The Inside Story from HustlaBall Berlin Founder Sascha Müller-Bardone


HustlaBall Berlin
YNOT EUROPE – HustlaBall saw its genesis in New York in 1998 as a gathering of hustlers who advertised on RentBoy.com. Since then, HustlaBall events have become some of the most anticipated gay circuit parties of the year.

HustlaBall Berlin is one of the largest and most successful. Sascha Müller-Bardone imported the format to Germany in 2003, adapting the concept to the European market. The event blossomed in Berlin’s open-minded atmosphere and soon attracted guests from around the world with its promise of erotic entertainment, sexual freedom, fun and mutual respect regardless of orientation.

“There is hardly any other activity so strongly breathing the spirit of free living and free loving, without dogmatic sexual discrimination, prejudice or shame,” Müller-Bardone said. “There are reason guests from the other end of the globe travel to Berlin every year to experience this party and feel the unique tune and sensational atmosphere.”

The 2011 HustlaBall Berlin takes place Oct. 20-24 at venues throughout the city. Müller-Bardone took a few moments to speak with YNOTeurope.com about the joy and the madness.

YNOT Europe: In 2003, you organized the first HustlaBall Berlin. Why?
Sascha Müller-Bardone: I was already doing sex parties and stumbled upon the HustlaBall concept that just seemed to be fun. Though I had not been to the HustlaBall [in New York City] before, I transferred the whole thing to Berlin and shaped it according to my ideas. In the States it was a business party for the national escort scene, and I transformed it into a showcase for international pornographers.

How did Berliners react?
With 1,000 guests, [the first HustlaBall Berlin] totally blew our expectations. I did not think it would be such a success. Nobody knew HustlaBall in Germany.

The first party was on a Thursday in the same weekend as the Venus Erotic Fair. HustlaBall has been growing ever since. From 2010, it has been the motor of a successful circuit weekend, which never seemed to work in Berlin, but now it does.

What do you think is the key to your success?
First of all, the variety. It is not possible to put HustlaBall Berlin into one singular category. The party has something of everything: sex, fetish, porn and clubbing which together form more than just another sex party and fetish or porn event. It is possible to dive into a warm world of its own where judgments are put aside, allowing you to be free, who you are — or to be what you would like to be.

Besides always inviting the best European DJs, there is of course the variety of well-known porn stars — from twinks and skater boys to black studs and muscle guys — who normally are accessible only on screen. Because HustlaBall Berlin is a party [hosted] by porn stars, escorts and body workers, they are not just doing shows on stage but are part of the party, enjoying the special Berlin feeling. They are there not only to be seen, but also touched.

Who attends the party?
Everybody you could think of. We have young guys from all over the world experiencing something like this for the first time and leather men with a bit more experience. All ages and all fetishes are represented in the horny crowd. Women are very welcome, though there are areas of the playful darkened kind where women are not allowed.

What are some of the things you remember most about past HustlaBalls?
A lot of the stars have their quirks, which is why I let somebody else deal with them, but when Jeff Stryker came in 2005 I picked him up at the airport myself. He is a heavy smoker, so we had to book the trip with two stops so he could leave the airplane to smoke, but when he arrived his hair looked amazing anyway. The minute he got undressed, it was impossible to get him back into his clothes.

For the first HustlaBall Berlin, Michael Lucas was snobbish, because he was the big star and I was nobody — he made that very clear. When he later came as a guest, though, he was sweet.

How has HustlaBall Berlin developed and changed over the years?
HustlaBall Berlin has moved from 1,000 to 4,000 tickets [sold], and the porn star concept we started in Germany has now been implemented in the original New York event. The difference, however, is that New York is 90 percent business and 10 percent fun, where Berlin is 90 percent fun and 10 percent business. Most performers come here because they feel like it; they stay after the show and it is possible to experience them in private.

Sounds like it takes a lot to organize the event every year.
The preparation for this event is pure stress and basically takes 10 months. The whole organization costs between 60,000 and 80,000 euros, the engagement of a U.S. star around 5,000 euros, and there are 140 people working on the event: doctors, paramedics, security, “condom workers” and of course our pool attendant. There is a pool in KitKatClub, and this year the pool will be warmer than last year. Somebody shut down the heat the night before [the party], so the water only reached 19 degrees Celsius and not a pleasant 26. That was obviously too cold.

What will you do when the party is over?
Besides relaxing a bit and thinking about next year’s party, I will do the Fickstuten Märkte in Hamburg, Mannheim and Berlin as well as the “Testosteron” seasonal sex parties coordinated by my company, SMB-Berlin Events GmbH.

I will continue with HustlaBall Berlin, because a lot is going on that is forbidden in other countries. If real sex happens in New York, [the organizers] immediately lose their license. Berlin, on the other hand, has always lived on sex and will always live on sex. What else can we do?

For more information about HustlaBall Berlin, visit HustlaBall.de.

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