Friday, March 07, 2008

My Screenplay

A new state ban on smoking in restaurants and other nightspots contains an exception for performers in theatrical productions. So some bars are getting around the ban by printing up playbills, encouraging customers to come in costume, and pronouncing them "actors."

At the Rock Nightclub, a hard-rock and heavy-metal bar in suburban St. Paul, the "actors" during "theater night" do little more than sit around, drink, smoke and listen to the earsplitting music.

"They're playing themselves before Oct. 1. You know, before there was a smoking ban," owner Brian Bauman explained. Shaping the words in the air with his hands, like a producer envisioning the marquee, he said: "We call the production 'Before the Ban!' "

"The law was enacted to protect Minnesotans from the serious health effects of secondhand smoke," Minnesota Health Commissioner Sanne Magnan said. "It is time for the curtain to fall on these theatrics."

full article


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