Occu-party: Council okays Lee Park night club permit
After handing out an open-ended permit to Occupy Charlottesville to stay in Lee Park indefinitely, as well as a permit for building fires, Charlottesville City Council took a bold step Monday and granted the anti-establishment group a night-club permit.
The following night, tiki torches had lined the walkways, and a gleaming bar at the foot of General Lee's statue was crowded with protesters as a DJ perched atop the statue spun some awesome tunes under an even awesomer light show. Some of the homeless in the area served as waiters as lounge style tables were set up in the grass, along with special VIP tents where people sympathetic to the cause who could afford the $75 entry fee mingled with campers, the homeless, and angry middle-class citizens.
"I didn't really understand what all the complaining was about," says Trent Worthington, a VIP tent attendee, "but I met a guy who makes $35,000 a year and has one car? I just didn't realize it was so terrible."
Standing on the sidewalk, Tea Party activist Bert Yarn looks on with anger.
"We were only allowed a café permit in McIntire Park," says Yarn. "Clearly, Council has a soft spot for these socialist hippies."
"People have the freedom to assemble in this country," says Mayor Dave Norris, "and there's no reason they shouldn't have the freedom to have a little fun and make some money."
Asked whether Council has shown any pro-Occupy bias, Norris points out the Tea Party never asked for a night club permit.
"Ironically," says Norris, "the Tea Party doesn't really know how to party. They aren't as fun as the Occupy folks."
Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo says he's a supporter of the Lee Park night club.
"As part of the agreement, officers are stationed on the sidewalk," says Longo, "and anyone leaving the park area who does not pass a breathalyzer test has to sleep in the park. We're keeping a lot more intoxicated people off the roads here than we are at traditional nightclubs."
For Occupy organizers, its a win-win situation.
"The drunker people get," says Lee Preen, president of Cville Transvestites for Change, "the more our occupy numbers go up. Plus, they tend to stay longer into the afternoon. We've had a tremendous amount of support for the nightclub goers, including donations of barf-bags, asprin, Alka-Seltzer, ear muffs, and couches."
So what's next for Lee Park and the Occupy movement?
"Dude, we've already submitted plans for an in-ground pool," says Kevin Kirkston, Occupy Charlottesville's Director of Operations, "which should be approved in a few weeks. It's just so amazing, man, to see all these different kinds of people from our society coming together, working out our problems over a couple of drinks. Just imagine the kind of progress we're going to make when we can all just jump in the pool together. "
Meanwhile, Tea Party activist Yarn looks on and grumbles.
"We could party, too," he says. "If we were just given the chance."
The Rutabaga is an occasional humor column in the Hook. It is satire, not news.–editorRead more on: the rutabaga