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Kernes Blames Comps In Long Island Newspaper Porn Article

NY- [Long Island Business News] The Long Island sex industry has performance problems. Hobbled by free Internet pornography, tough community standards and a sluggish general economy, the prurient product sector is having a bad run.

Nationally, the sale and rental of adult films dipped by almost $500 million last year, although receipts still totaled more that $3.25 billion.

“It’s down everywhere,” said Mark Kernes, senior editor of the trade publication Adult Video News.

Kernes also blamed the adult film business, which has concentrated on cranking out lost-cost “compilations” rather than producing high-quality original features.

Adult stores stocked 927 million tapes and DVDs last year. That included almost 13,000 titles, two thirds of them compilations and with just 300 new titles coming out of Hollywood. The huge inventory forces store owners to cut prices, furthering the drop in revenue.

“There’s too much product chasing too few dollars,” Kernes said.

Russ, the owner of a Brookhaven-based adult emporium called Xpressions, has also seen sales and rentals decline, although he continues to tout the anonymity of a retail store over Internet or cable.

“Big Brother is watching and knows what you’re watching,” warned Russ, who declined to provide a surname.

If the number of film titles has grown, so too has the selection of books, toys and other goods available in the 10,000-square-foot Xpressions showroom, helping offset the drop in rental fees.

On a recent day, customers could browse such how-to books as “Bondage on a Budget,” or select from vibrators ranging in size from lipsticks to weapons of mass destruction.

A device called the Universal Sex Swing – “assembles in 10 minutes!” – was on sale for $249.95.

Couples and women now make up 50 percent of the business, Russ said, and the store reflects the mixed clientele. Outside, the store is landscaped to near-park perfection, including flower beds and a fountain with a cherub pouring water from a jug. The store is clean and brightly lighted.

“We’re friendly and we don’t want to alienate any group,” Russ said. “We want a place where people can be comfortable and have fun.

“Sex is part of life,” he added. “Everyone’s doing it, right?”

Brookhaven limited adult stores to light industrial zoning in the 1980s, and stores like Xpressions are few and far between, according to town spokesman Tom Burke.

Other towns have much more stringent rules. The Town of Hempstead, for example, bans public nudity – effectively eliminating topless dance clubs – and, since 1996, limits the marketing of “adult materials” to areas of 50 square feet or less. Adult products can only total 5 percent of total items sold, according to spokeswoman Susie Trenkle.

Rules aside, the adult entertainment industry on Long Island continues to attract the criminal element.

Investigators with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office said most of the Island’s adult clubs are run by old line Italian mobsters or biker gangs such as the Pagans. Most partner with Russian hoods in Brooklyn who supply the dancers.

“The girls in these places are mostly Eastern European or biker chicks,” one investigator said.

Five years ago, the owner of a Brentwood adult video store and topless club claimed members of the Luchese crime family put a pistol to his head, told him to turn over the business and never return.

The subsequent investigation bagged the alleged under boss of the Luchese organization, Joseph Caridi of East Northport, who was charged with “enterprise corruption.”

Caridi was eventually sentenced to 7-10 years in prison by a federal judge.

“Not much has changed,” the investigator said.

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