Lockdown at the Phoenix Forum

From a distance, Tempe’s Mission Palms hotel looks like an ant colony. We adjust our binoculars and see that the ants are all wearing goatees and Hawaiian shirts. This is the adult webmaster convention known as the Phoenix Forum. Even though it’s in Tempe.

Distance is required because my name is not on the press list. Unlike the AVN convention, which is like a Middle-eastern bazaar of haggling and texting people to vouch for you when your name isn’t on the list, my experience this morning was a lot more like dealing with VA hospitals; a very curt and military “No.”

This is understandable, as 80 percent of the local population is actually a patient at a VA hospital.

I decided I’d attend two weeks ago and started sending e-mails to the Forum’s Info address listed on its website. When I didn’t hear back, I didn’t worry, but instead called friends to give me the contact info of someone in charge. When I got those names, I e-mailed and didn’t hear back yet again.

So this morning I piloted my Hummer 3 (I bought it for the convention to fit in, even though I can see over the dashboard) past two levels of security; Tempe’s Mission Palms hotel, in the shadow of Arizona State University Mountain, was locked down for the webmasters.

A table outside the registration area was laden (as tables tend to be) with copies of XBiz. I grabbed one because I knew I had a byline or two this month. I fired up this laptop and tabbed several instances of my articles around the web. I paperclipped my business card with my nom de porn to my California driver’s license bearing the name Ronnie James Dio.

“You’re not on the list,” the temp at the registration desk said. She was very nice otherwise.

I went out into the lobby to make some calls. Everyone with decision-making power was somewhere else. A security guard asked me to leave.

“If you don’t have a wristband, I’m afraid you’re going to have to leave the property,” he said.

The property?” I asked. “I can’t just sit over there and e-mail an outraged letter or two to the people irresponsible for this convention?”

“No,” he said. “Well, you can stay there for a few minutes.”

“Thank you.”

“Grams,” you might say. “You didn’t pay an admission fee for the right to wear a ‘Pussycash’ lanyard. Do you really expect to just waltz in there with a pile of adult business articles under your arm after only sending four e-mails over the past two weeks?”

Well, yeah.

“And doesn’t the fact that no one responded to you tell you anything, like that they didn’t want you there?”

Wait a minute – are you saying that my trenchant and thoughtful take on the adult industry is irrelevant?

“If the shoe fits…”

After about twenty minutes of making calls and not raising the right people, I gave up and came to this Starbucks, where blue-haired snowbirds wonder over my shoulder who “Joey Buttafuoco” is.

I’m in the state anyway for the Great Gape Off at the Grand Canyon, in which several Red Light District starlets will compete with the Natural Wonder to see who has the largest capacity. The winner gets the Colorado River.

Previously: Nicole Moore goes streaming
See also: Tempe’s Phoenix Forum

About Gram the Man 4399 Articles
Gram Ponante is America's Beloved Porn Journalist

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