Ehh-rotica LA 2006…

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(Some of these links are NSFW.)

Tony has regretted (twice) not attending Erotica LA 2006 last weekend (The LA Times even wrote about it last Sunday).

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But honestly, Tony? You didn’t miss a thing. Compared to past years, this year’s edition was a major disappointment, to the point where it really “jumped the shark.”

I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, as James DiGiorgio shared (link via LukeIsBack.com) my sentiment:

When I say it sucked, I’m not talking about it sucking from a financial point-of-view. I’m sure it was a cash cow for its promoters. After all, all those thousands of people coming in at $30 a pop- That’s some serious green.

When I say it sucked, I’m talking about it, basically, being a big freaking bore.

More commentary and photos (of which one or two are probably NSFW) after the jump.

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There were a couple of problems with this year’s convention.

Catering to the general public (i.e. the mainstream audience) in an effort to bolster attendance (from 40,000 last year to 50,000 this year) meant toning down or eliminating some of the more hardcore elements altogether.

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Seminars (“How to be a Dominant Diva”), stage shows (“Leather & Lace Fashion Show”), and artwork from the Erotic Museum (which was located in Hollywood and closed in May) have always been regular features, but there was also a good amount of floor space dedicated to customized cars, as well as booths for online poker websites, and an
appearance by Dave Navarro at the Indie 103.1 booth. In addition, there was the “Buckfest” (the return of the mechanical bull, sponsored by AVN), the Vivid Cheerleader Auditions for Debbie Does Dallas… Again, and the first annual F.A.M.E. Awards (results and photos from Gram Ponante). But aside from the F.A.M.E. Awards, the rest seemed like absolute filler, especially since there was an absence of many pornstars and companies (more below).

There was a ban on the display of hardcore footage on television screens, reminiscent of the restrictions imposed on the models at this year’s E3, which forced companies to resort to either showing softcore footage or other subject matter entirely (more below). Personally, I didn’t mind this restriction, but it was interesting to note this change in policy.

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There were also a lack of pornstars and major companies, as echoed by DiGiorgio:

First off, other than Club Jenna’s girls and a few others, there really weren’t many porn stars there. At least, not that I saw. Could it be that few exhibitors were willing to part with some dough to pay these girls to hang out at their booths at a FAN CONVENTION and endure the lurid, groping advances of salivating fan boys? …

It also seemed to me that less companies were exhibiting than in previous years. Sure, the aforementioned Club Jenna was there, as was Wicked and Red Light and some other “big guys.” But where was Digital Playground? Vivid? Sin City? Metro? If they were there I didn’t notice them.

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Indeed, as DiGiorgio mentioned, the largest company, Vivid, wasn’t there (only sponsoring the aforementioned cheerleader auditions), but they’ve never had a booth at Erotica L.A., which allowed smaller companies like Wicked, Club Jenna (which was just acquired by Playboy for an undisclosed sum), Red Light District, and Naughty America to be the proverbial big fish in the small pond.

Also absent were AVN (only sponsoring the aforementioned “Buckfest”), Digital Playground, Tera Patrick‘s companies (although she herself made appearances at The Wanted List booth), and photographers like Suze Randall and Andrew Blake (with Blake only present to host a slideshow of his photography).

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And there were no strip clubs (just two publications that cover them). Up until this year, the Spearmint Rhino has always had a booth. Which is a stark contrast to a few years ago, when the Rhino and two other strip club chains had booths and competed for attention with loud music, dancing strippers, and free t-shirts.

Disappointment aside, there were a few bright spots.

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There was the return of Dessarae Bradford (MySpace Music), a woman Xeni Jardin discovered at Erotica LA two years ago (here, here, here, and here). Bradford was still selling copies of her book My S/M Romp With Alec Baldwin, but she was selling her new book Colin Farrell: A Dark Twisted Puppy as well as her song “Colin Farrell is My Bitch.” Like many celebrity blogs though, Bradford’s blog has been largely abandoned, as it only has one entry dated April 26th.

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Also, technology-wise, it seemed like everyone in attendance was armed with a camera, whether it be a cameraphone, a point-and-shoot, a prosumer dSLR, or a professional dSLR, complete with elaborate flash rigs.

And then there’s the sheer entertainment that comes from observing other guys in this type of environment.

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Bang. Bros. had the unique foresight to broadcast the World Cup on the television screens, and their strategy paid off, as it drew quite a crowd on Saturday.

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The thought of taking upskirt photos, even at an event like this one, is something I can’t fathom doing at all. I guess I’m too much of a gentleman.

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And then there are the hardcore fans who bring bouquets of roses for their favorite pornstars. Wow.

More photos here.

And if you want to see how others felt about Erotica L.A., there are reports and photos from Gram Ponante, Luke Is Back, and Tara at Free Porn Star Pix.