Porn News

X-rated Exodus to Vegas?

Las Vegas- Southern Nevada porn king Raymond Pistol, got at least two calls last week: What’s the scene like in Vegas? Is it easy to shoot movies there? How’s the talent pool? The calls were from porn producers inL.A., inquiring about making movies in Las Vegas. They wanted to skirt the adult movie industry’s self-imposed moratorium that went into effect last month after two adult performers tested positive April 12 for the virus that causes AIDS; another tested positive last week.

Pistol didn’t give them the time of day. “They wanted to get a situation report,” says Pistol, who owns Showgirl Video, Talk of the Town and the adult movie company Arrow Productions. “They wanted to know about the climate, the laws. I just said stay out of Las Vegas.”

While it’s not legally binding, Pistol supports the moratorium, which runs until June 8. “The two things holding [the moratorium] together are older companies like mine that can convince other people to stick with it, and the mainstream talent who are the backbone of the industry. When they don’t work, that pretty much keeps anyone from shooting anything other than the most amateurish of operations.”

And evidence suggests that lower-budget scene–scurrying around the self-imposed ban–is alive and well in both L.A. and Southern Nevada.

Vegas has always been L.A.’s little sister in many ways, and adult entertainment is one of them. In the wake of three performers in California coming up HIV positive, an industry work stoppage and whisperings about California mandating condom use in the production of adult movies, Vegas is surfacing once again on the porn radar. Some L.A. producers are looking to shoot in Vegas until the moratorium lifts June 8. Other Vegas-based porn creators balk at it outright.

Local adult movie producer Alan Foxx scoffs at the ban; this weekend, in fact, he shot a movie with porn actress Zoe Zane, who hails from San Jose. “The moratorium’s unnecessary, but it’s good for me. It drives business over here,” says Foxx, who says he’s produced more than 350 movies, including the popular Aged to Perfection series. It’s not that he’s being reckless; he thinks there are enough safeguards already. “You stand a greater chance of becoming infected with HIV at a local bar than you do shooting an adult movie. I’m very familiar with my performers and know they’re clean. HIV is not rampant in the industry.” (As a side note, his wife, famed “mature” adult actress Kitty Foxx, suffered a cerebral aneurism in late December and isn’t expected to work again.)

But what if things get tighter? An OSHA crackdown or California’s health department mandating condom use? One local video producer who wished to remain anonymous could see Vegas becoming a mini-mecca for low-key movie producers. “I believe some will head in this direction,” he says. “A lot of them come here and shoot part time anyway. There’s a talent pool here and it’s easy to fly people in.”

But shouldn’t they abide by the moratorium? “It’s probably a good idea, but I’m big on people being able to do what they want. People still have to make a living. If they do want to shoot in Vegas, I don’t think it would be a good idea to bring L.A. talent with them.”

Others say Vegas would remain a flaccid fry in the shadow of L.A. even if California did get condomania. Vegas never has and never will take off as a destination for shooting adult flicks because of its hostile legal climate, among other things. “I don’t believe people will be rushing to shoot in Vegas. That would be foolhardy,” says veteran adult movie actor, producer and activist Bill Margold, who’s known as the industry’s Norman Mailer–outspoken and outrageous. “Why would they go from one from of hell to another? We’ll weather this. We’ll go on with our lives and weather this.” Margold says New Mexico and Arizona are better destinations should an adult industry exodus occur. More likely, he says, a condom law, difficult to enforce anyway, would just lead to the industry going underground–back where it started.

What’s the big deal about condoms in adult vids, anyway? The common criticism is it’s a cold shower for the fantasy element of adult movies. But veteran porn actress Serenity–who today runs adult toy manufacturer Las Vegas Novelties–says everyone is needlessly inflating the condom issue. She points out that many major adult video companies have themselves mandated condom use since the adult industry’s last HIV scare in 1999.

“I’ve been condom my whole career except for one movie,” she says. “I was signed with Wicked pictures, which is all-condom. I think Vivid is all-condom. Most of the top major companies are all condom. I don’t think mandating condom use is going to change the nature of the industry, other than a few companies that are going to rebel and refuse. You might see them go underground and shoot in a different country.

“I think it would be very silly for talent not to use condoms,” Serenity adds. “[Not using condoms] is the same as having a stuntperson jump from a three-story building without any protective gear on. Right now, I don’t think there’s too little that can be done while still maintaining the integrity of the product. It’s not syphilis we’re talking about. It’s HIV.”



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