In the neon-backed glare of the Las Vegas morning on January 7, in a flourish of bleached hair and bouncy bobbling, adult star Bree Olson cut the ceremonial ribbon with a pair of oversized scissors, looking for all the world like a very bubbly fictional character and thereby opening up the festivities at the first AVN Adult Entertainment Expo of the new decade, unleashing thousands of fans and trade attendees, reporters and photographers, upon the always-ready hordes of horny professional sex performers: and WHACK! was there to bring all the action back to you, our dear and desperate readers.
Thursday being trade-only day, the 7th was a somewhat subdued time for the stars and their hangers-on to talk to the media, network, plan, and prepare for the fathomless sea of fans that would burst through the gates the next day, snapping photos, getting autographs, perusing new products, and standing around staring geekishly at every girl in sight.
And what a sight! With over 22,000 attendees and fourteen percent higher fan attendance than last year’s show, AEE this year was the place to be for porn. While the general opinion of AVN veterans seemed to be that the expo itself has gotten physically smaller recently (Raylene, WHACK!’s favorite cumback star who was at her first expo in eight years, commented that “It seems smaller”), what little ground there was, was literally covered with fans.
For those of us there as raunchy reporters with schedules to keep and a vested interest in seeing the action, it was difficult to move through the crowds of fanboi creeps, strippers and scantily clad girls handing out cards and samples, and packs of performers prowling the grounds as we tried to get to our next interview on time—but get there we did! WHACK! was lucky enough to get interviews with some of the industry’s hottest stars, all of which will be posted here at WHACK! Magazine over the next few weeks.
The expo itself, held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center attached to the Venetian hotel and casino, was laid out in standard fashion, with giant booths sponsored by the biggest porn studios filling up the first few rows of exhibitor booths: Evil Angel, Hustler, Vivid, Wicked, Jules Jordan, Adam and Eve, Elegant Angel, and Digital Playground to name a few. Lines stretched out at every angle, sometimes around the corner, as attendees waited patiently for a moment with their favorite stars, all of whom seemed to be there.
As the adult entertainment industry’s largest and most glamorous event of the year, everybody who’s anybody (who’s not stuck sick at home like WHACK!’s friend Jenna Presley, poor thing!) in the smut empire was there, from big-time directors, producers, and publishers like Larry Flynt (gold wheelchair and all!) to Jules Jordan, to the hottest honeys in the skin biz. Just off the top of my head: Tera Patrick, Gina Lynn, Jenna Haze, Sasha Grey, Sunny Lane, Tori Black, Jessica Drake, Jesse Jane, Kaylani Lei, Lexi Love, Moxxie Maddron, Teagan Presley, Andy San Dimas, Asa Akira, Ron Jeremy, Dane Dearmond, Sean Michaels, Mr. Marcus, Evan Stone, Erik Everhard… The list could go on for a page, easily, but we’ll leave it to others to type it all up. The Mustang Ranch, the country’s oldest operating brothel, even showcased real prostitutes. It was most definitely a salacious start to the decade ahead of us.
Anyway, along with the celebrities came an awful lot of celebrity lookalike, robotic, and standard sex dolls, ranging from the “cute” ones at Ruby 13, to a Wicked Doll that looked something like an alien crossed with Jessica Drake, to the Roxxxy True Companion, the world’s first sex robot, which was unveiled on Saturday and may have created one of the biggest buzzes of the whole weekend. Apparently the blow-up doll is a thing of the past—bring on the fembots! (WHACK! has already talked enough about them in depth, though, thankyouverymuch.)
Also on display for the woman-replacing segment of the crowd was a huge display for the Fleshlight, the vagina-mimicking device that’s been a top-seller in the male masturbation market. Fleshlights are diversifying as we speak; there are now all kinds of customizations and even the porn star–modeled vajayjays, mouths, and anuses of many top-notch celebuwhores, from Riley Steele to Teagan Presley. One-upping the Fleshlight, however, in price and performance, was the RealTouch, debuting at the next booth over.
The RealTouch uses the same basic (although less anatomically-correct looking) model as the FleshLight, in that it’s a tube-ish piece of equipment you sink your junk into. But the similarities end there: where the FleshLight boasts a fake vag inside, the RealTouch offers adjustable tightness, interior ribbed belts that move to simulate different positions, warmth, and even automatic lubrication. It’s more than double the price of most FleshLights (at almost $200 a pop), but then, it’s got way more bells and whistles to get you to pop off.
Adding to the excitement were booths from several local strip clubs featuring scantily clad dancers, poles, fetish and kink demonstrations from Clips4Sale; Slick Chix oil wrestling, our favorite Sin City institution, the Déjà Vu stripper mobile, and a 7 foot bucking penis, just for starters. Add to that a plethora of oils, lubes, jizz-sweetening concoctions, dildos, butt-plugs, vibrators, asses aplenty, and bondage gear, and you’ve got almost a complete expo.
