Not to Kick an Industry While It’s Down…

Why were Wall Street bigwigs kicking their heels up at a conference when the industry is in crisis?

You’d think Wall Street would have a bit more sense, given that legislation regarding its regulation — including that of derivatives, a potentially risky financial instrument which Wikipedia says “can be thought of as bets on the price of something” — is currently, if contentiously, working its way through Congress; but, according to this story in Friday’s New York Times, describing a recent International Swaps and Derivatives Association conference held in San Francisco, not so much:

By Thursday night [conference attendees] needed to put out of their minds the specter of sweeping legislation to regulate the derivatives.

They escaped to Supperclub, a bar and restaurant, where some plopped on the beds that covered the floor while a waiter in denim short shorts, suspenders and a scarf delivered drinks. The truly relaxed turned over on their tummies and received back massages from a dreadlocked member of the Supperclub staff.

By midnight, others ended up in the S & M chamber with a bed-to-ceiling stripper pole and videos of dominatrixes playing in the background.

Oy vey.

Notwithstanding the ongoing controversy within the financial industry and the federal government regarding the practice of derivatives trading, what do meeting planners think about the choice of venue for this conference’s evening event? What guidelines do you use to decide whether or not an off-site event is appropriate? Does it depend on the city — i.e., would what flies in San Francisco seem inappropriate in, say, Kansas City?

Hunter R. Slaton

Contributing Editor Hunter R. Slaton is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn.

  • Jeff

    Wow, this is so surreal! I can't even imagine being the meeting professional that put that event together…it's not like the group is in the alternative lifestyles category that some hotels and venues are used to accommodating. Or is it?

    Ok, ok, so the Supperclub is an international chain of performance art, life on the edge, almost anything goes type restaurants & clubs. Something one would expect to see in Vegas for adult entertainment. Seriously, though, using it for an offsite meeting for Wall Street types?

    Maybe we should start lumping these types of conferences together with a new heading? The Surrealists … living in their own imaginations out of touch with reality.

  • TWH

    Bizarre. Although when I read "International Swaps and Derivatives Association" my brain made a few dyslexic shifts and thought it said "Swaps & Deviants" in light of the topic so I had to re-read it.

    Funny, we were just talking at a lawyer's conference on Friday about another conference group that is into S&M. Strange theme to be running through my professional life.