After a 6 year absence and a diversion to nearby Fort Lauderdale, Exxxotica returned to Miami. The city proper this time near the airport rather than across the causeway in Miami Beach. The convention followed the tried and true formula of bringing in the ladies for free on Friday, Saturday being the busiest day in crowds, and winding down on Sunday.
The stage and dungeons were in separate rooms which reduced the noise volume quite a bit, and there were no other individual booths that I could remember blasting the speakers.
The Exxxotica Hotties did not feature a sponsorship this time, but MyFreeCams and Chaturbate again dominated the square footage along with the main porn star central sponsor, Bad Dragon.
Abella Danger had the longest lines during the convention followed by Adriana Chechik. Contributing to the line were the amount of time they would spend with each fan averaging around 5-10 minutes. There were a number of girls I met for the first time courtesy of East Coast Talent in its home city. Kenzie Reeves, who I had met before, delighted her lines with her spin the wheel games and physical flexibility.
As for the after-parties, Mr. Blue Lou Boyle and I spent our nights at the Pink Pony to support several of our friends dancing. It is always shocking to see the things happening at Florida all-nude clubs compared to the more conservative ones in Texas. We had tried to visit a regular nightclub party hosted by Jynx Maze and Jill Kassidy, but we forgot we didn’t fit the profile of guests that Miami clubs want to let in.
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.
Exxotica Denver was a laid back affair this year, partly fueled by the THC-heavy atmosphere. Denver is the smallest Exxxotica city in terms of space given the limits of its hotel convention center and also attendance given the relatively smaller surrounding population area. It is also an opportunity to spend time with your favourite porn star or interact with your favourite webcam performer who may become the porn stars of tomorrow.
For example, I gabbed every day with Jill Kassidy, AVN’s Best New Starlet, learning quite a bit about her background and career aspirations. She was humble, somewhat shy, and downright nice. It’s not that I had preconceptions about her before, but it’s always surprising to learn more about a person beyond what you see on screen.
Security has become much tighter in terms of protecting the exhibitors and enforcing a conduct code which was a very much noticeable change which may have been due to the fallouts of the allegations against Ron Jeremy and Exxxotica Dallas debacle.
Some of the enthusiasm around going to a venue with legal marijuana use among the industry people waned, probably since California had also legalised recreational use. The after-parties themselves were mellow affairs, and I think many treated them as pre-gaming to later partying in their hotel rooms.
Speaking of partying. Thanks and shout-out go to Don Juan DeMarko, who seems to do double duty as a critic writer and a publicist/marketer for whoever he meets and like, for introducing me to Ambriel Willow Sphinx and Anna Claire Clouds. I joked that we’ve run out of porn name combinations at one point, hence the need for three-part stage names.
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.