Not our city, not our festival.
In Seattle this weekend thousands of people are pouring into On the Boards for HUMP!, the Pacific Northwest's biggest, best, and only amateur porn festival. HUMP! is in its sixth year and we've never had a problem with the city. (Heck, we're thinkin' a couple of members of the city council might have submitted a film this year.) But in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the authorities managed to harass that city's porn festival—Pornotopia—out of existence earlier this week. Here's the story:
For the past 3 years, we have brought beautiful, raw, healthy expressions of adult sexuality to welcoming audiences. And, for the past 3 years the City of Albuquerque has attempted to limit, censor and persecute our constitutionally protected speech.
This year, in an attempt to defuse this ongoing conflict and comply with the City’s onerous zoning requirements, we voluntarily elected to postpone our annual film festival. Instead, we have spent recent weeks putting together a non-pornographic celebration of sexuality and the 1st amendment under the title of Pornotopia CENSORED.... However, when it comes to Pornotopia, following the rules is not enough. Over the past few days, the City’s Planning and Zoning Department, apparently in coordination with other City agencies and departments, has conducted a campaign of bullying and intimidation against all those associated with Pornotopia CENSORED. Veiled threats have been made against the Sunshine Theater (the planned location of Pornotopia CENSORED) and against our performers. The City made it clear that both Zoning Enforcement officers and Special Investigations Divisions officers would attend the performance in number, and that these officers would find a way to shut down and silence an event focused on the importance and power of free speech. The Sunshine Theater was threatened with citations for permitting “adult entertainment” under an obscure provision of the zoning code which the City has never before enforced. [Even] if these various citations ultimately proved to be groundless, the costs of fighting the foreseeable legal battles would bring financial ruin to the individuals and small businesses targeted by the City.
Under these circumstances, Pornotopia CENSORED simply cannot go forward. We cannot ask our supporters and our performers to risk legal and financial dangers of this magnitude. Pornotopia and Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center have always focused on promoting the beauty of adult sexuality in a safe, protected environment.
Here's a local TV news report about the cancelation of Pornotopia CENSORED.
Pornotopia CENSORED was supposed to go down today. The sponsors of the event are asking people to send letters to Albuquerque's mayor Richard Berry. "Mayor Berry is listening and wants to hear from you," says Mayor Berry's website. Let the mayor hear from you here. And while we're sending emails to Mayor Berry, I'm thinking the folks at Pornotopia might wanna be sending an email to the ACLU of New Mexico.