Tag Archives: Adult Entertainment Expo (AEE)

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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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 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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Circular Evolution: Angie Rowntree, Part One

by Rich Moreland, October 2016

Ever since I began writing in adult film, I’ve learned that creativity is broadly defined. Many directors and performers like the all-sex, or gonzo approach to filmmaking where innovation revolves around positions, penetrations, and hot bodies.

On the other hand, my preference is the feature where plot, dialogue, and acting complement the sex. In my mind, telling a story sets the stage for the film’s carnal adventures by giving them meaning.

Along the way, I’ve talked with movie makers who feel the same way. One of them is Angie Rowntree of Sssh.com, a female-friendly adult website.

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angie rowntreeI first sat down with Angie at the 2016 Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas. At the time, I had reviewed her groundbreaking film, Gone, which in my opinion is the best adult film ever made. You can read the review here.

Recently we had the good fortune to talk about an emerging phenomenon in adult known as “crossing over.” Simply put, it means entering legitimate Hollywood while maintaining a porn identity.

Here is a sampling of our conversation.

A Legitimate Expressive Form

Is crossing over on rise?

Angie believes that “porn has become far more accepted, or at least tolerated, by the general public than it used to be,” a change she credits to the internet. Understandable, she says, since “porn’s prominence” has dominated “the commercial internet” since its earliest days.

“References to porn are now commonplace in pop culture and it’s a daily subject in mainstream news reporting and broadcast television,” Angie explains, citing “edgier” shows like “Game of Thrones, American Horror, Sons of Anarchy, and now HBO’s West World” as examples.

The feminist filmmaker maintains that most viewers see a “bright line” between HBO/Fox type entertainment that pushes boundaries and porn. Nevertheless, “the embrace of sexually explicit depictions by undeniably mainstream shows has certainly helped to legitimize sexualized content,” she adds.mv5bmjm5otq1mty5nl5bml5banbnxkftztgwmjm3nzmxode-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_

The result is a huge step toward the acceptance of adult-like performances embedded within Hollywood narratives.

Agreed, but is there a generational influence at work here?

Youth does make a difference, Angie insists.

“To a lot of young people these days,” porn is “just another form of entertainment . . . to watch if you feel so inclined, like TV dramas, sports, or sticoms.”

Perhaps it is Millennials who are leveling the entertainment playing field and here’s why.

According to Angie, “the sense of shame long associated with watching porn is starting of dissipate,” which means porn is going through a “circular evolution.”

“As more of porn is made which bucks the traditional, typical male-dominated perspective, more people will accept it as a legitimate expressive form, leading to even more creative and innovative people coming into the industry.”

The result?  “A more diverse and variegated industry” will lead to improved content benefiting everyone from performer and filmmaker to the consumer.

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Viewed Differently

That leads us to the key question. Will porn ever be accepted as mainstream entertainment?

Angie hesitates to predict anything definite about that.

“I think porn will always be viewed differently from mainstream entertainment if for no other reason than people are going to continue to be conflicted in how they feel about sex. For something so central to our lives, humans sure seem to be uncomfortable with the subject of sex, let alone its depiction.”

As an afterthought, however, she hints that “always” and “forever” are not words to use when talking about porn.

“Back in the early nineties I never though I’d see porn become as accepted and tolerated as it has already become, so who knows what the future holds?”

Legally Acceptable

I’m not letting Angie get away without one more question.

Will the public accept hardcore sex if it’s integral to the story being told?

“I think there’s real merit to that notion, yes . . to a certain extent, at least,” she says, and mentions the 1979 film, Caligula.

mv5bmtyzmti0ndg3n15bml5banbnxkftztcwmtqznjmymq-_v1_“It was seen as one step more ‘legitimate’ than the hardcore porn movies being made around the same time.”

This legitimacy, she insists, emerged because the film “was perceived as a movie with hardcore sex in it as opposed to a porno with an unusual amount of dialogue.”

By the way, Caligula was made in the fading pre-video days of Porno Chic when adult films appeared in neighborhood theaters and emphasized a narrative with a semblance of acting.

The producer/director reminds us of an important change established in the 1970s concerning obscenity.

“Hardcore sex is more legally acceptable when it comes in the context of a story.”

That’s important because the court has to prove that the content and context of a film “lacks literary, artistic, political or scientific value,” she adds.

Of course, producers and directors can argue for a film’s merit, Angie insists, “if there is more going on within the story than just people having sex in several different positions.”

Well said.

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Our conversation with Angie Rowntree continues in the next post.

