AEE 2017: Cindy Starfall

by Rich Moreland, February 2017

This is the first post in a series of interviews with the clients of Star Factory recorded at the Adult Industry Expo in Las Vegas.

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Cindy Starfall is an atypical porn star.

Born in Saigon long after the end of the Vietnam War, Cindy was raised by a nanny. At fifteen, she emigrated to the States and finished her education at an all-girl Catholic school.

Her strict upbringing nurtured the desire for everything taboo. Entering porn in 2011 as a cam girl, Cindy shot her first hardcore scene in March 2012.

This petite honey loves everything from IR to gangbangs, has an online store, and feature dances, all pretty standard for a porn girl. So what part of her is not typical?

Cindy is a swinger and loves to talk about it.

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A Strange Topic

How did she get into swinging?

“It was way before porn,” Cindy begins. In college, she was doing web cam shows and a friend approached her about swinging.

“He was introducing me to the lifestyle,” she says. He asked Cindy about watching others have sex, especially in “wife swapping” situations.2017-01-19-04-59-29

Uncertain at first, her answer was no “because it was a very strange topic for me,” she remembers.

“But I went to a swinger club and it was awesome. People were so nice and I like the environment when it’s just purely sex with nothing involved.”

Cindy is still in the scene today and has expanded her swinger friendships.

Just Sex

Do people in the swinger clubs ever make her uncomfortable?

“Sometimes,” Cindy replies and mentions online swinger sites where her profile can be accessed by people in the community.

“They like to stalk me, but in a swinger club there is security everywhere to prevent that from happening.”

2017-01-19-04-59-37Cindy sets her parameters to prevent emotional overreach.

“I tell every couple that I play with that this is just sex, no relationships. In the swing community it is very important that you set that rule because of all the drama that is going on.”

What’s more, there are practicalities everyone observes.

“You tend to show up as couples. You sign up for memberships on a site and you get invited privately so it’s not open for the public. You don’t know where it [the club] is exactly and yes, couples get in for free.”

Singles are not excluded, however.

“Single guy is no problem. Single girls, we call them unicorns. I was a unicorn.”

The atmosphere is congenial.

“It’s definitely a club. People are not afraid to sit down and say, ‘Hi this is my wife, this is my husband,'” Cindy says. If couples like each other, “you can take it to another level. You can go upstairs [to the] playroom.”

2017-01-19-05-00-35Couples may already be there having sex, Cindy explains, but it’s not necessary to get involved with them.

“You can just play with whoever you come with.”

On other occasions, she has a different agenda.

“Sometimes I don’t play at the club. The club is where I meet people. If I like them then I go forward to setting up a date, I call it a date, but it’s not.”

In other words, not like we think of dating, Cindy clarifies.

“It’s just sex. I don’t go to dinner, to a movie. I don’t do that,” she insists, because Cindy wants the couples she plays with to stay together.

Limits

What about sexual limits like those on a porn set?

Limits can be set, Cindy says. Every couple is different. Some may not like kissing, others may want their spouses in separate rooms or insist they be in the same room, and some people have rules about no pictures.

Her personal rule?

“I’ll only do it with your wife there. I don’t want to break up that marriage.’

In fact, Cindy prefers a threesome where possible.

Photo courtesy of Cindy Starfall

Photo courtesy of Cindy Starfall

The Turn On of Being Watched

Has swinging had a positive effect on her porn performances?

“Yes. Being a swinger and moving into porn [was] not a scary thing for me,” Cindy says.

“It’s actually improved my porn performances because when I started swinging I realized I like the turn-on of being watched. I love being in front of people.”

So, does Cindy get nervous on porn set?

No, she says. When there’s group sex in the clubs with people watching and photos being snapped (Cindy has no objections to cameras being present), it’s “essentially is the same thing” as porn except with adult film she becomes an actress.

Photo courtesy of Cindy Starfall

Photo courtesy of Cindy Starfall

“People watch me through the camera and I feel very comfortable doing what I’m doing on camera.”

“I was not a confident girl until I started the swinger lifestyle. I was very shy. You read my profile. I grew up in a strict household,”  she says.

Cindy’ s parents never encouraged her to be accepting of her sexual self, she adds.

But things are different today.

“I’m more comfortable with my body now. I’m a way more confident girl than I was, let’s say, years before porn.”

Porn is Very Safe

For the most part, an adult film set promotes a protective environment. Does swinging do the same?

Cindy with Star Factory's Tanya Tate. Photo courtesy of Star Factory

Cindy with Star Factory’s Tanya Tate.
Photo courtesy of Star Factory

“Yes, [but] you have to take care of yourself, to watch out for yourself,” just like in porn, Cindy says.

“Porn is very safe on set,” she asserts, nothing like the “misconceptions” people have about partying and drugs.

