Friday, October 2, 2009

Lady Gaga Fans Camp Out for Fourteen Hours at the Landmark Theatre and Strip Club's Anti-Obama Poster Sparks Protest

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by Caroline Jackson

Fervid fans started lining up outside the Landmark Theatre at 6am on September 28th trying to get as close to their idol Lady Gaga as possible. The singer sent the early risers out donuts to thank them for loyally queuing up, some for fourteen hours before she was set to take stage.

23-year-old Lady Gaga released her first album “The Fame” last October and quickly shot to icon status among her fans who say she’s different from other performers.

"She's not just a musician, she's a walking piece of art."
"She's an artist!"
"She's an icon, legendary!"
"The next Madonna."
said five West Virginia University students were the first in line on Monday. They drove five hours and risked academic failure.

"I'm failing an exam for this," said one. "Yea, so am I! We're failing school!" chimed in others.

By 2pm at least 50 young men and women had staked out a place in line. They were dressed much like the flamboyant Lady Gaga herself. They passed the time adjusting their pink wigs and tiny top hats, sewing rhinestones onto their bras and reapplying each others elaborate make up.

A local strip club owner hung a poster of President Barrack Obama as the joker from Batman outside his business on the corner of 15th Street and Main over the weekend. On Monday, the Virginia NAACP protested outside Club Velvet declaring that the poster was disrespectful and racist.

Executive director of the Virginia N double A A C P King Salem Khalfani heard about the poster and along with VCU chapters of the NAACP called a press conference to air their grievances about this and other racist depictions of the president.

"If the owner of that house of ill repute wants to do things of that nature we have a right to say some thing and do some things to him and others that we don't like what they're doing," said Khalfani.

According to the Richmond Times Dispatch three dozen people showed up to the afternoon protest carrying posters that said “KKK Recruitment” and “Strippers 4 Obama”.

Club owner Samuel J.T. Moore III declined an interview but in a statement he said he hung the poster to express his disapproval of Obama’s Wall Street bail out, health care plan and stance on environmental issues. Saying, “this country is going to hell in a hand basket and this administration is making it irreversibly worse”.

In his statement Moore also said: “Anyone that thinks this poster is racist is an ignoramus. Just because he’s part black doesn’t mean you can’t criticize him.”

Khalfani said this depiction has inflamed the African American community. He said he has received calls from around the country and national media has picked the story up. Khalfani said Moore’s sign has been a much needed push to action for many.

"And the longer it stays up the more they are angering the African community and that's good for we organizers because when people get angry they participate," he said.

Moore is no stranger to controversy. He faced charges from the city for a banner protesting a ballpark in Shockoe bottom that exceeded the zoning size limits. The claim was recently dropped. Moore is also facing ABC charges. Last year he was convicted of misdemeanor charges related to having sex with a minor and illegally filming it.

This fact seemed to be referenced by whoever scrawled “rapist” on the poster by Thursday morning.

The NAACP never asked Moore to remove the poster. Khalfani said he and the NAACP are moving on with other issues though others may pick up where he left off with another protest on Monday.

"That's his property and if he doesn't want to take it down he won't. The community and the people may do things but we've got a lot more work to do. And we've made our statement," said Khalfani.

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