In the middle of the Tripwires’ performance at the Sunset Tavern last October, guitarist Jim Sangster noticed his cocktail had gone missing. “I had a Makers Mark and a beer on a road case beside the stage; I turned around and they were gone.” Sangster’s drink had been confiscated by a representative of the Washington State Liquor Control Board. Sangster was in technical violation of a provisional rule, WAC 314-11-015, that forbids drinking by “any person performing services on a licensed premises for the benefit of the licensee.”
As nanny statists sink their hooks ever deeper into the still-twitching corpse of American individualism, their rules manifest themselves in increasingly ludicrous ways, with judicial commentary to match. Consider that last year, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the state’s smoking ban included on-stage actors, claiming that public health concerns trumped freedom of expression. The lone dissent opined that “character and plots would lack depth and expressive force without such effects as smoke hovering on stage or an actor’s poignant puff.” Hell, never mind mentioning property rights; now judges have to be theater critics, apparently.