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.
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.
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.