by Dan

PART 1 - The Seven Highs of Life

Being press has privileges. I can get into exclusive places, like the time I got to enter the central computer room at Disney World. I saw the electronic switches that control every twitch and cackle of every animatronic being in the park. This excitement paled, though, compared to the back-stage pass I recently got into the fascinating, alluring, and somewhat scary world of porn.

The Adult Video Network trade show started as a small part of the Consumer Electronics Show, a huge convention that occupies several event centers in Las Vegas annually. A few years ago AVN split off into its own show, a much smaller affair that can easily be seen in one afternoon. Apparently, anybody who is or wants to be anybody in adult entertainment, shows up for this event. My brother, Phil, and I decided to check it out and see what there was to see.

Highs of Life

If you’ve read the Big Empire’s Best of the Millennium lists, then you know that the 19th biggest high of life is getting something valuable for free. That’s why my first thrill at AVN was walking into the press room, presenting my business card, and getting a show pass at the end of a lanyard at no cost. As a bonus, posters of bare-and-big-breasted starlets bespangled the press room, heralding what was to come. Then, I waltzed into the show an hour before the long line of fans (including Phil) paid their $25 each to get in.

It only took me about 45 minutes to walk the entire show floor, and that included a 15-minute break to eat the driest turkey sandwich I’ve ever eaten. (I put mayo on it, and the mayo turned to dust.) That left me 15 minutes to stand inside the fan entrance waiting for Phil to get in.

As I stood there, monitoring Phil by his pate, which bobbed up and down in line, I also watched two extremely thin and short women with disproportionately large breasts, big smiles, and short dresses posing for photos with the men who passed by. They wore no undies, and for some photos, they let their dresses ride up to reveal cute tushies. From deeper within the show, classical music blared as a highlight to some company’s breakthroughs in adult video entertainment. People milled about, but most of my attention was drawn to those in fetish-wear or states of undress. Some walked past; others leered from video screens nearby. In the distance, atop a two-story booth, I watched four blond starlets gearing up for the onslaught of fans. I was already on sensory overload.

Enter Dr. Phil

Phil has gone pimpin’ wild. A delectable trio insists on posing with "The Mad Doctor of Love."

At last the fan entrance opened, and the sparse population in the aisles of the show more than tripled. Now it was harder to move around, and I wished I had taken time to see more when it was just industry professionals.

Although Phil was wearing a white lab coat--he considered this visit to be research and wanted to be appropriately dressed--I lost him in the crowd somewhere between the entrance and the booth where I was standing, ten feet away. It wouldn’t be the first time. Scientific objectivity aside, my brother was like a kid in a candy store, and keeping up with him was a squirrelly proposition.

I stopped to pick up a sample tube of vanilla flavored lubricant, for example, and turned around to find Phil gone, behind a wall of people. Fortunately, he was usually close by, and in this case, he was at a booth where a black panty-less starlet was taking a snapshot with a young fan. Phil picked up a video sleeve of her newest feature and tucked it into a trade show swag bag. He’d fill two and a half of them before the day would end.

A Close Shave

Phil’s pace was painstakingly slow to me. Having spun through the whole show in a half-hour, I was stunned to find that he would cover a single aisle in that time. His thoroughness was impeccable, but as the afternoon grew long, my energy flagged, and I was suffering from oxygen deprivation, which should have been enjoyable seeing as that’s the number 2 high of life, according to Big Empire’s experts. I slumped at a table with a rum and coke. Phil was in there, somewhere, experiencing spiritual enlightenment, the 4th greatest high of life; so I went to enjoy the 9th: relieving my full bladder.

Afterwards, I considered that it should be further to the top than number 9; but then I was shocked to find that my press tag had fallen off the lanyard somewhere in the show and that I could not get back in. I knew Phil was doing fine and considered waiting outside in the relative quiet, but part of what was so entertaining about the show was Phil himself, so I hustled down to the press room, told them my sob story, and got another pass to the show. Yes! A second free entry in one day! Could I get much higher?

On to Part 2

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