American pin-up modeling company Suicide Girls were forced to abruptly cancel their Saskatoon performance of their travelling burlesque show Sunday following warnings from city officials.
Rebecca Crow of the Suicide Girls Blackheart Burlesque troupe said just prior to the show at O’Brien’s Event Centre, the group was told a representative from the city would be attending the show to ensure they complied with Saskatchewan laws.
The city’s Adult Services Licensing bylaw lays out rules stating the girls could not perform striptease, model lingerie or perform body rubs; all of which are parts of the show to some degree. It also said the girls would need a business license to perform burlesque because it is defined as adult services.
“Even in the very conservative deep American south, we just strip down to full cup bras and panties, but still apparently that’s not good enough for this law,” Crow said.
In a defiant news release sent late Saturday, the troupe vowed to go ahead with the unaltered performance; however, the venue pulled the plug, and ticket holders were offered refunds.
O’Brien’s event manager Vince Geiger said they learned about the need for a special business license just days before the event.
“We negotiated with the province, but we had to get approval from the city…(who) made it very clear that what the show was, wasn’t what we could do without getting these licenses that we weren’t able to get (in time),” Geiger said.
A similar Suicide Girls event was performed last year at Louis’ on the University of Saskatchewan campus without interruption; however, the girls wore see-through mesh bras in addition to their usual nipple covers.
Media inquiries to the City of Saskatoon were not immediately answered Sunday.
Crow encouraged Saskatoon residents to stand up for the rights of individuals to do what they want with their body.
“Make sure you vote. Make sure you take charge of what’s happening in your area. Don’t let these things happen because this is a step backwards,” she said.
“If it was my government, I would say, ‘What the hell? Can you please stop restricting what I want to do with my body and deal with some real issues?’”