Exxxotica Miami was a laid back show this year with its third show since the pandemic. There was the same square footage of exhibitors, but the crowd only seemed intense on the first night with the ladies’ free entrance. There was no ridiculous lines at any particular booth. It seemed like the crowd gravitated more towards the stage and Dungeon areas with their entertainment than waiting to see their favourite stars.
The Loyalfans-sponsored main booth featured several popular performers over the years. One signer who stood out was Jenna Haze who made her return after a 5 years absence from Exxxotica. She said she was in between her studies given the summer and missed her fans. She plans to remain close to the industry in becoming a therapist.
Outside of the Loyalfans booth, there were new and local performers walking out and about the convention. Being out of touch with current porn, I did not recognise many of them to ask for photos. I was thrilled to see the best talker in porn, Anya Olsen, though after not seeing her for over 5 years also. She’s a bit laid back in person compared to on the screen.
After hours, I stayed clear of the official parties at the strip clubs and instead hung out by the pool with friends mostly from the Chaturbate booth even though the weather was hot and stormy. I was randomly handing out White Claws to people who asked knowing that it was still cheaper than buying booze at a strip club. One night I tried to drag Emma Sirus out to the pool, but all she wanted to do was sleep after a long day at the con.
I feel like a broken record but Exxxotica continues to break its attendance records at every location since the pandemic. This year, especially on Friday, attendees were shoulder to shoulder as they navigate between booth to booth. Exxxotica producers noted that attendance had increased by 70-80% based on ticket sales. It doesn’t help that the number of exhibitors have stayed the same which explains the huge crowds congregating at some of the same spots especially the stage.
The longest lines at the convention belonged to Violet Myers and a returning Adriana Chechik. The audience seemed to know more about Violet and Adriana from their Twitch activities than their porn, which is something that I am completely out of touch with. I waited over two hours in line for Adriana because I was concerned that she wouldn’t remember me; only for me to later remember that she liked Asians and can discern me from being an Alvin look-alike.
The spotlight performers were now sponsored by Loyalfans instead of Bad Dragon but you saw the usual popular performers. April O’Neil continued to raffle dinner dates with her fans while Vicki Chase had an array of cute wardrobe changes.
I mostly hung out at the Chaturbate booth because there was always something going on with all of their cam people. Chaturbate couples Eva Darling & Justin Case and Dani Bone & Steve Bone even hosted me with food and booze after-hours.
I hung out with Spencer Bradley for the first time in a convention setting. We had some hijinks while shopping at the sex shop booths. I thought she was smelling the vibrators when she was testing their vibrations against her nose and then did the same to my nose which had me recoiling back. Then later on, I was waiting in the lobby for her and our pizza only to learn she hadn’t put in the order for the pizza because well…
I also learned that Exxxotica was planning to have a cruise sometime in March 2024. It should be fun.
The X3 Expo and XBIZ Awards returned to the Hollywood Palladium in January directly following XBIZ LA, a conference targeting industry networking.
There were much more attendees this year compared to last year due to less concern about COVID/Omicron. Even though there was substantial rain that weekend, lines for the public wrapped around the Palladium block waiting for about an hour to enter at their opening times. Tickets were a bargain at $50 for two days, $25 if you had a coupon code. Even if the ticket prices had been higher, I don’t think that would have dampened attendance or enthusiasm for the show.
Inside, I did not observe any obvious prohibition on explicit pornography or nudity in the merchandise that the talent could sell like I did last year. Talent signed throughout the lower and upper bowl of the venue. The busiest lines I saw were for the Brazzers booth, specifically with a corded-off line for Angela White. It was just a really good expo overall.
Since these events were a week after AVN, the activities and busy crowd took both mental and physical tolls on me personally. I’m sure other mutual attendees would agree. Many talent that were advertised to sign did not attend, possibly due to exhaustion.
CeeLo Green was the closing musical performance. It was almost like a disjointed karaoke session in that CeeLo would rap over other tracks of other people’s songs. Are his concerts normally like this?
So I escaped with a friend. Thank you for being magical, Rose.
I was originally not supposed to stay in LA that Sunday. However, a pretty girl asked me to be her plus one for the XBIZ Awards. I also thought it would be better if I was behind the red carpet rather than wait in line with her for two hours to be on the red carpet. Because of the rain, they moved the red carpet indoors in a compact area so the walkers were bunched up with each other and so were the photographers and video crews. I did what I could, even with a non-cooperative photographer next to me.
The XBIZ Awards were clean, integrated, and mostly to the point. Hosts Joanna Angel and Small Hands moved the show along with levity. I agreed with many of the winners chosen, and there were no surprises even though I don’t know the XBIZ voting bloc well. The only flaw for the night was the somewhat uptight Palladium security given the mostly industry attendees. They were too aggressive kicking the audience out after the show into the pouring rain.
