The Anatomy Of A Lap Dance: How Rubbing Your Ass On People Could Soon Be "Art" In New York

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Art?
Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa," Michelangelo's "David," and a lap dance from some stripper named "Cinnamon" could all soon have something in common -- each could be considered "art" here in the Empire State.

Let's rephrase that: they could all be tax-exempt "art" in the Empire State.

New York's highest court is scheduled today to hear arguments about whether lap dances should be considered an "art" form worthy of tax-exempt status under state law.

The case appears to be little more than a creative way for an Upstate strip club to get out of paying taxes. Yet, it's made its way all the way to Court of Appeals.

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City OKs Another Art Installation Despite Artist-Vendor Policy (UPDATE)

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As we have pointed out before, the Department of Parks and Recreation is totally down with traffic-blocking art installations but not cool with unregulated artist-vendors because said vendors allegedly block traffic and mess with public spaces' aesthetic.

Yea, we are confused by the Department's approach, too.

And we're learning that another aesthetic-altering art installation is planned for the High Line.

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City: Traffic-Blocking Art Installations OK, Park Artist-Vendors Not OK

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Yesterday, the Voice reported on several developments in the ongoing park artist controversy: namely, that the Department of Parks and Recreation doesn't seem to have a problem with street creatives in public spaces as long as they're picked by the City.

This is confusing, of course, because one of the City's main arguments against unregulated park artist-vendors is that they mess up an area's aesthetic and foster congestion. So, we wanted to know: How can the Department make this claim while simultaneously greenlighting, say, an above-ground living room around the Columbus Circle monument?

Well, we got an answer from the City's legal team.

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So What Is The City's Policy on Park Artists?

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Though the Department of Parks and Recreation isn't facing any additional legal drama today, several news items have recently surfaced that put to question some of the city's main claims against artists.

So what's going on now?

Well, when we attended a hearing on this issue in July, City Attorney Sheryl Neufeld said that the Department has the right to regulate park artists.

She argued that the City is acting constitutionally, claiming that municipalities can make rules to preserve the aesthetic of parks, control crowds, and make sure everybody can enjoy public spaces.

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New York City Hit With Another Park Artist Lawsuit, Allegations of B.S. Arrest

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Another day, another report of legal drama between New York artists and City admins, it seems.

Here's what's going on today: as we reported just yesterday, there are currently two lawsuits -- one filed at the state level, the other filed at the federal level -- which will basically decide whether New York's artist vendors have a right to freely sell their wares in the City's parks.

It's a convoluted topic -- with significant Constitutional implications -- and it's been debated off and on in court pretty much since the Giuliani administration.

(Read all the Voice's past coverage here.)

Anyway, today brings a THIRD lawsuit to the table.

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Park Artist Decision Faces Additional Delays

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Looks like it's going to a long, long time before the legal disagreement between New York's artists and the Department of Parks and Recreation gets settled.

The Voice was furnished with info that one of the lawsuits artists had filed against the City -- the "Dua" case -- will be adjourned until October, meaning that there probably won't be any significant developments for a few months.

Here's why the Dua delay is important, though.

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Parks and Recreation Hits Back At Artists (UPDATE)

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New court docs suggest that the City wants to prevent a key artist advocate from getting involved in a case that might decide the fate of New York's creatives.

So what's going on?

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Legal Controversy Over New York's Park Artists Continues With Complications (UPDATE)

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As the years-long legal battle over New York's park artists crawls closer toward a conclusion, their main representative has submitted yet another court filing accusing the city of treating them differently from performers, violating the U.S. Constitution, and misconstruing facts.

In a request to intervene and affadavit filed today, which were both furnished to the Voice, artist advocate and ARTIST President Robert Lederman wrote Hon. Milton Tingling, claiming that the city has falsified evidence in artist vendor-oriented cases.

But why did Lederman write to Tingling? After all, U.S. Judge Richard Sullivan did hold a hearing on Friday in which Lederman's lawyer made pretty much the same allegations.

Well, it's kinda complicated. We'll explain...

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Adrian Benepe's Resignation: Will Changes in Parks and Recreation Affect Artists?

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Adrian Benepe, the Parks and Recreation Commissioner who helmed the Department for a decade, is leaving to go work at the Trust for Public Land, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Benepe's job will be filled by Veronica M. White, who heads New York City's Center for Economic Opportunity.

Now, there are a couple of things worth pointing out about Benepe's tenure.

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Does The City Know Its Own Policy On Park Performers?

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Earlier this week, the Voice brought you very confusing news: The city, which just decided to let performers play in parks, might be considering kicking them out, as detailed in a recent legal filing.

When the city decided to OK entertainers, Department of Parks and Recreation officials said that performers had always been allowed. No rules had changed, officials said, even though these same performers hadn't been allowed in parks for the last two years.

But on Monday, an affidavit filed by an NYC attorney claimed that performers actually were not allowed at parks, and never had been: "It remains the Parks Department's position that the Expressive Matter Vending Rules cover the activities of performers, musicians and buskers who entertain in exchange for a donation. "

Huh?

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