I’ve been attending the Adult Entertainment Expo and the AVN Awards since 2003, and when I look at pictures from that time of people I still know today, everybody looks like babies.
As we begin AEE Week, culminating with Saturday’s AVN Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel, I can’t help but think of the old bastards I met in Vegas who took me aside—I was then an impressionable AVN editor—to tell me that this year—2003—would surely be the final year for AVN and that things just aren’t the way they were.
I hear the same things today and, from what I’m told, the same things were said back in 1996 when many of my friends started working in the adult business.
Things certainly aren’t what they were. For example, I think movies are a lot better, for the most part, today. I think it takes a smarter person to make money today. I think it is easier to root out the mean and damaged people today (though they have more tools to do damage). I think I will return to Los Angeles next week with thousands of dollars worth of promises and blowjobs, as usual.
Over the years I have come to expect different things from “AVN,” as I call this week, collectively.
- I expect to be shocked at the dwindling number of suitcase pimps and the increased number of performers’ dads
- I expect to be amazed at the compassion with which many of the female performers treat their fans
- I expect to take advantage of some things that no jury of my peers would convict me for taking advantage of
- I expect to regret eating at the Grand Lux at 4 in the morning
- I expect to see men unaccustomed to wearing suits, and women unaccustomed to walking more than 40 feet in heels
- I expect the AVN Awards show to be not enjoyable in an inoffensive way
- I expect to see people who, based on the condition they were in last year, I never expected to see again
- I expect to see dramatic range from certain pornographers that is not apparent in their movies
- I expect people to overhear at least ten people say, “This is definitely the last year.”
Visiting AVN was simpler in 2003. Not everyone was an amateur photographer with a camera in his phone—some people didn’t even have cell phones!—so the only things people had to lug were their bulging swag bags and their portable oxygen machines.
I borrowed the 2 Megapixel camera that AVN owned to take these pictures—there’s Felix Vicious, Belladonna (it was her first AVN, too), and Calli Cox, among others—and spent the rest of my time (as I recall) writing nonsense “business” stories about the exhibitors and trying, in the passive-aggressive way that was my M.O. back then, to bang the woman I would eventually marry. Score!