EXOTIC DANCER Magazine Turns 20;
—Two Decades Covering the Adult Nightclub Industry
EXOTIC DANCER Magazine—which started as an annual printed guide to gentlemen’s clubs across the nation and evolved into the adult nightclub industry’s premier national trade magazine and convention and tradeshow—is proud to announce that in 2011 the publication will celebrate its 20-Year Anniversary.
“ED was started pretty much in my garage back in 1992,” recalls founder and Publisher Don Waitt. At the time Waitt was publisher of a national concert industry trade magazine. “I got tired of traveling to cities to cover concerts and not being able to find the local stripclubs because there was no guide. Remember, there was no Internet back then,” says Waitt. “So I thought a city-by-city, state-by-state guide that listed stripclubs and gave insider details on each club would be a winner.”
Dubbed “EXOTIC DANCER,” the first guide to stripclubs across the country came out in 1992, and has continued to come out every year since then. Today, the guide is known as EXOTIC DANCER’s “Annual VIP Guide,” with more selective listings on the country’s best gentlemen’s clubs. That annual guide turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg.
“Gathering the club listing information back then put me in direct contact with adult club owners who I found were hungry for news and advice geared to their unique industry,” says Waitt, who answered that call in 1993 with the First Annual Gentlemen’s Club Owners Expo, a national convention and tradeshow for club owners and feature entertainers held in Las Vegas. The Expo has been held every year since then, and will mark its own 20-Year Anniversary next year.
“The club owners responded so well to the legal and marketing panels at the Expo that it made sense to do an industry trade magazine that could deliver that type of content more often than just once a year, so in the spring of 1996 we started EXOTIC DANCER Bulletin, a quarterly trade magazine for the industry,” says Waitt. In 2000, the ED Bulletin went to a bi-monthly format, and is now known as ED Club Bulletin.
In 1998, launched the Annual Adult Nightclubs & Exotic Dancer Awards at the annual Club Expo, honoring the industry’s top clubs and entertainers each year. And in 1999, ED gathered together some of the industry’s top leaders and together with them formed the national Association of Club Executives (ACE). Today the national ACE Board of Directors assists more than thirty statewide ACE chapters across the country.
“In hindsight I almost wish I had not called the company ‘EXOTIC DANCER,’” says Waitt, “because our publications and convention really ended up being more about the clubs and the men and women who run them. Don’t get me wrong, the dancers are without a doubt the single, most important component of our industry, but our focus has always been on the people who provide the stage upon which they dance.”
In April 2008, ED Publications—including its bimonthly magazine, annual guides, convention, and awards show—was purchased by Rick’s Cabaret International, the award-winning national club chain that is publicly traded on NASDAQ (trade symbol: RICK). Waitt stayed on as Publisher with a management contract that stretches through April 2014.
“Over the past two decades, we have seen a lot of changes in our industry,” says Waitt. “These aren’t the Charlie’s Angels big-hair days anymore; we’re in the Facebook world today, so it makes sense as we mark our 20-Year Anniversary that this year’s EXPO focuses on what the future holds for our industry.”
GENERATION NEXT, with a focus on the future of the adult nightclub industry in general and the next wave of club ownership and management in particular, will be the theme of the 19th Annual Gentlemen’s Club Owners EXPO this August 21-24, 2011 at the luxurious Mirage Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. For more details call (727) 726-3592 or log on to www.EDpublications.com
The July 2011 issue of ED Club Bulletin will include a “20-Year Retrospective” on the history and highlights of EXOTIC DANCER Magazine and the adult nightclub industry over that period.