Kelly Brook once said "striptease is an art", but a New York court has ruled otherwise, stating this week that lap dances do not promote culture in the way that ballet or other arts do, so cannot be exempt from tax.
The case for tax breaks was filed by Nite Moves club in suburban Albany, who argued that fees for admission to the club and private dances should be exempt from sales tax.
New York's highest court reviewed the case without reaching consensus: three of seven judges dissented, saying there was no provision in the law that separated "highbrow and lowbrow dance".
One, Judge Robert Smith, noted that regulations allow reduced tax on admissions charges for "a live dramatic, choreographic or musical performance". Though Smith said he disproved of stripping itself as "unedifying" and "distasteful", the women at Nite Moves club are clearly engaged in "choreographic performance", he wrote.
Smith also furnished the court with a useful analogy: "I do not read Hustler magazine; I would rather read the New Yorker. I would be appalled, however, if the state were to exact from Hustler a tax that the New Yorker did not have to pay, on the ground that what appears in Hustler is insufficiently 'cultural and artistic.'"