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Vegas Producer Back at Day Job: Porn

From vegasblog.latimes.com: Friday night I was set to have dinner with adult filmmaker and Vegas show producer John Stagliano at the Harley Davidson Cafe on the Strip. At first I thought of canceling even though I have not seen Stagliano in months. You see, the Rolling Stone magazine package on Vegas came out that same day (the cover story is on Jack Nicholson). In addition to consulting for the package, I wrote a small item on Stagliano and “The Fashionistas,” his production show at the Aladdin based on his most popular porn film.

I generally avoid people just after I publish something about them – until and unless they contact me. Sometimes my opinions and my understanding of things can, well, piss subjects off. After all, my loyalty is to the reader and that is not just a cliché if you are the subject of one of my stories. This can occasionally result in a chasm. Vegas impresario Jeff Beacher (who is profiled by Erik Hedegaard in the new Rolling Stone) once threatened to never talk to me again unless I took an item down from the Buffet about Paris Hilton. The item did not come down, and I was back in Beacher’s good graces the moment he had something else to promote.

Though Stagliano has never cut me off from access to him or his cast for interviews, he has retained an abiding irritation with me for once describing in a story the concept of doing a modern dance interpretation of an adult film presented on a Vegas stage as “staggeringly ridiculous.”

That was before the show opened. The fact, that I loved “Fashionistas” did not change that the phrase “staggeringly ridiculous” stuck in Stagliano’s head, and two years later he still mentions that I wrote it. I think it is my only writing he can quote from memory. But the Rolling Stone item was short and in a package called “The Essential Las Vegas” and so I figured Stagliano would overlook little things like the headline writer titling the item on Fashionistas “weirdest show” and my mentioning, yet again, that he has lost millions of dollars on “The Fashionistas.” It isn’t that people don’t go to the show, you see. A large part of the financial quagmire of the show is what makes it great. Stagliano has created a massive production with wild effects and a huge cast and put it all into a room that only seats 300. Sellouts might not even guarantee a profit and over the two years the show has been open, the losses have reached into the millions. Of course, as Stagliano always notes, he makes plenty at his day job. And, it has been the day job that Stagliano has been focused on these past months.

Stagliano was a little late for dinner at the Harley and was soon on the phone to L.A. with his wife talking shop. I should not have worried about the Rolling Stone item. He barely glanced at it. The reason I had not seen him is that Stagliano has been isolated in L.A. for months editing the footage for the sequel to “Fashionistas,” the porn movie. Unlike the original movie that was shot on film, Stagliano shot this one on HD but explained to me that he wasn’t thrilled with that approach, because it shows too many imperfections on the performers. The DVD comes out at the start of October (the deadline Stagliano needed to meet to be eligible for January’s AVN Awards, which take place in Vegas).

The original movie was epic in length, but “Fashionistas 2” might be some sort of record. Stagliano told me he has split the sequel into two parts. The first part comes out Oct. 1. Not that his fans will feel cheated: part one alone is almost four hours long. The stars of the original are back and Stagliano told me, “the first 30 minutes are the most aggressive and exciting sex I’ve ever filmed.”

I was surprised: Stagliano is always his harshest critic and very honest (that is why I know he has lost millions on the show). I expected him to trash his film and complain about everything that went wrong, but instead he was just very happy about the result. He is even excited to hear what his critics and fans think after it is released.

FYI: Some of the cast of the Vegas production show make a, um, nonperforming, cameo in the movie in a scene that was shot at Krave in the Aladdin.

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