LOS ANGELES — The second day of Erotica LA 2008 got off to a flying start with no need for a warmup. Even before the official 11 a.m. opening, lines had formed of consumers — men, women and couples — eager to party like porn stars and shop till they drop.
Attendance the first night was said to be extremely high, and by early afternoon it seemed like the second day turnout would also set a record. Setting the party mood was a sonic carpet of technobeats from deejays at several booths, penetrated at intervals by amplified high-pitched shrieks from the Screaming O contest.
The show was receiving enormous media attention, according to publicist Sue Procko. On hand Friday night were TV crews from channels 2, 4, 5, 9, 11, 13 and Spanish-language 34.
Playboy Radio was installed at the head of the hall with color commentary and interviews by adult legend Christy Canyon and ebony diva Vanessa Blue, going out through the Sirius network.
The turnout of porn stars seemed to be even heavier than in previous years. At the Hot Movies booth a long line formed for Vivid Girl Briana Banks, who seemed to be having a great time meeting her camera-toting fans. Right next door her labelmate Sunny Leone was drawing her own crowd at a corner of the Teravision booth.
Stormy Daniels and Randy Spears, like a royal couple of porn, held court at the big Wicked Pictures booth, and the killer blonde tandem of Gina Lynn and Shyla Stylez were fan magnets at the Jules Jordan Video Pornitentiary.
At the spacious Rodney Moore booth, Franne, Moore's longtime Gal Friday, pronounced herself pleased with the show in general — it was the first time in two years they'd been on the floor. "The customers are happy and spending," she said, praising this year's floor layout, with wider aisles in the main section that seemed to allow more customer flow.
She was also happy with the Erotica Bucks program — $5 poker chips given to every customer to spend wherever and redeemed from the vendors for cash at the end of the day. Rodney, she was told, "had the most chips."
On the back end of her booth were girls promoting Moore's new website KissyFace.com with Amber Rayne already on hand. "We hand-pick the girls so they're fun and sexy and love to kiss," Franne said.
Alexis Texas and stunning newcomer Asa Akira were on hand early at the Vouyer Media booth. At nearby Sweetheart Video, Mile High Media's new all-girl label, glamorous writer-director Nica Noelle out-did many of the porn girls with her sexy poses, drawing crowds of excited fans. She also spoke eagerly of her new series, Lesbian Noir, set to debut soon.
Belladonna, in hot pants and a military cap, was the center of attention for Evil Angel. Karen Stagliano, wife of company founder John, promised later appearances by Gianna Michaels, Eva Angelina and Jandi Lin. Lin appears in about 10 different Evil Angel titles and Stagliano said she wasn't prepared for how stunningly beautiful she looked in person. "I couldn't stop looking at her," she gushed.
She also revealed that her director husband is putting the finishing touches on an all solo-girl video, the first such he's ever done. She said he's been "shooting more gonzo" lately but is still planning a new feature, to be shot in HD either late this year or in early 2009.
Industry legend Bill Margold, holding down the fort at his P.A.W. (Protecting Adult Welfare) booth, waxed enthusiastic about the video he and Amber Lynn are producing to help ailing director Henri Pachard. Titled We Are the World XXX, it has attracted an enormous number of stars, including legends like Bionca and Porsche Lynn, as well as such directors as Paul Thomas and Brad Armstrong for its five segments.
The Girlfriends Films booth was presided over by Autumn Moon, a beautiful blonde MILF who has starred in about 15 of the company's releases, most recently Lesbian Seductions 20 and Road Queen 6. She works only for Girlfriends and is one of their fans' favorites.
Signing for them was Faye Reagan, the lovely redhead who, as Faye Valentine, starred in Vouyer Media's Gauntlet 3, in which she had sex with 23 men. These days, she says, she works with only one man and does more girl-girl scenes. "I like girls a lot," she smiled.
Also on hand was industry veteran TJ DiReda, who talked about IT Models, the new agency he just launched with Travis Nestor. They have 15 girls on the roster.
Everyone agreed that girl-girl video is a growing niche and definitely the place to be right now. Reinforcing that contention was the fact that there were two more booths from all-girl companies: Abigail Films and Lezlove Video.
At Abigail owner Sherri Holloway played a preview of their upcoming release on the Pink Box label, Painful Lessons, directed by Oren Cohen, to be released June 19. She also distributes the movies of fetish queen Julie Simone.
Hanging out at the Lezlove booth was super-agent Mark Spiegler, surrounded by a sexy gaggle of his Spiegler Girls: Bobbi Starr, Adrianna Nicole, Dana DeArmond, Aiden Quinn and Roxy DeVille. He said he's about to unveil a new find, a brunette cutie named Mina Lee.
Lexington Steele, presiding over his Mercenary Pictures booth, said he was selling even more hats, t-shirts and male supplements than DVDs. "I like having a storefront opportunity," he grinned. He also said that, having just got his SAG card last week, he looks to be making more mainstream movie and TV appearances.
Male potency supplements seemed to be one of the hot new items this year. Porn studs Tommy Gunn and Jack Lawrence had duelling booths not far each each other: The former pitching Phallitrex vs. the latter with his own Money Shot.
The small vendor part of the hall was packed, as usual, with a dizzying variety of products. Just a sample: Fucker Clothing, Tattoo Tonic, Glowrotic (Pleasure in the Dark), PussyWhips.com, Phuk Gear, Creeps Selling Garbage, and Ride Your Favorite Porn Star, a collection of autographed skateboards.
Of unusual interest was Clitoraid, selling "Adopt a Clitoris" t-shirts. It's a charitable program to surgically "restore a sense of pleasure" to African victims of female circumcision.
The seminar room near the front of the hall was drawing heavier than usually crowds this year, sponsored by The Pleasure Chest. The night before a "Porn Star Q&A" panel featuring the likes of Tera Patrick, Sasha Grey and Stormy Daniels, packed every seat.
On Saturday at 1 p.m. another large crowd turned out to hear sex therapist Jamye Waxman, who's done several sex-ed releases for Adam & Eve, speak about "Uncovering the O: Female Orgasms and More." It was a brisk, precise presentation, illustrated with Kegel-muscle strengthening toys.
Waxman was scheduled to conduct another seminar on Sunday on "Fellatio: Sword Swallowing 101." This was the first Erotica LA for the sex guru, who lives in New York, and she was impressed. She called it a "mini-Vegas," referring to AVN's annual Adult Entertainment Expo.
She's right about that, except that this convention is strictly for the fans, who were packing the aisles in record numbers by mid-day.