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AEE 2019: AINews Reports from the Show, Part 1

by Rich Moreland, February 2019

This is the first of two installments highlighting the 2019 Adult Entertainment Expo (aka the AVN Show) in Las Vegas. Our team circulated on the floors of the hosting venue, the Hard Rock Hotel, networked where we could, and conducted interviews to get an in-depth look at the porn industry today.

So far, we’ve reported on Evil Angel’s thirtieth anniversary and Nina Hartley’s thirty-fifth. We’ve also taken a look at how the show reflected the changes in our culture.

A pair of talented visual artists, still photographer Kevin Sayers and videographer/filmmaker Davyana San Miguel, provided the visual energy that graces these articles.

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Is there love between AVN and the cam world?

 If the last few years at the Adult Entertainment Expo is any indication, the porn world is experiencing an internal evolution.

That’s right, things are changing because the new kid on the block—the cam girl (and boy)—is altering the landscape of what defines porn, at least the commercialized version.

First, a little in-house geography. For those of you who have never visited the Hard Rock Hotel, the “floor” is divided among four major venues, three devoted to the on-screen industry and one to novelties.

A walk around the environs reveals that cammers are more evident than ever before. Not only do they have their own booths and tables inside the show rooms, they dominate the hallways that connect them.

That raises interesting questions. Are cam girls the newest version of porn girls?

Do cammers believe they are creating pornographic content when they perform for their fans and sell their shoots online? If that seems obvious to you, it isn’t to everyone and “therein lies the rub.” (my apologies for the well-worn misquote of Shakespeare)

Are cammers open to shooting for studios in a scripted environment?  It’s certainly outside their comfort zone where they interact with fans unencumbered by directors, cinematographers, and their crews.

And, how do the established porn stars—the studio moneymakers—regard cammers? Do the stars also cam as a way to build their brand?

In the interviews we did for Adult Industry News, I posed these questions. Answers varied, as you might expect, and we will look at some of them in later posts.

For now, here’s what we encountered during our meanderings about the premises.

Something for Everyone

The cammers greet fans in the hallways . . .

. . . And in the rooms! They seem to be everywhere armed with their connection to the fan world: their computer.

Cammers are not restricted by agents, you see. As a result, they are on their own to mix and mingle.

As a contrast, let’s take a few snapshots of porn’s traditional studios and the well-known stables that supply the talent.

The Agency Booths

We stop at the booths of a couple of modeling agencies I’ve dealt with in the past. At Foxxx Modeling, a brief chat with some girls we’ve already interviewed kicks off the afternoon.

The sexy Scarlett Mae.

The sultry Emma Hix.

And the perky BDSMer Emori Pleezer.

Nearby over at John Stevens’ Matrix Models, we find one of my favs in the biz, Vanna Bardot. Kevin and I met her recently on a Girlfriends Films shoot.

Porn’s Commercial Tradition

Then it’s on to the studios, the heavy hitters of porn. First is Adult Time, Bree Mills’ venue where . . .

. . . I renew old acquaintances with three of porn superstars, all of whom are up for AVN awards. We set up interviews to explore new topics we’ve not talked about before.

Tommy Pistol, one of adult’s finest male actors.

The popular Derrick Pierce whose on-screen personality is in high demand.

Then we have the talented Casey Calvert, a longtime friend. (It’s generational with our schedule making, as you can see. She’s electronic, I’m old school with my pen as we discuss arrangements!)

And a new contact, the luscious and award-winning Kenna James who later gives our team a terrific interview!

And, of course, Bree is there. We had interviewed her earlier in the day.

Other stops include Evil Angel where Katrina Jade is signing for fans.

And Jules Jordan where we pause a few moments with model Emily Willis.

Moving on to Greg Lansky Media, a rip-roaring booth pulsing with club music that engulfed the hall, we pick up a couple of conversations there.

We didn’t forget to take a quick look at the AVN booth (it’s their show, after all!) where a variety of girls were signing each day.

