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Planet Rock facing loss of license

BARRE, Vermont – An alleged close encounter between a performer and a patron at Barre’s only gentlemen’s club has put Planet Rock at risk of losing the license that permits unclad women to dance there.

The city council last week tabled a motion to renew Planet Rock’s entertainment license. The license, issued annually, authorizes the nude dance shows for which the 16-year-old Main Street establishment is famed.

Mayor Thomas Lauzon said an on-duty Washington County liquor inspector observed “a customer’s head buried in a woman’s breasts” in July. The incident, he said, constitutes a “clear violation” of the permit conditions.

Those conditions state that “nude, semi-nude or partially clothed” performers must maintain a three-foot distance from patrons. The restrictive language was inserted into Planet Rock’s entertainment license in 1997.

“The council declined to reissue (the license) citing a violation of the terms of the entertainment permit,” Lauzon said.

If the council does not reissue the permit, he said, Planet Rock’s license will expire Dec. 31 at midnight. The club would retain its liquor license; however, naked women would not be allowed to perform there.

Daniel Garr Sr., head of the corporation that owns the club, said the report, made by liquor inspector Martin Prevost, was “incorrect.” He said “the person” who made the report “doesn’t even understand the law whatsoever” and that his establishment has always complied with the conditions set forth in the permit. Garr suggested that “hidden agendas” among some councilors are the true source of the controversy and said the alleged violation is likely a red herring for their ulterior motives.

“We don’t know what one person’s hidden agenda may be, but of course we do understand there may be some other hidden interests here” said Garr, who also owns Danny’s Pub on Keith Avenue. He vowed to do “whatever is necessary” to have the permit renewed.

“We will not sit quietly and let anyone violate our civil rights,” Garr said. “This type of entertainment is clearly protected by the First Amendment.”

Lauzon said Wednesday that the council would likely convene a special meeting Thursday to revisit the motion. He said he was troubled by Garr’s unwillingness to admit impropriety and to take responsibility for the violation.

“We’re not the ones who own the establishment that is having these violations – he is,” Lauzon said of Garr. “You violate the conditions … and then you accuse me of having a hidden agenda because I want to talk about that? That’s when my tolerance level goes way down.” Lauzon said last Wednesday that the council would likely convene a special meeting to revisit the motion. He said he was troubled by Garr’s unwillingness to admit impropriety and to take responsibility for the violation.

“We’re not the ones who own the establishment that is having these violations – he is,” Lauzon said of Garr. “You violate the conditions … and then you accuse me of having a hidden agenda because I want to talk about that? That’s when my tolerance level goes way down.”
 

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