The Final Frontier

Urban Explorer Handbook 2006

click to enlarge BEAM ME UP: Anyone with the cash can adjourn to the spaceship for a little private time with the ladies. - PHIL BARDI
Phil Bardi
BEAM ME UP: Anyone with the cash can adjourn to the spaceship for a little private time with the ladies.

Where: Inside the 2001 Odyssey Spaceship, and backstage with the dancers, 2309 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa

Public access: The spaceship, high; backstage, very low. The ship is open to any customer interested in having a quiet (paid) conversation with one of the girls; backstage is strictly forbidden to everyone save the dancers, Ming the House Mom, the DJ and manager. With permission from management, a masseuse and hairstylist come in some nights as well.

Element of danger: Low. The ellipsoid-shaped Futuro house — designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen in the early 1970s — just looks like a spaceship, so the possibility of alien abduction is minimal. Backstage is only dangerous if you're a germaphobe or have a fear of beautiful, partially- and fully-nude women; otherwise, it's a glorious, glorious place.

Why we went: Anyone who's ever gawked at the spaceship from Dale Mabry has to have wondered what's inside. As far as finding out what's going on backstage, well, you have to admit that the voyeurism factor is off the charts.

What we discovered: The ship's interior is kinda like the inside of the Gravitron, only each booth in the circular room has a privacy curtain, and in the middle, instead of some dude hollering and playing annoying music, there's a "bar" area where the tending mistress serves bottled water and juice. (It's a fully nude establishment, which means no alcohol.) Compared to downstairs' pounding, strip-danceable beats, flashing lights and big screen television, the spaceship lounge is subdued, with soft music and lots of privacy. And no, you can't see out the round "windows."

Backstage, everything save the floor is painted black. There are two separate dressing areas, both with wall-to-wall mirrors and primping dancers. A snack and soda machine are positioned in

the front dressing area while in the back, Ming the House Mom (who sews up almost everything that the dancers put on and take off) has set up a rack of outfits, and is eager to show off her designs. Essentially, backstage is a break room, albeit a clothing-optional one — a haven where the dancers change, do any necessary grooming, gossip with other dancers about anything from life to lipstick, and even reassure the new gals. ("Don't worry," says three-year veteran Janine to a first-nighter. "This is the best place you could work.")

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