“It’s very business-like. You come in, do your work, and you get paid. Everybody is very professional. Everybody always looks out for your interests. But the one who cares most about your interests is yourself. It’s common sense, you got to take care of yourself first.”

Cindy offers what is most important about porn.

“You have to be very comfortable with your own body. You can’t be insecure, you have to know how your body works.”

This leads Cindy Starfall to reveal a personal secret as we close out our talk.

“I’m a sexual person, but I always held it in. I never say it out loud and I was never okay with my body. I always compared myself with other girls, but now I know who I am and I own it. When I see gorgeous girls, I compliment them versus trying to compare myself to them.”

This leads to her final thought.

“Before I got in the business, I make a promise to myself that I’m not going to change who I am because of the industry. I’m still the same person. My swinger friends who have been with me before porn see that.  I’m still the same girl. Yes, I am way busier now but I’m still the same, so it doesn’t change me.”

Now that’s healthy indeed!

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AEE 2017: Emma Hix

by Rich Moreland, February 2017

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The Adult Entertainment Expo is a rush for everyone. When I stopped by Foxxx Modeling for a quick visit, I notice a striking blonde named Emma Hix. She’s tall and slim with delicate features and something I’ve rarely seen on a porn girl: a wedding ring.

Intrigued, I asked her if she could give me a few minutes of her time.

I returned the next day and we talked briefly amongst the fans ready to take my place when Emma’s attention was free.

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Rough Sex

Emma is nineteen, from LA, and married with a “very supportive” family behind her.

“I got into porn because I love expressing my sexuality,” she says.

Her first scene was in April of last year. So far, she’s stayed on the vanilla side. “I’ve done four anal scenes, and soon I hope to do my first IR scene.”

Photo courtesy of Foxxx Modeling

Photo courtesy of Foxxx Modeling

Emma wants to turn her career up a notch and shoot for Kink.com.

“I do like rough sex,” she says, but when it comes to bondage, Emma is more into being tied up as an expression of art.

“I don’t think of the rough side so much,” she admits. “With them that’s going to happen, so I have to be prepared.”

For a youngster in this business, Emma has a grasp on reality.

“You have to know what you are comfortable with and what you’re not comfortable with. It’ll be fine, but it’s a little nerve-wracking.”

Since this sweetie hasn’t done any features, I ask about her acting experience and found out she took some drama classes in high school.

“I was better at acting back then because I felt more open with myself. But now that I’m in the adult industry I feel more pressure to be good at acting,” Emma says.

“My acting skills have gone down. I’m not going to lie. I’m going to take a course because I do want to eventually go into mainstream. It’s really hard to do that after porn, but that’s the goal.”

Be Yourself

What is the most important piece of advice she would give new girls?img_0737-2

“Be yourself and don’t change for anyone because a lot of girls in this industry will change for other people to look good. I try to be myself, I try to be friendly to people.”

It’s worked for her, Emma says. People who knew her before porn tell her she hasn’t changed.

Finally, Emma has a warning for every eager starlet.

Watch Out

“Watch out for people who will take advantage of you. If you’re coming into the industry as a new girl, you will get taken advantage of.”

It happened to her and Emma is very open about it. Her story reflects what I’ve heard from other girls.

img_0752-2“My very first scene, the guy is only supposed to cum one time. That’s like the rule. He came four times, he came inside of me, he did off-camera two times and I thought that was the norm, it was fine.”

In fact, she took the behind the scenes episode as a compliment.

“I felt good, ‘Oh he really likes me,’” she remembers.

But then reality kicked in.

“When I went back home to my agent, he said, ‘That is totally wrong.’”

Emma explains that the industry has good guys and ones that aren’t and the bad dudes will take advantage of an unaware girl.

“As much as you love sex, doing it off camera is different.  Some directors try to get you to have sex with them just to get work. When I pick that up I don’t want to work for them. I’ll just be friendly. ‘No, I don’t want to do that.’”

“You got to watch out,” Emma declares.

Emma Hix’s fans were a little restless by now, so we closed things out. Check this girl out if you don’t her at Foxxx Modeling. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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AEE 2017: Kasey Warner

by Rich Moreland, February  2017

My thanks to Girlfriends Films for providing some of the photos in this post.

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Talking with the stars of films I’ve reviewed is always a treat. At this year’s Adult Entertainment Expo, Kasey Warner fell my way, an expected surprise.

A text and a meeting at the AVN booth led to an interview after her signing time.

I’m interested in Kasey’s perspective on B Skow’s Color Blind, a film that was nominated for Best Drama, Best Director, and Best Screenplay at this year’s Awards Show.

She plays an unsighted girl who falls in love with a man of color.

To read my review of this socially significant film, click here.

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I Can Hear Your Voice

I asked Kasey how she prepared for her role.

“B Skow sent me some clips of a girl on YouTube and said study her videos and pick up on her mannerisms so you can play a convincing blind girl,” Kasey remembers.

