AEE Day Three Coverage

Joanne Cachapero
LAS VEGAS — At the Adult Entertainment Expo on Friday consumers were treated to celebrity signings and Pleasure Production’s director Matt Zane literally swinging from the ceiling.

In the Pleasure Productions booth, Zane drew a huge crowd as four vicious-looking shark hooks were pierced through the skin of his upper back and shoulders in order to hang from an apparatus, in his attempt to break illusionist Criss Angel’s 2006 record five hour and 40 minute record for being suspended.

With the hooks set into his back, Pleasure Productions contract star Tera Wray helped Zane remove his boots as he said “That’s another five pounds that I don’t need.”

Attached to a hoist, Zane’s skin was pulled taut as he tiptoed back and forth before being lifted off the ground. As soon his feet left the ground, a six-hour countdown began ticking off in minutes on a digital clock. At first, Zane hung lifeless, like a zombie puppet, until assistants helped to turn him to face the crowd. Hanging three feet off the ground, he held up his latest DVD release, “Punk’d Ur Ass 3,” featuring Wray, and took photos with fans, gave interviews and signed autographs.

Zane’s test of endurance was a sensational spectacle for fans and fetish enthusiasts alike.

Not far away, Evil Angel’s Karen Stagliano heard news of the Zane stunt and admitted having a bondage jones, reminiscing about her days as a BDSM performer and how she enjoyed elaborate rigging and being hung upside down.

As award-winning SexZ Pictures director Eli Cross stopped into Evil Angel’s booth to say “hello,” Karen said that the “Upload” director had been working on a project with her husband, Evil Angel founder and legendary director John Stagliano, for tonight’s AVN Awards program.

“Here’s a little scoop,” Karen told XBIZ. “John choreographed a dance number for the show like we did last year [featuring dancers from Stagliano’s “Fashionistas” revue at night club Krave in Las Vegas], and Eli is making a cameo appearance in a video that’s going to be shown during the number.”

Fans gathered around Evil Angels’ booth to get autographs fro top-notch performers like Jenny Hendrix and Annette Schwartz.

At the Hustler booth, Theresa Flynt fielded interview requests for her father, Hustler founder Larry Flynt, who was scheduled to appear and sign for fans.

Managing Director of Hustler’s European office Helen Clyne had come from Düsseldorf with Hustler’s Jeff Hawkins, and told XBIZ that since the European office opened 11 months ago, the Hustler brand has been an easy sell to the Europeans, who recognize the reputation and quality of Hustler’s diverse product line.

According to Clyne, Europe’s oldest adult retailer Beate Ushe recently approached Hustler to develop a point-of-purchase display for their chain of retail storefronts. The merchandising display cross-markets Hustler brand lingerie, DVDs and other adult products from the Hustler line, in a one-stop format that makes a bold statement to shoppers.

“They [representatives from Beate Ushe] didn’t approach any other company besides Hustler because they said they knew the strength of the brand,” Clyne said. “So, we developed the POP display or them; they’ve never had anything like it.”

In the GAYVN area of the show, a limited number of gay studios showed their wares with the largest presence coming from gay multimedia company Channel 1 Releasing, with other studios including Jet Set Entertainment, Helix Studios, Oh Man! Studios and gay distributor Marina Pacific in smaller booths.

Distributor/retailer Bijou World’s Steven Touchin and David Boyer traveled all the way from Bijou’s world-famous theatre and storefront adult shop in Chicago.

Hall-of-Famer Touchin brought a vast catalog of gay loops and films from the ‘60s and ‘70s, and told XBIZ that he is having great success at marketing the historical films to GLBT film festivals in America and also foreign countries.

Some of San Francisco’s mainline gay production companies were represented by visiting studio heads that came to Las Vegas strictly for business-to-business contacts and meetings.

Hot House Entertainment’s Steven Scarborough and partner Brent Smith were seen walking the show floor, as well as Titan Media’s Keith Webb and Bruce Cam, who were in town to launch TitanMen’s new sex tool line with Doc Johnson.

