Venice mayor loses sex fest battle

Venice mayor loses sex fest battle Venice, Italy - A porn industry trade fair featuring striptease shows and "erotic massage booths," was scheduled to open Thursday near Venice, despite attempts by the Italian lagoon city's mayor to ban it.

A court order on Wednesday overturned a townhall ordinance prohibiting the four-day "Erotica Tour Millennium," from being held in the Marghera industrial district.

Centre-left Mayor Massimo Cacciari has warned of the "potential danger," posed by the fair being held in an area which is "already very degraded."

Cacciari, a bearded philosophy of aesthetics professor, was especially critical of the envisaged "active audience participation" during some of the striptease shows.

Such performances threaten to "remove the brakes from participant's inhibitions resulting in anti-urban behaviour," according to the municipal ordinance.

"Cacciari should just come and watch us," two popular Italian porn stars Valentine and Sofia, told the La Repubblica newspaper.

"Then he (Cacciari) would realize we have nothing to do with prostitution," they said.

Still, the court order specifies that to avoid the risk of "riots" involving over-enthusiastic spectators, local police must be deployed in and near the marquee tent hosting the event.

The costs of such security arrangements estimated at 10,000 euros (13,800 dollars) must be borne by the event organizer, Naples-based company Geat, according to the court order.

With tickets - restricted to people above the age of 18 - selling at 25 euros each, the fair is expected to make at least 500,000 euros, according to La Repubblica. (dpa)