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.
After a four year absence, I returned to Chicago for an Exxxotica. I usually try to attend one Exxxotica a year, and my plan was originally to go to Dallas until Dallas decided to ban Exxxotica from its convention center and initiate a legal battle.
Not much has changed about the Chicago show other than new faces in the industry. Again the busiest day of the show was the first night when they allowed ladies to attend for free. With the Anime Midwest convention occurring concurrently, I thought it would be a great opportunity for cross-attendance, but that mostly happened on that first night after the anime convention hours ended. Women and men fit right in with their revealing cosplay uniforms.
The highlight of the convention was a wedding of an Exxxotica producer, Tita, officiated by Evan Stone. Tita rode in on a horse with a dildo for a unicorn horn.
I saw the return of multiple award winners and Hall of Famers, Hillary Scott and Briana Banks. There was a point in 2009 where I couldn’t recognise Hillary because of her hairstyle change back then, but there was no trouble this year with her familiar blonde wavy locks.
The absences included Skin Diamond and Kimmy Granger. Skin’s was notable since she was scheduled to perform a cabaret show on stage each day, and well Kimmy is Kimmy.
I followed respectively a day in the lives of Vicki Chase, Chloe Amour, and Christiana Cinn. I think the most fascinating thing about seeing behind the curtain are the different personalities and how they approach the mundane tasks that prepare them to meet their fans.
I didn’t bring my camera into the after-parties because they were not allowed in the VIP section. I had two choices, either to drink with the VIPs or not drink outside the VIP section, so the choice was easy.
Well it took more than a week to decompress and sort through the photos but here’s the obligatory report on my seventh Exxxotica, the first in New Jersey that I attended. It was by far the busiest one which surprised me considering the limited accessibility of the location. The New Jersey Convention Center & Expo is in an industrial park area with limited public transit and no retail within a mile radius. You pretty much have to have a car to attend and stay around unlike Exxxoticas Chicago and Florida. I guess having a city of nine million nearby plus the megalopolis known as the East Coast helps with the attendance.
Friday was busy with the ladies free promotion and so was Saturday. If you wanted to see the ladies without lines, then you go Sunday. I saw a lot of bright and perky friends which I attributed to the later start time of the show (1pm). They were happy to have their photos taken (with one exception), but if you wanted a photo with them then it cost you. I also noticed photobooths for the first time which were a cute novel idea.
Some thoughts & observations:
Arrangement Finders booth was the busiest booth with their placement in the front of the convention, an emcee, and a photobooth. I think the only requirement to take photos with the girls was to signup. Onyx Muse was a delight and presumed I didn’t need to sign up and I didn’t understand how backhanded this was until I found out later that it was site for sugar daddies and sugar babies. Heh. I didn’t catch her being naughty like Anime Nut did in Chicago but still heard her ordering the guys to, “pull my hair” & “grab my boobs” for their photos. Oh Onyx. Not only are you on the Reggie Cleveland porn roster with your name, you are also now a favourite of mine.
Belle Knox was the first person I saw. I found her shy and outwardly very young. I felt awkward and old asking her about school, and she seemed uncomfortable answering.
Stoya did not want many photos taken of her outside of the photobooth. At first I was puzzled since I had taken many over the years but I caught her blinking multiple times after each flash that I deduced the hundreds/thousands of strobes that go off a day hurt her eyes. Not only at the signings but when she goes out to dinner. One night, we were at the same restaurant and I noted that the wait staff was more busy asking her for photo ops instead of actually serving her and prefacing the request with, “I’m your biggest fan!”. She told me about a restaurant owner in Japan who met his wife at a Tomoyasu Hotei concert and decorated his restaurant with Hotei memorabilia from the last 20 or 30 years but never described himself as Hotei’s biggest fan. The moral I got then was to turn off the flash with Stoya and always squeal “I’m your biggest fan!” when I see her.
Mick Blue told me a story about how he once got cock blocked by a cow in the Alps. You have to hear it directly from him. I don’t remember how this conversation came about but I remember telling him about cow tipping as a kid, which he thought was a dumb idea.
I swear. It takes me longer and longer every year to report back from the AVN convention because I run out of things to write about since the smorgasbord of raunch becomes mundane. Of course the second I post the photos on Flickr, the usual questions pop up like identifying the girls. You know because the masses need a new face to jerk off to and ironically they need a name to do so. Maybe I should be only photographing people I know or that everyone knows so that I don’t have to worry about labeling the photos.
The third year at the Hard Rock, I think security and the attendees have gotten it down pat. I didn’t really have any issues wading through crowd going where I wanted to go, knowing by intuition which doors were entrances and exits even though they were unmarked. Security was fine with the occasional flashing from the girls as long as a crowd didn’t build. I was rewarded with random boobs, bush, vaginas, and bungholes whenever I indicated that I was familiar with a girl’s work, especially from the newbies.
Some random observations:
Riley Reid was easily the most popular girl at the convention. Her outfits, interactions with her fans, and the essays she would write for her signings led to some extremely long lines. Ron Jeremy was again the most popular guy.
I spent a couple of hours at a strip club with Lexi Belle, Veronica Rodriguez, Missy Martinez, and several other LA Direct girls. It wasn’t as much fun as it sounded. I’m just not a fan of the strip club environment with the sleazy patrons and their eager hustlers. Veronica and her personal crew eventually rescued me from the club.
I’m not sure why, but Jayden Lee ended up naked in my room. I’m not bragging. I was just in the “accept now, question later” mode.
I was Katie St. Ives‘s designated hand slapper. She was wearing barely any fabric. Of course, several attendees considered that an invitation to grope her while she tried to wade through the crowd. So my job was to grope her before anybody else could.
The Awards was easier to shoot this year. Numerous friends won. The crowd was not as drunk. Red carpet was organized. That whole week was just a well oiled machine.
I watched the Broncos-Patriots game briefly with Holly Michaels. She was wondering who I was rooting for. I was perplexed that she would care since she was a Cardinals fan but she did… I actually didn’t care about the two teams since I figured they were going to get their asses kicked anyway in the Super Bowl by the Niners or Hawks.
Went to the first Exxxotica Ft. Lauderdale after it had moved from nearby Miami. Did it as a spur of the moment thing only telling my closest colleagues of pending plans. Okay, twittering them is still somewhat public. As for the show, the weekend was overtaken by storms and the dreary weather probably tempered attendance. Yet I didn’t see much difference between attendance compared to when the show was in Miami.
I was delighted to see Remy Lecroix and she is the main reason for my spur of the moment decision to go.
Her booth, Bangbros, was easily the most popular of the convention. Ron Jeremy was the most popular porn star as people lined up to see him. He looked much frailer than in recent years but that is understandable considering his recent heart issues.
Meeting Farrah Abraham of MTV’s Teen Mom was somewhat surreal. When I asked to take her photo, she had to get her manager’s clearance since I was media. Except the manager was not around, so I only got random candid shots of her. Other girls signing around her commented she was standoffish towards them. I’ve never watched either of her MTV shows so I don’t know if that was just her normal personality or she was disgusted by her surroundings.
Met a new yet familiar webcam model named Bridgette who was one of the most beautiful girls at the show. At first I thought it was because she looked a cross between Jana Jordan and Franziska Facella, but later on I realised she was a popular glamour model that my friends have shot.