Dance Circuit Stars: 2
Fans show up bearing personal gifts for their favorite stars. They send flowers and bizarre notes or make odd or onerous demands. Sometimes they become violently jealous of the protective roadie.
During a recent appearance in Chicago, fans smashed the windshield of Benz's limousine after her roadie tried to keep them at bay when the actress showed up at a local dance club. The police were called to escort Benz back to her hotel and posted a private security guard outside her door for the remainder of the weekend.
Even in Oxnard, a farming town just 30 minutes north of Chatsworth, Calif., where most adult companies have their studios, Benz appeared to be something of a wondrous oddity. After the show, one of the house dancers cuddled next to Benz for a Polaroid and asked with child-like awe what trendy Hollywood nightspots are like.
"In Los Angeles, it's no big deal to see one of the girls eating sushi," Michaels said. "In Omaha, if you see Brianna Banks walking down the street, that's a big deal."
After an appearance in a Sacramento, Calif., club, a fan followed Jasmin St. Claire and her roadie to a nearby Denny's restaurant where he squeezed himself into a booth with them and proceeded to recount in graphic detail every sex scene St. Claire had ever done, according to the actress' roadie.
"It was like, 'Dude, this is neither the time nor the place to discuss this,'" recalled the roadie, who has been in the business for 10 years.
Lick, one of the performers, makes a lot of appearances outside the United States where things can become even more bizarre for adult actresses. In Europe, the stars typically appear in large venues that seat as many as 5,000, Lick said, and their arrival is regarded as an event.
On a recent trip to Estonia, Lick and Midori were shocked when they boarded a plane to find all of the passengers staring at them.
"We were like, what's going on?" Lick recalled. "When we got to our seats there was a newspaper on every seat and there was our picture on the front page, announcing that we were coming.
"Mostly though, life on the road is just lonely," Lick said. "I spend a lot of time in my hotel."
Roadies often have the most hellish experiences. There is no standard pay for roadies, but $1,000 plus expenses is considered good compensation for a weekend's work.
"People always assume you're fucking the girl, but that's not what it's about," one roadie told XBiz. "It's like going on the road with your sister. You don't sleep with your sister — or at least generally you don't do that.
"Most of the time you're sitting in Denny's or McDonald's and she has no makeup on, and you're reminding each other not to forget to pay the bills [back home]."
Roadies have a complicated job. They are required to be seen enough to keep stalkers at bay but not visible enough to scare away the fans. They carry the actress' bags and act as a liaison with the deejay. Clubs frown on actresses bringing boyfriends or husbands as roadies because the jealousy starts to run both ways.
"You're the bodyguard, the assistant and the babysitter," the roadie said. "Your job is to stay coherent and sober and keep things moving. If you're fucked up, what's the point of you being there? It's all about being seen and not heard."
Some of the club's house dancers can become difficult if they think the feature dancer is not pulling her weight, some say, and the star must remember that her job is to pull in customers for the local dancers, they say.
"Some of the [stars] come in with attitude, and girls can get jealous," Lick acknowledged.
At the Oxnard Rhino, deejay J. Scratch began pumping Benz's appearance at least an hour before her first show.
"Nikki Benz gonna be in the house, boys," he kept reminding the customers between the regular dancers' sets.
No Lap Dances
Scratch explained that the club doesn't like its headliners to stay on too long. And Benz said later that it was Rhino's policy, not her own, that she not give personal lap dances.
"At other clubs, I do lap dances for a larger fee," she said.
After Benz left the Rhino stage, Scratch called all of the house dancers to the floor to solicit lap dances from the men that Benz had worked up.
"Twenty for topless, forty for nude," he repeatedly called, as men trailed the dancers into the plush booths.
A dancer who said her name was Heart and jiggled her heart-shaped hoop earrings to prove it, said she liked the headliners "that know how to dance."
"The one we had a couple of weeks ago, she was no good," Heart said. "Anybody could do what she did."
Heart said she couldn't remember the substandard headliner's name but gave Benz high marks.
"She can dance, and that's good for all of us," Heart said.
In the parking lot, a man named Hector didn't give Benz such high marks. He said he came to the club for a night out while his wife worked as a home health care provider. He'd never heard of Benz and wasn't impressed.
"I like a big booty. I don't like those skinny white asses," he said. And Heart? "Heart's got booty. Now she's all right."