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Zoning Issue Nixes Nudity, Pornotopia; “Free Speech Issue”

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — from – The provocative film festival “Pornotopia” has been postponed because the city doesn’t allow adult entertainment at the festival’s proposed site near downtown Albuquerque.

With months of planning, researching and now no place to go, Co-Director of Pornotopia Molly Adler said the film festival’s status is unclear.

“Because of zoning, even for one weekend, we’re not allowed to have that festival downtown,” Adler said.

Adler calls the festival of erotic films art. The past three years it was held at the Guild Theater in Nob Hill. The city said this year’s proposed site is not zoned for adult entertainment.

“We’re talking about a free-speech issue. How can you actually exercise your free speech, if there’s nowhere in town that we can legally have the festival?” Adler said.

Pornotopia organizers said they want to have their festival at the Sunshine Theater near downtown Albuquerque. The theater, however, isn’t considered downtown, so it is not zoned for adult entertainment.

City officials said there are segments in all four quadrants of the city where the festival could be held. The city planning department said those areas include heavy commercial, manufacturing and industrial zones.

Ordinances show the festival must also be an appropriate distance from churches, schools and residences.

“Sure there are places that are zoned like that in the city, but they include mostly garages and car dealerships, and places that we could never have a film festival,” Alder said.

Event coordinators said they will have a censored version of the festival in November without the nudity and pornographic films. Organizers are looking for venues outside the city to have the regular festival.


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