After some searching, we finally locate Sofie Marie, a girl (or MILF, depending on your point of view) who shoots for studios AND maintains her cam site. Later she gives us a terrific interview.

Before wrapping up our mini-tour of the rooms, we visit The Lair.

It’s sponsored by Kink.com, the leading BDSM porn producer in the business. Since the fan has to go upstairs to see the The Lair, there is the undeniable connection to Kink’s popular website, The Upper Floor.

And, as is the habit at AEE, an after-hours party for fans who want to pay for the privilege is offered.

Mostly, The Lair is a quiet respite from the clamor of the show floors. It’s vendors mostly with a demonstration here and there. For BDSM enthusiasts, it’s somewhat of a letdown unless the fan wants to shop .

Veterans

For anyone who writes in the porn biz, there is the “go-to” interviewer (and this is not to diminish any writer presently working). By “go-to” I mean the guy who sets the table for the basics about a performer. In other words, bio facts, personal preferences, shooting history, and the like. Everything that helps a girl build her fan base and gets the rest of us thinking about what we want to ask her.

He is “Captain Jack” and I have the privilege of meeting him after all these years.

Speaking of those in the industry who’ve been around the block a few times, our team briefly greets Evan Stone and has a short talk with Katie Morgan. No interviews this time around due to time and the hectic pace of the show. Maybe next year.

Then there is a new face and an old friend. For the first time, I make the acquaintance of Prinzzess Felicity Jade, a Girlfriends Films superstar, and update personal news with now retired performer, Daisy Layne.

Blended or Separated?

So, where does our brief tour leave us? For sure, the line between camming and shooting scenes is blurred. Take shooting, for example.

Today, the trend is make your own. Everyone, porn vets and cammers, can produce and manage their own content. After all, that’s what the fan wants . . . easy access just a click away.

There’s an old standby, Clips4Sale . . .

. . . And a newbie in the mix, Iwantclips.

At a convention that for decades touted video tapes and performer meet-and-greets, today cammers and studios play side-by-side. With Greg Lansky’s Vixen, Tushy, and Blacked responding to fans on the left of the picture below while the cammers’ ManyVids draws a crowd on the right, what does that tell us about 2019?

Well, maybe a solid “spank” in between to get our attention about a changing industry!

Peaceful Co-Existence?

In our next post, we’ll move to the novelties part of AEE 2019.

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AEE 2019: The Evil Angel Legacy

by Rich Moreland, February 2019

This post is the first in a series installments on the 2019 Adult Video News (AVN) trade show. The Adult Entertainment Expo (AEE), as it is also known, was first held in Las Vegas in 1998 and has continued annually since.

Photos in this post are courtesy of Evil Angel and 3hattergrindhouse.

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During my first day at the AVN trade show, I had a passing conversation with writer Tod Hunter, whose work I regard highly. He mentioned that I should check out the Evil Angel booth where a large billboard-like poster was on display in celebration of the company’s thirtieth anniversary. Tod added that I’d find it worth a look, especially the upper left side of the picture.

How right he was. But more on that corner in a moment.

Hal Freeman and John Stagliano

When I got over to EA, I spent a few minutes with John Stagliano. Saying “hello” to Evil Angel’s founder is always a pleasure. John is a force in the industry, a trend-setter who shoots what he likes and creates a market for it.

But that’s only the half of it. John is also a “freedom fighter” in the manner of Hal Freeman decades ago. Both men battled in court to preserve their right to express their art as they saw it.

Freeman’s case (1988-89) effectively legalized filmed pornography in California. Years later, John’s dust-up added to that history because it involved not actors having sex for money, but the content of the film. Ostensibly fought over obscenity charges, his case evolved into a higher cause centering on free speech and how it applies to the internet. Eventually, all charges were dropped and the modern porn industry took another step into the light of mainstream culture.

Everyone involved in the adult biz today owes a debt to Hal Freeman and John Stagliano. What we see around us in this industry was not always as it seems now. To put it another way, all of us must remain vigilant because ongoing and enduring rights of expression are precious.

