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Shuttle Fiascos and Bad Food; SF Weekly Pans Exotic Erotic Expo; Readers Call it a Lame, Rip-off

[SW]_ Sex and tech columnist Bonnie Ruberg, like many other Exotic Erotic Ball-goers, was promised a ride to Treasure Island in a giant limo tricked out in leather seating, marble tables and flat streen TVs. Attendees were also promised “no lines, no waiting.” Alas, alack, this was far from the case. Bonnie writes:

“What greeted us who showed up in the AT&T parking lot expecting luxury? A grimy, “hop on, hop off” bus and a line hundreds of party-goers long. Forget flat screen TVs. This shuttle rider didn’t even get a seat.”

The ball itself was pretty colorful, and our husband-wife photo team of Mike and Jen Cash had a blast shooting, but the transpo fiasco, coupled with bad food and overflowing porta potties, was enough to turn off some ASD readers, like Fred, who writes:

“This is the first and last time I attend the exotic erotic ripoff. I spent more time waiting on the lousy buses then I did at the event which was weak to say the least. It took over an hour waiting in the cold to get a “limo” back to the AT&T parking lot and an hour in line to get on the double decker bus to get to the event. What a WASTE.”

Much more disgruntlement can be found in the comments section, which you can read here:

The 2008 Exotic Erotic Ball
Treasure Island
October 25, 2008
Review by Bonnie Ruberg, Photos by Mike and Jen Cash

Better Than: A normal Halloween party and an amateur porno combined — unless either of those two things were really good.

If there’s one thing that’s neither exotic nor erotic, it’s standing in line for an hour to cram yourself onto an overflowing, double-decker sightseeing bus, all for the “ease” of avoiding the 10-minute drive between SOMA and Treasure Island. Previously held at Cow Palace, the Exotic Erotic Ball, now in its 29th year, didn’t do its guests any favors by changing venues to the shadow of the Bay Bridge.

For an additional $12 on top of the already $79 basic ticket price, attendees could ride shuttles to Treasure Island from AT&T park, which ball organizers advertised as “giant limos,” complete with leather seating, marble tables, and flat screen TVs. The best part, they promised: there would be “no lines, no waiting.” What greeted us who showed up in the AT&T parking lot expecting luxury? A grimy, “hop on, hop off” bus and a line hundreds of party-goers long. Forget flat screen TVs. This shuttle rider didn’t even get a seat.

Having survived the shuttle fiasco – after much grumbling – we ball attendees found ourselves outside what looked like an air hanger: the Exotic Erotic Expo. Inside we were greeted with a few rows of sex-related vendors, selling Venetian masks, $2 porn DVDs, and glass dildos.

Standing in line for the bus I’d gotten a taste of the costumes people wear to this cult event – in front of me I was lucky enough to have a hot tiger, his stripes painted on his muscular body with latex – but once inside it became obvious just how far these pre-Halloween partiers go. Outfits did include the exotic (Middle Eastern princes) and the erotic (hot cops), but also the bizarre.

Even the guy in the Mickey Mouse suit with the giant dildo paled in comparison to the artist who, standing naked in his vending stall, painted portraits with his penis. Nearby, a crew of beautiful Asian women let attendees cup their bare breasts as a photo op. Meanwhile a singer in a corset belted out from the burlesque stage, “I had a lot of masturbation fantasies about Jesus growing up. Here’s a little song I wrote about that!”

While all that might sound pretty exciting – did I mention the penis artist made his backgrounds by applying paint to his ass and then rubbing in on the canvas? – things in the expo actually felt pretty tame: glossy but softcore and painfully straight, with much less nudity than Folsom but also less presence from the progressive sex community.

