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Houston Don Reports on AEE; “Stoya was a Force of Nature”

Don Houston blogs on :

Well, the yearly show is over and like always, I have a major case of Vegas crud; the indescribable upper respiratory ailment that always knocks me out for a few weeks.

As other bloggers have pointed out, I took a lot of pictures (~1200 that have been whittled down to ~1000 usable shots) on the convention floor and during the Red Carpet that I’ll share with you as soon as the technical difficulties are worked out.

The highlights of the show for me, in chronological order, were:

1) The Digital Playground dinner where I not only got a chance to be molested by Stoya [pictured] but also discuss Operation Desert Stormy with Stormy Daniels herself, have an extended discussion with Robbie D., get grilled yet again by Roger the reviewer over things I simply did not say (as well as point out that obvious conflicts of interest do not make him a bad guy), and display to the company sales rep and the AVN Europe guy at my table how mild the “hot” sauce was to this Texan before eventually escorting lovely Stoya safely through the casino.

Meeting Erik Everhard and Jimmy Scaffnetti at the Circle Bar was classic too; both men showing a lot of talent at meeting women but also at discussing the finer points of their craft too.

Jimmy is definitely an “up and comer” as a director!

2) The first day of the show where I got the first hand scoop from Sam, Joone, and Robbie about the state of the art for high definition, the truth about Pirates II, a lot of pictures, and the inside news from other production people about their upcoming efforts in high definition (the most frequent quotes being “look at Warner” or words to that effect).

It was flattering to hear numerous production people appreciate the type of in-depth reviews we do here, some liking the pictures, the links to trailers, the discussion on technical matters that are so rare elsewhere, and the like. The press room was run efficiently by Sean and company again; all helpful and pleasant by the way.

3) The small get together by the Shane’s World/Hush Hush group; showing me how truly nice Casey Parker is, how sexy Delilah Strong can be, and how close knit the family of directors/production staff/and performers are there in contrast to the rest of the industry. It was a struggle to get out of bed to go but well worth the effort.

Casey Parker was great!

4) Meeting some of my pals from IAFD, XPT, and other websites. Besides discussing 2007 at length, we all laughed at the online exploits of some of the lamer people that have come and gone (Kurt L. & Mike S. being the two most laughed at). Xcritic is now partnering up with more websites and gaining the kind of notoriety for quality so as I predicted, expect more contests and industry bloggers signing on. A lot of gossip and behind the scenes discussions were had too but I’m not going to betray their trusts like others seem too willing to do. Tristan’s party was one of the few I attended and she, as well as the others there, were very intelligent.

5) Lunch with Gazzman and David West was frantic but fun. Gazz is the kind of director that exploits his mainstream technical experience to the fullest on par with the best in the industry and David’s porn star vacations are legendary (soon to be coming to DVD via Shane’s World that talked about them with very high regards). Expect to hear a lot more about these two and their projects on Xcritic in 2008. Speaking with AVN head Paul Fishbein about the awards as well as comparing the magazine versus online reviews was interesting too when I was in front of the AVN booth. I hope to talk more with him in the future as his perspective, as harshly portrayed as some of his critics as it is, seems to be more in line with what the industry needs than most people suggest.

No one was friendlier to fans than lovely Lexi!

6) The Red Carpet experience was also very cool thanks to some special arrangements and about 300 of the pictures I took came from this event alone. Most of the other photographers were congenial to me but there were a number of cautionary tales they told me too. I was invited to a bunch of parties this night too but the lack of sleep and illness racking my body prevented me from partaking (sorry to all those so gracious to invite me but getting everyone else sick didn’t seem like a nice thing to do).

My regrets were also legion as I missed a number of photographic opportunities, some of which looked good on my camera at the time and others I simply couldn’t wait around for.

I missed meeting Den to discuss matters of importance, some directors were reclusive, and even David Stanley (our blogger here) proved too busy for me to spend ample time with but there’s always next year. I wish I could have spent more time with Delilah Strong but those standards of hers kept getting in the way (we flirted a bunch though), encountered Brianna Love more, and convinced Annette Schwarz that we were meant to be together. When I feel better, more will come to me but Daniel, Nate, and my other new friends were almost inspirational too, at least when not trying to get me drunk and laid, but if even half the comments made by those I encountered were heartfelt; 2008 is going to be very much the year of Xcritic!


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