A show featuring stripping, pole dancing and burlesque—but no alcohol—has political roots that go back to the last provincial election, organizers say.
Naked If I Want is a strip show and protest against Saskatchewan’s liquor laws concerning erotic performances, planned for May 4 in Saskatoon.
Devin Ens was the provincial Liberals’ policy chair in the last election and his friend Sandy Buckner initially planned a strip show as a fundraiser.
The idea was for the Liberals to host the stripping event and oppose the alcohol control regulation that prohibits establishments from serving liquor when the entertainment involves nudity, a strip tease performance, or a wet clothing contest—but the party shut it down.
“The members didn’t like it, there was no official policy passed, so it got shut down,” Buckner said. “I was devastated.”
Buckner, who performs as a drag king with the stage name Stevie Blunder, has since decided to hold the show and give the proceeds to support the Saskatoon Slut Walk and Consentfest. Both events are dedicated to “ending victim-blaming and making sex-positive attitudes where we really need them—here in Saskatchewan,” she said.
Ens and Buckner are hoping the protest show also helps change the liquor law.
But after the members of the provincial Liberals put the kibosh on the first planned show—and some senior Liberal threatened to tear up their membership cards—Ens hasn’t seen any political will in the province to change the law, he said.
“I thought it would be an easy sell because it’s what we call a ‘two percenter’ in politics,” he said, referring to an issue about two per cent of the electorate will base their vote on, but the majority will disregard. “We were getting less than one per cent of the popular vote to begin with, so two is really good for us.”
Ens personally believes the law needs to change.
“For me, it’s that’s it’s a moralistic attitude disguised as a public safety issue,” he said. “It’s one more issue to rail against in conservative Saskatchewan,” said Ens.
“Enough’s enough,” added Buckner.
As for the crime that can go hand-in-hand with strip clubs, it isn’t the erotic performances that are the problem, both said.
“You only punish the guilty,” said Ens. “If there’s a shady operation going on, you should shut it down, not ban the entire business model.”
“It’s also safer for the strippers to have a staffed bar and a ride home if they need it, than the current situation of them going to a private party by themselves,” added Buckner.
In preparation for the show, Buckner will be organizing the performers—including strippers from KJ’s Party Favors who will be volunteering their time and tips.
Naked If I Want will be held May 4 at the Cosmo Senior Centre. Doors at 8 p.m., show at 9. To get on the guest list, email email@example.com.