Bipolar Disorder

Tom Hymes
I went to Las Vegas last week for the Storerotica and Gentlemen's Club Owners Expos, which were held in separate halls at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

Storerotica was holding its first to-do, and the Gentlemen's Expo was on its 15th year.

The shows were very well produced and combined there seemed to be just enough floor traffic to keep things humming, but Storerotica will probably need to attract more retailers for it to really pay off for exhibitors in the coming years.

Personally, I am very glad I went. I got to meet a lot of new people (new to me, anyway) and the seminars I attended were of a very high quality. But it occurred to me as I was sitting in one of the seminars attended by about 300 people in the adult entertainment industry, most of whom I had never met or heard of before, that there was something very wrong with the big picture.

Simply put, it's weird that there are two major parts of this business that refer to themselves as "the adult entertainment industry," but which have little interaction with one another. It's wrong on so many levels.

I get it that the club owners don't want to be tarnished by the "penetrators," and I understand that the video and Web folk don't by and large have direct business dealings with the clubs, but the fact is there is more that brings the groups together than divides them.

There is, at the least, a mutual dependency. If all the strip clubs in the nation suddenly disappeared, the annual salaries of the adult performers who also hit the dancing circuit would instantly be cut in more than half, and that's probably underestimating the pain. Likewise, if all the studios suddenly disappeared, there go all the featured porn star dancers who regularly pack them into the clubs.

But even if the clubs did not play a vital role in adult's economic food chain, there are plenty of other reasons for the two disparate sides of the industry to better coordinate with one another, and the granddaddy of all reasons is the ongoing war this industry is currently waging against the organized and motivated forces of censorship and oppression.

They're coming after us online and offline, and they aren't going away, so while the lawyers work together and the associations like FSC and ACE work together, it behooves the actual industry players to find common interest and work together, because if the industry's enemies have proven anything it is that there is power in numbers.