Widely Regarded

Having covered that little bit of history, now back to the poster of the EA dignitaries. Though they are directors mostly, a particular individual stands out.

Christian Mann.

In writing for XBIZ in 2014, AVN Managing Editor Dan Miller pointed out that Christian Mann was “a 34-year veteran of the adult business” and “widely regarded among the most prolific and passionate executives in industry history.”

AVN notes that Christian was “the recipient of AVN’s First Amendment Defense Award in 1991,” a proud industry honor.

What’s more, Christian was no stranger to porn’s courtroom battles. “He was indicted in 1989,” AVN continues, and “withstood a federal obscenity trial in Texas and was eventually acquitted of all charges.”

Sounds a little political, right? And it should because it was.

Talking with Christian, AEE 2013

For six years, Christian Mann was Evil Angel’s managing editor and I’m fortunate to have known him. On one of my visits to the West Coast, I remember sitting in his office talking about the state of the business as he saw it. That day Christian reminded me that John Stagliano establishes market directions in porn. He shoots what is personally pleasing to his tastes, as I’ve mentioned above, and unabashedly puts it out there for all to see.

It’s worth noting that in 2012 Christian passed along to me a copy of EA’s Voracious which is one of the finest adult movies ever produced and shot on two continents. (My ten-part review of the film begins with a nod to Christian and John. The post can be found here.)

Serving honorably on the Board of the Free Speech Coalition, Christian’s sense of fairness and honesty distinguished him. His brilliance was widely recognized in the industry.

A Fight of Another Sort

The last time I saw Christian Mann was at the AVN show in 2013. He walked with a cane and was in obvious discomfort, a red flag, I thought, considering my memory of his robust energy.

When I visited the EA suite at the Hard Rock Hotel, Christian was upbeat as usual, but related that he was seeing the doctor when he returned to LA.

Christian passed away the following year after a heroic battle with cancer. He was fifty-three.

So, returning to my opening remarks, I offer thanks to Tod Hunter because he indicated that I’d have an emotional moment when I spent a few minutes with the poster. I did.

You see, Christian is with us in the upper left, a little dim because he is watching from afar. By the way, he is not the only EA personage celebrated in the display who is gone. Jake Malone, David Aaron Clark, John Leslie, and Bruce Seven have also departed.

But it is Christian Mann I remember so well and Tod, I suspect, knew that.

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Reagan Foxx: I Know What I’m Doing

by Rich Moreland, November 2018

The following conversation with Reagan Foxx was part of my day on the set with Dan O’Connell of Girlfriends Films. For the storyline of his shoot, Dan paired performers in an “older woman/young girl” formula.  As the mature woman in her scene, Reagan was teamed with nineteen-year-old Vanna Bardot.

Dan’s scenes are known for a loving softer touch. Likewise, the set is refreshing in its beauty and tranquility.

All photos are credited to Kevin Sayers.

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Talking with MILF performers is special because they are rare. For a girl to stay in porn well into her thirties and forties is unusual. However, Reagan Foxx challenges that norm. Because she is relatively new to porn, this forty-something brings a fresh and insightful perspective to the business.

Know What I’m Doing

When we settle into our interview, I suggest that maturity makes for a good porn performer. In other words, is there an advantage in being an older woman?

Reagan takes an unexpected approach to the question. Rather than talking strictly sexual desire, she ventures into what a performer values from her work. In her case, it’s a set of priorities.

“I’m not spending my money on frivolous things. I know exactly what I’m doing. I know where my money going. Maybe that’s a difference with the younger people, I don’t know.

“I want to have some friends and go out to dinner. But I don’t hang out every weekend with everyone. So, my goals, I think, are a little bit different. When I get on set, I know exactly what I want to do, and I want to leave [when I’m finished].”

It’s a profession?

“Correct,” Reagan responds. “It’s a job. That’s all it is.”

A Little Background

Reagan Foxx has a path to success that is rooted in her background.

