At Jersey City Council meeting, burlesque performers say the show must go on

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Burlesque performer and producer Lillian Bustle, joined by a group who supports the arts, told the Jersey City Council yesterday to reinstate her shows to preserve freedom of expression for artists.

Not everyone was in agreement with Bustle though, as Jersey City resident Richard Surazynski harshly criticized burlesque performances, imploring the city council not to change current obscenity laws that the city used to shut down her Downtown Jersey City show on March 28th.

He explained that adult entertainment performances such as Bustle’s are responsible for men being overly sexually aggressive towards women and contributing to an epidemic of sex addicts.

“If the city council votes to change the [obscenity] laws then the city council is voting for the approval of sexual assault, rape, broken marriages, lost jobs and making more people become sex addicts,” exclaimed Surazynski.

“The city council should be protecting the family and not adding to its destruction. I strongly recommend that obscene entertainment be forbidden in Jersey City for the good of the community.”

Bustle couldn’t believe what she heard.

On camera, she said it was frustrating because Surazynksi obviously doesn’t know what burlesque is all about.

“I don’t think he knows anything about what I do and also there are absolutely no statistics that prove that burlesque shows or strip clubs [contribute to sexual assault, rape and broken marriages].”

Bustle said that she felt bad that some people are closed off from enjoying life and celebrating people’s bodies.

“People are excited about ways that we can all celebrate our own bodies and stop feeling pretty crappy about ourselves, but that guy seems like he feels pretty crappy about himself.”

Prior to the start of the meeting, Bustle was joined by several burlesque performers and supporters such as Ward E Councilman James Solomon and Hudson Pride Center Executive Director Michael Billy.

Solomon spoke during the rally about the possibility of amending the city’s obscenity laws so that the burlesque shows can go on.

“There are a number of us on the city council who want to reform the obscenity laws, and we should be able to move on that very quickly. We’ll get your input on how they should change, and then have a new draft and be ready to present to the community,” said Solomon.

“Because of the work that Lillian and all of you are doing there is now real momentum for change in the city’s laws,” Solomon said.

The council took no formal action on the obscenity laws at the meeting.