Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Round Rock Mayor proves he is a REDNECK!!!!!

Round Rock drag show prompts fire inspection Mayor says some residents concerned about gay activity
By Camille Wheeler
American Statesman

ROUND ROCK -- Williamson County's first known drag show generated more controversy Tuesday, as city officials ordered the first fire code inspection of the decade old coffee shop that hosted it and Round Rock May or Nyle Maxwell visited the shop's owner to air residents' concerns.

City officials said they were responding to numerous complaints about Friday's show, which attracted an estimated crowd of more than 150 people to Saradora's Coffeehouse & Cafe in downtown Round Rock. The comments centered on the size of the crowd and the nature of the show, Maxwell said.

"The constituents we've heard from are concerned about the immorality of it, that it's promoting homosexuality," said Maxwell, who spoke with coffee shop owner Sarah Roberts on Tuesday morning.
City Fire Inspector Paul Ward did a full inspection of the coffee shop Tuesday and found the event violated code because the shop can seat only 84 people.

City Manager Jim Nuse, who said he requested the inspection after hearing from residents, said Roberts won't be fined because she didn't know about the occupancy limit.

The show attracted straight and gay people.
Maxwell said he told Roberts, "Sarah, you've got to look out after your business. You've hit a lot of people's radar screens."
Roberts said that she and Maxwell had a friendly visit but that she defended herself.

"I told him there's not anybody with more morals and with more integrity,"Roberts said. "I said, 'What's the big deal? This is . . . a talent performance. These guys were impersonating famous performers, and one of them was an acrobat.'"

Drag shows are a form of burlesque entertainment in which men dress as women and typically portray famous female singers. No performer used foul language during the show, and the only moment that approached risqué was when a performance artist named Glampyre partially unzipped his shirt to accept a $1 tip.

Roberts said she reminded Maxwell about the annual junior high and highschool tradition of dressing football players in cheerleading uniforms.

"Everybody thinks it's funny and cute," she said.

Roberts said most of the feedback she's received has been positive.
As for the overflow crowd, Roberts said she's drawn that many people to other events, including for Christian band shows, CD release parties and a 25th wedding anniversary.

"I've never had anybody question the occupancy of this place," she said."They've never called and told me, this was the code, this was the ordinance. Now I know, and I'm glad."

Ward said the fire safety inspection revealed a few discrepancies, but nothing major.

Maxwell said Roberts should pay attention to public perceptions if she's going to stay successful as a business owner.

"A single event like this will not affect the viability of business downtown or the overall environment or the family-first environment," he said. "We have too many strong, conservative values, and this is a single event. There may or not be more. That's up to how Sarah conducts her business."

Roberts said she'll book more drag shows if there is a demand.

Maxwell said although he wouldn't personally condone drag shows, "it is not my position to stand in judgment of how she runs a business as long as it's legal and it is not endangering the health of her employees or customers. This is not Sixth Street, Austin, Texas; this is Round Rock, and it's a world of difference."

I saw this this evening when I got home and immediately fired off an email to the Mayor and City Manager. See below for content also for email addresses so you can email your comments also. I took a copy down to Saradora's and met the owner and some of her evening staff. Sara is a wonderful women who is open minded and trying to run a small coffeehouse and grow with the times. I say support her and let the Mayor know he has overstepped his bounds.

Dear Mayor,
Your visit, complaint and seeming warning to the owner of Saradora's about hosting a drag show is nothing short of prejudice. We all know Round Rock is not Austin, but it is also not stuck in the 1950's either. The area is growing and changing and you need to wake up to the new decade. I applaud Sarah Roberts for opening her doors to all and not restricting bookings to only "Christian" groups. I am also disturbed that the City Manager ordered a fire inspection just because of the type of show but was not fearful or concerned when the same number of people have been seen there for "Christian" groups, cd release parties or other special events. You as Mayor should be protecting everyone's rights not condemning a business owner for being innovative.


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