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4 Play 10th Anniversary Party

December 1, 2007

Jenna bullriding
Jenna checking out the bull riding machine. She wasn't in the contest but you can see her at 4 Play on Friday through Saturday nights.
It's amazing how fast time flies.  It doesn't seem like 10 years have already gone by but it has.

4 Play celebrated their 10th anniversary with a bang, and a bull.  There was a bull riding contest, along with a long list of the hottest dancers in LA going on stage.

Some ex-employees that worked at 4 Play over the years also came in to show their love for the club they used to work at.

Both in-house feature dancers Tally Stevens and Penelope performed their amazing sets on stage. After Penelope's performance, she literally got a standing "O" from the audience.  These in-house girls make many of the so called adult features look lazy and untalented.

The bull riding contestants were Athena, Dallas, Jennifer, Sterline, Electra, Sheryl, and Yvonne.  Athena and Dallas came back and did a double-trouble bull riding session.  The girls went topless but not nude.  Probably because of some hygiene law.  I'm not sure who won but it certainly was different.  This may be the first and last time this happens at any nude club.

Frankly, I was a little disappointed with the bull riding. I knew that nobody was going to be thrown off and have their heads cracked open, but I thought there would be a little more movement so that there would be some booby jiggling.  But with lawyers lurking everywhere, no such luck.

But all in all, this night was an amazing milestone, as well as great fun, along with a fantastic lineup of beauties on stage.  Congratulations to 4 Play for 10 wonderful years, and I hope to be around to see the next 10.


Adult Entertainment Expo 2007

March 1, 2007
By Bishop^

Rebeca Linares
Rebeca Linares. All photo by Bishop^ and friends..
Over the past few years, change has affected the adult industry in new and interesting ways. At the same time that options in adult entertainment are expanding due to the use of new technologies, there are obvious shifts in power and economics that were very visible at this year's Adult Entertainment Expo.

One noticeable change this year was that some major players were not even present. Although Vivid Video provided lanyards for the press badges, they had no booth at the Expo. Other major studios such as Wicked and Hustler had the large booths they've had in previous years.

However, talent presence was not as strong -- there were more no-shows than there have been in the past, and producers such as Anabolic that in the past would have eight to ten girls signing at their booths, had only two or three this year. There are two major reasons for this apparent "shrinkage" in the industry.

The first is good for us as consumers: the vast rise in accessibility of the Internet is allowing more players to get into the game. While porn has always been available online (I remember downloading grainy pictures back in the 80's), the past few years have seen an explosion of web sites catering to all manner of mainstream and strange sexual interests. Many porn stars have their own web sites - for example, porn veteran Adriana Sage has produced content almost solely for her own web site for the past few years. Much of the photography and video being done is only being shown on these individual sites, although often there is cross-licensing allowing members of one star's site to view content from a select number of others.

Ashley & Natasha
Ashley & Natasha having fun.
On a similar front, a rapidly increasing number of independent and amateur (or "faux-amateur") web sites are available. The "Bang Bus" web site started as such a low-budget operation in Miami several years ago, but has expanded into a network of web sites catering to specialty themes, such as "MILF Hunter" and "Dirty Latina Maids". It now has one of the larger booths at the Expo, and while not in a prominent location at the front of the show floor, it definitely stands out among the smaller booths that surround it. The myriad sites following in the Bang Bus footsteps are visible not at their own booths, but in the crowds walking the show floor. I spoke with two friends from San Francisco who by Thursday had already hired both a girl and a guy at the show to act in a scene for them the following night.

The great increase in alternative sources for adult video and pictures is certainly of some concern to the major studios - while providing more options for consumers. But a more sinister change in the industry is the ongoing enforcement of the Federal law known in the industry as "2257" (specifically, U.S. Code Section 2257), which last year was amended and expanded into new areas that concern anyone producing or distributing adult media in the US.

Alexis Love
Alexis Love.
While the professed motives for the 2257 law - protecting minors from being involved in pornography - are noble, the actual implementation is more distressing. It takes a reasonable prohibition, that no one under 18 should be in adult media, and extends it into a recordkeeping violation. Producers who fail to keep the proof-of-age records required by 2257 are guilty of a federal crime even if they have not employed underage actors, and even if all of their actors are obviously adults. It is similar to laws that allow states to fine bar owners if a senior citizen is served alcohol without showing ID proving he is 21.

The two major concerns over 2257 are its expansion to "secondary producers" and a new section making its requirements applicable to "simulated" sexual activity. The role of "secondary producers" is controversial and was thrown out by the courts a few years ago, but has been rewritten and will certainly require a new court challenge to avoid its enforcement. Essentially, this provision requires that anyone who edits or repackages or reuses adult material must keep the same records as those who originally film or photograph the models. The implications are enormous - anyone who licenses a photo set or video for use online, a store which displays porn box covers on its web site, and even a DVD manufacturer which produces "compilation" discs, must maintain records for all of the models involved.

