Photo: Michael Heape
Joe Redner is an adult business entrepreneur. He lives in Tampa and is 76 years old.
Joe Redner is a ‘Florida Icon'
Adult business entrepreneur, Tampa; age 76
• If I’m free, and if this is a free country, then I should be able to do what I please in private with consenting adults. Being able to do what you want — as long as you don’t hurt someone else — is the essence of freedom.
• When I see wrong, I’m very confrontational.
• In 1976, the club went all-nude, and the city of Tampa started coming at me. They’d arrest me. They’d arrest the dancers. They arrested everybody they could. They really went Gestapo, but I was a match for them. I figured out how I could keep operating while they were making all those arrests. I wasn’t afraid of getting arrested. I was more afraid of not being able to make a living.
• I was on a public access TV show arguing with a guy about my opinions and he started calling me a liar. But I was giving my opinion, so it can’t be a lie. It’s an opinion! So I explained to him the difference between a fact and an opinion, that an opinion is the conclusion I came to based on the facts, and I said, ‘Here’s a fact: You’re fat!’ He got mad and he got up and he walked around and got a chair, a heavy bamboo chair, and he threw it at me and it hurt me. I was sore for a couple of days.
• I won’t have a friend who doesn’t treat people right. I don’t care how good you treat me. That’s how I judge people, and it doesn’t take me long to find out.
• We moved to Tampa when I was 8 from New Jersey. I didn’t hear anything about race in New Jersey. When we came down here, I noticed the water fountains — colored or white. That was an injustice that just glared at me. Treating people like that, I never understood.
• I’ve run for public office nine times — Tampa City Council, Hillsborough County Commission, state House. I’ve learned it’s hard to overcome a reputation. I’m an atheist, and I’m an adult business owner. That makes it hard to get elected.
• Some of them just want company. Some of them will pay a dancer to sit there and talk to them. Some will pay for a back rub. Some just want to look.
• I reason very well, but I don’t have a good memory, so I have to analyze things over and over.
• When I first started in the adult business, I did drugs. I did cocaine. I smoked. I drank — and then I started turning yellow when I drank. It was affecting my liver. So I quit. I didn’t touch a drop in 25 years. Then Joey got this brewery (his son, Joey, founded Cigar City Brewing in 2009) and I decided I’m going to taste some beer. I drank just a little but didn’t like the feeling. I want no part of it.
• I’m a rich person, and I say, ‘raise my taxes.’
• If I didn’t think a law was just and it didn’t serve a purpose, I didn’t obey it.
• I don’t care about Democrats. I don’t care about Republicans. I don’t care about the political parties. I’m a progressive. That’s how I think. I’m a Bernie Sanders man. He thinks just like I always have. He’s me.
• Having stage-four lung cancer, I quit smoking marijuana, but I started doing edibles. Man, I went through some chemo and radiation and it was aggressive radiation because I’m healthy and that marijuana saved me. The chemo puts you on edge. You can hardly live in your own body, but the Dancers are smart. You think they’re all objects or something, but they’re smart.
• When I was a kid, I got hit by a car. I was supposed to hold my brother’s hand, but I told him I didn’t want to hold his hand, and I ran out into the street. I was probably 6 or 7.
• I work out every day, not a heavy workout, not a hard workout, not a long workout, but I work out a body part every day.
• Education is the big equalizer, but look at what they’re doing to education in this state. They don’t fund it. They starve it.
• What it takes to be a father, I’m not good at. I didn’t spend the time I should have with my children. My son Joey, though, he’s a good father, I mean a freaking good father.
• Every day, I’m on Facebook. That’s how I get the frustration out, by posting political stuff. I don’t put family stuff on there. I just attack. I attack what I think is injustice.
• I’m a raw vegan. I eat all raw vegetables. Raw fruits. Seeds. Nuts. I use olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I quit eating for taste, although I like the food I eat, and started eating for health.
• All my managers are female. They’ve come up from being dancers. They know. They feel. They care. I have male security, but no male managers.
• Tradition to me means you can’t figure something out so you do it the same way it has always been done.
• Every time the police would come up with a tactic to shut me down, I’d counter that tactic with a tactic of my own. I have always been defiant.marijuana calmed me down.
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