Born in Illinois, she is an only child who spent her adolescence in Kentucky. Reagan attended Milligan College in Tennessee, a Christian school. The focus of disciplined responsibility and going for what you want was established early in her life.

What is more striking is this: Reagan didn’t get involved in adult film until recently. Doing her first camming out of her Arizona home in 2011, she shot her first porn scene in 2016 for Forbidden Fruit Films.

On the other hand, this lovely brunette has a swinger reputation that is a bit overblown, apparently.

“My friends are all swingers, but I am the poser of the group,” she chuckles.

Reagan admits she hangs around the fringes of the lifestyle but, she says, “It was honestly never my thing. I was once a part of it. And now just my friends are.”

My Free Cams

What is Reagan’s take on the question “Is the cammer the new porn performer?”

“That’s what I’m hearing,” she replies. When it comes to their websites, performers are gravitating “more to content trade and putting it out and making your own money,” she believes.  “So, it does seem like that,” Reagan affirms, and references My Free Cams as integral to the success of many adult stars.

Though her career is just getting off the ground, Reagan is no stranger to the AVN trade show. In the past, she’s attended mainly for the parties connected to the swinging lifestyle sometimes associated with porn.

“I’ve actually been to AVN probably ten, twelve years, but recently I went in as a cam girl. The last two years I’ve gone for the porn sites, so I’ve seen a big change regarding My Free Cams. They are a huge sponsor now.”

In Reagan’s opinion, that’s important because “when they give out the awards for best porn people, they’re also integrating in best cam star so you definitely are seeing the cam world kind of coming in [to prominence].”

Fan Base

Since Reagan has transitioned from camming to porn, what does she think about moving in the opposite direction from porn to camming?

“That’s a good question. My fan base—I have some super fans—have come from the cam world. If I hadn’t gotten into porn, they would have stayed with me [as a cammer]. The girls that are doing porn and go into camming, they bring that fan base, too.

“I do feel that now when I occasionally do cam, I get more people coming into my room.”

And, that room is vital because of its intimacy.

“I enjoy camming because to me it lets the fan base see who I am. Personality is huge. When they see your personality, they gravitate towards you.”

There’s  an advantage when porn girls start camming, Reagan points out. It lets “the guys see them every day. They build that relationship. Sometimes they fall for the girl. They want to truly know what’s happening in that girl’s life. The camming provides that. It has the more personal touch.”

From Room to Room

Before she made the leap into camming, Reagan needed to learn some things.

“I started looking around before I actually cammed. I would go from room to room and I would just see girls on their phone. [Some] wouldn’t talk [to the fans]. I wasn’t that girl. As soon as I came on that first day, I was talking, sharing stories, whatever, drinking, having fun. That’s the way to go.”

As camming has matured, the girls have learned their trade.

“Now you can see the girls when they cam, they are much more personal,” Reagan says.

I point out that DVDs include BTS (Behind the Scenes) segments so that porn girls can offer an inside look into the business for their fans, but it comes without real interaction.

“Right. They [the fans] don’t see that [personal] side [of the girls]. But now that things are changing, you [can] do Snapchat every day.

“They do get to see a part of your life. But you have to continue to keep drawing them in.”

Reagan takes a moment to remark about how camming is hard work, especially if you are a parent.

“If you have kids,” she begins, “you’re constantly taking down your camera and pulling your toys out, then hiding your toys [while trying to] figure out what you’re going to do.

“There’s a lot of times where I’d be so stressed out because I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. What’s my goal? When am I going to take off my clothes? How much money do I need so I can do this show? You’re constantly thinking about it.”

Above all, however, bringing good cheer to your fans regardless of your circumstances is vital.

“[When] you get online, you’ve got to have your A game. I’ve been online so many times where I was upset or depressed. That’s a disaster waiting to happen.”

She emphasizes that if you can’t make it happen that day, then stay offline.

Empowerment

Is cam work empowering?

“I never thought about camming being empowerment,” Reagan comments. “But when I danced twenty-five, thirty years ago, I thought that was empowering.”

