Nearly 3,000 miles already separate Casa Diablo from Newark City Hall. But this week, los angeles male strippers strove mightily to increase that distance.
After word leaked out that the ambitious young Newark mayor had held a concise Twitter flirtation using a comely exotic dancer here, his Senate campaign in New Jersey issued an announcement downplaying the incident.
“The sole mildly surprising point about this story may be the news that there’s a vegan strip club in Portland,” Booker’s campaign said, indicating that this bachelor mayor knew neither Portland nor Casa Diablo, where one kind of flesh is happily embraced and the other strictly prohibited.
Oregon’s biggest metropolis might be acknowledged as the capital of your 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 list of “vegan-friendly cities,” behind Austin, Texas, and only ahead of Los Angeles. Perhaps less well known, but equally telling, is Portland’s triple-X heart and the legal history which makes it possible.
“This is actually the strip club capital around the globe,” said a 24-year-old woman who goes by the name of Dre and calls herself Casa Diablo’s “house mother.” “There aren’t more than Vegas. Just more per capita. Portland is indeed different. That’s our theme. Nudity is no big issue.”
She smiled. Tossed a waterfall of dark hair. Clambered up the brass pole on Casa Diablo’s elevated stage. Then dropped a dozen or more feet in a perfectly executed pair 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. Here is where the vegan part comes in.
Casa Diablo’s owner is Johnny Diablo Zukle, a transplant from Torrance who may have eschewed animal products for the past 28 years. Diablo (he rarely uses his Lithuanian surname) said he matured playing 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 also considered loud – ‘Hey, generally if i don’t eat animal products, I don’t have to use them either.’ I really could be aside from every one of the suffering completed to animals,” he recounted Thursday night too-waxed women danced and music boomed. “My mother said, ‘Oh, don’t be a fanatic.’ But it really was past too far.”
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 made using soy creamer. Ditto to the Irish coffees, the Creamsicle drinks, the Eros Euphoria martinis.
The “Mac & Chz” isn’t, as the menu says, “exactly like mom accustomed to make,” unless your mom is Betty White. The chimichanga is filled with “taco soy strips.” The pumpkin spice cupcakes – hand-crafted from a dancer named Sabrina who says she wears “a great deal more” while baking – are topped with Tofutti A Lot Better Than Cream Cheese frosting.
With this night, in a nod towards 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 when compared to a regular burger, no unhealthy fat, no cholesterol, and it’s delicious.”
The large difference is at accouterment. “Extra mayo,” Diablo said, and then said it again. “As a result of mayor.” Mayo. Mayor. Buy it?
The Booker Burger was put in place on a small table beside a chess set, not not even close to where dancers strut their stuff. Fries were artfully mounded beside it, and photographers through the Oregonian, TMZ and also the New York City Post were shooting away.
The dancers along with their clients, however, were largely unimpressed. Sure, Lee did a star turn in her own skimpy patriotic bikini, white stars on the 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 in support of 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. “In the end, freedom of speech wins. I hope it always does. It’s what makes Oregon great.”
Diablo is basically correct, but his legal analysis could go back further. As David Fidanque, executive director in the ACLU of Oregon, highlights, the Beaver State’s Constitution is far more protective of free speech than will be the federal Constitution’s 1st Amendment.
Article 1, Section 8 stipulates that “no law shall 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 on this right.”
The state’s Constitution was ratified in 1857, along with the free expression clause was solidified via a string of court cases in the 1980s and later. A result? The Best Strip Club List catalogs 64 establishments within Portland city limits, a treadmill for every 9,400 approximately residents.
Dana Haynes, spokesman for Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, said he failed to know whether this sort of ratio puts his city ahead of others – and he hoped no person had studied the issue “on my own tax dollars” – but he does hear of Portland’s preeminence frequently.
“Judges have said you can not zone out a strip club,” Haynes said. He then continued, delicately, “It is actually probably genuine that some cities in many states have no trouble of prohibiting strip clubs inside their boundaries.”