LOS ANGELES — For weeks, Los Angelinos have been slowly primed for what is the largest adult consumer show in the United States: Erotica LA. From billboards to radio to “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien,” the three-day expo has been aggressively publicized and is expected to draw 40,000 attendees to the Los Angeles Convention Center this weekend. (photo gallery)
Friday night crowds got the 13th annual Erotica LA off to a promising start, immediately seeking out deals on DVDs, novelties, and apparel from a mix of vendors big and small, traditional and downright odd. In addition, many took interest in exhibitors offering unique services such as tattooing, vaginal rejuvenation, and … teeth whitening.
“I’m a little surprised,” said James Melendy, head of Black Market Entertainment. “The show is a little bit smaller and compact, but it seems to be crowded. You figure it would be down a little bit, but it’s not that far down. Seems like people got out of work or dinner and came out here. Fans are buying stuff and that‘s good cause we‘re in a recession.”
Surprise seemed to serve as a theme for the evening.
“My expectations are a little better than a few days ago,“ said Evil Angel’s Tricia Devereaux. “A lot of longtime fans have come in already and they’re buying our movies and our clothes. They’re coming to see Belladonna. Bobbi Starr showed up to sign for us too. That was a cool surprise.”
“The bottom line is: if you don’t show up, you never know,” said AVN award-winning director Brad Armstrong, who along with Jessica Drake and Kirsten Price was holding court over an elegantly designed Wicked Pictures booth, promoting his upcoming ode to haute couture fashion, House of Wicked.
“With shows like this, you have to go and see what happens,” said Armstrong. “Sometimes you go in thinking, ‘I don’t think it’s gonna be that great’ and, then all of sudden, it’s fantastic. Other times you got big expectations and it’s a bummer. You can only go into it hoping for the best and ready for the worse.”
Burning Angel proprietor Joanna Angel echoed Armstrong’s sentiment. This is the first time the tattooed entrepreneur has had her own booth at Erotica LA. She and partner, AVN Male Performer of the Year, James Deen are generating buzz for their fall feature L.A. Pink, a big-budget send-up of the TLC program “L.A. Ink,” starring Kat Von D.
“Before you do anything — before you spend money on anything — you’re always nervous,” noted Angel. “Even when the economy was better, you ask, ‘Am I gonna make my money back? Am I gonna be ok?’ You gotta think about the worse-case scenario. As long as you can stay above that, you’ll be happy.”
VOD company Clips4Sale launched in 2001 with a primary focus on fetish content, namely feet. The site now boasts over 100,000 downloadable clips. The Clips4Sale booth is spacious to say the least and hosts a stunning group of nearly-nude models. Spokesperson Abe told AVN that this was the company’s second year at Erotica LA and that he was optimistic, though remained concerned by the absence of certain companies.
“I’m expecting around I hope — 30,000 people to come to the show, so we’ll see,” he said. “ Every year, we draw a crowd. But, I see some of the majors are not here and I guess it reflects the industry; It’s an off year. But, we gotta stick together and make it work.”
CJ Wright represented at the Justin Slayer International booth with BBW model Kelly Shibari.
“This is my first time coming here. I like it,“ said Wright. “I like it more cause it’s more mellow. It’s still crowded, and the big vendors are here, but it’s more personal for the fans.“
Wright said that the majority of fans he’s met have been women and couples. “That’s a big plus,“ he added. “So, yeah, this is my first experience. It’s fun so far … the food court is a little expensive, but other than that; it’s all good.”
As cameras flashed, hundreds of gorgeous, scantly-clad porno babes adjusted their tops and made sure that their butt cheeks were hanging out just enough to ensure a longer line than the chick one booth over.
Red beans and rice didn’t miss Kelly Divine. The petite stunner’s ass begs to be rubbed like a genie lamp. She and Pinky were signing for Black Market. “I have DVDs, posters, mags, t-shirts … and I brought my butt too,” quipped Devine. “It’ll be here all weekend. It gets all the attention. I take all my pictures from the back. I’m just gonna send my ass in next time.”
But Divine isn’t just a pretty … face. She is a budding entrepreneur, the co-owner in a male enhancement pill manufacturing company. “It’s called Endurnz. It’s a male enhancement drug, but not like Viagra,” she explained. “It increases your desire to have sex and gives you the ability to have multiple orgasms. It’s all natural and herbal and you don’t need a prescription or anything.”
Meanwhile, Phoenix Marie worked the crowd into a frenzy at the LA Direct Models booth by rump-shaking her itty-bitty, purple, bikini-clad ass. Agency owner Derek Hay, however, didn’t seem to notice as he had more important things on his mind.
“I’m hoping that Orlando is going to kick some Laker ass. That’s what I’m hoping for this weekend,” Hay admitted. “I have a really big bet on it, which may have been a really big, stupid bet.”
When told that making such statements just a stone-throw away from the Staples Center could get his ass kicked back to Manchester, Hay replied, “Don’t worry about that. Listen, I grew up in North London — we’re football [translation: soccer] hooligans as you know. That’s something we can show you basketball fans about. It’s the only thing that can make basketball interesting, really. If there were a few fights in the stands, that would liven things up right away.”
On Saturday, LA Direct Models and Erotica LA will hold the Miss Erotica pageant. The winner will receive representation by LA Direct Models, a film shoot with Wicked Pictures, a still photography session with Suze Randall, PR representation by Rising Star, and a website created by Premium Cash.
On Sunday, Hay will lose his bet.
New exhibitor and production studio Bluebird Films thrilled attendees with some heavenly bodies of their own.
“So far, the show has started off really well. We had an enormous turnout for our angels, which were first introduced at AEE last year,” said representative Tiffany. “We’ve had a great turnout and are just looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”
In addition to free eye candy, Bluebird is also raffling off five iPod Nanos with Bluebird content and 25 “golden tickets,” good for membership site perks. The studio is also promoting its newly launched “Text-to-Win” mobile campaign, in which users can win a Bluebird VIP on-set tour.
Porn star hopefuls got to show off their stuff during novelty manufacturer Screaming O’s second annual “Ho-Down.” Contests included the “Screaming O-rgasm,” “Sexy Rodeo Riding,” and “The Blowjob.” AVN’s Michelle Maylene and starlet Nikki Benz hosted the festivities.
Seen causing a stir on the floor were Belladonna and Bobbi Starr swapping spit, Jules Jordan and Lexington Steele engaged in a pow-wow, retired anal-queen Tyla Wynn incognito, gonzo starlet Sophie Dee sporting 10-week-old, gigantic jugs, and has-been comedian and Bio-Dome star, Pauly Shore, claiming to be “just waiting for a friend to come out” when asked if he was attending Erotica LA.
Pictured above: Sunny Lane and Nikki Benz.