At first, this adorable brunette realized that the YouTube girl wasn’t doing the things that seemed “stereotypically blind,” something she would have to take into consideration in her acting.

“At the beginning of filming I was trying to portray a blind person as blind people actually are, but then as it went on, [I started] doing the things that people do when they act blind.”

She references her eyes shifting around, for example.

Skow picked up on her mannerisms, understandable because he directed Maddy O’Reilly in Daddy’s Girls who also plays a girl without sight.

Kasey recalls his reminder, “‘Don’t look at people in the eyes, [because] you can’t see.'”

It was a struggle at first and she remembers telling Skow, “I can hear your voice and I can center my ears to find your voice. So it’s kind of hard trying to find a medium between a realistic blind girl and a girl that people could watch and say, ‘Oh, she’s blind.'”

But, she pulled it off!

Feeling it Out

The opening scene in the kitchen sets the tone for a powerful film. Were the scenes shot in lockstep with the screenplay?

“That actually was the first thing we filmed. I don’t think every scene was filmed in chronological order, but I do think that the team tried to have it that way because for professional actors it is a little bit easier to go through the movie and kind of feel it out as you go,” Kasey replies.

“By the second day I was is in the groove of a blind girl,” Kasey notes with a smile.

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And that was no mean feat.

“When you’re shooting a porn movie you don’t get as much time to practice,” Kasey explains. “You don’t have a table read, you don’t have run-throughs. So I definitely felt like as it went on I got more into my role, so that was good.”

No doubt, her performance is impressive.

Not Typical Gonzo

Kasey’s sex scene with Isiah Maxwell is far from a gonzo shoot. There’s a gentleness in it.

How did she balance being sightless and romantic at the same time?

Isiah Maxwell

Isiah Maxwell

“I was obviously already in the character and I love Isiah. He’s the sweetest guy in the world so it’s not hard to have him be my boyfriend and be all lovey-dovey with him.”

Because of her character’s circumstances, “each scene is a whole new experience” for the girl, Kasey says, and “I was able to use that to make it seem like it was new for me.”

In other words, her scenes had authenticity.

I suggest that losing virginity in the real world is hardly a romantic experience.

Kasey concurs.

“I read one review where they didn’t like the sex scene and I understand that because it’s not your typical gonzo scene and it’s not me riding like a crazy person. I am a blind girl from a sheltered racist family losing my virginity. It’s supposed to be kind of scary, timid, and very emotional and romantic because that’s what it is.”

Adriana Chechik

Adriana Chechik

Fans should understand that portraying a certain character does not mean every sex scene is an Adriana Chechik scene, Kasey points out. (Adriana plays her sister in the film and was voted AVN’s 2017 Female Performer of the Year).

She says fans often want gonzo “to be every scene” but her character’s situation doesn’t lend itself to that. “I’m not going to be on top, doing crazy stuff like ‘choke me, Isiah!'” Kasey laughs.

Filming with Skow

“I love shooting with B Skow because he allows me to do scenes that aren’t just, ‘Be my Stepdad, Again!’ It was really nice to be able to shoot a movie that really had some meaning behind it,” Kasey says.

Picking up on Color Blind’s theme, this East Coast girl remarks, “It was nice to do an interracial movie where the whole point is that we’re all the same.”

The idea is important to Kasey because she was on board with IR shoots as soon she entered the industry. It seemed natural to her, but she was in for a surprise.

“I didn’t know that some girls hold out on that.”

But no matter. Even if she had been aware of not doing everything right off the bat, Kasey wouldn’t have changed her approach to her career when it came to IR.

“It’s dumb to discriminate. The whole point of me being blind is I can’t see color so I’m the girl who says, ‘Why shouldn’t I have sex with this guy, I love him. He’s great.'”

At this point, Kasey interjects that too much of interracial porn is gonzo-centered, just another white girl banged by a black guy. “Usually it’s like, ‘Woo, you’re my black babysitter!’ I don’t know, some dumb stuff [like that].”

Focusing on Emotion

I’ve reviewed enough B Skow films to understand his intensity and his endearing maverick status. I explore this idea with Kasey.

B Skow

What makes Skow such a spirited and impassioned director?

“He refuses to adhere to what porn says he should do to make the most money. He’s not going to shoot the most generic, asinine thing just because ‘Big Butts 37’ is going to sell more than a politically, racially-fueled movie with a message,” Kasey says.

“He  really cares and he doesn’t care that some people might not like it. This is what is important to me. It’s nice to shoot with directors who are passionate [about their work],” Kasey explains.

“That allows me to do a good scene because it’s hard for me to care if the director doesn’t.”

My final question on the film concerns its shocking finale.

Because her theater experiences in her student days enables her to feel empathy for the characters she plays, Kasey is good at focusing on emotion and that showed up as the film closes.