After a pause, she agrees camming might be.

“I’ve never thought of it that way. Why not? Why wouldn’t it be?”

Then Reagan mentions a nagging doubt she faces when she’s online.

“My problem is that I’m too sympathetic. Therefore, when the guys come to me with all their problems, I kind of burden myself with [them]. So, it wasn’t empowering to me. I never took it that way.”

What’s Next for Porn?

In closing our talk, I ask Reagan where she believes the porn industry is headed. Shoots are getting pretty hard-edged, what can be next?

For this popular MILF, it’s enough to handle what’s already here.

“Everyone wants me to do anal and I’m looking at what’s being put out there. That’s just not me. I don’t want to bend over and spread and push and have it look like a party. There are girls that want to do that. Push the envelope.”

However, it does increase their popularity with fans, she admits.

Understandable, but where does the industry go from here?

“That’s a great question that goes right back to camming, that personal touch these men and women are seeking,” Reagan says. “I have noticed more porn girls are now camming and now certain sites will have their own porn star section.”

Perhaps rather than saying the cam girl is taking over porn, Reagan indicates it may be that the porn girl is taking over camming.

Finally, considering all the competition in porn, what does Reagan think makes her unique?

“I don’t know. Maybe because I am older. Maybe you can converse with me a little bit easier. Maybe because I have a lot of knowledge and I’m a ton of fun,” she beams.

Her fans can definitely get on board with that!

Wrapping up the day.

*          *          *

Reagan Foxx is on twitter here and here.

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Dan O’Connell: A Gentle, Loving Approach

by Rich Moreland, November 2018

Recently my photographer Kevin and I were on set with Dan O’Connell. Out of that experience, came this post.

What you will find here are testimonials and observations about a porn legacy.

First, a few of shots of Dan’s set to put you in the mood.

Outside . . . .

And inside . . . . First the equipment . . .

Then the room where the action is recorded!

[All photos are Kevin’s unless otherwise noted.]

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I wrote my first article on the adult industry in the winter of 2011. Previous to that, I’d visited the AVN trade show and networked in the business as part of a book I was writing on adult film.

All in all, I’m now a ten-year veteran of adult scribing.

During my industry tenure, performers have come and gone while behind the camera personnel–company owners/producers/directors–have remained remarkably constant.

Of everyone I’ve met and written about, no one stands out like Dan O’Connell, founder of Girlfriends Films and its leading director.

Dan’s warmth and understanding of performers’ desires and needs is well-respected industry wide. Likewise, his easy-going attitude on set is appreciated by every performer I’ve talked with.

But that just scratches the surface. Dan and the good folks at Girlfriends take things a step further. They care about the performers they hire.

From my perspective, Girlfriends is top-of-the-line friendly and always accommodating. Just a few weeks ago, I took my new photographer to GFFs’ facility in Valencia. There we met with company president Moose who assured me (as is his habit) that whatever I needed, just ask.

Like Dan, Moose is friendly and always available for conversation and a fresh outlook on the business of porn.

Photo by Bill Knight, 2013

Hall of Famer

In this post, I want to take a moment to celebrate Dan whose kindness, positivity, and political wisdom is well-known within the business. To put an exclamation point to that remark, let me say that in my industry travels over the last ten years, I have not once heard a negative comment about him.

And for good reason.

Photo by Morgan, 2015

The native Montanan is an industry award winner. Two of the most notable accolades occurred in 2015: Nightmove’s Lifetime Achievement Award and enshrinement in AVN’s Hall of Fame, the highest honor in porn. In 2012, he was tapped for XBIZ’s “Man of the Year.”

Of course, Dan’s greatest accomplishment is the creation of Girlfriends Films, a company known for charity sponsorship and combating piracy, the bane of porn today.

I decided to go back through my interviews to look at what performers have said about Dan. What follows in a brief catalogue of their remarks about a man they regard as a top-notch director and a friend.

