AEE Wraps Up in Vegas

Bob Johnson and Dan Miller

LAS VEGAS — The AVN Adult Entertainment Expo came to a close on Saturday afternoon as a couple hundred porn stars greeted a steady stream of fans at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

The 2012 version of AEE underwent a major overhaul, moving from the Sands Expo Center at the Venetian Hotel where it resided for several years, into the Hard Rock, where exhibitors set up in three different spaces. The zigzagging layout weaved through two large ballrooms and The Joint nightclub, which housed an assortment of video industry and retail booths. Several other companies chose to set up meetings in upstairs business suites.

The Manwin-owned Brazzers and Digital Playground enjoyed two of the biggest presences at the expo, as their posters and signage covered the entry to the expo and their side-by-side booths lined the main hallway.

Digital Playground brought its entire contract performer lineup including Jesse Jane, Kayden Kross, Riley Steele, Stoya, Selena Rose and BiBi Jones, who were promoting 2011 hits such as “Top Guns” and “Fighters.”

Brazzers regulars such as Lisa Ann fielded a line of attendees, while contract guy Keiran Lee also signed autographs and did a few interviews of his own.

Just down the hall at the AEBN booth, Sophie Dee posed for pictures with admirers as she celebrated her six-year wedding anniversary with husband Lee Bang, a fellow performer who also owns the talent agency ValleyBabes.

A 28-year-old native of Wales, Dee is poised to be the subject of her own documentary for the BBC this year in addition to doing more mainstream independent projects, Bang told XBIZ.

While visiting the Evil Angel booth, owner John Stagliano quipped, “I haven’t squeezed enough asses yet. I don’t know how that happened because I see so many girls crammed into one place.”

On a more serious note, when asked about the impending mandatory condom issue facing L.A. porn companies, Stagliano told XBIZ, “People are not going to buy products government officials think they should. They’re just not going to change the public’s purchasing habits. I see what people like right here in our booth.”

Stagliano also noted the possibility of companies moving out of L.A. if the measure passes. “If L.A. County makes it more difficult for companies to shoot, then people will move,” he said. “We can then thank them for more unemployment.”

There was a Ron Jeremy sighting at the booth, and a baseball cap wearing Manuel Ferrara was seen relaxing incognito, except for his Buttman t-shirt, along with performer Mr. Pete during the midday rush.

The Jules Jordan Video booth attracted lots of activity thanks in part to top talent such as Kristina Rose, Alexis Texas, Samantha Saint, Abella Anderson and Riley Reid wearing next to nothing while they posed for photos.

“This year’s show seems a lot lighter than previous years, but we’re getting more exposure because the different areas are scattered,” Jordan said. “The booths aren’t all in one place. We also opted for the biggest booth presence.”

In terms of 2012, Jordan told XBIZ, “We’re going heavily into the Internet, mobile and live shows. I have more creative control now and it’s fun to be able to experiment. We’re looking forward to a big year.”

Pure Play Media chief Richard Arnold made the rounds along with Immoral Productions owner Porno Dan Leal, whose reality show “The Right Hand” got the green light for a second season.

“We started shooting the second season of our HBO Canada reality show ‘The Right Hand’ here on the floor, so the show is serving more than one purpose for us,” Arnold said. “So far we’re happy.”

Graham Travis, who directed the XBIZ Award-winning Feature Movie of the Year, “Portrait of the Girl,” was also spotted watching the proceedings at his Elegant Angel booth, where rising star Skin Diamond turned heads.

Meanwhile, Girlfriends Films vice president Moose said his company was adjusting to the new expo location and networking with clients.

“There have been some bumps — it’s a smaller venue and we aren’t seeing the 10,000-15,000 attendees that we’re used to,” he said. “But overall the floor traffic has been good and we’ve talked to quite a few buyers.”