Another busy Exxxotica for Chicago. This year the cam companies and their respective branding dominated the show over the traditional porn star. Not only do you see the MyFreeCams, Chaturbate, and Cam4 logos dominate the show floor, the Exxxotica hotties (their house dancers) are now sponsored by Cam4 which led to some confusion on whether I was interacting with a camgirl from the site or one of the paid dancers (it could be both, Jim).
Camgirls ran around the convention floor interacting with the vendors, fans, and being general fans themselves by meeting the traditional video performers. Security seemed more relaxed than in Denver, and I didn’t observe too much obnoxious behaviour by the attendees despite the crowds.
Jenna Haze and April O’Neil had the longest lines of the convention floor. Jenna sold out her merchandise early on the second day and decided on sightseeing the rest of the weekend. She has stated several times that this is her last year touring before she moves on to the next phase of her career. April had fans geeking over her because of her rare appearances outside of AVN and her genial social media accessibility.
With respect to after hours, this was the first time I remember Exxxotica hosting its parties away from the host hotel so I didn’t see too much rowdiness while escaping back to my room. The parties weren’t too far away, but my laziness defeated any desire to seek out trouble. The only major interaction I had outside the con was gabbing with Phoenix Marie over drinks at the airport lounge with her tales of the horny and famous. I was almost relieved that my life was so dull in comparison.
Wow, AVN week went by in a blur and some of that experience could be blamed on some health issues and that I tried to keep things as low key as possible after the convention hours. I don’t know how people can work a convention, go out and party the entire night, rinse, and wake up the next day to repeat the cycle three days ultimately culminating in the Awards. I mean I used to do this on an annual basis when I was in my 20s, but those days are long gone.
The AVN convention or AEE (Adult Entertainment Expo) was dominated in square footage by the cam companies most specifically by MyFreeCams (MFC), Chaturbate, and Cam4. You would see cam girls not only at their booths but in the crowds visiting their friends or allowing their cam room to view the convention by taking their laptops and webcams with them. In fact, beyond just camgirls, it seems like the dominant theme this year is on performers whether cam people or traditional porn stars producing their own content and releasing them through outlets like Clips4Sale or ManyVids and receive a percentage. With the glut of Internet piracy out there this is probably the wave of the future for performers to make money in that they have to diversify their income beyond getting a set rate for a scene.
As for the traditional production booths, Greg Lansky and the general Mindgeek booths had the busiest claustrophobic traffic while Jules Jordan and Evil Angel had their own share of busy lines. Riley Reid, Abella Danger, and Adriana Chechik drew the busiest lines. Evil Angel had the most organised booth and were handing out August Ames shirts which were worn by attendees throughout the convention courtesy of Kevin Moore.
I noticed that many active porn stars did not attend the convention, and it was hard to catch people who did attend but not signing at a booth. Popular camgirls were also hard to track down because they were more interested in their laptops or hanging out with their peers than interacting with the attendees.
I did not attend the Awards this year even though IAFD got to vote for the first time. I did not want to deal with the red carpet or the ensuing requests from people who attended the Awards. Maybe if I have the energy next year, I’ll attend the Awards as a spectator to support my friends. Congratulations to Angela White, who had the trifecta distinction of being inducted in the Hall of Fame, hosting the AVN Awards, and winning a record 14 awards including Female Performer of the Year.
So wow. This Jersey show was the first Exxxotica that reminded me of an AVN Adult Entertainment Expo with the crowds and lines to see the stars. Where the other locations, even while busy, allow you to have the time to talk to the performer, conversations will end up building a line behind you.
Riley Reid, who is notorious for spending quality time (5-10 minutes) with each attendee that sees her, matched her busy lines at AVNs and easily had the longest lines in the show running 15-20 deep. Abella Danger, Adriana Chechik, and Angela White also had eye-popping lines and waits. I was extremely lucky that Riley, Abella, and Angela each took the time to take a break from their respective lines for my camera that I tried not to keep them from their fans by taking only a couple of snaps.
My phone took a beating physically and electronically. Abella and Angela’s appreciatively tagging my photos during the convention had my phone buzzing constantly as their fans gave their worshipping feedback. My Instagram and Twitter followers increased by the hundreds while I fumbled trying to turn off push notification for both apps. Meanwhile unexpected displays of affection from girls like Lexi Belle, Gina Valentina, and others sent my phone a tumbling onto the floor. Damn, Gina!
With such strong demand for the traditional performers, the cam companies and their girls were almost an afterthought. Many camgirls seemed either intimidated by the crowds or annoyed at attendees distracting them from their cam rooms. I can understand why several withdrew deeper into their booths to devote to their camming, and I think they use the conventions to network with each other more than try to build their fan base. Exceptions to this were Hime Marie, who had shot with several companies, and Kawaii Serina, who I had previously met in Denver.
As for the parties, I refused to leave the host hotel and visited the on-site parties for a max of maybe an hour each. Long gone are the days of 36-hour Morbid. My nights were more focused on visiting with my friends in a more low-key manner aka the hotel bar and any real partying were in the hotel rooms upstairs.
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.