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Erotic expo comes to Miami Beach

Miami- Black-on-white, white-on-Asian, plumper, smoker, older woman-younger man, vice-versa, but feet: Feet! said Ron Jeremy, the porn star. “Feet are always a big thing. Any director who’s smart, he’s going to throw in a little foot action.”

Ron sweated in the middle of a crowd of television cameras and fans in the Miami Beach Convention Center. He looked, with his clothes on, like the rest of us: an unhealthy, balding, paunchy, middle-age man enjoying the attention but sweating a lot. His agent handed him a paper towel to dry his head. ”A little more on the top, Ron,” the agent said, and Ron dabbed himself up there and sprinted on. The future of porn lies in cellphones, animatronic statues, holograms. ”Holograms!” said Ron. “Three-dimensional, in your living room!”

It was opening day for Exxxotica, said by organizers to be the largest adult entertainment event on the East Coast. Said, actually, to be one of the only events on the East Coast, because ”there’s a fear of letting a show like this in;” not so in Miami Beach, which they described as ”very liberal, progressive,” and sexy to begin with.

This from Ben Joie and Jay Handy, both 27 years old, first-time convention organizers and middle-school pals from northern Vermont. ”It runs the gamut of sexy stuff,” Ben said. ”We’ve called it all along a celebration of sexy,” Jay explained.

This means acres of lube, electrical devices, lingerie, leather straps, naked mannequins and a mechanical bull with a sign asking if you have what it takes to be the Nearly-Nude Mechanical Bull Riding Champion of Exxxotica.

It means hordes of milling strippers and an earnest woman running a booth covered by pictures of breasts; a breast cancer organization called Breast Awareness Benefits Everyone, it turned out. ”Without breasts we wouldn’t really have much of an industry,” Marcia Hrichison pointed out.

Mostly, though, a celebration of sexy means a lot of porn. A lot. Porn in the free gift bags, in the thousands of DVDs in categorized racks, on giant plasma screens and porn virtually but not actually present, thanks to broadband Internet.

And stars! Stars like Jenna Jameson and Tera Patrick in the flesh, standing on a dais with fans lined up 30-deep in front, waiting 15 minutes for a snapshot of themselves putting a chaste arm around the star’s waist.

Evan Seinfeld, Tera’s husband, lead singer of a band called Biohazard and a porn actor himself since he met Tera, was talking about watching his wife perform.

”I’m a rock star,” he said, by way of preface. “I’ve been around the world sleeping with strange women since I was a teenager. Sex, to me — it feels good to rub our parts together . . . I’m not going to say I’m impervious to jealousy. It’s the most agonizing, anxious feeling in the world, and at the same time it’s a turn-on.”

A passel of deeply tanned strippers approached, led by a man thick enough to be a bouncer. They were going to hand out fliers for Tera’s party that night.

”I brought nice girls,” said the thick man.

”They’re like girlfriend girls,” Evan said.

”I’m a party girl,” said one of the strippers.

Evan talked some more about the $30 million company he and his wife have grown, about the 8 million unique visitors his wife’s website received last month, about moving porn into the mainstream.

He introduced a big fan, a retired garbage man from Boca Raton named Vincent Campisi who travels to porn conventions around the country; in fact, he’d met Evan and Tera at a convention in Los Angeles last year, and she’d autographed a napkin for him.

”In the ’80s, it was better than this,” Vincent said. “There was more mystery to it.”

Vincent stood in line, waiting for a picture with Tera. He’d first seen her four years ago in one of the lesbian scenes from Reign of Tera, in his opinion one of the finest scenes ever shot.

”I’d never seen anyone as beautiful as her,” he said. “And she’s really friendly. A lot of ’em ain’t. Your mainstream movie stars, you can’t get close. Even Jenna Jameson, she’s got all the bodyguards around her now.”

Vincent had clearly thought a lot about porn. ”My take? Loneliness,” he said. “In a way, that’s it. Without loneliness, I don’t think there would be porn. So you have a fantasy, and the fantasy comes alive — the box covers come alive. That’s why the conventions are so big.”

Then Vincent got on the dais for his picture. Tera towered over him. The breasts upon which a corporate empire is being built were level with his head. She did not know his name and she would see hundreds more men that afternoon, but she smiled and touched his arm.


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