Yesterday the "The Everything to Do with Love Show" made its American debut in the city of Rosemont, Illinois. Just a short ride from the heart of Chicago seemed the obvious first place for the successful consumer trade show from Canada, there known as "The Everything to Do with Sex Show."
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On the first day, AVN.com spoke to the show founder, Zeev Landesberg, who together with his partners, Joel Levitt and Frank Scalisi are optimistic about bringing some love to the City that Works. Landesberg offered, "This is our first show outside of Canada. It is an overwhelming experience to come to the States and we've been open about five hours and things are tracking as they've always tracked. What we tend to go after are markets that are somewhat conservative.
Conservative markets such as Rosemont, where Landesberg changed the name to reflect the community standards of his host city. "Sex is still intimidating for some people. The city of Rosemont, which is where we're hosting this show, wouldn't have let us come here if we used branding with the word sex in it," Landesberg explained.
Things were moving slowly, as expected on the first day of a new show in a new town, but the list of exhibitors and the promise of adult movie celebrities like Gina Lynn, Ed Powers, Jodie Moore, Daisy, Devinn Lane, Angelica Sin, Stormy Daniels, Hannah Harper and, of course, Ron Jeremy drew plenty of attention from the first crowds.
Landesberg added, "We have a whole host of adult celebrities which are an incredible draw as well as some significant adult retail chains like Lovers Lane, Lovers Playground and AVN of course. The bulk of this show is built on our stage shows and our educational seminars."
Each day is jam packed with erotic fashion shows, seminars ranging from "How to talk to your kids about sex," presented by Planned Parenthood, to "How to strip for your partner," with hours ranging from opening days of eight and nine hours to the weekends where Saturday will feature a 13-hour extravaganza followed by a nine-hour closing day on Sunday where a drag show and Bungee Sexperience will close out the weekend.
This isn't your typical porn trade show, more a lifestyle event for those who are interested in sex and sexuality and Landesberg feels the The Rosemont Convention Center is the perfect place to host his event.
"We have about 65 exhibiting companies that have taken about 135 booths. We've got about 15,000 square feet of booth space and using about 98,000 gross square feet of exhibition space which compares favorably to our other markets. We've spread things out a little bit, built a much more grandiose stage. It's more theatrical this way."
After nearly five years in the trade show business in Canada in cities like Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg and now Chicago Landesberg and the many exhibitors are excited about bringing a little bit of love and sex to one of the biggest and best cities in America.
You can't argue that your $20 entry fee isn't well spent: there's plenty of entertainment, freebies, celebrities and great food and drink - something Landesberg, a former Vice-President of Marketing for Dun and Bradstreet, knows is important to discerning consumers.
This is no accident as Landesberg is quick to point out. "We do extensive exit polls, finding out what people think of our shows but to also find out what draws people to our events. In other markets, it's amazing how the statistics don't vary.
Landesberg rattles off a set of interesting stats. 55 percent of attendees to his shows are women. More than two-thirds of the attendees comes as couples – generally couples between 30 and 40-years olds. The statistic that is possibly the most important to exhibitors though is the buying power of attendees – they earn double what the national average is and own their own homes.
The most interesting statistic that Landesberg provides is that, "(T)hese are people that have never walked into an adult bookstore or novelty store in their entire lives. Because we host the show in a very mainstream venue, they feel more comfortable walking into our event."
Landesberg took great efforts to step away from the dimly lit stereotype that is associated with the adult industry.
"Even the way we brand ourselves, with the bright colors and logos, we tend to go against the grain of what people think commonly of the colors for something like this," Landesberg notes, going on to say, "We feature bright yellow carpets, bright red drapes, liven things up. Major players in the industry are also doing this.
"No more blacked out windows, beautiful signage now and these guys are right on par with the Victoria's Secrets of the world. These are top-notch marketers and retailers. The goal of the industry should be, 'Let's expand the minds of people.' We're trying to build that experience, build that idea and we're part of the baby boom generation and we're very comfortable with sex and we're trying to provide that kind of service to consumers."
Jodie Moore, Daisy, Van Styles and Ed Powers were the porn stars on view, signing for the retail chain Lovers Playground but the real show was how much the general public in Chicago seemed to enjoy meeting other adults who are open and comfortable with their sexuality.
Check in tomorrow for coverage of the crowds, exhibitors, shows and seminars in greater detail on AVN.com. The Everything To Do With Love Show continues until September 7.