- 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
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.
If youve read the Big
Empires Best of the Millennium lists, then you know
that the 19th biggest high of life is getting something valuable
for free. Thats 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
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 Ive 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 companys 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
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 wouldnt 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. Hed fill two and a half of them before the day would
Phils 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 thats the number 2 high of life,
according to Big Empires 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