- Inside, Up Close and Personal
not exactly erotic, this sex industry worker caught our
attention with her contortionist act.
With the fan base now fully entrenched in the show,
screaming for free T-shirts, massing around porn stars, and scooping
up every giveaway they could, finding Phil was not easy. I stopped
for a foot massage. (They always have foot massagers at trade
shows because your feet get so tired walking on the cement floors.)
When I got up, I spotted Phil. A blonde woman was balancing her
gargantuan breasts on top of Phils head while another fan
snapped their photo.
"Nice one, Phil."
Phil and I looked around to see who was in attendance
at the show and found that about two thirds of the people were
fans, dressed normally. Of the industry people, the majority were
women, dressed revealingly. Several tags read "talent,"
meaning that these were stars and starlets who had sex on camera.
The talent consisted of big-breast queens; lithe giggling blondes;
corseted undie-less models; and the royalty of the adult scene,
stars whose names you may have heard, e.g. Jenna Jameson, Teri
Weigel, Ron Jeremy. There were some male stars, too, dressed in
cowboy chaps, leopard-print spandex and the like. Phil--in a sort
of daze like the one you get from crushed Ephedrine and whiskey
on ice--was only marginally dismayed that his lab coat raised
only a handful of eyebrows the whole afternoon.
Phil and I both recognized several people. Phil couldnt
remember names, but I was captivated at seeing Nina Hartley. We
actually followed her through the Venetian on the way to the show,
and I thought it was her but couldnt tell. Once we were
inside, it was clear that she was indeed, Nina Hartley, owner
of the finest hiney in adult show biz. Having seen her speak years
before in her (and my) native San Francisco, I was impressed by
her genuine intelligence and was forced to divorce my preconceptions
about porn stars all being dim in direct proportion to their prettiness.
I wanted to tell her I admired her sex-positive work, aiming at
the number one high of life--being noticed by a celebrity--but
I only managed to catch her eye for a second as she hurried past
me, flanked by an ever-present entourage.
As an aspect of the worlds oldest trade, pornography
has crystalized into very specific modes. The kind of sex that
sells is the athletic, aesthetic coupling of individuals without
emotional attachment. Buyers determine the trends, and purveyors
of porn stick closely to delivering what the viewers demand. Some
trends come and go, some are here for good.
attempts a scientific comparison, but realizes that hes
left his protractor in his other pants.
This year seemed to be another good year for slim,
huge-busted women well under 25. Anal seems to have popular ascendance
as do fast cars and spy-genre plots within porn scripts. Production
values, in many corners, seem to be going up. "The Money
Shot" is still very popular. In fact, the entire multi-billion
dollar porn business seems to revolve around good film captures
of the male orgasm. And is it any wonder? Orgasm is the 12th greatest
high of life! Love is only number 28.
The trade show became a swirl of over-stimulation.
A cadre of chicklets was screaming at the top of a two-story booth.
They wanted to throw T-shirts to the crowd, but first they wanted
the crowd to be whipped into a frenzy. I was too numb by then
to offer more than a spoken "woo-hoo," and I wasnt
the only one. The fans near me looked up, but remained more or
less silent. From her perch on high, one of the models judged
us harshly, "you suck," and kept her Ts to herself.
But really, who did she think she was fooling? The
show was about business. Business and gawkers. We knew they werent
going to "take it off." The talent, new and used, was
there to sell, to expand the companies that make their money.
When the veneer of a party atmosphere is that thin, its
hard even for cute women to keep a crowd of porno fans screaming.
By the Rules
Nudity was, strictly speaking, not allowed, though
there was certainly a good deal of leeway around the rule.
older bust queen does a video interview. Phil and I watched
her back into the camera tripod and knock it over.
Displayed video was carefully edited, and one manufacturer
of an interactive DVD had been forbidden to show his product because
it was too explicit for the trade shows rules. He had put
up an angry and grammatically horrendous hand-written sign to
explain his situation, and sat bitching about the unfairness to
all passers by.
"Its ridiculous," he said. "This
whole show is about sex, but we cant show sex?"
This paradox is central to the adult entertainment
industry. Its not really about sex, after all, but titillation.
The trade show itself had much more to do with business than with
sex. We saw makers of lubes, handi-wipes, DVD holders, bar-coding
systems, camera equipment, soaps, costumes, and Web designs. During
my privileged hour alone at the show, I overheard two normal-looking
men making a deal on bulk blank videotapes.
Phil didnt seem to mind that free-swinging breasts
had to have Bandaids over nipples and areolas at the very least.
If you were in the right place at the right time, you could see
much more. We watched a tiny-waisted model demonstrate a new kind
of rocking chair designed for "adult activity," and
as she got up we looked directly up her too-short skirt. We couldnt
help it. A guy behind us knew the score: he had his camera at
the ready just at the right moment. Now thats a fan.
Apart from the fans and the talent, the rest of the
people were less glamorous industry workers: guys manning booths,
distributors and materials dealers, and press folk like me. Most
of the booths were for video companies, large and small. The big
ones had stages for popular stars to sign autographs. The smaller
booths typically were hawking one or two new titles with the starring
starlet present to sign giveaways. Phil looked at a poster of
"School Sluts 6," while the starlet stood grinning in
person just next to it.
"Is that you?" said Phil.
"Yeah," she chirruped.
"School Sluts #6, starring you, huh?"
"You must be very proud," said Phil without
Not every booth was an enormous party trying to happen.
Between the glamorous booths showing 3D porno, hot sports cars,
and gussied up girls, there were also the video companies that
seem to fall in the "other" category. Besides the gay
video producers, there were also various fetish companies, specializing
in overweight people, spanking, peeing, amateur acting, and things
I dont want to talk about right now.
cutest magician Phil has ever seen conjures away the last
vestiges of "soft science." Phil feels like hes
walking around in a hazy red cloud.
Many products and services tangential to the industry
were also represented. About a dozen porn distributors were there,
selling videos and DVDs. Several adult-toy makers displayed their
extensive lines of prosthetics and paraphernalia. At least one
local strip club had set up a stage where dancers were doing the
clothed versions of their pole dances. They were there to lure
fans to the club itself that evening.
There were some advanced technologies there, too,
particularly a 3D imaging demo that Phil said was quite impressive
and worth the 20-minute wait. "Porn leads technology,"
stated Phil. "Thats Fleischmanns First Law of
Pornographic Technology. Many technological breakthroughs, especially
during the digital age, have gotten their starts with adult entertainment.
The Internet, DVDs and the return of Smell-O-Vision are but three
examples. And now, theres the 3D thing."
"Man, that was great," concluded the man
in the lab coat.
Videos of 2002
You cant judge a porn tape by its cover. They
all have sexy models, but that dont mean a thing once you
pop it into the VCR. The action could be tepid as a beached flounder.
However, you CAN judge a tape by the title, and these will be
the hottest tapes of 2002:
10. United Colors of Ass
9. Stinky Stained Panty Party
8. Sluts with Nuts
6. I Saw Mommy Eating Santa Claus
5. Crouching Tiger, Hide the Dragon
4. The Sopornos
3. Ally McFeel
2. A Peeing Trilogy
1. 9021 Ho