AVN/AEE – America’s Sexual Fantasy Convention
It’s Day 1 of the 2015 AVN (Adult Video News) Adult Entertainment Expo at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas and I’m wandering the main floor looking at the booths, ogling the 100s of pretty girls in skimpy lingerie, skittering past this year’s dildo collection, collecting signed adult star photos, and avoiding the two religious booths manned by Christians here to save lost souls.
There are businesses hawking miracle lubricants, lingerie that would shock Frederick’s of Hollywood, leather freak goods (chaps to reins), unidentifiable sex toys and masturbation aids, online porn movie sites, x-rated dvds, adult webcam services, and a showroom where you can settle in for the day to watch male strippers and bondage demonstrations. There’s even an employment counselor here for people looking to break into the biz.
In the aisle a cute young girl in a schoolgirl outfit is riding on the back of some guy wearing a saddle contraption. I whip out my Android to snap a quick pic and thank God I’m fast on the draw because immediately after she is surrounded by fans with cameras, clicking at her like a school of horny piranha.
One of my favorite exhibits is the Black Tape Project, where artists are applying strips of black electrical tape to various parts of female anatomies, and doing a great job of it too. There are girls wandering all over the expo with artistic black tape zebra stripes, black maze patterns, black spider webs and other designs up and down their arms and legs and across strategic portions of their torsos.
And the Hong Kong Gentlemen’s Club from Tijuana was there passing out coupons for free hotel rooms in TJ. They had half a dozen dancers on hand to pose, twerk and do pole tricks—all irresistible bait for the amateur photographers.
But all of this is the tame stuff–they keep the kinkier booths on the second floor of the expo. There are booths here that specialize in torture equipment, including racks, whipping posts, and other evil-looking restraint devices. There’s a room here where fans can volunteer to be whipped or spanked. In the aisle I see a pretty girl wearing a muzzle and little else. She’s being walked on a leash by a leather-clad guy who’s carrying a whip.
The other highlight of the show is of course the chance to meet your favorite adult film star and maybe get your photo snapped with him or her or even attend a private party with them. I was lucky in that I had a tour guide for AVN this year, and probably the best tour guide a person could possibly have–Hew Burney, the official AVN staff photographer. Most of the photos that appear in this post were taken by Hew.
The AVN Awards
The AVN Awards are exactly like the Oscars, with stars on the red carpet, lots of thank-you speeches from people in categories nobody cares about, and musical interludes to wake people up between best cinematography and editing.
Another major difference is some additional categories.
My Interview with Christy Mack
In August 2014, adult film actress Christy Mack was injured in a severe beating she says she suffered at the hands of fellow porn star and MMA fighter, War Machine. She’s recovering from 18 broken bones, multiple knocked-out teeth, cracked ribs and a ruptured liver.
According to TMZ Sports, War Machine subsequently tried to hang himself in his jail cell. He was put on a 24-hour suicide watch.
TMZ further reports that War Machine smirked and laughed during Christy’s testimony at his arraignment in November in Clark County Municipal Court (Las Vegas), and said he would be pleading not guilty.
I met Christy Mack at a meet-and-greet for her fans at OG (a Vegas topless club) on Friday of AVN week, with part of the door going to a nonprofit for domestic violence victims. This was her first public appearance since her hospitalization.
Christy requested that OG allow no pictures to be taken by the media. However, she allowed each of her fans to take a single picture with her.
There was a long line of people waiting to get a pic with Christy. A club bouncer at the front of the line was instructing everyone to get their cameras turned on with the flash set, as he would be taking the pics and he wasn’t going to take more than one pic for each fan.
I got to the front of the line and gave the bouncer my Android ready to shoot. I saw that Christy’s trademark Mohawk was gone. Her head was completely shaved, but she looked beautiful–smiling, healthy, strong.
Me: Christy, I’m writing for the Topless Vegas website. Can I ask what your plans are for the coming year?
CM: I’m just going to take it one day at a time.
Me: How do you like Las Vegas?
CM: I love Las Vegas!
Me: Are you planning to perform again any time in the foreseeable future?
CM: I haven’t started making plans for my next touring schedule.
Bouncer: Let’s go, buddy. We’ve got a long line here.
A Tale of Two Porn Stars
Teagan Presley and the Art of Sex Commerce
On Friday of AVN Week, I saw porn star Teagan Presley perform at Hustler Club to a crowd of adoring fans. At the end of her set, she had three Fleshlights to give away.
A Fleshlight is a device that looks like a pregnant flashlight, and is a masturbation aid for men. You stick your dick into a sleeve at the opening of one end and jack off. There are no moving parts, no batteries required.
It’s soft inside and allegedly feels like having your dick inserted into a human orifice. To enhance the fantasy, Fleshlights come with openings shaped like mouths, vulvas and anuses. The inner sleeves are also purportedly designed to feel like the inside of a mouth, vagina, or butthole.
Some porn stars (called Fleshlight Girls) have allowed the company to make exact molds of their unique mouths, vulvas, and anuses so the Fleshlight user can imagine he’s having sex with this specific porn star while he’s masturbating.
Had anyone told me years ago that someday there would be a market for plastic buttholes, the sole purpose of which was for guys to stick their dicks into them to have sex, I would have said, “Not on this planet.” But, here we are.
And Teagan Presley is a Fleshlight Girl.
Fleshlights are not cheap. A Teagan Presley Fleshlight retails for $79.95, and if you want all three of her orifices, they’re $79.95 each.
Meanwhile, back at Hustler, Teagan finished her dance set and she picked up one of the three Fleshlights she had on stage and held it up, saying, “Who wants it?”
She didn’t announce whether the Fleshlight in question was her mouth, vagina or asshole, and I’m not sure anyone really cared, as a large portion of the crowd started waving their arms frantically to get her attention.
