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STAGE

<i> Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press</i>

Boston’s notorious Combat Zone, the city’s adult entertainment area, is a step closer to becoming a cultural zone--a theater and arts district--with the signing by the mayor of a new zoning bill. Once a thriving red-light district, all that now remains in the Zone are two nude dancing bars, two theaters and a bookstore. In 1977, there were 22 strip joints. The newly-signed Midtown Cultural District Zoning Plan, involving 27 blocks, calls for developers to either build theater space or pay for the renovation of existing art space. It also includes provisions for day care centers, and city officials say someday the area could include 10 theaters. The Combat Zone acquired its name during World War II when the USO and bars drew servicemen on leave, and brawls were often commonplace.


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