Nearly 3,000 miles already separate Casa Diablo from Newark City Hall. But in the week, los angeles male strippers strove mightily to enhance that distance.
After word leaked out that this ambitious young Newark mayor had held a brief Twitter flirtation using a comely exotic dancer here, his Senate campaign in New Jersey issued an announcement downplaying the incident.
“The only real mildly surprising thing about this story is the news that there’s a vegan strip club in Portland,” Booker’s campaign said, indicating that the bachelor mayor knew neither Portland nor Casa Diablo, where one sort of flesh is happily embraced and the other strictly prohibited.
Oregon’s biggest metropolis could be defined as the capital from the craft beer movement, or the location of Powell’s City of Books, the self-proclaimed biggest new-and-used bookstore worldwide. Your pet rights group PETA ranks Portland No. 2 on its Top 10 selection of “vegan-friendly cities,” behind Austin, Texas, and only in front of Los Angeles. Perhaps less popular, but equally telling, is Portland’s triple-X heart as well as the legal history which makes it possible.
“This is the strip club capital around the globe,” said a 24-year-old woman who goes named Dre and calls herself Casa Diablo’s “house mother.” “There aren’t more than Vegas. Just more per capita. Portland is very different. That’s our theme. Nudity is no big deal.”
She smiled. Tossed a waterfall of dark hair. Clambered in the brass pole on Casa Diablo’s elevated stage. Then dropped twelve roughly feet in a perfectly executed list of splits, her black, thigh-high boots gleaming from the dim red light like a smattering of fully clothed men looked on.
Those boots? They’re vinyl. This is why the vegan part will come in.
Casa Diablo’s owner is Johnny Diablo Zukle, a transplant from Torrance having eschewed animal products for the past 28 years. Diablo (he rarely uses his Lithuanian surname) said he grew up paying attention to a vegetarian guru named Dr. John McDougall. At age 21, he banished all animal products from his diet.
On a monthly basis later, the newly minted vegan was going with his mother and aunt and had a revelation while waiting in line in the Stockton bagel shop.
“I realized – and I considered loud – ‘Hey, if I don’t eat animal products, I don’t must put them on either.’ I really could be besides all of the suffering completed to animals,” he recounted Thursday night at the same time-waxed women danced and music boomed. “My mother said, ‘Oh, don’t be described as a fanatic.’ But it was far too late.”
Casa Diablo’s dancers are prohibited from wearing leather, fur, silk or pearls while performing. Order a white Russian from Tori in the wall-length bar and she’ll pour a concoction created using soy creamer. Ditto for the Irish coffees, the Creamsicle drinks, the Eros Euphoria martinis.
The “Mac & Chz” isn’t, as the menu says, “the same as mom used to make,” unless your mom is Betty White. The chimichanga is stuffed with “taco soy strips.” The pumpkin spice cupcakes – hand-crafted by a dancer named Sabrina who says she wears “quite a bit more” while baking – are topped with Tofutti A Lot Better Than Cream Cheese frosting.
For this night, within a nod to the kerfuffle over Booker and stripper Lynsie Lee, the special is actually a Booker Burger. The patty is Casa Diablo’s usual, the goateed owner said: “soy protein, more protein than the usual regular burger, no saturated fat, no cholesterol, and it’s delicious.”
The major difference is accouterment. “Extra mayo,” Diablo said, after which stated it again. “As a result of mayor.” Mayo. Mayor. Obtain it?
The Booker Burger was set up on the small table beside a chess set, not faraway from where dancers strut their stuff. Fries were artfully mounded beside it, and photographers in the Oregonian, TMZ and the The Big Apple Post were shooting away.
The dancers along with their clients, however, were largely unimpressed. Sure, Lee did a star turn in her skimpy patriotic bikini, white stars on a blue background with red piping. It didn’t continue to long. And Diablo was pressed into explaining Portland’s libertarian leanings between bites of vegan pad thai.
“The Supreme Court of Oregon ruled to opt for freedom of speech, and basically they’re saying, ‘Hey, listen, it’s protected speech, so anyone who wants to open a strip club can,'” Diablo said. “Eventually, freedom of speech wins. I really hope it always does. It’s exactly what makes Oregon great.”
Diablo is basically correct, but his legal analysis might go back further. As David Fidanque, executive director in the ACLU of Oregon, indicates, the Beaver State’s Constitution is a lot more protective of free speech than is the federal Constitution’s 1st Amendment.
Article 1, Section 8 stipulates that “no law will probably be passed restraining the free expression of opinion or restricting the authority to speak, write, or print freely on any subject whatever, but 72dexmpky person shall be accountable for the abuse of the right.”
The state’s Constitution was ratified in 1857, and the free expression clause was solidified using a string of court cases in the 1980s and later on. A result? The Best Strip Club List catalogs 64 establishments within Portland city limits, a treadmill for every single 9,400 roughly residents.
Dana Haynes, spokesman for Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, said he did not know whether this kind of ratio puts his city prior to others – and he hoped no one had studied the challenge “on my own tax dollars” – but he does hear of Portland’s preeminence on a regular basis.
“Judges have said you can not zone out a strip club,” Haynes said. Then he continued, delicately, “It is probably factual that some cities in many states have an easier time of prohibiting strip clubs in their boundaries.”