Over in the entertainment tents, where the real exotic, erotic action was supposed to be doing down, things weren’t much different. Two hours into the event, one tent was still nearly empty. Another featured a loud cover girl band who couldn’t seem to get an already buzzed crowd excited. The majority of the action was actually happening in the VIP tent, where for an extra $40 party goers gained access to a handful of stages of go-go dancers, none of them naked, but all of them interestingly themed. The X-mas dancers earned points for cuteness, but the zombie girls earned points for creativity. Personally I was hoping my VIP wrist band – worth over $100 – would at least get me a free drink.

With the ball itself proving surprisingly dull, the party-goers themselves really became the main attraction. Though there were some younger faces (and asses) in the crowd, most seemed to be in their 40s. On the shuttle over, three middle-aged women who looked like they were probably more used to wearing pants suits than fishnets asked me with a wink whether I would do Angelina Jolie.

While catching a brief moment off my feet in the VIP tent – the entire event had maybe 10 chairs; even hotties need to sit sometime – I watched a couple in leather grind awkwardly to the music, the only people dancing, the woman explaining to the man that she was a fourth grade teacher. Well before the event came to a close, which was scheduled to run past 2:00, I headed out to catch a shuttle back to AT&T park. Total number of entirely bare breasts spotted: 19. Total number of penises: 7. The bus driver explained on the way back that that “giant limo” company had dropped their contract at the last minute. It was OK though, because one of the ball attendees had given him a joint, and that took all the stress out of driving.

Critic’s Notebook

Personal Bias: As a sex writer who spends a decent portion of each day looking at or talking about naked bodies, I’m probably desensitized to this stuff. Normal humans, estimate being 20% more titillated than described here.

Random Detail: I saw the hairiest man in the world last night – or at least in the Bay Area – and I saw him naked. I also saw Santa Claus, complete with beard and hat and jolly belly and absolutely no pants.

By the way: Next year is the 30th anniversary of the Exotic Erotic Ball. As the fellow disgruntled party-goers on the shuttle ride home posited in between cursing this year’s ticket price and its “lameness,” maybe that’ll make next October’s ball, well, better.

Candace says:
I was one of the unlucky ball goers who was crammed into the upper deck of the sight seeing busses and waited about 20 minuets after the ball to be picked up again by a bus until we were informed that another one wouldn’t come for about an hour and had to pay a cab driver another 40$ to get back to our car. As I listened to their speech about how this event was about love and respecting one another all I could say was bull shit! This was about making as much money as possible providing minimal services to ball goers.

Fred says:
This is the first and last time I attend the exotic erotic ripoff. I spent more time waiting on the lousy busses then I did at the event which was weak to say the least. It took over an hour waiting in the cold to get a “limo” back to the ATT parking lot and an hour in line to get on the double decker bus to get to the event. What a WASTE.

flash says:
As a couple looking forward to this event as a commeration of their first wedding anniversary, I have to say this was one of the lamest events I have ever attended. As previously stated, the transportation situation was unexcuseable. Where was Danny Boneducci, Heather from Rock of Love, the playmate and all the other celebs. I am sure like we soon found out after standing outside in line for 45 minutes for 1 of 6 overflowing port-a-potties, this was not the place to be. What was with the lack of heat, did the event planners expect all of the party goers to be dressed for the artic. All I can say is that I wish someone had informed the bartenders of the free drink included with the VIP tickets because we sure needed it after this fiasco!!!!!

Raychel says:
Wow. First and last time to this event! So much money and thought went into my costume and I even toned up a little more to look especially hot…for what?!?!?! The people who were barely clothed NEEDED TO BE COVERED UP! If I wanted to walk around in circles, listen to bad music and look at fat, middle-aged people with saggy asses and floppy boobs who consider a thong and a mask a costume…I would have saved $200 and gone to the Power Exchange! We left after 2 hours of over-priced drinks and lame entertainment. What a disapointment!

Masked Wrestler says:
In response to flash, Danny Boneducci WAS there. I saw him on stage in one of the tents. I even have 2 really bad pictures of him for proof.

Not that Danny Boneducci matters anyways.