But there is more. Kasey praises Steven St. Croix’s portrayal of her racist father. His intensity created the energy she absorbed to enhance her performance.

Steven St. Croix. Photo courtesy of AVN media

Steven St. Croix.
Photo courtesy of AVN media

Were her tears spontaneous?

“Yeah. I was like it would be cool if I cried but I didn’t mean to. But the emotion was building up, I let it happen.

“The PA had to leave the room because he was going to start crying. Because there was so much emotion, I garbled through the speech a little bit. I was glad they were able to get the crying and the speech through editing.”

Sexology?

Kasey and I are from the same part of the country, just outside Washington, DC, a continent away from LA. This interview is like old home week for us so I inquire about her background.

What motivated her to go into porn?

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The school she was attending had a stem program (science, technology, engineering, math), Kasey explains, but it was not for her.

“I’m not really into any of that. I just went there because they gave me a big scholarship.”

She didn’t much care for her classes.

“I wanted to pursue a culinary career or get a degree in sexology and study human sexuality professionally.

“So I’d be sitting in my room just watching porn—not masturbating or anything—thinking this is really good porn, you know, just appreciating the cinematography and the acting. It occurred to me, ‘Hmmm, that’s an actual job that people have. I’m eighteen, a young cute girl, I could do that.

“So I just packed up and moved to California and started working.”

Aren’t we glad she did.

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Prop 60, Part Two: Unity

by Rich Moreland, February 2017

In doing this two part series on Prop 60, a special thanks is extended to Star Factory PR for arranging interviews with Cindy Starfall, Derrick Pierce, Briana Banks, and Ela Darling.

Photos included in this post are courtesy of AVN and @IndustryByRick.

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Roaring Chorus

Was Prop 60 a game changer for the industry and APAC?

57c610b493674-cindystarfall-onbedfacingout-1600Performer Cindy Starfall thinks so. “The industry definitely united. We did the whole campaign . . . we came together.”

She affirms that adult performers are “not a health risk” to society and agrees with others in the industry that the whole legal exercise was pointless. By the way, Cindy does not personally mind using condoms so she could have adjusted to the law had it passed.

Casey Calvert believes Prop 60’s defeat was pivotal.

“One hundred percent,” she declares, “Huge, massive industry wide, business wide, game changer.”58998d41c76c8-imgl6451

“It’s something everybody’s still talking about months later. Our history [has been] we all fight within each other. We’re all respectful but we don’t actually have anybody’s back.”

Best of all, the battle has resulted in a degree of unification not seen before.

Should an issue like Prop 60 pop up another time, Casey is “confident that the same people that stepped up for Prop 60 would step up [again].”

Ela Darling agrees.

“There is strength in unity, there is strength in community, especially when you are a marginalized community, in some cases marginalized on a variety of aspects whether we are sex workers or women or people of color or queer people. All of those things just stack up and nobody is going to have our backs if we don’t have our backs.

“It’s very easy to dismiss a few voices, but it’s much harder to dismiss a roaring chorus of people aligning together especially when you establish the value of that population. We are just not just weird sex people. We are the laborers. We are taxpayers. We’re so much more than people would like to describe us. When we all stand together, that becomes apparent.”

Caution

John Stagliano is cautiously optimistic, perhaps because of his battles in the past with government overreach into porn. In his view, cultural influences have altered attitudes and how people communicate.

“I think the game changer was the fact that the people have changed and the internet has changed people and we were able to effectively reach them. Eric Paul Leue arguably did a great job [and] the results are stunning with regard to the fact that we won. They seemed to have turned the tide.”

With his stark realism, Derrick Pierce is not so sure because of porn’s place in our culture.

“I wouldn’t say a game changer, maybe a shift in tides. We’ll all be long gone in the business before APAC has a game changer moment because I think mainstream would have to take this business seriously [first].”

As for APAC, Derrick is straight forward.58998d60a3303-imgl6569 As a support group it works, but a union, if that is its intent, requires the commitment of time and money.

“To be one hundred percent honest, there is never going to be a union in porn. It’s great in theory but seventy percent of the business is female” and most girls, the under twenty-one crowd, are just passing through, he says.

“Why [would]  they spend any money on this because all they’re looking for is to buy a car, pay for some school–the good ones—buy a purse, buy some shoes, or move out. Whatever their short term goal is for that.”

The attitude is simple, Derrick has seen it all along. This is a stopover and most girls think, “I’m just going to knock out a couple of scenes, blow a couple of dudes, and I’m outta here,” he says.

Refreshing and Empowering

On the other hand, Derrick believes the story is different for the other thirty percent.

“The jessica drakes and the Asa Akiras and the Phoenix Maries, all those girls who have made a career out of this. Yes, they would be the ones who would benefit the most and also a lot of the guys that stick around.”

