At first I thought I was going to do a traditional write-up of the latest Exxxotica Expo from Chicago last weekend with my comments on the layout, attendance, my notes and observations, and, of course, corresponding photos along with the links to the galleries on Flickr or Tumblr.
That gets boring, and my favourite parts about writing about these shows are the random observations that come to mind when I think about the time that I had. So I will just start rambling:
Chicago is one of my two favourite Exxxotica locations (other is Denver) because of its proximity to the airport and the hotel is usually right next to the convention center. This doesn’t mean much to the average local attendee, but it means a whole lot to someone who is carrying a bunch of equipment who has to pace several miles across a convention floor. The show is always busy with attendees over the years which leads to happy girls rather than ones sulking over their sales.
Even though the Chicago show is busy, you can spend a lot of time talking with the girls as opposed to an AVN because the laid back pace of the show allows you to do it. Which leads to some awkward interactions with many of the girls. I don’t do well with small talk and often cannot engage in a conversation about their work; if it’s a stranger, I have most likely not seen their work and if it’s a friend, it’s really weird to think about them in a sexual context much less talk about their work in a clinical manner. But, hey, I’m at a porn convention and people tend to talk about porn at such conventions so I should call this the porn convention paradox.
I’m always surprised at the friendships that arise over despite the brief awkward interactions over the years. I guess if they repeat enough times, the girls realise you’re just sincerely awkward and greet you with hugs and kisses, and unfortunately with Lexi Belle, unwanted ass grabbing and spankings; still better than being groped by Ron Jeremy though.
I do try to catch up with my friends in general but then get anxious about if I am keeping them from the next person in line as that is a potential customer. I also patiently wait in line at Exxxoticas not wanting to interrupt an ongoing conversation even despite my friend giving me all sorts of cues to interrupt and rescue them from a long talker. Heh. Sorry, Vicki Chase.
Which leads me to comment about the proliferation and dominance of webcam companies (MyFreeCams & Chaturbate) at the shows these days. Camgirls are often inexperienced in interacting with the attendees as opposed to the people in their camrooms. The crowds can be intimidating, and you may be disrupting some virtual conversation when you approach them. By patiently waiting on their conversations with their computers, my socially awkward ass may have creeped out a girl or two. I’ll call this the camgirl at a convention dilemma.
I had met a nice girl from MFC in Denver and was pleasantly surprised when she unexpectedly showed up in Chicago but she was only there to take pictures. She was the most beautiful girl at the show, but I didn’t tell her that because I gotz no GaMe, and it would sound like an insincere pickup line in a room full of beautiful women. In Denver, I had patiently waited for her at the risk of missing my flight home before I came to my senses and ran off. So I found her every day in Chicago, took a photo or two, and relieved the oncoming social anxiety by running away.
My favourite part about cons is relaxing with my friends after the show hours; whether it’s having dinner and drinks, a puff or two, staring at a spinning ceiling while listening to the lechers hit on my friends, or dancing the macarena with someone who is younger than the song.
Thank you, Stefanie, Catjira, and Monica, for being accommodating with me. You were my better half this weekend, Vicki. We made some beautiful photos, Haighlee. I’ll miss you too, Joseline.
Exxxotica came to the Denver area for the first time, and my memory of it is already hazy. Porn stars galore descended near the capital of Colorado with the perk of THC being legal at least statewise.
The best thing about Exxxoticas is how accessible the porn stars with their fans at least in terms of getting to meet them. Unlike AVN Expos where you have long lines and suffocating crowds, you can meet your favourite stars within a wait of about 1-10 minutes. The crowds were not overwhelming, and there was a fair representation of men and women.
The show was dominated by the two major webcam companies, MyFreeCams and Chaturbate. Their cam girls were not accessible to the fans as much given their focus on the webcams on their computers and relative inexperience in greeting their fans in person. However, I make it a point to meet them as several may be the porn stars of tomorrow.
The nightlife was more mellow with the best parties being in the middle of the host hotel or the rooms upstairs. Security was tight checking to making sure everyone that did belong at the hotel or had a ticket were let in.
Yes, there was a lot of weed. I didn’t have to find a dispensary to obtain any since people were freely offering and sharing.
Meeting pets of the girls are always fun although you wonder if it’s appropriate that they should be in high stimulus environments with blasting music and crowds.
Seeing Jenna Haze again was a nice blast from the past. She is planning to do a final dance tour as goodwill for her fans as she transitions into a new career. Given that she was the first porn star I met at my first porn convention, I recognised my own convention mortality.
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.
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.