A young guy sitting on the rail stage front started throwing dollar bills onto the stage rapidly one at a time. That got Teagan’s attention.
“Do you want it?” she asked him.
He looked at her with an expression full of what can only be described as love and nodded his head, a fistful of bills still clutched in his hand.
“How much money do you have?” she asked him.
He reached into a pocket and pulled out his wallet, then opened it and extracted the contents. As he started counting his money, Teagan reached down and grabbed the entire stash of bills from his hand, then started counting the money herself, dropping the bills onto the stage.
But after a couple of seconds she tired of counting, whereupon she suddenly flung the rest of the uncounted wad up into the air and announced, “Twenty!”
The guy she’d taken the cash from stared at her expectantly, waiting to get his Fleshlight.
“This is an auction!” Teagan announced, paying no attention to the guy whose money she’d just splashed across the stage. “This guy bid twenty dollars! Who will bid more than twenty?”
The look on the guy’s face went from expectation to bafflement. Then, when no one else placed a bid, she tossed the Fleshlight out into the audience at random. By the time she’d given away the other two, ignoring the guy who’d given her the entire contents of his wallet (but giving one to the guy who was sitting right next to him!), the look on his face had changed from confusion to a mixture of embarrassment and anger. His face flushed visibly.
Now maybe Teagan Presley was a little bit hyped up for her show, and she was just not aware of the casual cruelty of her behavior. Or maybe she’s good and sick of her fans after dealing, I’d bet, with a sizable contingent of pervs and nitwits for one too many years. Or maybe it was a long overdue assertion of self, letting her audience know that, in the end, she really can’t be bought.
I have no idea exactly how much money Presley had taken from this man or how important that money was to him, but I do have a pretty good idea that that guy will never again watch any video that Teagan Presley appears in.
Bonnie Rotten and the Art of Sex Play
Bonnie Rotten appeared at Déjà vu Showgirls that same night (Friday of AVN week). The club was packed with her fans.
Bonnie had enlisted the club to put up special decorations and even dress up the staff in special make-up to create a kind of pixieland for her performance. When Bonnie appeared on stage, she was wearing a furry hat that looked like something out of Maurice Sendak. She came skipping out on stage like a character from the children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are.
The club was standing room only, and when Bonnie skipped onto the stage her fans went wild. She got down to a g-string in a minute, and then she danced her way through the club like a little girl playing.
She danced on all three stages. She danced her way through the tables. She sat on people’s laps, and she hugged and kissed both men and women.
She seemed to be exhilarated. She seemed filled with joy, and it was contagious.
Every face I saw was beaming. It was one of the most generous performances I’ve seen in my life.
See Bonnie Rotten Live at Deja Vu for a complete photo gallery of her show.
My Porn Heroes
Ed Powers and John Stagliano – the Art of Begging for Sex
In the 70s and 80s I knew who all the porn stars were—Linda Lovelace, Georgina Spelvin, Annie Sprinkle, Nina Hartley, Vanessa del Rio, Shauna Grant, Marilyn Chambers, Amber Lynn, Ginger Lynn, Mai Lin … In my mind’s eye I can picture them all and recall many scenes from their films.
The storylines in most of the early porn films ranged from hackneyed to painful to downright insulting to anyone with a shred of wit or intelligence. Then VCRs exploded onto the retail market in the mid-to-late 70s—I suspect precisely to enable porn fans to fast forward from sex scene to sex scene, without having to endure the “filler” we couldn’t escape from in the theaters.
By the end of the 80s, however, Ed Powers (“Bus Stop Tales”) and John Stagliano (“Buttman”) were developing the gonzo genre of porn, and I, like many other guys, no longer wasted time or money on the old movie-script style of porn.
I passed both Ed Powers and John Stagliano in the aisles at the AVN/Adult Entertainment Expo, and seeing them brought back a flood of memories from that time.
Gonzo films had one main plot line—guy tries to get girl. Ed Powers was always so polite, even humble, with the strangers he picked up at bus stops, sometimes pleading with them to just show him their tits. And Stagliano literally begged—whimpering like a puppy—for beautiful women to have mercy on him and allow him to view their bare bottoms.
I doubt there’s a guy in America who doesn’t identify with this type of emotion. Even famous movie stars probably went through something like this before they hit it big. These films made me laugh. They were touching, with frequent glimpses of real human emotion.
It was fascinating to watch Ed trying to convince girls to go just a little bit further. And you never knew when he’d get his way. Some girls did and some didn’t.
Some of the “strangers” Ed and John met in their films were obviously ringers. But even with the girls that you knew were setups, the dialogue seemed unscripted and believable. The girls didn’t know what questions Ed or John were going to ask, and their answers were often revealing of their real personalities and feelings about sex. And this made the sex itself so much more erotic when it occurred, even if it was planned in advance.
I almost never fast-forwarded when I watched Bus Stop Tales or Buttman. Unlike the much slicker scripted porn, there was no filler. Every scene was compelling. I’d find myself rooting for Ed and John to succeed.
At a lonely time of my life, the gonzo porn of Ed Powers and John Stagliano made me feel less lonely.
A lot of the later gonzo films weren’t so much about sex as they were about sexual athletics—gang bangs with dozens (sometimes hundreds) of guys on a single girl. Double penetration. Triple penetration. How many dicks can we fit into a girl at one time?
I’ve never cared for this trend in the adult film genre, but I understand it. It’s a male fantasy of unquenchable female lust that promises a release from male sexual loneliness.
[You may also be interested in our AVN Adult Entertainment Expo Diary 2016–Men of Porn and AVN AEE 2017 Diary – The Toys.]
Photo Gallery of 2015 AVN/Adult Entertainment Expo
Photos by Hew Burney
Click on Pics to Enlarge