Classic ’70s cult movie has Parker busting out changes to lewdness law

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An original Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack cover. Brief nudity in the 1970s cult classic has caused a brief tumult in Parker, where the show is planned to be held next month. SENTINEL COLORADO

DENVER  |  The town of Parker’s plan to show a nearly 50-year-old movie at its arts center has officials scrambling to revamp the town’s indecency laws.

The Denver Post reports Parker plans to show the 1975 cult classic, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” at the Parker Arts, Culture & Events Center in October. But because the event center holds a liquor license, and the movie includes a momentary glimpse of a woman’s breast, the showing is prohibited under a town ordinance prohibiting “lewd and indecent” displays.

“‘Lewd or indecent displays’ include the display of the female breast,” reads a memo from town staff to Parker’s elected leaders. “Thus, the definition of ‘lewd and indecent displays’… would prohibit the screening of a movie, such as the Rocky Horror Picture Show, which displays the female breast.”

Parker’s town council is considering two ordinances on the issue that officials say will bring the indecency code into compliance with a recent federal court ruling by no longer singling out female breasts, but not male breasts, as indecent. The council is expected to cast a final vote on the measures next month — potentially paving the way for the movie showing to continue as planned.

It’s not the first time in recent years that a Colorado city’s indecency ordinance has stirred controversy.

A few years ago, a federal appeals court ruled that the city of Fort Collins, Colorado, could not ban women from going topless.

Several months after that ruling, police in the town of Loveland cited a 20-year-old woman for indecent exposure after a neighbor complained that she was playing frisbee topless. The woman challenged the city over the citation and received a $50,000 settlement.

Denver civil rights lawyer David Lane says the Parker ordinance change is a long time in coming.

“Every municipality has a certain number of ancient ridiculous laws on the books so it doesn’t surprise me that old-time Parker believed breasts were ‘lewd,’ Lane said.

Many of today’s lewdness standards were crafted in the middle of the last century and “don’t reflect decency standards today,” said Michaele Ferguson, a political science professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder who specializes in feminist theory and feminist politics.

“In American culture, we have a lot of confusion about the female breast,” she said. “It is something that is a symbol of sexuality and of motherhood.”

Patti Britton, a California-based clinical sexologist who co-founded SexCoachU.com, said the issue of body display has been complicated in recent years by the rise in gender identity assertions that obscure the long-held binary understanding of sex.

“There’s a tension around language dealing with sexual identity,” she said. “It’s a strange time.”

As to whether Parker’s new laws, if approved, will unleash a torrent of topless fare at its events center, the town spokesman said don’t count on it.

“The current 2022-2023 season for Parker Arts has been published and is available for public review,” Anderson said. “We do not expect any changes in Parker Arts’ approach to programming if these ordinances are approved.”

 

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Joe Felice
Joe Felice
2 months ago

I would think that we’d have lost our uptightness about sex, sexuality, sexual identity and our bodies by now. But things appear to be headed in the opposite direction thanks to our newly-uncovered “Christian nationalism.” Younger men are now leery of being seen naked. They don’t even get undressed in the locker room at the gym any more, while we older men have no issue with doing so. Prudeness is not a good thing.

As far as breasts go, I do not find them attractive in the least, either on men or on women. But if a lady wants to run around topless, I have no issue with that. I can simply choose not to look.

And we all understand nudity’s not being allowed in places that sell alcohol, but that restriction should apply to live bodies, not to what might be seen in films.

Melissa S.
2 months ago

Wow this is nuts.

GeneD
2 months ago

Douglas County, right?

Jeff Brown
Jeff Brown
2 months ago

At least Parker HAS a performing arts center— unlike Aurora which is the second largest city in the Denver Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.

The SCFD collects over $7.1 million per year In Aurora and we have the Fox Theater!?!?!

Clearly the SCFD has been a slow-moving Ponzi scheme for 30+ years— and with one of the Denver venues admitting ties to the KKK.

It’s beyond time for Aurora is secede and form it’s own arts district. But for that to happen we need to elect city officials with some political courage to stand up to their respective state party leadership.

Doug King
Doug King
2 months ago

Look it up:” To be commit a criminally lewd act is generally defined as when a person:

  1. exposes his anus or genitals in a public place and is reckless about whether another may be present who will be offended or alarmed by his act; or
  2. does any lewd act in a public place which he knows is likely to be observed by others who would be affronted or alarmed.

Obscene matter is defined as acts or printed matter, film, or photographs which:

  1. Applying contemporary local community standards, on the whole, appeals to the prurient interest; and
  2. Is patently offensive; and
  3. On the whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.”
Doug King
Doug King
2 months ago

Sounds like the film is art and the town puritans can’t see past the nipple 😏

Delia
Delia
2 months ago

Wow how can people not see this is clearly a preemptive move for someone who clearly wants to put a strip club in that city. Seriously you people think that they are changing the laws to show a 50 year old movie? Lol this is a Trojan horse 1000%. Watch. You’ll see.