondering whether we’d ever get to see the women we came to see, a man bared all. And that was it.

    When the play was done, we walked out of their feeling like idiots. In hindsight, it was a pretty funny situation.

    • Ed

      Sounds like it was foresight, not hindsight.

      OR

      Hindsight? I thought we were talking about full frontal?

      (This joke still in process)

  • Pingback: New poll: Is Nudity onstage appropriate? | Blog.Dominion Stage

  • Peter

    Even Jesus had a dong!!!

  • Lacey

    Just to clarify some of the first comments. While this is being performed at a junior high, it is not open to the children. The theatre who is putting the show on is very vigilant in making sure that nobody under 18 is allowed to buy a ticket or to come in and watch. So if people are getting all worked up about bad parenting choices…that’s really not a factor in the debate.

    Now, if you were to go see a play that takes place in a baseball team’s locker room and nobody dressed or undressed ever, wouldn’t you find that even more distracting because of how utterly unrealistic it is? The nudity isn’t thrown in there for sh*ts and giggles. It’s there to lend integrity and realism to the play.

    How about you all go see the show and judge for yourself? It deals with a lot of social issues that are hot topics right now and, frankly, is a really good show.

  • Civic Activist

    Is this a test case for the County Board’s meetings? If Board members were nude who would bother to show up and complain?

  • North A-Town Snob

    I find it highly objectionable…well, what I find objectionable is that full frontal nudity is allowed because this play is “art”, but if I go to CCR or any other similar type establishment in Virginia, the girls have to wear bottoms and pasties. That is some hypocritcal b.s. if you ask me. In my opinion, a beautiful woman dancing in the nude is also “art”.

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