After a ten year absence, I returned to Barcelona. The city and the women are still beautiful and the food and that DAMM beer are divine. Most important is the annual porn convention hosted there. The convention, formerly known as the Festival International de Cine Erotico de Barclona, is now run by different organizers under a different name, Salon Erotico de Barcelona (SEB), and in a different location from 10 years ago.
When people imagine what a porn convention would look like, SEB is probably the closest thing that you’re going to get. Maybe even more than they expected. You see porn stars having sex live on stage, in the audience, in the seating area, in the stairs, and in the bathroom. Hell you see frisky attendees engaging in the playtime beyond the normal perving that you expect out of these things. I think that is the biggest difference from ten years ago in that there is a lot more emphasis on stage sex than on dancing. The other big difference is that the gay booths and gay stages were integrated into the venue rather than being separated in another section.
My really rough understanding of Spanish played havoc on me when I was looking around for Amarna Miller. Little did I understand that she was the “portavoz” of SEB which meant she was the spokeswoman of the show. She was mostly away granting media appearances to promote the show but I did get to run into her. Still has friendly as ever, Amarna was mobbed by attendees when she was seen on the floor promoting a webcam company, Cam4.
Carolina Abril was easily the champion of the show. I met her in Berlin 4 years ago when she first started out and was the most accessible star on the floor. Not much has changed as she constantly engaged with the fans on behalf of actricesdelporno.com from opening to closing. She also performed a sex show every day at SEB. She also peed on me, err I mean water squirted on me and the crowd.
I didn’t see or remember any obvious American performers but I did manage to meet several English performers for the first time including Satine Spark and Stella Cox who are beautiful and friendly in person. I mean I knew they were attractive from the photos, but it is another thing to see the beauty in person. There were dozens of people coming up to Stella asking whether she would be performing on stage, interrupting our dinner and talk that I had to exasperatedly tell them that she was just visiting. Some kept following her around the entire show. Well I mean besides me.
Other performers that grabbed my attention were Spanish performers Zoe Doll (who reminded me of Amarna) and Zenda Sexy who humoured my broken Spanish.
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.
I dread doing a write-up after every convention; sometimes procrastinating until the next year comes up and realising that I forgot to from the gaps in our archive. This was my 14th AVN and I have been to at least 30 conventions overall. Anyone who actually attends these things can vouch the amount of fatigue that sets in after coming home. It’s not just physical but mental because your brain had been bombarded with stimuli. My colleagues and other porn people have noted in the past that I am not much of a talker after semi-patiently waiting in line, and our conversations are reduced to my nodding at them and some clicks. I do this because I have to catch up with a lot of people, and I don’t want to hold up the fan lines.
So getting that out of the way, here are the photos:
(Click on the photos to be brought to the Flickr Galleries)
The first person I saw and greeted upon arriving at the convention hotel was James Deen. I shook his hand and did not see him again until near the end of the AVN Awards when he flitted through with Chanel Preston. I did not observe whether he was treated as a pariah during the festivities but did overhear conversations of talent defending him and fans excited to meet him.
After years of improvement, the expo and awards show regressed this year with security and logistics. Perhaps the show hired a new security firm because they were more heavy handed this year and clueless about controlling the crowds. What was even funnier was watching security block the awards production staff from setting up the awards.
Webcam companies dominated the show in terms of square footage and sponsorship. Myfreecams girls were everywhere and the Chaturbate booth was huge. I didn’t meet many webcam models because they seemed more interested in their laptops and webcams than the crowds.
The best booth to hang out at was Colette/X-Art, especially in meeting Leah Gotti and Alex Grey. Second best was Jules Jordan’s booth featuring Riley Reid who for the fifth year in a row was the most popular girl at the convention. Bella Danger may have been the second most popular girl at the convention.
Mick Blue and Anikka Albrite were easily the most accessible couple, greeting fans far outside of the hospices of the convention.
The most inaccessible booth again was Wicked Pictures. Their directors and contract girls have always been great when you actually get to meet them, but their security and support staff are less than genial to deal with.
Aria Alexander, winner of the second season of DP Star, apologised for squinting due to cum in her eye while we were taking a selfie. Even though I heard her then, I did not process that in my head until reviewing the photo.
A lot of people surmised that the award winners knew ahead of time of their wins. You wouldn’t believe that after seeing Penny Pax react to her winning Best Actress with tears. I also saw the juxtaposition of reactions of Riley Reid and the other nominees for Female Performer of the Year to know that their emotions are authentic.
While we eagerly await for the nominations for the 2016 AVN Awards, I should republish some of the footage from this past year’s awards and expo. I mean republish liberally because I may have forgotten to publish some of the materials in the first place. That’s what happens when you have multiple outlets to juggle; not even counting the social media postings that everyone expects.
I wish everyone good luck… and I’ll see you on the floor and in the aisles.
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.