Oh, EXXXOTICA LA… It was so nice to meet you last weekend!! I had heard so much about you (all good things, of course), but I gotta tell you – you weren’t exactly what I’d expected. Let me explain…
In my assessment, there are three general types of trade shows: those that are intended for folks already working in a specific occupation or industry; those that are for fans, followers, and/or consumers of an occupation or industry; and those that are a hybrid of the two. “Fan shows,” as the second type is euphemistically referred, are a great way for companies to reach out to the public and for the public to interact with entities and individuals they may not otherwise have access to
The EXXXOTICA Expo is a “fan show” intended for followers and/or consumers of the adult entertainment industry. A wide array of adult-oriented companies exhibit their wares for interested parties to peruse, etc. EXXXOTICA shows are held in various locations around the US throughout the year; last weekend (8/26 -8/28), there was an EXXXOTICA Expo in Los Angeles, CA. (more on The EXXXOTICA Expo here)
I went. Here’s only some of what happened.
Every show starts out the same – get your badge and walk the floor. Nerd that I am, I was at the LA Convention Center right when the show opened on Friday afternoon. I immediately perused the show guide and figured out where everything/everyone was (I attribute this layout obsession to my love of maps). I then gave the entire floor a very thorough once over. I ran into some lovely folks, saw some amazing sites, and even got to meet two EPIC individuals that I’d only known virtually before.
It was all very awesome.
But, in the midst of all this awesome, I noticed something – the show was really empty… and by empty I mean that it didn’t seem like there were a lot of fans/consumers in attendance. But maybe it was just Friday night?
(pictured: the seminar schedule banner… another nerdy pleasure)
(pictured: pretty much the best, most snarky banner ever, especially given this whole “mystery buyer” thing)
(pictured: Wicked Pictures’ jessica drake gives a talk entitled “Fellatio 101”)
(pictured: Communications/Membership Director Joanne Cachapero and Performer/APHSS Advisory Board Member Danny Wylde at the FSC booth)
Saturday included many of the same activities as Friday, with one big addition – seminars!! I went to seminars on Saturday, including one entitled “The Industry Strikes Back: How Digital Content Producers Fight Piracy.” Organized and moderated by Takedown Piracy‘s Nate Glass, this seminar/talk addressed the issue of piracy from multiple angles. The diversity of the talk was due mostly to the awesome panel (note: the moderator definitely contributed his share of awesome), which included adult performer Tanya Tate, Private Media Group‘s Jason Tucker, attorney Marc Randazza, Evil Angel‘s Christian Mann.
The panel covered A LOT of topics, which included (but were not limited to):
– how piracy is impacting performers directly and the industry in general (content quality declines, work dries up, etc)
– the very complex issue of end-user prosecution: because I’m Little Ms. Media (haha jk), I was tweeting – @pvvtweet – during the panel. During this segment, I got an interesting comment from EP regarding end-user prosecution. Specifically, how suing customers was a bad idea. This really made me think…
Aside from the fact that people who steal aren’t “customers” (customers buy stuff), it’s interesting to think about the complex and problematic issues associated with end-user prosecution. Is a person who downloads one or two scenes for personal use the sort of dastardly asshole currently being sued? I didn’t get that impression. Bigger fish, those who download and re-upload time and again, are the ones currently being pursued for prosecution. But I also got the distinct impression that the time is coming for the casual porn thief.
– negligence and a lack of awareness of/concern about these issues from the industry and the general public: the best part about this segment? The whole “I left my network open… it was my neighbor who stole that!!” excuse. Riiiiight. If you get nothing else from this bebes, get this: password protect your internet connection!!
(pictured: Nate, Christian, Tanya, Jason, and Marc)
Other highlights from Saturday included The Hollywood Men (good lordy), “chicken tenders in wing sauce,” and
doing learning how to do the sprinkler with DEC (he already knew how to do it).
And even though it seemed busy at moments and was definitely bangin’ up Friday night, the show still felt very attendee-light on Saturday.
On Sunday I was tiiiiired. I wanted to go to the “Inside the Actor’s Studio XXX” panel, which was supposed to start at 1 pm. But when no one had showed up by 1:15, I decided to wander around… It was a good decision :)
Then, the “No Color Lines: Fighting Racism in Adult” panel began (promptly at 2, I might add). Led by performer/director Sean Michaels, the panel included veteran performer Inari Vachs and new performers Nikki Phoenix and Emma Ash. Julian St. Jox joined the panel about 15 minutes into the discussion. The whole thing was incredibly interesting.
The panelists made several assertions, of which the predominantly civilian audience was not previously aware: IR (interracial) scenes refer only to those scenes wherein black/African-American women and men performers are partnered with someone who isn’t black/African-American, white performers and performers of color have different rates (what they get paid) and white performers can charge more to do scenes with performers of color, women performers are advised to “save [their] IR” as a strategic tool, and that racial inequality was perceived as coming from within the industry itself (as opposed to coming from consumers or from the wider social world).
Panelists also asserted that racial inequality within the industry had been decreasing over the years, but there was still room for significant improvement. Each panelist seemed hopeful and passionate about what they perceived to be their duty to depict a version of racial equality on the blue screen.
Never in all my years of exploring the adult industry have I heard the issues of racism and racial inequality discussed so freely or publicly – it was awesome and bold and about damn time. The discussion was extremely raw/undeveloped and widely disconnected at points, but that totally didn’t matter. This panel was a significant step towards dialogue and change…
…and so many issues were raised!! I honestly thought my head was going to explode in response to the complexity and implications of some of it… but that’s for another piece (soon, soon). After all that, it was time to head home.
(pictured: Emma, Nikki, Sean, and Inari)
And besides, it was super empty in there.
Was it because EXXXOTICA is a relatively new show, or was it because of the economy? Was it because General Admission tickets cost $44, or was it because people think adult content is simply a gift from God that they shouldn’t have to pay for? Or was it because this is LA, and everyone is just kinda over it?
I honestly don’t know, but I definitely wasn’t the only one who felt it.
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