Theater has shown similar films in the past
B.A. MORELLI • IOWA CITY PRESS-CITIZEN • FEBRUARY 10, 2010
The University of Iowa has squashed a student-run campus theater's plans to show a pornographic movie on campus this weekend.
The Bijou Theater, based in the Iowa Memorial Union, had scheduled midnight Friday and Saturday showings of a 1970s "erotic, camp classic" called "Disco Dolls in Hot Skin," which was playing in 3-D.
"There will be big hair. There will be obnoxious mustaches. There will not be a coherent plot," the advertisement stated.
The movie is off, said Tom Rocklin, interim vice president for student services.
Rocklin sent out a notice Tuesday afternoon stating that after he learned about the film earlier in the day, he ordered the Bijou directors to cancel their plans.
"It is clearly not in the public interest for a public facility at a public institution to be showing a film of this nature. If showing the film were essential to an educational objective, the situation would be different. The intent in this case was to provide entertainment," Rocklin said in an e-mail.
It is not clear if showing the film would violate any state, county or university rules.
Rocklin did not return a message after he sent out the e-mail. UI General Counsel Carroll Reasoner was out of the office and referred a request for information to her staff, but they did not respond. Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness and Iowa Attorney General's Office spokesman Bob Brammer did not return phone messages Tuesday.
UI spokesman Tom Moore said Tuesday afternoon he did not know and would not be able to get an answer to whether it violated any university policies.
Evan Meaney, executive director of the Bijou, did not return a message after UI announced the show was canceled.
The appeal of the film was the absurdity of a 3-D porno, he said earlier in the day.
"The fact that it exists is insane. We like to show things that are insane," Meaney said.
The Bijou shows pornos once a year, and the theater does not admit anyone younger than 18, he said. The shows have been well attended, and Meaney said he was expecting a sellout both nights this weekend.
UI officials had never questioned pornos in the past, and the Bijou previously never had to get films pre-approved, Meaney said. He said he was expecting support for "Disco Dolls" as well.
"Pornography tests the limits of the First Amendment and artistic expression. I am not going to say this film is a functioning form of art, but nudity and sexuality has always tested the limits of what people think is proper," he said. "The school is very accommodating and supportive of free speech, and they recognize this falls under that."
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Tags: university of iowa, disco dolls in hot skin, cancelled,
Location: Iowa City, Iowa, United States (load item map)
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