Derricks words bring to mind an argument I’ve heard before from adult legend Nina Hartley . . . organizing porn talent is like herding cats. But, could times be changing?

58998d2190b02-imgl6284At any rate, the industry can revel in its victory today and hope for a profitable future.

We give Ela Darling the final word by repeating and reinforcing what she said earlier.

“I’ve never seen the industry aligned so strongly on anything like they did on Prop 60. It was refreshing, it was empowering and amazing.”

Perhaps we have a new political force in the making.

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Though I’m not certain what there is in this story that is misleading, there is, of course, a union in adult entertainment that is duly registered, as this comment states.

Your story is missleading and contains false untrue statements. There is a Union for the adult industry The International Entertainment Adult Union The IEAU. We are registered and certified as the “Union” for the adult entertainment industry by the Dept. Of Labor since Dec. 15th 2015 Union Number 000-404. Please either correct your story or we will send your site a C & D order. If you would like information pertaining to the Union, please fill free to contact us. Thank you

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Prop 60, Part One: No More Debate

by Rich Moreland, February 2017

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Everyone knows by now that California voters rejected Proposition 60 last November. So, no condoms in adult film going forward!

But questions linger. How important was Prop 60’s defeat and what does it say about political activism in porn?

At the AVN trade show I decided to ask around.

Answers varied, as did opinions, and a sampling appears here.

First, however, performer Casey Calvert provides some background on the issue that has roiled the adult industry.

Measure B to Prop 60

The ruckus over Prop 60 began a few years ago in 2012 just when she entered the business, Casey remembers. The political dustup then was Measure B that required condoms for filmed sex in LA County.

img_0515-2“My first porn shoot was in November 5, 2012. Measure B passed in LA County on Nov 6, 2012, and I watched it on TV and thought, ‘What the fuck did I just get myself into?'”

Little changed, actually. The law was never really enforced, Casey points out.

“They don’t have the money to make sure porn stars are wearing condoms. LA as a political entity and a public service entity is stretched so thin,” the native Floridian explains and adds that the law is still around but is “unenforceable as written.”

Undeterred, the Aids Health Foundation’s  Michael Weinstein, who was behind the initiative, turned his attention statewide. Next came AB 1576 that did what Measure B advocated, Casey continues, and it, too, failed in the state legislature mainly because of cost.

Finally, Weinstein went the ballot route in the election and collected enough signatures to bring his proposal before the voters.

However, it expired at the ballot box because it was flawed.

“The issue with Prop 60 was less about condoms and more about enforcement and how every private citizen in California could sue a porn production company if they watched a movie shot in the state without a condom,” Casey says.

2017-01-18-07-18-13-3Evil Angel owner John Stagliano agrees.

“Prop 60 was a horribly written law,” he says, pointing out that it established Michael Weinstein as “the porn czar” with the power to “prosecute cases and collect his expenses from the state.”

Despite the proposition’s shortcomings, effort and planning was required to ensure its demise.

Political Unity

Unwilling to take chances, the industry fought the initiative. Ela Darling, the current President of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC) comments, “APAC and the FSC (Free Speech Coalition) and a large number of performers did everything they could to defeat Prop 60 and we won, we got it!”

Casey Calvert reminds us that this was “the first time that porn stars actually rallied for a cause and we owe a lot of that to the Free Speech Coalition.” She talks about industry people using twitter and doing interviews to get the story out.

“I wrote a piece for the Huffington Post which I heard was very impactful . . . I also spoke on the radio,” Casey adds.

Ela and Casey give performers Julia Ann and SiouxsieQ and Free Speech Coalition’s Eric Leue much credit for organizing and leading the charge.

John Stagliano steps up to put Chanel Preston on the worthy list. “Chanel did some great interviews . . . She was very effective and active [in defeating Prop 60].”

And, everyone thanks California’s Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian Parties and the LGBT organizations for speaking out against Prop 60, a rare instance of political unity.

Activism

Ela talks about the lobbying in Sacramento.

2017-01-18-09-23-25-2“We spoke to legislators, we spoke to Senators . . . anybody who would give us time. Quite a few did. I got to be the voice of the industry to speak to the caucuses and the Democratic convention in Long Beach. It’s been a really big grassroots effort,” she says. Porn people even “led a protest through Hollywood.”

“I’ve never seen the industry aligned so strongly on anything like they did on Prop 60. It was refreshing, it was empowering, and amazing.”

Performer Derrick Pierce presents an unvarnished view of the campaign.

The FSC built a winning coalition of ” both talent and producers and production teams.” People “who are typically fragmented in nature” were on the same political page, Derrick remarks, because “even though we are socially amongst each other we don’t really function in that capacity.”

He characterizes the industry’s victory as a “David versus Goliath” fight.

In doing his part, Derrick went on Facebook to check postings from major media outlets where he found lots of comments.