The AVN Adult Entertainment Expo returned to Las Vegas this month after a 3-year absence due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year, it was concurrent with the return of the Consumer Electronic Show, something that hadn’t happened since 2011. Because of crossover attendance, this was the busiest AEE that I remember but also the most expensive. Prices for rooms, food, and transit have jacked up since the three years.
The host Resorts World is huge, and I saw families with children walking around the facilities which did not happen when AEE was at the Hard Rock. Because of this, there was a more restrictive dress code that people were expected to adhere to when leaving the confines of the convention. Given the size and complexity of the show and the limited production staff, it was definitely a success. Sure, there were quirks that can be ironed out at future shows but that happens at every new venue.
Besides the adjoining Adult Novelty Expo, AEE featured three main halls. One focused on production companies and webcam platforms, one focused on the gay side of the industry, and the last was mainly talent agencies. At any given point of the day from opening to close, you could find new people to meet walking back and forth between the halls. With the production company booths, most talent had 4 hour signing shifts while the talent at the agencies booth and the AVN booth averaged around 2 hours.
Outside of the actual expo grounds, Vixen rented space in the Resorts World mall to host a pop-up store featuring their clothing line and contract stars. Riley Reid appeared for two days exhibiting her Eighteen Plus clothing line, and the overall line to get into the store lasted about 3 hours.
So weird thing happened to me. After the end of the expo with drink in hand, I was trying to find a ticket for IAFD spokeswoman, Alex Blake, to walk the red carpet for the AVN Awards. When the nice producer saw that I had a press badge for IAFD, he handed me a press badge to be behind the Awards red carpet. I was not prepared to shoot the Awards since I had not charged my camera and flashes after finishing the expo, and I was already 30 minutes late for the call time.
After sheepishly explaining to Alex what had happened and cancelling two shoots, I ran up to my room to throw on my suit, grabbed my camera and strobe, and came back down. The only space that was available was at the end of the carpet what was only half covered by a wall background. I shared my spot with two guys, Jay of Jay’s Playhouse and Bobby of Girlsincars or something similar to that, who were great guys as we coordinated our shots rather than compete with each other. I took about 3-4 shots per look and tried not to miss anyone, but several people skipped us since we were the end of the line and they just wanted to move on.
The carpet started at 5:30pm and kept going until 9pm with 750+ walkers. It does not need to be this grueling. They tried to limit the walkers to nominees, but the problem is that there are too many nominees! Most categories have around 10 nominations each (some with multiple performers), but the fan award categories can have 20-30 nominations with no overlap with the other categories. This Oprah approach builds interest but is too overwhelming on the red carpet. Perhaps the fan awards should be separated into another event.
As for the Awards themselves, they went pretty much as predicted. We were correct with several of our projections. I was pleased as fuck to see Kira Noir win Female Performer of the Year; not just because of its historic nature but that she is one of the nicest and best people in the industry. Congratulations.
Because of the expense and limited room blocks, it seemed like more talent stayed outside of Resorts World so you wouldn’t see them at night outside of the expo. I was reluctant to leave Resorts World out of laziness so I mostly stuck to the events that were hosted there.
I mostly hung out with my boys at IAFD and AdultDVDTalk along with IAFD spokeswoman Alex Blake. I would like to thank Mark Spiegler, Don Juan de Marko, Tim Von Swine, and East Coast Talent for their hospitality at several events into the late hour.
Thank you, Liz, Chanel, and Alex for making magic with me.
Last stop of the Exxxotica tour, this show at the Dulles Expo Center in Virginia was the smallest of the four this year. The energy was overall good, and I had a chance to test out a new ring flash setup for the first time. I had no idea what I was doing on the fly so some of the photos from the first two days were underexposed.
I enjoyed meeting old friends and making new ones. After blinding Kay Lovely in Jersey with yet another new light setup, I had a chance to gab with this statuesque beauty longer and tinker with both her lights and my flash. Meanwhile, the decorative booth at Emma Sirus caused some focus issues that wasn’t obvious until after I reviewed the photos. I also saw the return of Nikki Dial, who is an incredibly lovely woman to talk to. I almost didn’t recognise her since twenty years is a long time between seeing her.
The afterhours of the convention were a little more laid back this year. With the temperatures dropping below freezing, I just didn’t want to go very far beyond checking out a party that Chaturbate models Ivy Minxxx and Delilah Cass were hosting nearby. I ended up being the Behind The Scenes videographer for April O’Neil as she greeted random dogs during the weekend. I also got to see Alex Coal and Lilly Bell eat several times if you’re into that.
We get a short break with the holidays before reconvening for AVN and XBIZ in January.