Quick note: My editor has tasked me with keeping this article PG-13 to keep our advertisers happy, so the nitty-gritty of Casa Rosso’s “performances” will be sadly excluded
There’s a right way and wrong way to attend a live sex show in Amsterdam. The wrong way doesn’t involve being kicked out of the club or shanked by one the Red Light District’s many pimps, but instead involves “participating” in a way that will haunt the rest of your sad, little life. Even if none of your friends are there to share the experience with you, the mere knowledge of what happened between yourself and one of Amsterdam’s finest performers can’t be easily lived down or forgotten. It will happen too suddenly, like a death in Final Destination, and there’s a chance you might wish for one of those quick deaths afterwards.
And the right way? That would be watching other people make those mistakes.
Amsterdam’s notoriously naughty Red Light District has three infamous venues for live sex shows: the Moulin Rouge, the Banana Bar, and Casa Rosso. All three are located about 100 feet from each other on the impossible-to-pronounce Oudezijds Achterburgwal street in the heart of De Wallen (RLD’s actual name). Apparently they all put on similar acts, bringing to question of who ripped-off who, but only the Moulin Rouge forgoes the more shocking forms of audience participation (i.e. there is none). “Participation” doesn’t involve actual sexual intercourse (there’s plenty of prostitutes surrounding the street for that), but they do involve things that would be difficult to get a loved one to agree to.
A few friends and I checked out the Casa Rosso club, apparently the oldest and most famous of Amsterdam’s live sex shows. It’s the easiest of the theaters to spot with a giant neon-pink elephant dancing above it, an either welcoming or terrible sight depending on the quality of coffee shops attended throughout the day. Prices are 35 Euro for a single ticket, or 50 Euro for one with four drink tickets included. Although we came in as a party of four, the group discounts only work for crowds of 10 or more, effectively making them the most sought-after victims to be pulled up to maximize embarrassment amongst your friends or loved ones. One of us had good karma coming or went to church recently because we were followed by a group of Americans who looked to be on some sort of family retreat. In the Red Light District, of all places. Maybe they just had it coming.
When an act needs a volunteer*, the performer will come down on stage and guide them up. These acts usually occur between the intercourse performances (which unfortunately aren’t always as impressively acrobatic as I’d hope they’d be) and are intended to be humorous. Before the laughs start, a sweeping feeling of dread is cast over the audience as one member will soon be in need a 36-hour shower afterwards. They range from the well-known “banana” act, creative methods of drawing, and things that end up in places where they don’t belong. Sometimes the volunteer will be putting that thing in that unholy place. Sometimes the volunteer will be drawn on. If he/she is part of the banana act, that banana will be eaten.
The best approach to avoid being picked is seclusion. Nobody is interested in seeing the lonely, drunken pervert guilted into being a plaything (the acts are gross enough as is). We soon realized that clutching each other in fear and humiliation only made us more attractive fodder, and our salvation was in the family that would be right at home on a TLC reality show. They were paraded, stripped, squirted, and involved in ways that might shatter a few family bonds. Or strengthen them, but who knows. All we knew was that it was a train wreck from which our eyes couldn’t escape, and that we had a few prayers to say afterwards. If you really want to save yourself, sit separately from your friends and look creepy. It worked for a majority of the audience.
As for the actual boning, it’s 30% sad, 20% sexy, 10% educational, and a 40% giggle-inducing (especially when the Rammstein comes on to get everyone in the mood). Those percentages are somewhat skewed based on five hours spent in the coffee shop beforehand. Pregaming is highly recommended, so at least there’s an excuse for when the worst occurs.
The day after, I saw one of the roided-out male performers walking on the street near the Heineken Brewery. It was sort of like seeing your teacher outside of school.
*I’m not so sure volunteers get dragged