“I literally went through every negative or misinformed comment and rebutted it. And who knows, maybe it reached five people, but that’s what was needed from every person who had a vested interest in this.”

But he had his doubts. “I’m glad that it was defeated though I was thinking that we were going to get screwed.”

Derrick interprets the victory as more than just a defeat for  poorly written law and its sponsor AHF.

“It wasn’t so much that prop 60 and us moving to Vegas or another place was necessarily the problem, it’s that it set precedent. That’s huge because, there’s no more debate.”

In other words, should similar issues arise with CAL/OSHA and safety regulations,”Now you just have to implement what’s already been said.”

Know the Process

Next Derrick sticks a dagger in the heart of deceit.

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“I would love to see what Weinstein’s real issue is. I know what he’s written and some of the things he’s said and I know who his donors and backers are.”

Moreover, the top male performer understands what spurs politicians and reformers.

“Anything to do with the adult business is a wonderful soapbox. You stand on it and preach to the people this is immoral, we have to protect these people [porn performers] that don’t know any better.”

He also calls out talent to educate themselves.

“Half the people don’t know what our testing process is. You should know because if you’re going to argue the point then you should know what the hell it is we’re doing. [Most performers] don’t know how many tests are done on us every two weeks . . .and they should.

“Know the process and how it works so  you don’t sound like a bumbling idiot when you talk about it.”

Derrick asserts that just screaming performer rights  “doesn’t mean anything” when it comes to debating health issues.

A Reminder of Reality

Finally, Briana Banks brings up a point that may have swayed some voters. She’s happy, of course, with the outcome but there is bit of reality that may have been missed when assessing the defeat of condoms.

Briana shot for the condom-only Vivid for eight years and her movies sold well, she says. But when she put up a recent condom clip she did for her website, her fans panned the scene.

2017-01-19-04-27-29-2“My fans were disgusted. They really were. We’ve put it out there so much of not using condoms that now if you use a condom, people watching porn can’t get past it.”

But there is something else at work here, Briana thinks.

The condom is a shock because of the reality it represents.

“Seeing a condom makes them think of STDs and HIV that they don’t think of when watching a porn movie.”

Condoms remind fans of the risks they take in their own lives, Briana believes. “To watch a porn star use a condom makes them think about the reality of life in general.”

Interesting. Maybe it’s something everybody missed in this battle. Porn is just fantasy and Prop 60 was about to take that away.

For the industry, however, there could be a darker underlying message hidden within this victory. Does it suggest that some fans may unconsciously regard porn performers as expendable?

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Next we’ll look at how the defeat of Prop 60 is seen as a game changer for the industry, if indeed it is.

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The 2017 AEE Extravaganza: Part Two

by Rich Moreland, February 2017

My thanks to AVN’s Dan Miller, Brian Gross, and Jill Hagara for making my visit to the show enjoyable. Their hard work cannot be appreciated enough.

Also, special kudos is extended to my favorite PR company, StarFactory. Thank you Tanya and Alex!

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Seminars

Rarely do I get to attend all the seminars that pique my interest and this year’s AEE was no exception.  Nevertheless, I did make a few.

On the show’s opening day, the seminar on money was super informative.

Tasha Reign, Alan Gelbard, Lee Roy Myers, Adam Grayson, Nate Glass

Tasha Reign, Alan Gelbard, Lee Roy Myers, Adam Grayson, Nate Glass

Hosted by sociologist Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals, the panel discussed turning a profit in a time of piracy. Attorney Alan Gelbard set the tone with a statement that at first seemed a capitulation but as the seminar went on, proved to be the most salient. Money can still be made in this age of tube sites and free porn, he said, and pointed out that “the music industry has figured out a way to let the piracy just be there.”

Lee Roy Myers

Lee Roy Myers

Filmmaker Lee Roy Myers of the parody website WoodRocket got it right when he insisted that everyone should maintain ownership of their content and “choose to give it away.” In reality, this seeming anomaly sells traffic to your site at a time when “less and less people are paying for porn in traditional ways.”

Evil Angel’s Adam Grayson’s assertion that identifying niche markets can turn a profit for your content through a reliable customer base made sense when thinking of porn as subgenres that capture pieces of the larger adult universe.

On the practical side to the money equation, a company like Nate Glass’s Takedown Piracy can be a great benefit to all producers in protecting their content.

2017-01-18-07-39-26Before the panel began, I spoke briefly with Nate Glass and met Chauntelle for the first time, a real treat.

Thursday afternoon offered up the seminar on the legal battles that may lie ahead with the incoming Trump administration.

After attorney Clyde DeWitt recounted the history of the Meese Commission’s pursuit of pornographers in the 1980s, Reed Lee, First Amendment scholar from Chicago and a member of the Free Speech Coalition, calmed nerves somewhat when he asserted that “history is on our side” and the “clear march of social progress is in our favor.”

