Darklady Does Vegas
Attending the Adult Entertainment Expo and AVN Awards always reminds me of how much I love porn stars. Honestly. I love porn stars because I love theater — and porn often has more to do with theater than it does with sex. Now, when I say “theater,” I don’t mean the end product, which is nothing more or less than a series of filmed or video taped sex acts associated with a plot or a central concept. I mean the endlessly entertaining real world theatrical production that is being a porn star, working with porn stars, or promoting yourself within an industry populated with porn stars.
Much like mainstream entertainment, the process of promotion is nearly as important as the product ultimately being promoted. Although mainstream entertainers certainly rely upon a certain amount of sex appeal in their quest to remain employed, in porn the projection of sex appeal is vital, unless you’re a non-sex performer or professional – and even then there’s a certain message about sexuality being subtly communicated.
The AEE tradeshow floor has a carnival atmosphere. Music blares from multiple booths; bright and colorful, tightly edited images flash on multiple screens; and surprisingly tiny starlets with ample amounts of make-up and cleavage sign autographs and pose with fans. There are people everywhere, cameras flashing, voices raised, eyes excitedly taking in everything around them. Admirers hope against hope that their favorite sex star will find them genuinely appealing – and sex stars hope that they’ve still got “it” even when their feet hurt, they’ve got a hang-over, or they just wish they were back in the hotel room sleeping.
Each morning before I headed out to the tradeshow booths and aisles, I selected garments from my suitcase that I deemed were both appropriately functional and appealing. Then I spent hours watching the crowd and enjoying the show that it put on – all the while being part of it. The human parade of sexiness was diverse – although nowhere near as diverse as that found in the world at large. It’s probably no surprise that this year’s starlets, like last year’s starlets, are almost universally super slim and mostly pale blonde. The sight of Rachel Rotten and Jewel Marceau staffing booths cheered my gothic punk heart, but the nearly universal shortness of so many starlets drew comments from at least one non-convention goer who pulled me aside to ask questions about the scantily clad girls before he regaled me with stories of his personal porn rental experiences.
Throughout this all, I wondered – what is sexy? Are both Carmen Luvana and Kat Kleavage sexy even though they’re so very different from one another? Are both Mika Tan and Lizzy Borden sexy even though their approaches to sex are so different? Are both Joanna Jet and Mary Carey both sexy even though one has a dick of her own and the other borrows them from co-stars? Are both Candida Royalle and Julie Meadows sexy even though there are years between them? Are both Vanessa Blue and Darklady sexy even though one is pale and plush whereas the other is dusky and sleek? Is sexy a costume or a persona or a bust size or a hair color?
And this, of course, brings me back to the theatrical aspect of porn. Whether it’s a chain mail or leather bikini, a tank top, an evening gown, vinyl, velvet, mesh or lace, big boobs or small, slathered cosmetics or the light touch – we were all dressed for our roles and acting our parts, jockeying for attention, and hoping that somebody somewhere would think we were sexy. And somehow, we all managed to accomplish our goal. Now, that’s entertainment!
– Originally published in Playtime Magazine –