A Chafed Texan in the Naked City

Mayor Adrian Fenty plays table hockey with Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin on Friday, June 13. Ovechkin was given the key to the city in a ceremony shortly after their table hockey game.
Mayor Adrian Fenty plays table hockey with Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin on Friday, June 13. Ovechkin was given the key to the city in a ceremony shortly after their table hockey game. (Lauren Victoria Burke - )

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By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Monday, June 16, 2008

Washington is a town filled with boobs.

They're everywhere, from the bare-breasted ladies who decorate the fountain at Dupont Circle to the peekaboo statue in the Justice Department's Great Hall to the countless nudes in our museums. But while those of us who live here hardly blink at the public nudity, it can shock some of our visitors. Such was the case for Robert Hurt, who last week tried to add the issue of artistic indecency in the nation's capital to the platform of the Texas GOP.

"You don't have nude art on your front porch," the Dallas Morning News quoted the delegate as telling the platform committee at the state party convention. "So why is it important to have that in the common places of Washington, D.C.?"

Hurt, 54, a Kerrville, Tex., rancher and father of 14, told us in a phone interview he first came to Washington a decade ago for a gathering of the evangelical Promise Keepers on the Mall. "It was probably not much different than 'The Beverly Hillbillies' going to Beverly Hills," he joked. At the National Gallery, he was appalled to see statues of unclothed people. "I found it very inappropriate," he said. Returning a few years later, he discovered Arlington Memorial Bridge, flanked by the bare-chested figures of Valor and Sacrifice.

"The Lady Godiva thing -- that's what it conjured up, and that's not what our country's about," he said.

Hurt notified his elected officials of his concerns but believes nothing was done. While he said he respects free speech, "I believe art affects a country indirectly. I have been studying the decline of morals in this country. It's sending the wrong message to children that nudity is fine, that nakedness is fine. . . . There are degrees of vulgarity, and it opens up the door for the other stuff."

The platform committee did not adopt Hurt's recommendation on Washington nudity (nor his proposal to extend the 22nd Amendment -- presidential term limits -- to spouses). But Hurt said he'll pursue the issue, possibly with another trip here to videotape the evidence. "I'm not going to stop until I succeed. I'm prepared for a long fight."

Fenty No Match for Alexander the Great

What happens when Washington's most honored athlete goes mano a mano against Washington's most athletic mayor . . . in table hockey? On the one hand, Adrian Fenty is a triathlete with 8-year-old twin boys; on the other hand, Alexander Ovechkin is -- well, he's just the NHL's top scorer and Most Valuable Player, so little surprise that he trounced the mayor, as well as D.C. Council member Jack Evans, who just happened to have the table hockey game in his office. The historic matchup occurred just before Fenty presented Ovechkin the key to the city Friday.

Marry You? Just Ax Me

One of the lesser-known reasons behind the opposition to same-sex marriage: The gays are going to totally upstage the straights when it comes to outrageous, attention-getting public marriage proposals. We got a little dose of this toward the end of D.C. Capital Pride Week when Joe Matessa, 38, proposed to Billy Molasso, 37, at an outdoor screening of the Joan Crawford kitsch-horror classic "Strait-Jacket" at Hillwood Estate Friday, in front of 300 people waving glitter-covered plastic hatchets (Crawford plays an ax murderer) and wire hangers. (Matessa, full disclosure, works in ad sales at The Post; his boyfriend is a professor at GWU. They'll have a commitment ceremony in the fall.) JumboTron? How quaint.

Beware the Ides of June

Is there a curse on Harman Hall? Just weeks after the Shakespeare Theatre Company's new home opened last fall, star Avery Brooks suffered an injury that forced the cancellation of several performances of "Tamburlaine." The latest victim is Andrew Long, the double-duty Mark Antony in the current tag-team productions of "Julius Caesar" and "Antony and Cleopatra." While exiting the stage during Act 1 of "Caesar" Tuesday, Long fell and (ouch) tore an Achilles tendon. That injury has laid up Long, a company regular, for the rest of the run; understudy Kurt Rhoads takes over through the July 6 close.


© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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