Nevertheless, Free Speech Coalition’s President Eric Leue emphasized that passivity can no longer be the watchword and that everyone has a dog in this fight. In other words, support FSC.

Clyde DeWitt, John Stagliano, Eric Leue, J Michael Murray , Reed Lee, and moderator Mark Kernes

Clyde DeWitt, John Stagliano, Eric Leue, J Michael Murray , Reed Lee, and moderator Mark Kernes

Outside the hall, I had a moment to catch up with Colin Rowntree of Wasteland.com who plays both host and panelist when needed at these seminars. We talked about the possible political outcomes that face the industry.

Later that same day, another panel highlighted the increasingly independent role of women in adult.

Filmmaker Angela White said it best, “if you think porn is degrading, then you probably think sex is degrading.” Her words stressed the message of this seminar aptly named R-E-S-P-E-C-T that focused on celebrating empowered people who are comfortable with their sexuality. Moderated by Chauntelle Tibbals, the panel also included filmmakers Kay Brandt and Bree Mills.

Interestingly, an audience question led to a brief sparring over the interpretation of words. At issue was the concept of “feminist porn” which may be giving way these days to the idea of “ethical porn.”

Is the sun setting on “feminism” in the industry as some attendees seemed to hint?

Downtime

2017-01-18-09-17-39AEE is a constant round of rockin’ and rollin’, but there is occasional downtime, or to be honest, the need to take a break. I found a few minutes in the press room where the always upbeat Jill Hagara took some time for a chat. We’ve know each other for a few years now and she is a delight.

More relaxation moments came at the small Dunkin’ Donuts shop right off the casino where the convenient access for a quick coffee attracts industry people.

I talked with performer Daisy Layne after running into her earlier in the hallway.

Amber Jo

Amber Jo

A statuesque beauty named Amber Jo sidled up next to me with her java and Boston cream doughnut in hand. She’s networking, AJ said, and that began an informative chat.

Later Amber posed for my photographer and I offered to do a story on her. She’s an exotic dancer from the Midwest who has thoughts of LA and the biz. Stay tuned to see what happens with this gorgeous girl. Maybe a new star will soon be on-screen!

Setting up interviews is never easy and once again this year I relied on the best PR people in the business, Star Factory, whose watchwords are dependability and reliability. Their clients do not flake on the press.

With the help of Steve Nelson, the editor of AINews.com, I usually nail down a couple of people for impromptu interviews. This year the highlights were the previously mentioned Emma Hix at Foxxx Modeling and Kasey Warner, the star of B Skow’s Color Blind. Kasey and I are from the same part of the country which made our talk special.

Emma Hix

Emma Hix

Speaking of Skow, his productions are distributed by one of my favorite companies, Girlfriends Films. As mentioned in part one of this post, Moose, the company president, invited me to the GFFs suite for a morning coffee on Thursday, a great way to start the day.

Kudos to AVN

Eventually, a text helped me find AVN’s senior editor, Dan Miller. I first met Dan’s warm personality and infectious smile when he was with XBIZ.

We took a few minutes to discuss the passing of adult film historian Bill Margold (Dan did a wonderful obit for AVN online) and I mentioned that this year’s show was well-organized, enriching everyone’s experience from fan to media.

James Deen and Dan Miller Photo courtesy of AVN

James Deen and Dan Miller
Photo courtesy of AVN

Helping to make this year’s AEE enjoyable were some not so subtle changes in the “feel” of the show.

The club music in The Joint wasn’t nearly the volume of the past which made conversation easier–a boon when one carries around a digital recorder–the lighting much improved, and best of all, the traffic flow was smoother among the various rooms. Thank you AVN!

After experiencing the breezy atmosphere of the Sands Center some years ago, I was doubtful AVN could pull everything off in a more broken up environment. And at first it was a challenge, but the bugs have been worked out.

On the downside, there was one thing distinctly different this year: the weather. The days were cloudy, very cool, with periods of rain, the same weather pattern I left back home. The only difference, it seemed, were the trees. I’m not used to seeing rain, mist, and palm trees!

Despite that, inside the Hard Rock the action was invigorating and informative.

I encourage everyone to visit next year, or to put it another way, attending AEE at least once in your adult life should be on your bucket list.

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The 2017 AEE Extravaganza: Part One

by Rich Moreland, February 2017

I just returned from my annual trip to Las Vegas for the adult industry trade show. As usual my photographer and I teamed with Steve Nelson, the editor of Adult Industry News, to cover as much as possible in our brief four days.

This post is the first of two parts and represents only a portion of what we recorded.

A note on the hyperlinks. If a company’s online home page displays hardcore photos, I did not include the hyperlink here as it may not be suitable for all readers.

Photos provided by AVN are credited where appropriate.

