Many Americans visit Amsterdam for the debauchery. I visited Amsterdam as a sideshow performer. I was one of the founding members of the Jim Rose sideshow. Our story was well chronicled by our road manager Jan Gregor in his book Circus of the Scars. Since most performers only “perform” for a few hours in the evening, there is a huge amount of time available just to wander around and explore when one is in a new city. Lots of Americans go ga-ga over the cannabis in the Amsterdam coffee shops, but that was not my thing. I was also too chicken to even think about “visiting” a prostitute, and couldn’t get the STD issue out of my mind either. But I did enjoy simply browsing through the “red light” district, and I liked all the porn, too.
One fine summer afternoon in 1993, Jan Gregor, Tim “Zamora” Cridland, and I were walking thorough the red light district of Amsterdam. We notice explicit posters on walls offering a “Live Sex Act”. As we walk, well dressed men in doorways pitch us offers; “Live Sex Act 100 guilders”. While this made us curious, the price was too expensive. The Netherlands switched over to the Euro as its currency in 2002, and so I’m having trouble working out and remembering exactly how much they really wanted for the “Live Sex Act”. I seem to remember the first pitches we heard would have set us back about 50 dollars. We kept on walking. The talented talkers clearly could tell we were American, as they instinctively addressed us in English. More men in doorways made additional pitches. The prices were going down. Eventually one man’s pitch came down to what would be about 15 dollars in American money. We agreed. Now it got weird. The man took our money, and we assumed we would be admitted into the theater that was right behind him. Instead he started walking away, as if to lead us somewhere else. Now I felt like a “mark” and figured this guy was simply going to slip away with our money at the time of his choosing.
But circumstances favored us, and he led us to a theater where we were let in. The theater had its poster on display; a skinny black man copulating with a chubby white woman in at least a dozen poses straight out of the Kama Sutra. We went inside and sat down. The seats were really cramped, and I remember having to pull my legs almost to my chest to simply sit down. A few other men were seated inside the small theater, which held perhaps 100. We caught the end of a typical vintage porno movie projected onto the screen above the stage.
Now the show began. The chubby white woman pictured on the poster came on stage. She began to dance, while clothed. The music that accompanied her “show” was coming from two very small speakers mounted high on the wall. The music was vastly too loud and distorted, and was almost hurting my ears. The cramped seating, the excessive music, and the frumpy woman did not yet provoke an erotic response in me.
After a few songs and more dancing, she had stripped naked. She placed a small throw rug on the stage, and her partner came out. This was the skinny black man from the poster. At this point, the “free form” vibe of the previous strip show gave way to a tightly choreographed suck-n-fuck in time to the music. The couple indeed demonstrated all the various yoga-esque penetrations, as seen on the poster. When it was over, which took perhaps 2 minutes, I believe the guy still had an erection. The show was over.
Now as a debauched “war story” of a performer’s life on the road, this one’s not too bad. But as something actually arousing, I would have to place it significantly lower than trying to spank to a National Geographic magazine. The value of the experience is the story you get to tell your buddies back home, not any kind of enhanced arousal. But as a lure to get customers into a theater, it worked like a charm!