Stuart Wall, vice president of Smash Pictures, pulls aside a purple striped curtain to reveal a large room filled with the metal supports, carpeting, boxed materials and wood that were supposed to have been Smash’s Expo booth.
“This represents $50,000,” Wall said, surveying the pile. “The sound guy, David Peace, set up our booth for us.”
People from several companies that had hired Chris Blocker’s design company, Art Dog Displays, to create and construct their Expo booths were up till the wee hours frantically trying to put their booths together, some with scraps of what they’d paid for scavenged from storage facilities and Blocker’s home and garage, some, who hadn’t been able to find any remnants of their booths, with nothing at all. Some say that their booths were supposed to have been delivered on Monday but weren’t. Others didn’t find out that Blocker was having trouble delivering until Wednesday.
“Pieces of our booth were scattered throughout Las Vegas,” said New Sensations/Digital Sin CEO Scott Taylor. “This is the worst experience I’ve ever had with any booth company in my [20-year] history in the business.”
Blocker also reportedly failed to produce booths that had been ordered by several other companies, including Zero Tolerance, TeraVision, Extreme 2.0, Adam & Eve, Doc Johnson, Mile High Productions/Digital Doghouse and Leisure Time. Blocker was also contracted for the design of Club Jenna’s booth, the only one that he appears to have completed and delivered.
“He was full of excuses and unkept promises,” Taylor told AVN.com.
“[Blocker] says he was broken into; who knows what to believe?” Wall said.
Tom Byron of Extreme 2.0 sister company, Evolution Erotica, was much less reserved in his judgment of Blocker, however.
“Blocker does heroin and is a fucking scumbag,” he announced. “We went over there, and we were going to beat the shit out of him if we didn’t get [our stuff]…I don’t think he’ll show his face here ever again.”
Even those companies that received the materials for their booths were often shit out of luck. For one thing, some said that the contractors weren’t given any specs for putting anything together. And for another …
“A lot of us had our deliveries on time but there was stuff missing,” explained Jason Hoke, director of sales and marketing for Adam & Eve Pictures. “[We realized] we were missing our whole second floor. And at that point it was impossible to get in touch with him.”
Hoke said that the Adam & Eve booth was 80 percent done, and added, “I’m thankful that ours is as done as it is.”
Hoke, along with representatives from several other companies, said that Greg Alves from Zero Tolerance helped pick up and delivered their stuff from Blocker’s various points of storage.
“Chris was all ‘Woe is me,’ when we saw him,” said Travis Nestor of Zero Tolerance, who with Alves, drove around trying to collect bits and pieces of clients’ booths. “He said it was all the adult companies’ fault, that they needed to pay him and that he [had] delivered stuff on time.
“I feel bad he got robbed, if he did, [but] he didn’t seem to give a flying fuck about what happened,” Nestor said.
The one good thing to come out of the booth debacle, many said, is the community spirit and pulling together of the people of the screwed-over companies.
“It was kind of fun actually!” Nestor said. “I didn’t know the guys from Extreme or Adam & Eve before, but now we’re friends.”
Added Hoke: “So many companies were in the same boat in this disaster, it was great to see them all pulling together to help each other. The camaraderie was unbelievable.”
Rob Black leaned away from the table of guys he was talking to and yelled, “Hey, Irma! Talk to AVN about that piece of shit Chris Blocker!”
Evolution Erotica general manager, Irma Lee, sitting in a chair against a dull, gray wall shook her head as she looked around at the few scattered chairs and tables amid boxes and big black duffel bags in the turf-floored Extreme booth.
“This was supposed to be an elaborate football field. We had a stadium theme,” she explained. “There were supposed to be touchdown arches, a big blimp with halogen lights and our logo, and it disappeared. I tracked it and it was delivered to [Blocker’s] home yesterday and he signed for it. But he says he has no idea where it is.”
Lee said that Blocker seemed disorganized and didn’t know where anything was: “The way things were arranged at his house was ridiculous.”
Lee also said that there were people sitting in Blocker’s yard, waiting to get paid, and that the police were there. Last year, however, she said that although Blocker had been a little late, he delivered what they’d ordered for the Extreme booth as promised.
“I think he did 14 booths last year and had a pretty good reputation,” she said.
As to what went wrong this time around, some speculate that Blocker bit off more than he could chew and was overwhelmed with the number of contracts he’d made with his high-profile adult clients. One source pointed out that this was Blocker’s first year as a freelance designer and that the respected work he’d previously done was for another design firm.
Blocker did not answer when called for comment, and his voice mail box was full. Rumors swirled among his angry clients about whether Blocker was indeed robbed, as he told them, whether he has a substance abuse problem, whether child protective services and police were at his home Wednesday when several of his clients were there to collect their stuff. Stuart Walls of Smash Pictures said that his company’s lawyer, David Adelman, is looking into legal action against Blocker.
Others said they think that might be hopeless, however. Jason Hoke echoed the sentiments of many involved that when he spoke to Blocker, the beleaguered contractor sounded out of it.
“He was not sober at all,” he said, and added. “There’s no point in suing Chris, that’s for sure. No one’s going to get any money out of that guy.”