Jenna Haze
Jenna Haze.
A section of the law on valid ID would be a big hit to an industry which in recent years has had dramatic international growth. For adult films produced in the U.S., only ID issued by a US state or federal agency would be valid as proof of age. A performer from Brazil or Spain, for example, could not use their drivers license from home, or even their passport, for the purposes of 2257 documentation. If this section is upheld, it will be a major hit to studios which have started using much more talent from places like Spain, Italy, and Eastern Europe.

The new provisions requiring recordkeeping for simulated sex have huge implications for the mainstream Hollywood film industry, since mainstream films are filled with simulated sexual scenes, many involving actual minors. A legal challenge is underway by the adult industry, of course, which will probably mean many months of legal briefs and court battles which will lay the course for the future of adult entertainment for some years to come.

Nautica Thorn
Nautica Thorn.
So given all of this dour news, is there good news to come out of the Expo this year? Sure! As I mentioned before, there is much more variety available in adult entertainment compared to previous years, both in its sources and in its delivery. DVD sales may be down, but largely because of the increase in rentals (often from sites such as WantedList.com) and new developments in online delivery. Two years ago less than five companies specialized in online pay-per-minute streaming video of major studio titles, but now more than a dozen feature-filled sites are available, with more on the way. While more dedicated porn fans may collect DVDs or videos of particular performers or special interests, an increasing number of porn viewers are simply watching streaming video, which allows them to flip between scenes at a rapid pace (perfect for today's short attention spans) and leave very little evidence of their having done so. And of course, there is stil plenty of great talent in the industry, much of which showed up to meet with press and fans at the Expo. While attendance was down this year, there certainly was a visible crop of new talent, both domestic and foreign, as well as some returning favorites.

As is traditional, the Anabolic Video booth was host to new young performers who were happy to ham it up for the camera. Fresh from Barcelona, Spain in 2006 is Rebeca Linares, who was cute and very polite, but delivers very hot performances on film. She told me she's enjoyed working here, but is looking forward to flying back to Barcelona soon to spend some time with her family. Joining her in the booth were Ashley Jensen and Natasha Nice, also newcomers featured in Anabolic's great calendar which graces my workroom wall each year. Rebeca was my favorite new girl this year (so you get two pictures of her!).

Eva Angelina
Eva Angelina.
Red Light District also had a few new starlets, including Los Angeles native Alexis Love. She said she had really enjoyed filming her scenes last year, but was also enjoying taking a few months off for the holidays.

Drawing much attention this year was a video of teaser clips for the sequel to the 2005 adult blockbuster, "Pirates." While no scenes with actors were shown, teams have reportedly been working on the visual effects for "Pirates II" for over a year, and some impressive computer-animated scenes were shown. Filming is due to start later this year "when the days are longer" and there are more hours to film outdoors.

Another upcoming video that received a lot of media attention last fall was the Jasmine Byrne faux-biopic "J-Ho: Jenny on the Cock", the mere title of which was reviled by Jennifer Lopez and others. However, despite reports that Jasmine would be at the show promoting the video, she was nowhere to be seen, and only a single wall poster touted the title.

Some veteran performers seem to be genuinely happy to be meeting people who show up at the Expo year after year. Jenna Haze is newly returned to doing boy-girl porn, after breaking up with the boyfriend who was only okay with her doing girl-girl scenes. Her new boyfriend, Jules Jordan, is also her producer, who she thanks in her AVN Award acceptance speech for "letting me suck cock on camera again." When I met her she apologized for being bad at remember names, but said she did remember me from the past three years of attending the show. She gets an evil smile when I tell her that my favorite scene of last year was the one she did with newcomer Lela Star. "I loved that one too, she was so hot!" Jenna tells me. She obviously loves her work!

Another favorite from previous years, Nautica Thorn smiles as I approach her, then gets a puzzled look for a moment when I ask if she remembers when we last met. After a few eyeblinks she grins, exclaiming, "You took my pants off in L.A.!" (Back in December, as I sat at the tip rail during her appearance at the Spearmint Rhino, she had trouble taking off the camouflage pants over her boots, and sat down in front of me to ask for help.) When I offer up a couple of last year's Expo photos for her to sign, she readily remembers me and comments on the outfits she wore that year.

B^ & Mika tan
B^ & Mika Tan.
Unlike in the promo pinup picture she signs for me next, Nautica looks more like a cute California college girl than a porn actress, dressing in an attractive but not provocative shirt and jeans. She sports a new outfit each day of the show, revealing a great personal style that one doesn't see much in her scenes.

