Editor's note: This feature contains full and/or partial nudity as well as adult language. For readers 18 and over, please. By browsing the pages in this feature, you are voluntarily choosing to do so, and we are not responsible for your actions. Finally, if this section offends you, tough shit! You shouldn't be reading this fuckin' magazine anyway! -DN
SEX. POWER. BUSINESS.
The 2006 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo
Sands Expo Center
Las Vegas, NV
Adult Video News has given this yearly flesh-fest the slogan “It’s Sexy. It’s Powerful. It’s Business.” And it is…Adult Entertainment does more business every year, gets more powerful every year, but sadly, ironically, gets less sexy every year.
I’ll have to explain that last part a bit later. Not to worry, it doesn’t mean that Adult Entertainment’s in danger of vanishing anytime soon. When AVN says “It’s Business”, they’re not kidding, it’s a $12 Billion industry now, and entering AVN 2006, it looks like everybody wants in.
Once again the Sands Convention Center at the Venetian Hotel/Casino is the place to be, and once again adult’s major players dominate the halls: Vivid Entertainment, Wicked Pictures, Adam and Eve and Club Jenna don’t have mere exhibit booths, they’ve made their own temples to the goddesses of their own making: Jenna Jameson, Stormy Daniels, Carmen Luvana, Tera Patrick, Jesse Jane and a dozen other well-known starlets are still in their catbird seats for now. However, as the industry continues to grow at a breakneck pace, newer companies like Digital Playground, DVSX, Red Light District and Pure Play Media are getting bigger all the time…and at least a dozen new companies have sprung into existence since last year. All it seems to take is having the ‘right’ girls, in the right contracts, at the right time. (If I had to place bets on the next ‘Miss Right’, I’d bet on Rita Faltoyano of RED LIGHT DISTRICT, Sammie Rhodes of ELEGANT ANGEL, Julia Bond of NEW SENSATIONS and Cody Milo of SPICE STUDIOS.)
This year’s convention hints that adult fare is edging ever closer to the American mainstream: Adam & Eve’s latest feature film PIRATES is as close to a ‘blockbuster’ as adult films might get, with a huge ensemble cast, exotic locations and big-budget effects. John “Buttman” Stagliano’s THE FASHIONISTAS has become one of Las Vegas’s hit stage shows. VCA Pictures’ JOANNA’S ANGELS features singles by well-known rockers Rancid and Death By Stereo. Cherry Boxxx Pictures has created ZUMA, the first 3-D Animated Science Fiction Adult Film. Various porn performers are branching out into other fields as well: Savanna Samson is launching her own brand of wine, Sogno Uno (Dream One), while Sydnee Steele and Jenna Jameson have published nonfiction sex guides.
Simultaneously, what’s keeping adult fare out of the American mainstream, are the merchants of ‘gonzo’ porn. For every one adult feature like PIRATES, there are at least twelve more with titles like DOUBLE VAG 2, SHOVE IT UP MY…3, FILTHY FIRST-TIMERS FOUR, and others. ‘Gonzo’ producers such as Jeff Steward of JM Productions’ AMERICAN BUKKAKE claim to be ‘pushing the envelope’ by offering rougher or unnatural sex acts with barely-legal age or amateur performers, but they might just be cutting corners by getting rid of writing, production values, name talent and everything else they can. Gonzo porn is cheap to produce, even by adult industry standards, but still fetches a profit. And as more and more producers want a piece of the easiest ‘pie’ to make, gonzo porn has become the bandwagon to jump on. It’s why AVN is “business”, as its slogan suggests, but is getting less sexier every year.
Thankfully, there’s more to AVN 2006 than just adult films and their purveyors. Any business remotely connected with sex has a chance to shine here. At least five different Viagara-like ‘Go All Night Like a Lumberjack’ potions are being hawked. The Long Love & Happiness Company of Taiwan is promoting their “Wings of Angel” Sex Aid Device, a simple but ingenious device for comfortably suspending a woman in place above a man. JJK Industries of Austin, Texas is offering “TongueJoy”, the world’s only oral vibrator. Christin Chen of California unveils the “Intimacy Chair” which improves sex positions for all concerned, especially the handicapped. Beyond marital aids, there are also blood-testing companies, legal firms, DVD duplication technologies, and more. Legendary XXX Champion Bill Margold is also there representing the Free Speech Coalition, defending your right to bare arms, legs, breasts and everything else.
Even though the Gonzo element is making AVN less sexy, it still is sexy, with scores of beautiful and nubile actresses as far as the eye can see. They’re all dressed and/or undressed to kill, while remaining friendly, patient and professional as they pose for photos and autograph their promotional flyers. This in itself shatters the eternal myth that porn still exploits or demeans women; it in fact exploits and demeans the swarming army of horndogs—err, male enthusiasts--that keep the money rolling in. Ironically, although studios (of which most are male-owned) make the lion’s share of the profits, women are the cash stars of the industry. They can make upwards of $4000 per day—or sometimes even per scene—whereas their male co-stars are lucky to make $500. Some companies such as DVSX don’t even list their male performer’s names, and at least one new film charged its male ‘stars’ a fee to be in the movie…practically a polar opposite from mainstream films which deify their male leads while continually second-billing their female leads.
While female adult stars can make a good deal of money during their careers—brief as they might be—there remains an unfair and unfortunate stigma attached to such careers, which tends to limit their options upon retiring. America might be the Land of the Free, but it still clings to an archaic, puritanical double standard that condemns women who dare to market their sexuality (while still using female beauty to hawk almost all of its products). The relentless growth of the adult industry is breaking down these barriers, albeit at a snail’s pace. For now, both sides of the moral/political fence will have to agree that Adult entertainment is here to stay…because as the slogan says: It’s sexy. It’s Powerful. It’s Business. (Special Thanks to David Necro and Andrew Mun for their assistance with this article.)