But not quite… What’s missing? Oh! Right! The fans! Oh, the fans! Harry Palmers, to a man. Sadly maladjusted crowds of men standing before us as solid proof of just why porn is so important: if it weren’t for smut helping to satisfy the otherwise un-sexed masses of weird guys with propensities for weapon collection and sci-fi shit, there would be chaos in our midst. We’ve got a whole lot of commentary on them in another segment: Viva Los Palmers. But before we spend hundreds of words and lots of screen space to degrading them in true WHACK! fashion, let’s take a moment to give these guys some accolades. Sure, their balding patterns and facial hair are mystifying, and yeah, their fashion sense is classic bargain bin K-Mart, but these men (and their attendant few women) are what makes the porn business work. According to a recently published study on AEE participants in 2009, a full fifty-five percent of them still use DVDs as their primary medium for jerking off.
That might not seem like too many, but think about how many of your fucked-up friends have told you they’d never pay for porn because they get it all for free online. The truth is, the porn industry needs guys like the ones who show up at AEE to keep itself going—free internet content is not going to pay for a seven foot bucking penis, but DVD sales are. Furthermore, the same guys who come in droves to see their favorite porn whores on display are not just nerds, but nerds with bank: fifty-nine percent of the guys polled had at least once college degree, and forty-two percent reported a family income of over $80,000. So, laugh as much as we please about the obvious desperation in these guys’ eyes, but shit, nobody at WHACK! is making that kind of money.
Anyway, thanks to the attendance of tens of thousands of rich, sweaty guys and the looming spectacle of the AVN red carpet at the Palms and the AVN awards show afterward, excitement was running high at the expo. Sasha Grey gave a keynote speech, which was weirdly held downstairs in a maze of labyrinthine conference rooms instead of on the main stage (doesn’t “keynote” denote “major”?). She spoke on the growing power of women in the adult industry, and urged the adult industry to stick together as the new decade starts. Fang Ling Lee, noted erotic artist, unveiled a portrait of fan favorite and multiple AVN-winner, Jenna Haze. Tera Patrick and Seymour Butts both signed copies of their respective books.
Evan Stone informed listeners at the AVN stage that in order to be a male porn star you have to be comfortable “possibly getting another man’s bodily fluids on you, having another man tell you where to put your cock, and having another man telling you when to cum,” then instructing those without the fortitude “how to eat a woman out so well you’ll be guaranteed anal.” Shit was intense. And in the midst of all the horny madness, lurking about in the shadiest of shadows with shirts, books, flyers, and proselytizing, were the Jesus freaks.
That’s right, The XXX Church was there, handing out booklets and hogging the porn performers’ time in the signing line. Some other organization I don’t even feel like looking up was handing out Bibles and other inspirational books. And our favorite always-handy whore-turned-haranguer Shelley Lubben was seemingly everywhere, harassing the performers and fans alike, all while hoping to get her picture taken and her fame back to where it was when she was fucking for her fortune.
Aaaaaanyway, Saturday night’s AVN awards were the culmination of the weekend’s fan feeding frenzy. The red carpets went smoothly, with only a few nip slips (purposeful and otherwise), one see-through dress, rabid fans and rock stars lining the carpet, and of course, our old pal Ms. Lubben blessing the porn stars from the sidelines—we’ve got full, WHACK!-y coverage!
The awards show was, as usual, full of surprises, with comedian Dave Attell hosting and no doubt euphoric over being surrounded by such huge lumps and hot ladies. Tori Black, one of the prettiest stars in the stratosphere, walked away from the show with an armful of trophies, one of them for Female Performer of the Year, as well as six other awards! We here at WHACK! knew that ass was incredible, but we didn’t know the industry agreed so whole-hard-on-ly. The 8th Day, a post-apocalypse feature from Adam & Eve, cleaned up with seven awards, as well, including Best Feature and Best All-Girl Threeway. Wicked’s 2040 took three awards.
Director Will Ryder went home with several awards for his many projects (including Not the Cosbys and Flight Attendants), Sasha Grey went home with a Best Oral award for Throat: A Cautionary Tale, and Kagney Linn Karter snagged Best New Starlet.
For those of us not up for big awards (Best Porn Periodical, anyone? Maybe next year?), the weekend was still packed full of insanity, booze, drugs, and sex… Well, maybe not so much sex, but at least its accoutrements. Check out all the WHACK!-y, wild bits of our jizz journalists’ exploits at Sins in the City! — Miss Lagsalot