Nearly 3,000 miles already separate Casa Diablo from Newark City Hall. But in the week, los angeles female strippers strove mightily to boost that distance.
After word leaked out how the ambitious young Newark mayor had held a concise Twitter flirtation with 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 will 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 another strictly prohibited.
Oregon’s biggest metropolis might be accepted as the capital of the craft beer movement, or house to 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 merely ahead of La. Perhaps less well-known, but equally telling, is Portland’s triple-X heart as well as the legal history that means it is possible.
“Here is the strip club capital around the world,” 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 not any big problem.”
She smiled. Tossed a waterfall of dark hair. Clambered the brass pole on Casa Diablo’s elevated stage. Then dropped 12 or so feet right into 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 where the vegan part comes in.
Casa Diablo’s owner is Johnny Diablo Zukle, a transplant from Torrance that has eschewed animal products for the past 28 years. Diablo (he rarely uses his Lithuanian last name) said he matured hearing 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 along with a revelation while waiting in line in the Stockton bagel shop.
“I realized – and I thought out loud – ‘Hey, basically if i don’t eat animal products, I don’t have to wear them either.’ I was able to be in addition to every one of the suffering carried out to animals,” he recounted Thursday night as well-waxed women danced and music boomed. “My mother said, ‘Oh, don’t be described as a fanatic.’ But it really 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 on 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 stuffed with “taco soy strips.” The pumpkin spice cupcakes – hand-crafted from a dancer named Sabrina who says she wears “quite a bit more” while baking – are topped with Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese frosting.
About this night, in the nod towards the kerfuffle over Booker and stripper Lynsie Lee, the special is a Booker Burger. The patty is Casa Diablo’s usual, the goateed owner said: “soy protein, more protein than a regular burger, no saturated fats, no cholesterol, and it’s delicious.”
The important difference is in accouterment. “Extra mayo,” Diablo said, and after that stated it again. “Due to the mayor.” Mayo. Mayor. Obtain it?
The Booker Burger was set up on the small table beside a chess set, not not even close to where dancers strut their stuff. Fries were artfully mounded beside it, and photographers from the Oregonian, TMZ as well as the New York City Post were shooting away.
The dancers in addition to their clients, however, were largely unimpressed. Sure, Lee did a star turn in her own skimpy patriotic bikini, white stars with a blue background with red piping. It didn’t remain on long. And Diablo was pressed into explaining Portland’s libertarian leanings between bites of vegan pad thai.
“The Supreme Court of Oregon ruled in favor of freedom of speech, and basically they’re saying, ‘Hey, listen, it’s protected speech, so anyone who wishes to open a strip club can,'” Diablo said. “In the long run, freedom of speech wins. I hope it always does. It’s the thing that makes Oregon great.”
Diablo is largely correct, but his legal analysis could go back further. As David Fidanque, executive director in the ACLU of Oregon, points out, the Beaver State’s Constitution is much more protective of free speech than will be the federal Constitution’s 1st Amendment.
Article 1, Section 8 stipulates that “no law will 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 this right.”
The state’s Constitution was ratified in 1857, as well as the free expression clause was solidified using a string of court cases within the 1980s and later on. A result? The Best Strip Club List catalogs 64 establishments within Portland city limits, or one for every single 9,400 roughly residents.
Dana Haynes, spokesman for Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, said he failed to know whether such a ratio puts his city prior to others – and the man hoped no-one had studied the matter “on my small tax dollars” – but he does hear of Portland’s preeminence regularly.
“Judges have said you are unable to zone out a strip club,” Haynes said. He then continued, delicately, “It is probably factual that some cities in some states have an easier time of prohibiting strip clubs in their boundaries.”