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Trade shows are for networking, marketing new products, attending seminars, and in the case of the annual Adult Entertainment Extravaganza, oops, I mean Expo, canvassing porn talent.

This year’s show was one the best I’ve attended. Here are few highlights.

On the production side of the business, I had another opportunity to interview the always busy John Stagliano of Evil Angel. He gave me some thoughts on the incoming administration in Washington DC (my part of the country, by the way). Later in the week, John participated in a seminar on the same topic.

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As the week was winding down, I renewed acquaintances with Moose of Girlfriends Films. Though they no longer have a booth in the show, Girlfriends has upped its game on the distribution side of the business and Moose is in Vegas to refresh his industry contacts.

I’m always interested in emerging companies poised to make a splash with a new idea. One relatively recent player is Royal Empire Productions. I interviewed the owner, Robert Morgan, to get his take on what he calls “realistic porn.”

Upbeat

Negotiating The Joint and the Artist and Muse Halls on opening day was easy, the crowd was a little sparser than I anticipated. By week’s end the fan traffic picked up considerably and the show was bustling with an upbeat tempo.

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The refreshing part of the AEE experience is running into people unexpectedly. Here are a few examples of my week.

A text exchange led to breakfast with seasoned pro, Natasha Nice. We discussed the possibility of her writing a post or two for this blog.

Photo courtesy of AVN

Photo courtesy of AVN

The super fabulous Chanel Preston gave me a few impromptu moments as did the BBW April Flores when I found her chatting with friends near the AVN booth in Artist Hall.

A couple of times I stopped by Bang.com to pass time with the two legends of porn, Casey Calvert and Maddy O’Reilly.

Love these powerhouse girls.

Maddy and Casey Photo courtesy of AVN

Maddy and Casey
Photo courtesy of AVN

And, by the way, I visited with Chris Cane of Foxxx Modeling where I met a new girl who is bound to become a star, Emma Hix. My interview with this sweetie follows in another post.

Oh yes, timing sometimes fails me. I attempted to persuade a hurried Riley Reid to pause for a “hello” but I might as well have tried to hail a bullet train!

New Face of Porn

A new girl is solidifying her place in porn: the webcam honey. This year’s AEE rolled out the welcome mat for these dynamos who float between real hardcore and solo performances via computer, all in direct connection with their fans. MyFreeCams and Chaturbate seduced show goers with face-to-face fun.

Emma Chase Photo courtesy of AVN

Emma Chase
Photo courtesy of AVN

I met Emma Chase, a Chaturbate girl who stopped me for a moment to demonstrate with her computer how our conversation was soaring through cyberspace. Emma lists her talents as simply “entertainer.”  She’s a delight and if Chaturbate is your thing, go to Google and search her out.

Likewise a goth looker named Eliza Bathory, who markets herself as a model, camgirl, and artist, was at her laptop among the horde of Chaturbate girls. Since I’m fascinated by facial piercing (Eliza has a bunch) I promised to return later to get an interview. Unfortunately, she disappeared into the nether regions of the show. Very Dracula-like.

2017-01-18-09-59-36For the oglers, the Chaturbate crowd had the distinction of being the least dressed. Lots of flesh with pasties all around.

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VR

From the marketing side, let’s not forget VR. The Cam4VR booth offered a rousing example of what the whole virtual reality thing is all about; it’s the wave of the future.

Photo courtesy of AVN

Photo courtesy of AVN

I interviewed Ela Darling and among her many talents is a love of VR.

ela4“I am the ‘Queen of VR Porn,'” Ela says, “and the leading voice in the VR industry for the adult industry. I speak at conferences all over the world. People in that space really make room for me. They respect the work that I do, they respect us as an industry and understand that we are an important for the future of VR.”

Direct engagement with the fan is where porn is going in this age of social media, Ela explains.

“We just launched Cam4VR this past year. I’m the world’s first VR camgirl. We’re getting ready to introduce a new camera that’s really cool and a voice-to-voice experience and a private chat network. When you put on that headset, you speak. The performer hears and gets right back [to you].”

Rearrangement

From year to year, the AEE rearranges its spaces to maximize the fan experience. The most obvious this year involved the setup for BDSM enthusiasts.

Photo courtesy of AVN

Photo courtesy of AVN

The bondage carnival known as The Lair relocated from the second level of The Joint to the floor of Artist Hall, a move I’m sure to increase its visibility and fan traffic.

BDSM equipment and a demonstration or two (All models were fully dressed, there was more flesh on a Chaturbate girl!) highlighted its activities.

Lastly, every year I come away with the same thought on the show. Artist and Muse Halls are easier to negotiate than the tight spaces of The Joint. Being a bit claustrophobic, I do appreciate the efforts of AVN to keep movement as smooth as possible!

Stay tuned for part two of this report.

Easy entrance into the show Photo courtesy of AVN

An easy and convenient entrance into the show
Photo courtesy of AVN

 

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