She talks about Gone, her Mindbrowse podcasts, and we’ll learn a little about acting and a female director’s approach to shooting.

Heavy hitters in the feminist line-up of porn makers. Kelly Holland, jessica drake, Angie Rowntree, Jacky St. James, Kelly Shibari. Photo courtesy of Angie Rowntree

Heavy hitters in the female strong line-up of porn makers. Love this photo!
Left to Right: Kelly Holland, (bartender in background),  jessica drake, Angie Rowntree, Madeline Blue, Jacky St. James, Kelly Shibari.
Photo courtesy of Angie Rowntree

 

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Smarter and More Elegant

by Rich Moreland, January 2014

This is the first in a series of posts about my most recent trip to the Adult Entertainment Expo (AEE) in Las Vegas.

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Wednesday January 15

Moderator Lynn Comella of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas begins the discussion with how porn is framed on campuses today. The genre, she  states, is a mixture of sex education courses, academic research, and the opposing views of feminist porn supporters and anti-porn specialists.

At this years’ Adult Entertainment Expo (AEE), the opening day of seminars features “Porn Goes to College,” a discussion showcasing how pornography can be examined positively and why it often is not. The Hard Rock Hotel’s Festival Hall is hosting the panel. The room is packed; some attendees stand.

Three women represent the industry, Jessica Drake of Wicked Pictures, Tasha Reign of Reign Productions, and Courtney Trouble of TROUBLEfilms. From the academic side, Constance Penley of the University of California at Santa Barbara and Canadian student Tanesha Darby of York University, fill out the five seats.

Constance Penley, Jessica Drake, Tenasha Darby, Tasha Riegn and Courtney Trouble (The suspenders belong to writer Mark Kernes one of the best in the business) Photo by Bill Knight

Constance Penley, Jessica Drake, Tanesha Darby, Tasha Reign and Courtney Trouble
(The suspenders belong to AVN writer Mark Kernes one of the best in the business)
Photo by Bill Knight

The first round of thought and opinion reflects the premise generally expressed in current porn conferences: there is value in studying porn because it is a part of popular culture.

Big Ole Sex Education Class

Professor Penley mentions her course is the “class that keeps on teaching.” She uses guest lecturers to help students situate themselves with pornography. From her hands on experience, Penley explains that industry people tend to be “nicer, more open, smarter and more elegant” than those who come to campus with an anti-porn agenda. As a historian and journalist, I’m on board with Professor Penley. Too often anti-porn spokespersons display a malevolent “chip-on-the-shoulder” annoyance, approaching porn with an unassailable monologue of moral reductionism. In other words porn is bad, any fool can see that. As a result, discussion is unnecessary.

The Professor and the Porn Star Photo by Bill Knight

The Professor and the Porn Star
Photo by Bill Knight

Jessica Drake and Tasha Reign, who is finishing her degree at UCLA, agree that porn on campus tends to consolidate into a handful of issues: consent, women and violence, date rape and alcohol, and discussions on sexual activity in general. The agenda eventually drifts into negativism with many students admitting they do not have a true understanding of sexuality, particularly their own. Drake believes these are valid concerns because peer pressure exists to watch porn. When she is invited to speak to classes, Drake wants her status as a porn performer to be educational. “I want to be that type of resource,” Drake says, informing students who may not understand sexuality’s cornucopia of possibilities. “Ask me anything,” she tells them and they do.

Her role as an educator is important, Jessica Drake believes, because porn often represents unrealistic expectations of what sex is all about.

Tasha Reign likens adult performers to a minority group whose behavior is seen through a public lens mired in the negative. “The adult business as a minority group” needs to be addressed, she believes, and colleges offer the right atmosphere. Attitudes toward porn people are similar to those that marginalize blacks and gays, Reign says. Understanding what it is like to be in porn needs expanding. Because the camera tends to objectify performers, students become misinformed about them and the sexual activity they see on film. Adult entertainers aren’t perceived as real people.

Courtney Trouble addresses queers and sexual minorities because her film company focuses on queer porn, a “subgenre of alt porn.” For Trouble, gender studies groups are important because queer people in college “feel different” and a revelation occurs when they see themselves positively for the first time. Later she adds that her art celebrates sexual minorities, “transpeople, transwomen, and transbodies,” shaping a favorable or constructive view of lifestyles easily dismissed by broader society.

Jessica Drake supports Trouble’s assertion. Everyone wants to be reassured of their normality, she says. “Yes, you are ok” is her affirming message.

Constance Penley understands all of these concerns and that’s exactly why her course turns into “a big ole sex education class,” she says with humor. The students can’t stop asking questions.

