Another year; another AVN. The show expanded this year with the host Hard Rock Hotel building a new hallway for the Adult Novelties Expo. This increase in layout helped with thinning the crowds as there was more surface area to breathe. The main themes this year are webcam and VR companies which are signs of where the industry thinks consumers are going, trends that are hard to pirate.
With webcams, the user gets to interact with a person in ways that cannot be done on video. Not only was this year’s expo sponsored by MyFreeCams (MFC) and Chaturbate; you saw hundreds of camgirls running about causing mini accidents as they try to navigate the crowd with a laptop in hand. Just the MFC booth that lines the first hallway you see is intimidating where you see girls more interested in talking to their computers than with the attendees. Same with the Chaturbate booth which took up a good chunk of a ballroom.
Various virtual reality companies demonstrated their wares from Hologirls VR, Reality Lovers, and Cam4VR. Ela Darling led me through a rather innocent Cam4VR demonstration where the VR girl twerked for me in a bedroom. I was more curious exploring the environment than in engaging the virtual girl to her liking.
As for the photos:
The best booth this year was Greg Lansky‘s Blacked/Tushy/Vixen booth which featured its own bar. They had the best group of girls, and Riley Reid had the longest lines again for the 6th year in the row. Greg was very accommodating to the press and gave us a lounge area to rest our feet. Even though there was plenty of alcohol available, I just helped myself to bottled water and the couches.
Second favourite booth was Jules Jordan Video which also had awesome girls and featured the second longest lines with Abella Danger. Abella worked so hard she didn’t have much of a voice every night I saw her out and about.
As for the awards, I was put on red carpet duty instead of behind the scenes this year. Actually the first red carpet that I’ve done since 2009 and my last. Rather than taking a photo at a measured pace of people that are happy to see you with a drink or two in hand, doing red carpet means you have to try to catch everyone; calling them out to you, and blinding the fuck out of them while competing with other photographers. I had the issue of the two other photographers in my section overdirecting and monopolozing the shots. Not my finest moment.
Since I didn’t enter the Awards to watch the show, I can’t comment on it. I did notice many performers that had walked the carpet skip the show; some because they weren’t nominated to others who weren’t allowed to smoke inside the venue.
I dread doing a write-up after every convention; sometimes procrastinating until the next year comes up and realising that I forgot to from the gaps in our archive. This was my 14th AVN and I have been to at least 30 conventions overall. Anyone who actually attends these things can vouch the amount of fatigue that sets in after coming home. It’s not just physical but mental because your brain had been bombarded with stimuli. My colleagues and other porn people have noted in the past that I am not much of a talker after semi-patiently waiting in line, and our conversations are reduced to my nodding at them and some clicks. I do this because I have to catch up with a lot of people, and I don’t want to hold up the fan lines.
So getting that out of the way, here are the photos:
(Click on the photos to be brought to the Flickr Galleries)
The first person I saw and greeted upon arriving at the convention hotel was James Deen. I shook his hand and did not see him again until near the end of the AVN Awards when he flitted through with Chanel Preston. I did not observe whether he was treated as a pariah during the festivities but did overhear conversations of talent defending him and fans excited to meet him.
After years of improvement, the expo and awards show regressed this year with security and logistics. Perhaps the show hired a new security firm because they were more heavy handed this year and clueless about controlling the crowds. What was even funnier was watching security block the awards production staff from setting up the awards.
Webcam companies dominated the show in terms of square footage and sponsorship. Myfreecams girls were everywhere and the Chaturbate booth was huge. I didn’t meet many webcam models because they seemed more interested in their laptops and webcams than the crowds.
The best booth to hang out at was Colette/X-Art, especially in meeting Leah Gotti and Alex Grey. Second best was Jules Jordan’s booth featuring Riley Reid who for the fifth year in a row was the most popular girl at the convention. Bella Danger may have been the second most popular girl at the convention.
Mick Blue and Anikka Albrite were easily the most accessible couple, greeting fans far outside of the hospices of the convention.
The most inaccessible booth again was Wicked Pictures. Their directors and contract girls have always been great when you actually get to meet them, but their security and support staff are less than genial to deal with.
Aria Alexander, winner of the second season of DP Star, apologised for squinting due to cum in her eye while we were taking a selfie. Even though I heard her then, I did not process that in my head until reviewing the photo.
A lot of people surmised that the award winners knew ahead of time of their wins. You wouldn’t believe that after seeing Penny Pax react to her winning Best Actress with tears. I also saw the juxtaposition of reactions of Riley Reid and the other nominees for Female Performer of the Year to know that their emotions are authentic.
Well, two days in, and there are some truths that are making themselves evident.
The talent rules. I am always amazed at the poise and grace that the talent exhibit when greeted with throngs of fans.
The Hard Rock Event staff go out of their way to make you feel like an asshole. They’re nice enough about it, but you still feel like an asshole. Let me explain. The main exhibit hall has doors around all the walls. They’re identical and unmarked. So when you go to leave the hall to visit another area, you invariably choose the wrong door, and you’re stopped by a guy in a Hard Rock jacket telling me I have to go down to the next door to exit. Conversely, I found myself going into the main hall via an exit door, and AFTER I AM IN THE HALL the guy stops me and says that I’m entering through the exit door. I look at him and he helpfully says, “Well, you’re already in, so you can keep going this time.” He wasn’t being hostile, but I still ended up feeling like an asshole being scolded by the hall monitor.
The traffic management is haphazard. Your goal is to manage foot traffic, and I get it, but when there’s no clear line or reason for what a line waaaay down the hall is, don’t be shocked when people congregate instead of getting in the line. The Digital Playgound booth is in the main hallway with the rest of the Manwin properties, and there’s a line waaaay down at the start of it. It is unclear what the line is for. There doesn’t seem to be anyone at the head of the line parceling out where people want to go (“Do we have anyone for Selena Rose?”) so when there’s no one standing in front of Selena Rose, a crowd gathers thinking, maybe, this is where the line should be. It ain’t. I didn’t stick around to find out how one was supposed to see Selena Rose. The lines inside the main convention center are just as bad… and in The Joint, there’s hardly any room for lines, so there’s just crowds.
The Joint is a HORRIBLE place to have a booth. The traffic flow is horrendous. There’s this giant railing that runs thru it that really crowds everything together. I’m sure it makes sense when it’s being used as a performance venue, but as a convention space, I found it really lacking. It felt as I was snaking around the place that I was constantly hitting myself up against the railing.
Given all of this, it’s still good to see everyone; so we’ve got that going for us.
(I started the day with a quick segment on YouPorn where I got a big unsolicited hug from Ginger Lynn and then I got to slap Christy Canyon‘s tit a few times, so my 16 year old self had a boner all day.)