UPDATE: Visions Nightclub ordered to remove topless dancer painting

UPDATED Thursday, August 1, 2013 --- 10:30 p.m.
Reporter: Phil Levin

The city ordered removal of a painted stripper outside a Madison nightclub, but not because of the artwork itself.

Two weeks ago Visions Nightclub Owner Tom Reichenberger said his son painted the topless woman as a Father's Day present. Reichenberger planned to add color and possibly more women.

"If they would let me do a mural I'd like to do a chorus line all around, that would be befitting, a burlesque chorus," he said."

But others fear the sign is not appropriate for children, and the club is feet from busy E. Washington Ave.

"It puts a lot of parents in an uncomfortable situation," said Madison Ald. David Ahrens. He originally brought the painting to the city's attention after receiving a letter from a concerned constituent.

"There's a time and a place for it and if you're going to expose kids to this in your home at a certain age or on TV, that's the place, but I don't think we need to make this all up for public view whoever goes by," said Ahrens.

Last week a building inspector visited the club. He ordered the graphic removed because a permit was not issued. If not taken down by August 8 the club could be fined.

Building Inspection Division Director George Hank explains the addition likely exceeds the "signable area" on Visions since other displays cover much of the front facade. He also says ordinances prevent signage painted directly onto buildings.

Reichenberger questions why other buildings displaying similar artwork are not ordered to make modifications. Hank says his division is less likely to proactively search for building signage violations than they are sandwich boards or advertisements placed near streets.

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UPDATED Thursday, August 1, 2013 --- 3:15 p.m.
Reporter: Phil Levin

The sign violates Madison ordinances not because if its content, but because of its size and the way it is attached to the building.

Building Inspection Division Director George Hank provided a copy of the order to remove the sign, for which no permit was issued. Hank says the picture likely exceeds the signable area in front of the nightclub, and is also in violation of an ordinance requiring signage not be painted directly onto buildings.

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Posted Thursday, August 1, 2013 --- 2:36 p.m.

According to a release from Madison Ald. David Ahrens, the Visions nightclub has been ordered to remove a painting of a stripper on a pole from the front of their property.

The order was issued by the Madison Division of Building Inspection as a violation of the public sign ordinance.

The club is on East Washington Ave.

Ahrens sent the complaint to the City Building Inspection after hearing about the sign from a constituent. The woman reportedly found the sign inappropriate and "did not want to have to explain to my daughter what that woman was doing."

Ahrens says there was no permit issued for the eight-foot black-on-white sign.

"There is a place for signs like this. It's called Las Vegas. Or after admission is paid. I doubt most people in our community want these kinds of images on public display," Ahrens is quoted in the release.

The Building Inspection Division issued the order requiring that the sign be removed by August 8, 2013.


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