Created with a Conscience

A college student states her case, porn listens Photo by Bill Knight

A college student states her case, porn listens
Photo by Bill Knight

Canadian Tanesha Darby brings in the student view. A concern she has is “the body being sexualized,” and this can be troubling for young people many of whom are still learning about their sexuality.

Responses to Darby highlight an assumption: porn is an umbrella term that collects all the negative aspects of sexuality. Tasha Reign summarizes the misrepresentation. Sex is painted with a broad brush, sweeping over porn with a conflation of sex work and sexual abuse. Professor Penley weighs in with the porn myths that perpetuate themselves: child porn, violent porn, snuff porn.

Discussion moved to academic course disclaimers informing students of possible negatives they might encounter in the class. Though such statements seem appropriate and college administrators use them as a cushion against public pressure, Jessica Drake mentions they are just another version of shaming that prompts some students to avoid such classes.

Perhaps the best solution is Constance Penley’s. She has no course disclaimer and sees no reason for one.

In defense of porn, there is a difference between the good and bad variety. Courtney Trouble notes that selling porn in today’s social media age is no easy matter. Consumers will buy porn if they know the conditions under which it was made. If they believe performers are treated fairly and consent is upfront in filming, dollars will be spent. There is more to be gained if porn is created with a conscience. Porn offers “opportunities of reach out to people,” Trouble says. Porn is “inflicting change” in our culture, she adds. Perhaps breaking barriers, might be more appropriate.

The maven of queer porn, Courtney Trouble Photo by Bill Knight

The maven of queer porn, Courtney Trouble
Photo by Bill Knight

Tasha Reign could not agree more. “My videos are sex positive,” she says, “I’m a feminist.”

Certainly not the sex-negative kind, I assure you.

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Changing Hands

by Rich Moreland, January 2014

gfs logo

The adult film business has its own Fortune 500 movers and shakers. Names like Adam and Eve, Hustler, Vivid, Wicked, Evil Angel, and Digital Playground come immediately to mind.

Powered by a self-created niche it has seen widely imitated, another name is seeking a space in that pantheon. Started over eight years ago, Girlfriends Films (GFF) is the leader in girl/girl erotica, an expanding genre in the industry.

Praised for its innovative film work, Girlfriends’ DVD and VOD (Video on Demand) inventory contains over a thousand scenes representing the best of the industry’s female performers.

As for the company’s ethical business practices, listen to Dan O’Connell creator of GFF. “No one has ever quit or retired from Girlfriends Films.” Now Dan extends that reality to himself because things are changing.

Dan O’Connell is passing from owner to adviser and confidant. Effective January 1, Dan sold the company to his long time Vice-President, Moose. But Dan isn’t going anywhere; he retains ownership of Groundwork Visions, the business that produces all of Girlfriends work.

The new arrangement frees Dan O’Connell to do what motivated him from Girlfriends’ inception, shoot film. He has an “exclusive arrangement” to continue with the company and, along with famed hetero filmmaker B. Skow, provide GFF fans with the high quality product expected of this superbly run enterprise.

For Girlfriends‘ loyal customers, nothing has changed. The varied and iconic GFF series will continue and production schedules will not be affected.

The deal is a win-win for everyone, particularly Dan O’Connell, who is at last putting management issues behind him. Opportunities going forward to improve his “movie-making game” are now on the table, he says. The sixty-something will devote his energies what he loves, filming beautiful women having sex.

As the new owner, Moose will continue with all his current duties. Dan reminds everyone that Moose’s talents are well versed in handling a multiplex business. “Running Girlfriends Films is a very complex operation that includes movie production and post-production, sales and marketing, internet sites, [and] our new GFF cable channel,” Dan says, not to ignore overseeing the company’s 37,000 square foot facility in Valencia.

Moose and Dan Photo courtesy of Bill Knight

Moose and Dan
Photo courtesy of Bill Knight

Their relationship over the years has been close as I can attest from a recent visit with some of the GFF gang (see “The Pornographer’s Heart” November 20, 2013). Everyone looks for the company to maintain and enrich its present course.

“I’m very fortunate to have someone of Moose’s caliber to take over the operation,” Dan O’Connell says, but adds his personal full-time efforts are not quite over. Upcoming is the hectic schedule of the Adult Entertainment Expo in Vegas and GFF’s distribution of other brands that demand his keen eye and industry wisdom. As the company likes to say, Girlfriends Films is “simply the most realistic sex in lesbian adult video.” Such a boast requires hard work and attention to customers and fans, something GFF does well.

