According to John Barnes, the seven nude women performing a live sex show in the building he built next to his wife's Middle River tavern were just helping a group of local hunting club members raise some money.
The door was locked during the show as the women wiggled on the spectators' laps and invited them to participate as props in their performance. And since the show wasn't physically in his wife's bar, Mr. Barnes told the county liquor board yesterday, he didn't think there would be a problem.
He was wrong.
The board ordered the liquor license for J&B;'s Oasis in the 100 block of Earl's Road suspended for two weeks starting Jan. 3 and imposed a $1,000 fine.
In addition, board Chairman William R. Snyder lectured the couple on the history of the Bodytalk, a nude dance club in Randallstown whose operators evaded the board's authority by offering nude dancing in a club without a liquor license. The county eventually enacted a zoning ordinance that put Bodytalk out of business.
Mr. Snyder also denounced the show in Mr. Barnes' building as "demeaning to women," and said he wouldn't even discuss it in public if he didn't have to do so.
Patricia M. Barnes, co-licensee of the Oasis, said the 24- by 60-foot unheated building her husband, John, put up next to her bar was entirely his business. She said she knew nothing about the sex acts until weeks after the Nov. 18 show.
Mr. Barnes told the board he got $700 in cash from a local plumber named "Matt" who hired the women and printed the tickets for his hunting club.
But Mr. Snyder noted that the free beer and punch spectators quaffed at the show were bought at Mrs. Barnes' bar. The $15 tickets were sold by her barmaid, testimony showed, and all transactions were in cash. Bar patrons also were told to get plastic cups to take their drinks next door for the show -- a violation of board rules.
"Since you like dealing in cash," Mr. Snyder said after imposing the fine, "we'll accept cash too."