In contrast, the girls at Sex-Z-Video are dressed every day in matching sleek black outfits modeled after racing jumpsuits. The most well-known is probably Eva Angelina, famous for the glasses she wears in most of her scenes. She was doing strip club features for a while last year, but told me she is taking a long break from it. "I really didn't like featuring," she said. "It was just too hectic, all that traveling."

Also signing at this booth are Exotica, as well as newer talent like Amber Rayne and Veronique Vega. Amber and Veronique haven't let the adoration of fans spoil them yet, as they're both excited like schoolgirls when I show them I've brought back a print of a photo I took of them yesterday, for them to sign. "That's so cool that you do that!" Amber exclaims, and gives me a hug before I move on.

Nyomi Marcela
Nyomi Marcela.
Signing at the Adam & Eve booth on one corner of the "front row" of the show is another fan favorite, Mika Tan. She is easily the most personable of the "veteran" porn actresses (and personally avoids the term "porn star", saying it should be reserved for those who have done at least 150 films). She readily laughs and jokes with the people in the signing line, and shows a wide grin and great sense of humor while striking flirty poses for the cameras. I ask her why she's always featuring in San Francisco but never in Southern California, and she gives me a little pout. "No clubs have invited me!" she says. "I'd love to come down there, just go to your favorite clubs and request me!" Note your fearless reporter showing his stylish ZBone shirt.

Wicked had a large booth as well, with stars like Kaylani Lei.

Teanna Kai and Nyomi Marcela were signing for Baby Doll Pictures. While Nyomi is still actively filming, her sister Jade retired last year.

Daisy marie
Daisy Marie.
While she had signed for a number of studios in previous years, this year Daisy Marie was a commentator for Playboy TV.

Of course, there is more than just "meet & greet" going on at the Expo. The Kink.com booth had live demonstrations of various fetish activities, including a "kinky robot" and a 20-minute live rope bondage demonstration featuring Annie Cruz.

Another booth had a mechanical bull with some very enthusiastic riders.

Also present at the show were booths of a few major Las Vegas area strip clubs. We spoke with the general manager of the club Seamless, who invited us to come check out the club. It was conveniently across the street from our hotel, so we walked over to give it a try. This club is visually impressive. The decor is posh, and the dancers delightful, including the "hostess" who greets guests at the entrance swimming in an 8-foot martini glass. Seamless has the look of a casino VIP dance club, and indeed it transforms at 4am into an after hours dance club that stays open until noon. In fact, there's a completely separate set of furniture for the topless club look and the dance club look, and the catwalk the strippers use rises into the ceiling during the changeover, to expose the hardwood dance floor. Seamless isn't cheap, but certainly worth a look, if just to experience what kind of club a $20 million investment can put together.

Annie Cruz in bondage
Annie Cruz in bondage.
So overall, despite the observed shrinkage among the major players of the adult industry, as a whole it is still going strong. It has a tough fight to come against the newly reinforced 2257 law, but the individuals I spoke with all seem optimistic about the future of the industry. If the players, both major and minor, continue to band together against this common enemy, we will continue to have an expanding and bountiful variety of adult entertainment in years to come. However, this will require vigilance and activism by many, to assure that those who wish to suppress adult entertainment don't succeed in taking it away from us. Consider making a donation to the Free Speech Coalition, which is funding the ongoing and expensive litigation against the federal government over the new 2257 legislation.

I'd like to thank my fellow photographers MWD and RLS for their help in documenting the event. 


$5,000 Strip-Off at Rouge Downtown

January 6, 2007

Left to right - Romy (3rd place), Alexis (2nd place), Madeline (1st place) and Aaron (Rouge GM presenting the trophy). Photo by Paul Hart.
Seventeen contestants matched their talents to win their share of the $5,000 prize money awarded for the Z Bone Strip-Off at the Rouge in Downtown Los Angeles.

One by one, the contestants took to the stage, doing their sexiest strip tease for the audience members, who voted in election style at the end of the contest to determine the winners.

Contestant #17, Romy took 3rd place and $500 with a very sexy and slow strip tease performance, which included some pole work, a dog leash and collar, dancing to Beyonce's "Naughty Girl".

With a more traditional routine, and in a sexy black lingerie, contestant #18, Alexis from the Valley Ball took down 2nd place and $1,500.

Using a school girl / cheerleader hybrid outfit, contestant #6, Madeline brought home 1st place and $3,000 (plus trophy, studio photo shoot worth $500) with some fantastic pole work that shocked some audience members.  Madeline is from Spearmint Rhino, Torrance if you want to see more of her pole work abilities.

Thanks to everyone who came to the competition and stayed to vote for their favorites, and the Rouge for hosting this great event.


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