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ARTS & CULTURE TO GO

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Dancing With the Porn Stars: Location, location, location

This show could go down in infamy or it could be forgotten, but let's set the record straight (no pun intended): Dancing With the Porn Stars was one of the 80 titles at the recent Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival. A gay riff on the TV competition, the show paired porn stars with local co-producers Stuart Nichols and Richard Lamberty, who really are same-sex ballroom champions.

You get the picture: Men dancing with men, nudity and crudeness involved, followed by celebrity judge (Daisy Lynum and Patti Sheehan, among them) ratings and audience voting via cell phone to determine the winner.

The critical feedback on Porn Stars wasn't ecstatic; in my opinion, the blend of gay porn stars and true ballroom splendor into a cheesy setup sans real actors was fun but amateurish. Still, the show won a Fringe Fabby award for selling out four of its seven shows — nudity sells.

After the Fringe run, Porn Stars moved to the Hotel Royal Plaza on Disney property for Gay Days, where I served as a judge. The Thursday opener went off as usual, but Friday night it was announced that G-strings were as low as they could go, due to vague Disney concerns. The move stripped the show of its balls, so to speak, and Sunday's show was voluntarily canceled. (Of note: An HBO documentary team headed by Oscar-winner Bill Couturié was filming Friday for a special on same-sex dancing.)

The Porn Stars producers had a contract with Gay Days, which had a contract with the Hotel Royal Plaza, and both acknowledged the nature of the show and the nudity. Chris Alexander-Manly of Gay Days referred my questions to the producers. Lamberty feels that although he didn't know of any formal protest from Disney, a fear of persecution, real or not, had filtered down to the hotel, Gay Days organizers and the performers.

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