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From 2013 interviews at the AVN trade show

Dana DeArmond at AVN 2013. Photo by Bill Knight

Dana DeArmond

On Girlfriends Film and Dan:

“They give you the freedom to do the scene the way you want to. They’re cool people. They advocate for the industry probably more than any other company. They’re very involved with the Free Speech Coalition (the industry’s political voice).

“I am in the Girlfriend Films family. They take really good care of me. They treat me awesome. I was sick this morning and Moose came up to my room with bottles of water and Pepto. I was like I am going to go down there and do press for this fucking company because they take care about me. I am not going to sit in my room and be sick all day. I am going to get my shit together because I love them.

“[By the way] Dan is fucking cool.”

Daisy Layne at AVN 2013. Photo by Bill Knight

Daisy Layne

On Shooting for Dan:

“I used to do some midwifing. Dan contacted me because one of the girls [he was shooting] was pregnant and she wanted to do a scene. I met up with her and she was like you used to midwife? And I said, ‘If you go into labor, I’ve got you.’ She was just so enthralled. We had a blast. Dan said he loved it. He wanted ‘real’ and we had chemistry.

On money:

“Several times Dan and I have worked out deals, I was expecting less and I got more and I even reminded him. ‘Dan, we agreed I was going to get this rate’ and he says, ‘Oh no. The scene was so beautiful I had to pay you full-rate.’ That was just above and beyond. He takes care of the girls.

“He wants acting. He has a script so you have lines to memorize while he’s doing the blocking. Then he shoots the scene. Generally, there is a little shooting after that. He’s doing your day rate, acting rate, scene rate. He gets quality work because the people who work for him know what to expect and he pays for it, so he should get it.”

[It’s worth noting that Dan gave me a space in the Girlfriends booth to interview Dana and Daisy, an accommodation not to be minimized because the trade show is a cacophony of club music and chatter that makes interviewing difficult.]

From 2015 interviews done in LA:

Dani Daniels, 2015. Photo by Morgan

Dani Daniels

On Dan:

“Dan’s like a big papa bear. I love it. His brain is awesome, he can come up with stories that I couldn’t come up with in a year. I love working for him. His sets are comfortable. You always get to work with a girl you wanna work with. He treats his girls great. He’s got a great attitude. He’s calm and always about connection. He’s all about the girls—this real sex, real chemistry.

“If he needs something, he’ll let you know. If you’re blocking a shot or if you’re in the wrong room or whatever, he’ll voice it. But for the most part, he just lets you do your thing.”

On Girlfriends:

“There’s very few companies that will turn a camera on and say, ‘Ok, have sex. Do whatever you want.’ I feel like my best scenes are from Girlfriends films. I love it.”

Aidra Fox, 2015. Photo by Morgan

Aidra Fox

“With Dan it’s real the moment you walk on set. The crew gets along with everyone. It’s super nice. ‘What do you need? What do you want? What’s going to make your day?’

“When it comes down to the actual scene, it’s easy. He’s always puts me with good girls, someone that is very into their job, very into me and having sex. It’s just real sex, Dan lets you do the positions that you want to do for however long you want. He doesn’t really tell you how to have sex, just lets you do whatever feels good, whatever feels right and natural.”

Dan getting Dani Daniels (foreground) and Vanessa Veracruz ready for their scene. Photo by Morgan

Vanessa Veracruz

On Girlfriends Films:

“I recently started shooting for Girlfriends back in November. They are one of my favorite sites. I’m bisexual, I got into the business because I had an attraction towards women. Since I am a girl/girl only performer, there’s not a lot of companies to work for.

I love the way Girlfriends directs [their scenes]. It’s very different from what a lot of people shoot. It has its own style and it’s definitely more about sensuality, connecting instead of just being a sexual act.

On Shooting for Dan:

“Dan loves to talk about your character and he gives you a breakdown of what he thinks your character is supposed to be like. He’ll include other things to put the idea in your mind about the kind of person you are going to playing. Today, he gave me a little bit about my character’s background I can remember and convey during the shoot.

