Robin Leach writes at www.thelasvegassun.com – If the adult-film industry moves to Las Vegas seeking refuge from newly enacted regulations in L.A., then, indirectly, we’ll have Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian to thank.
“Those two stars and their celebrity sex tapes have had more to do with making porn more acceptable than any others,” L.A. Direct Models owner Derek Hay told me during the 2013 Adult Entertainment Expo and Adult Video News Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel. “They made it much more OK to be in porn these days.
“We now have a whole legion of girls who are happy to do what they did on video, so much so we have more girls wanting to work than there are films to shoot,” he continued. “I’m guessing there’s safely 100 new girls a month coming to Hollywood to audition to be in XXX movies.
“I can only take one or two, though, a week. The business has consolidated and contracted,” the British talent agent added.
Derek brought more than 40 of the adult-entertainment industry’s stars here for the annual convention. He predicted that his newest client, 22-year-old Rikki Sixx, a genuine Barbie doll lookalike, will be next year’s big award-winning star.
The main conversation at this year’s gathering centered on Measure B passed in L.A. that requires on-camera performers to shoot their sex scenes wearing condoms. It’s prompted talk about relocating to more favorable Las Vegas.
Industry leader Steve Hirsch, head of Vivid Entertainment, told awards attendees at The Joint that the industry will fight it with lawyers. On the red carpet, stars such as Jessica Drake, Taylor Wayne and Jessica Jaymes talked with me about a possible move here.
Our thanks to Richard Corey for his YouTube videos. I also talked with Las Vegas porn star Teagan Presley and her husband, filmmaker Joshua [pictured], about the sex industry’s possible relocation and his promise to the mayor to make 24 Adam & Eve features a year here.
I’m no expert in this field, so I turned to colleague Richard Abowitz, who monitors the industry for The Daily Beast. He told me the current state of the business and what’s ahead for 2013: “The industry is still suffering horribly from the recession. And, even more horribly, from piracy. Very few producers are on the floor still compared to even a few years ago. Just four to five are left of what was once a couple dozen big-name studios at AEE.
“One of the big producers/directors left on the floor told me that he still does this out of enjoying the AEE but that he made his money in 2005. A totally different producer/director told me his daughter’s lemonade stand earned more than his last movie. That said, she must have sold a lot of lemonade, as his sales manager told me it pre-shipped $90,000 is sales.
“The one big exception is Girlfriends films, whose CEO tells me every year that their DVD sales are up, and a couple of independent distributors confirmed it. Girlfriends thinks the difference is that they have been hardcore aggressive against piracy using three companies to file suits and demand takedowns of copyright infringements from sites.
“But while the bad continues as DVDs die, the industry also seems to be finally adapting, if in tiny, scaled-down ways. A lot of the major porn companies and performers are moving into adult novelties and toy lines, which can’t be stolen off the web.
“A lot of the porn performers and even nonperformers (who would have once gone into porn) are using the web to move into cam shows. It is impossible to pirate the interactive quality between performer and viewer of a cam show. I spoke to a cam girl who has never done porn, but she earns $1,200 to $1,500 a week consistently and has been paying for her graduate school with it. … A performer who has built up a big name in porn can earn even more.”
It was the 15th anniversary of AEE with parties, products and prizes. The exotic novelties, toys and adult products in the three ballrooms of the Hard Rock were little different than the aisles of Toys R Us — except that this definitely isn’t for kids. There also was an upstairs lair set up as an interactive fetish area.
There were three days of seminars ranging from multimedia benefits to the newest money-making opportunities with technology changes. There was a boutique Adult Novelty Expo, which has already tied in with the large International Lingerie Show as an annual September convention.
The 30th anniversary AVN Awards at The Joint, co-hosted by the popular Jesse Jane and Asa Akira, who along with James Deen were two of the night’s big winners, capped the 96 hours of nothing but sex.
On the red carpet, I talked with “Gigolos” stud Nick Hawk, who has had body parts re-created for sale as novelty products. Vegas DeLuxe reported on several of the AVN parties hosted by, among others, Bree Olson and Jenna Jameson. Here’s the final wrap:
Veronica Avluv, Christy Mack, Brett Rossi, Yurizan Beltran and Kirsten Prince of 101 Modeling and their entourages partied at LAX in the Luxor. At Pure in Caesars Palace, it was the official Penthouse party with 2013 Pet of the Year Nicole Aniston, Nikki Benz and 2012 Pet of the Month Adrianna Luna.
Wicked Girls Alektra Blue, Jessica Drake, Kaylani Lei and Samantha Saint partied at Tao in The Venetian. Inari Vachs and Devon Michaels hosted “Porn Stars Takeover 2” at Crazy Horse III. Lupe Fuentes and The Ex-Girlfriends partied and performed at LAX in the Luxor.
Digital Playground’s AVN After-Party was at Vanity in the Hard Rock with Jesse Jane, Kayden Kross, Riley Steele, Stoya, Selena Rose, Brett Rossi, Emily Addison and Taylor Vixen. Also at Vanity, the Wicked Girls hosted their official party with Jessica Drake, Kaylani Lei, Stormy Daniels, Alektra Blue and Samantha Saint. All danced to the music of resident DJ Wellman.
With or without a move here, by this time next year all the porn princesses and producers said they’ll be back for the annual festival of flesh. Derek Hay summed up: “It’s the biggest week in our year. We love Las Vegas, and we wouldn’t miss this for the world.”