For anyone interested in the business, visit girlfriendsfilms.com or contact Moose at moose@girlfriendsfilms.com.

 

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Behind the Lines

by Rich Moreland, 2013

There are three locations where the business of filmed pornography flourishes: L. A., which includes Las Vegas, San Francisco, and South Florida. (New York was retired from the adult map some time ago.) Of course, filming takes place anywhere nowadays, and quite frankly does. Just check out the amateurs, like the Jasons and Ashleys on any street in any American town, who are armed with a camcorder. They inundate the internet.

The Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas provides an annual opportunity for the professional markets to gather in one convenient spot. In truth, it’s the big names associated with Porn Valley in Southern California that draw public interest. Crowds jam into narrow aisles at the convention’s host, the Hard Rock Hotel. Fans elbow for space to take snapshots of their favorite performers and hope for a minute of chat and a signed one sheet or mini-poster.

At this year’s affair, I gave that battle an early go only to experience the usual frustrations. I want more than thirty seconds; I’m after information, a story. Here’s an example. Getting Joanna Angel was virtually impossible. I did speak with her briefly and she wanted to talk at length but had no time. Later that day, I lunched with a film editor, Sonny Malone, who works for Joanna’s company, Burning Angel. She was sympathetic to my dilemma, but emphasized that Joanna was so busy that an interview would not likely be scheduled this time around.

Joanna Angel gives me a brief moment Photo Courtesy of 3hattergrindhouse.com

Joanna Angel gives me a brief moment
Photo Courtesy of 3hattergrindhouse.com

There were other A-listers on the floor who also said they’d be happy to sit down for a few minutes but couldn’t say when. I spoke with an emerging star (gave her my business card, talked about my column with Adult Industry News—the usual stuff) who promised me some time before she left for the day. When I returned to her signing area, she was hurrying to leave, smiled and politely excused herself. A studio owner for whom she has signed in the past mentioned to me later that her skills in dealing with the public need to be polished. I nodded, acknowledging that he was trying to soothe my annoyance.

Tracking down performers based on where they are scheduled to sign is also highly futile. Names and signing hours are rarely posted; anything listed in the event’s official program is notoriously inaccurate and subject to change. The AEE is catch as catch can, very chaotic, and stresses out performers and other industry personnel. Even models I personally know often cannot give me more than a quick “good to see you again.” Sometimes luck comes my way, but this year’s Expo was not overly productive in that regard.

Presley Hart at Smash Pictures. No time for an interview. Photo Courtesy of 3hattergrindhouse

Lucky to catch Presley Hart at Smash Pictures
Photo Courtesy of 3hattergrindhouse.com

However, that’s with the top players in the biz.

In the convention backwater, modeling agencies maintain booths where lesser known talent often sit around like girls on slow nights at strip clubs. Crowds are refreshingly thin in this little traveled area. But the eagerness to be a star always pervades the atmosphere and the girls are most accommodating, as I might add, are the talent agents—at least the licensed ones, but that’s a story for another day.

Backwater Photo Courtesy of 3hattergrindhouse.com

Backwater
Photo Courtesy of 3hattergrindhouse.com

Shifting gears to this part of the Expo, my next post will be on a new girl whose bubbly personality is most endearing.

Before I get to that, a brief story is appropriate.

I was hanging around waiting to speak with an agent when a newbie was checking in for her floor time. Maybe nineteen at best guess and thin as a street waif, the girl was a bit of a laggard apparently (her seat had been empty). She appeared tired, weary is a better descriptor. Her agent approached her gingerly and inquired about where she had been. Putting a can of caffeinated high energy drink on the small around table she used for signing, the hazy eyed brunette glared at him. She was out until five a.m., she snapped, but reminded him that she was responsible enough to show up at her assigned time. I admired her gumption and sense of responsibility for someone so young in a tough business.

Girls are on tight, debilitating schedules for four days assuming they stay the whole week. The Expo is more that just putting in floor time and being pleasant with fans. There are after hours parties, time reserved for industry affiliates involved in distribution and marketing, and, of course, shooting scenes when a few available hours can be found. Hotel room time is rarely in short supply.

Everything is money in adult film, you see, and everyone needs to make another buck. In this case, what happens in Vegas gets distributed.

Wanting clarification of grapevine info I occasionally pick up, I asked a performer I know fairly well if she could verify that girls were relying on “chemical assistance” to survive the week. She was honest, as I trusted her to be.

Look for a story on a new girl coming soon. It’s from behind the lines where ever they are.

 

 

 

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