I was disappointed in this ball. How it managed to stick around for almost 30 years is beyond me.

Too everyone who purchased the shuttle passes, I’m disputing the charge with my credit card company. You should too. Don’t let them keep your money, even if it is only $12.

Despite what the promoters may tell you, the GUESTS (i.e. paying customers) are the real stars of the show. Paying $69 (plus all the hidden fees such as shuttle pass, coat check $4, etc.) gets you into a huge room where they try to sell you more stuff. If i wanted porn DVD’s I would go buy them.

This event needs activities for the patrons to participate in and not charge them anymore for it. I saw a booth that had a royal throne and charged $15 to have a picture taken in it. Yeah, a stupid chair.

I could go on for days on how this event should be compared to how it is but it would take too long and i don’t think the internet has enough room.

This is a personal “F YOU” to Perry Mann and crew. You got a great concept here, but you take advantage of your customer. Maybe you should have been running around apologizing to customers rather than fucking around on stage.

shelly says:
I’ve been going to the ball for years and was looking for it to be held at T.I. due to the big build up. The venue was horrible. Porta potties? People come in costume. Women need to fix their makeup, costumes, ect. Kind of hard to do that in a porta potty that’s overflowing.

And what about the food? I thought Perry promoted the venue as bigger and better so he could do things his way, including the food.

The only food I saw was the hot dog stand. Near the porta potties. ?????
Very disappointed in the venue.

Transportation? Looks like everyone else pretty muched summed it up. HORRIBLE!!!

If it’s at Treasure Island again, I’m going to have to pass.
All-in-all, I had a great time because my boyfriend is a great sport and it’s always fun to see the costumes. But porta potties, crappy food, and horrible transporation left a bad taste in my mouth.

Dan & Tami says:
WOW! All I can say after our first time of attending the so called Exotic Erotic Ball, is what a huge disapointment! Not to mention all of the lies we were given on a piece of paper that came in the mail with our tickets.

It promised nice luxury limo buses, and no limit on the number of food vendors they could have “since they were not restricted by holding the event at the Cow Palace.” What a bunch of crap! And because it wasn’t held at the Cow Palace, there was absolutely nowhere to sit for a break. What a disaster, and to think of the four hour drive and other expenses we incurred to attend this event. If the promoters of this ball want to be successful in the future, they need to have this event held at the Cow Palace, period. The promoters, in my opinion, have lost a lot of integrity and trust from the general public. If they think that we are stupid enough to go through this next year, they are dead wrong! They had better do a lot to earn back people’s trust next time around.

Joseph Bartholomew says:
Im a lighting tech in the city and I was pretty disapointed too.

The equipment they gave them was crap and badly used. In the VIP tent there were 20-something lights (not including the movers and truss warmers) and they brought 24 dimmers but they only actually used 8 dimmers and just plugged the rest straight into the wall!! what the heck!

The DJ in the VIP tent was complaining that the lights were blasting straight into his face but the techs couldnt do anything for him because they had no control over those lights.

It was also a dumb idea to host it on the weeked of LDI in Vegas(THE international lighting convention) cause they couldnt get all the good lighting people; they were in Vegas!!

I spent half an hour in line for the porta-potties, which were overflowing.

on the upside i got to talk with quite a few people who had gone in years past (at cow palace) and told me plenty of stories. I also managed to get in on a joint rotation while in line.

one of the coolest parts about the cow palace was the random dark areas all around. this is an erotic party, you have to give these people a chance to do the things they arent “supposed to do” so that the real party can begin.

It was also badly organized, because i actually had go-go dancers come up to me (dont know why) asking where they should go. when i pointed to the stage with two dancers and told them that it was pretty much free-for-all, they were like “eeuhh, dance up there? like that? i dont know…”

the only place that had food was the dressing rooms, closed to guests.

I know that there is a lot of ambition in these people, and a lot of potential for an awesome party that people really want to attend, but they really messed up this time around


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