“Dan usually tells us he wants a lot of eye contact, a lot of touch, a lot of feeling. In my honest opinion, we don’t have enough of that in a scene. It’s more of the foreplay leading to the sex act which for me is exactly what I like to do.

“It’s a lot easier to enjoy the sex when you have an actual connection, when you’re looking into somebody’s eyes and really touching them and feeling their energy.”

“It’s awesome shooting for them and really connect with the girl that you are working with.”

Getting Jorden Kennedy (on the left) and Aidra Fox ready for their scene.  Photo by Morgan

Jorden Kennedy

“Dan actually cares about the scene looking beautiful and passionate because he cares about the viewers as well as us. To make sure that we’re having a good time, he wants us to be enjoying ourselves. Doing the scenes involving sex. He doesn’t cut. He doesn’t switch positions or do this or say that. He lets us have sex which, I think, makes it really nice to watch because it’s just natural.

“He might stop us once or twice to say ‘Can you position yourself more to the camera’ or ‘Can you push your hair back so we can see your face.’ But otherwise, he’s very open to ideas, especially with the dialogue.

“Dan is more flexible than most. I’ve never had him say ‘No we’re not going to do that.’ He encourages your input. He’s outside the norm as for as taking suggestions.”

From 2018 interviews done in LA:

Vanna Bardot

“I love Dan’s whole demeanor. He’s very easygoing. He’s never too serious. That makes working with him really pleasant. Lots of laughing.

“He says it’s all about real lesbian experiences. He likes the soft affectionate kind of sex. A lot of guys really like that. They don’t just want to see a girl getting pounded or slapped in the face. They want more softer touches. It’s really nice.”

Sarah Vandella

“This is actually my second time on set with Dan and what I have noticed is that he is extremely hands on in a way that will walk you through the scenario from start to finish.

“What makes Dan different is that he has this real gentle loving approach. When we go to roll, I know what is expected, I know where my mark is, I know the tone and the contents of the dialogue and it just makes for a great shooting experience.”

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So, there you have it. A handful of remarks about a director and overall nice guy whose has left his stamp on lesbian sex in adult film.

From my personal perspective, Dan, Moose, and the good people at GFFs are more than professional colleagues, they are among my most treasured industry friends.

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Some boxcover shots Kevin snapped during our visit with Dan and the girls on set that day:

Reagan Foxx and Vanna Bardot, Elsa Jean and Sarah Vandella

 

Reagan Foxx and Vanna Bardot

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Never seen a Girlfriends Film DVD?  Go here and here for a look at the company and the product.

 

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AEE 2017: Jillian Janson

by Rich Moreland, February 2017

This is the third of three posts on my interviews with Star Factory clients during the 2017 Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas.

I value all my industry contacts, but talking with Jillian Janson was an unexpected pleasure.

star-factory-pr-logo_125

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Before interviewing someone I’ve never met, I like to chip away any possible awkwardness  with a brief “hello.” In the case of Jillian Janson, I stopped by the Evil Angel booth where she was signing.

In the past, my luck with Evil Angel girls has not always been the best, but this sweetie was the exception thanks to the great people at Star Factory.

After few minutes of small talk, we were looking forward to our time in the press room the next day.

Photo courtesy of Star Factory and AVN

Photo courtesy of Star Factory and AVN

Doing Everything Right Away

Jillian Janson is blonde and perky with adorable eyes. She entered porn at eighteen in 2013.

Describing herself now as “twenty-one going on thirty,” Jillian has seen a lot of the business but admits she doesn’t know everything yet.

2017-01-20-08-56-22-2I mention some girls get shot out early and Jillian must have buffered her career wisely to still be around after three years.

“The fans are all about the new girl because they see too much of girls who work every day,” she says. Veterans know this and are aware of the pitfalls that can eat up untested ambitions.

A new girl comes in with instant stardom created by “doing everything right away—anal, boy/girl, girl/girl, all day every day,” Jillian says, “then they wonder why six months later, two years later, they [finally] win an award but they’re never working because they are worn out.”