At the NinnWorx/Spearmint Rhino booth, the trailer for director Michael Ninn’s upcoming blockbuster release “Four” delighted crowds of onlookers with its amazing computer-generated imagery effects and high production quality.

According to NinnWorx Sherry Ziegelmeyer, only the action sequences for the film have been completed, and the sex scenes will be shot in February and March in an undisclosed desert location.

The battle and fantasy sequences were filmed completely in a green screen production facility, and the wardrobe for the movie was created by mainstream costumer The Sword and the Stone.

Based on the mainstream smash hit “300,” the basic plot of the movie features Ninnworx contract stars Brea Bennett, Cassidey, Jana Jordan, Nikki Kane and Renee Perez as the widows of Spartan warriors bent on avenging the deaths of their husbands. Male performers that will star in the film include Marco Banderas and Reno.

The female performers appeared at the booth, elegantly attired and attracting a lot of fan attention.

As a star of “Four,” Cassidey (formerly a contract performer for Vivid) told XBIZ she has wanted to work for Ninn since the beginning of her career.

“I’m having a blast. It’s a good vibe with good people,” she said.

She confessed that she would have liked to have been more physical during the filming of the action sequences, but was prevented from it by injuries from a car accident she had during production.

“I didn’t get to move around much,” she said, looking dark and alluring in her feathered corset dress and thigh-high boots.

Always a fan favorite because of the stellar line-up of female talent appearing for photo ops and autographs, production company Naughty America showcased a dozen starlets including Rachel Starr, Mikayla, Gianna Lynn, Abbey Brooks, Puma Swede, Nikki Benz, Nina Hartley, Audrey Hollander, Roxy DeVille, and Victoria Sin, among others.

Adult superstar Tera Patrick’s Teravision booth saw the most celebrity bang for the fan’s buck, with an appearance by nominated director/rocker Dave Navarro, who appeared to sign for fans. Other adult celebrities came by to be photographed with Navarro, including Brea Bennett,’s Joanna Angel, and 2007 Transsexual Performer of the Year Buck Angel.

Navarro was thrilled at the recognition for his directorial debut title “Broken” starring uber-starlet Sasha Grey and produced by Teravision.

“I’m so excited,” Navarro told XBIZ. “It’s legitimately an honor to just to be nominated.”

Navarro and his business partner Larissa Friend confessed also that they have taken on representation for Sasha Grey, and are hoping to help create some mainstream opportunities for the young actress.

Navarro said that he is currently in discussions with Teravision executive producer Sancho for a second project that may feature Grey.

Patrick, looking long, tall and glamorous also was at the booth, fresh from her Mistress Couture fashion show, held at Tao nightclub, in the Venetian Casino and Hotel.

Estimated turnout for the Tao event was around 4,000 partygoers with many adult VIPs. The party climaxed with a runway show of 40 models in Mistress Couture lingerie, swimsuits and club wear.

“It was so stressful,” Patrick told XBIZ, laughing.

“I’m not stressed about hosting the [AVN] award show at all, but it’s hard to get 40 girls together and get it all to come off, but it did and it was incredible,” Patrick said. “But all the clothes had to be flown in with my design partner Heather of Lucky 13 clothing. It was stressful, but it all worked out, and I have to give it to all the girls for pulling it all together. And I want to really thank Tao – we love them and they were great about everything.”

Finally, at a few minutes after 6 p.m. Friday evening, Zane succeeded in breaking Criss Angel’s record by 20 minutes, after hanging suspended for 6 hours straight.

A noticeably increased presence on the floor for Web companies like Australian online producer, as well as Naughty America, Shane’s World and other primarily online companies, caused speculation from industry members as to the transitioning state of the business.

Although rumors and opinions are nothing new on the show floor, with fewer exhibitors and consumer ticket prices at up to $80 for admittance, there was some industry insider speculation about the changing business model for fan shows in general.

“I think it’s going to keep getting smaller,” one unidentified industry member said.