On September 5, 2012, as yours truly was sworn in to practice law, the New York State’s Court of Appeals heard a case as to whether lap dancing constitutes a form of art. Attorney representing Nite Moves, a strip club in Latham, NY argued that the establishment should be exempt from paying sales taxes on the door admission fees because it offered carefully choreographed performances which constituted works of art, so what if they were performed by fully nude private dancers. Given that Broadway shows and ballet performances are exempt from taxes on admission fees, why not strip clubs?! As a counterargument for the State Department of Taxation and Finance, cabaret-like establishments are obligated to pay taxes on entrance fees despite their dance performances.
It must have made for a great spectacle, particularly since experts included cultural anthropologists. The judges did start to loose their patients at some point, one having been quoted as saying “Can we get past the idea that somehow this is the Bolshoi?” referencing the famous Russian ballet company.
The attorneys who were razzle-dazzling the highest court in the state included Robert M. Goldfarb for the State Department of Taxation and Finance, and W. Andrew McCullough on behalf of the club.