She has learned to pace her career.

“That’s why I been in and out the last three years. I’m just relaxing, having a good time, paying my bills.”

But Jillian remains in the mix.

“I’m still getting recognized for [awards like] female performer, best oral, best anal. It makes me want to work even harder, to just be out there more and show everybody who I am.”

Jillian knows how to brand her name. She’s added feature dancing to her resume and recently launched her website therealjillianjanson.com (see link below).

“I still have a few things in mind to work on, but I’m so excited to get that [the site] going, it’s going to be girl/girl because I haven’t been able to experiment with girls much,” she says with a smile.

Increments

Proclaiming her to be a porn veteran, something that surprises her, I ask Jillian what three pieces of advice she would offer a new girl.

img_0736-2Her attitude shifts a bit with the question. She’s suddenly very focused and less light-hearted.

“You don’t want to necessarily do everything right away. You want to do things in increments. You’re brand new and you don’t know what you want to do so take it in steps.”

In her personal history, Jillian began with photo shoots, did boy/girl, “then a week later, what was I doing? I was on the bed with my first girl who happened to be French-Asian, so I got to experience another culture as well,” she declares.

“So many new things to wrap my mind around, but I have a feeling that I’ve balanced everything pretty well. I take enough time off, kind of make everyone miss me,” she says with a twinkle in her eye.

What’s Jillian’s next tip for an new eager starlet?

“Be yourself, be charming, be unique, be caring,” and most important, “be positive, be nice, if you’re not going to say anything nice, don’t say it at all,” Jillian insists.

But be prepared for the downside of the business.

“You’re going to get knocked down, so get yourself back up again.”

img_0735-2Jillian is determined with her words now, measuring them carefully.

Some industry people will “help you out and be there for you,” she says, but they’re the few, so “be there for yourself.”

And, of course, there’s the third lesson every fresh face who is instantly awash in dollars must learn, Jillian declares.

“Be patient. Be smart with your money. You don’t want to blow it on everything you want right away because the little things don’t add up to the big things that you want.

“I spent a bunch of money on clothes, three thousand dollars on a massage chair, never home for it. It’s just sitting in a storage unit. So that’s money wasted when it could have gone into a new car or a new house or getting a business together.”

Hit-and-Run

Finally, I ask about Jillian about her background.

Her parents were not married, in fact they never dated, she says.

“I call myself a ‘hit-and-run.’ It’s like you go to a party, you drink, you have sex with somebody, and you don’t see them for four years. That’s how my mom pretty much had me,” Jillian’s smile softens her serious undertone.

“‘Hit-and-run’ or ‘one night stand’ is what you call ’em!”

Her laugh is punctured with a touch of resignation.

Jillian, who is not unfamiliar with the LA party scene, does understand the circumstances of how these things happen, however.

Photo courtesy of AVN

Photo courtesy of AVN

“You have to have some fun,” this blonde stunner says. “The industry is so fun, the parties, the events, everything that goes on here. It’s an entertaining experience.”

Jillian Janson began her career as a web cam model in August 2013 when she turned eighteen. She was still in high school in Minnesota, working to help support her mother. Once her school mates found out about her other more grown-up persona, hassles developed and Jillian left for California after an agent contacted her.

This Midwestern lass considers herself to be an independent spirit. Talking with her hints at concerns over approval and validation, not at all unexpected in performers who start very young.

One has to admire Jillian’s depth of self-understanding when she offers her “twenty-one going on thirty” declaration.

I sincerely believe she is more courageous than she realizes.

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Photo courtesy of Star Factory and AVN

Photo courtesy of Star Factory and AVN

Jillian Janson has won several awards, among them is NightMoves “Best Female Performer” in 2015 and “Best Adult Feature Dancer” in 2016.

This year, Jillian was nominated for AVN’s 2017 Female Performer of the Year.

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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.

img_0726-2

“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!

star-factory-pr-2013-banner

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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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