We honestly thought the Exotic Erotic Ball would be the last event to leave the beleaguered Cow Palace. But sure enough, we've just learned that the 28th annual "celebration of flesh, fetish and fantasy," in fact, won't be held at the legendary Daly City venue. Instead, organizers have moved it this year to Treasure Island. The ball's operator says the event simply outgrew Cow Palace, but it may also have been Daly City's campaign to get rid of the convention center and replace it with a massive development project to include a grocery store, condos and some chain retail outlets.
In announcing the move, Treasure Island's director of operations, Mirian Saez, tried to get all hip and claim that the all-but-deserted sliver of land out in the middle of the Bay that developers are currently planning to build a small city on has a long history of hosting sordid celebrations of sin. During the 1939 World's Fair held at Treasure Island, for instance, one of the most popular attractions was a strip show known as Sally Rand's Nude Ranch where women wore cowboy hats, gun-belts, boots and not a lot else, according to a statement.
So, Treasure Island officials reasoned, why not have the Exotic Erotic Ball there, too? I mean, apparently they've been naked and banging each other out there for years anyway. Maybe that's why Willie Brown had a particular fondness for sending patronage hacks out to Treasure Island's administrative offices. Okay, that's totally unfair.
The show's producer, Howard Mauskopf, said in the statement that he loved Cow Palace, but the island will be a logistical improvement:
“We had big fun at the Cow Palace and threw some of our best parties ever at that site. But, on Treasure Island, we will have greater flexibility, and all the space we could possibly want. Plus, it's one of San Francisco's most idyllic and scenic waterside locations with unparalleled panoramic Bay views, and it has its own spicy and salacious past, just like the ball.”
According to the ball's official history, it began in 1979 when Perry Mann hosted the shindig in his San Francisco penthouse apartment to collect campaign money for a presidential candidate running on the Nudist Party ticket at the time. His slogan? "I have nothing to hide."
*Image courtesy Breaktaker.com.