By MIKE DUNHAM
The “Naughty No-No Show,” an adult-themed aerial acrobatic act, originally scheduled for Friday in Wasilla, will instead take place in Anchorage after concerns were raised that the performance might violate Wasilla’s city ordinance against lewdness.
Striptease acts and nude dancing are forbidden in Wasilla city limits.
Allison Williams, who directs the Aerial Angels, said her show sometimes includes partial nudity and would likely violate the letter of the Wasilla lewdness law.
The Kalamazoo, Mich.-based troupe had the show booked at Wasilla’s Menard Sports Center as part of a series of performances in Alaska.
“[The Mayor] told us, 'Your show would violate our ordinance,” Williams said.
In an email, Wasilla Mayor Verne Rupright denied that he had explicitly told the troupe they could not do the show in the city.
“They agreed not to do it in Wasilla,” he said. “They had already found a new location.”
The Aerial Angels’ has a range of repertoire, from “sexy circus comedy” to more serious choreographed drama like the Biblically-themed “Fallen Women,” which Williams created for the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2009.
The group most often presents outdoor family shows involving levitation, flips and fire-eating. Such performances have been seen at the Downtown Market and other public venues in Anchorage, last weekend’s Fourth of July celebration in Seward, and will be part of this coming weekend’s Bear Paw Festival in Eagle River.
Two members of the troupe, Anthony Oliva and Christina Conger, are from Anchorage.
“I think it was the advertising that threw everyone,” Rupright said of the canceled Wasilla show. “The flier went out and we got some blowback from citizens.”
A poster included the statement, “Rated R, no one under 17 admitted.”
Rupright met with Williams. They discussed getting permission from the city council to hold the show. But it was a moot point. The council was not scheduled to meet until after the Friday performance. “And who knows whether they would have approved it or not?” said Williams.
Rupright said that, under the lewdness ordinance, any offended citizen of the city can bring a complaint and the definition of what constitutes lewd behavior rests upon the subjective criteria of what an “average” person would find prurient when “applying contemporary community standards.”
Williams didn’t want to take a chance. “After seeing the ordinance, we think we’ll get busted for adult content if we go ahead with the Wasilla venue,” she said.
That adult content includes explicit language, suggestive humor and the “Take it Off” spot on the “Wheel of Destiny,” which is spun to determine the order of the Naughty No-No acts. When that spot comes up, the performers remove an article of clothing.
“I’ve gone down to bare breasts and so have some of my partners, when the crowd was good and the mood was right,” said Williams. “We have some performers who have gone down to pasties and some who are only comfortable down to bras.”
The Wasilla ordinance provides exemptions for a performance that communicates an “artistic message.”
“We do have artistic merit,” Williams said. If the matter went to court, she said, “I know we’d win. But the time a legal battle would take would mean not doing the show anyway.”
So she opted to move it to Wild Berry Theatre in Anchorage at 9 p.m. on Friday night . The venue is on Juneau St. across from the Sourdough Mining Co. restaurant.
As of last week 60 tickets had been sold for the now-canceled Wasilla show, Williams said. She did not consider that number disappointing and said low ticket sales did not factor into the decision to call off the Valley show. “Alaskans are famous for waiting until the last minute,” she said.
Rupright said the organizers offered him free tickets to the Anchorage showing of the “Naughty No-No Show.”
“They invited me to come to Anchorage to see the show. And, yeah, I think I will,” he said.
THE NAUGHTY NO-NO SHOW will be presented by Aerial Angels at 9 p.m. on Friday at Wild Berry Theatre, 5335 Juneau St. Tickets are $25, $20 for students and military, available by calling 440-1120 and online at www.angelsintheair.com/shop/tix.
Reach Mike Dunham at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4332.