Do the Dance explores free expression in all its movements

Photo courtesy of Ed Fletcher

Obscenity can be difficult to define. As the quote goes, “I know it when I see it.” This famous phrase came from a 1964 case regarding whether the French film Les Amants should be considered smut. A lesser known case of “I know it when I see it” happened here in Sacramento in 1969. Two Orangevale go-go dancers from the Pink Pussy Kat bar were arrested for lewd acts. The judge ordered them to come to court and show the jury their dance moves so they could see if it was indeed appropriate or not.

In its time, the case made national headlines, but it’s been lost in history. That is, until Sacramento Bee reporter Ed Fletcher learned of it while digging through the archives. Originally, he was working on a narrative film, dramatizing the case, which he called Pink. When he learned that one of the dancers died in 2015, Fletcher decided to shelve the narrative and capture the story via documentary while others were still around to interview.

He’s raising money for Do The Dance via Indiegogo until March 23 to fund the cost of shooting interviews and paying for archival footage, such as the above image of Pink Pussy Kat owner Leonard Glancy with defendants Susanne Haines and Sheila Brendenson.

The story is certainly an attention-grabber, but also an important moment in the country’s history in regards to censorship and the First Amendment. Fletcher hopes to finish the documentary this year, and then he will return to Pink. Learn more at