What Happens in Vegas… (Should probably stay there.)
March 22, 2014
Greetings and best wishes to you in this, the third month of the sparkling New Year of 2014. I’ve been assured repeatedly by the hourglass wielding baby that it’s not going to suck nearly as bad as 2013 did, but since he was obviously smashed on formula when he shared his observation with me, I’m gonna have to take his opinion with a few grains of salt.
I’ve been somewhat absent the last few months due to some personal issues in regards to my family and health, and the majority of my vacation time was spent in beautiful Salt Lake City, which at the tail end of December (surprisingly) legalized gay marriage*– an action which causes this here Artbitch to simply state: way to go, you sexy bitch.
*[Sadly, this was shot down a few weeks later, which just goes to prove why it’s essential to raise your kids with science and common sense, rather than a 2000 year old book where people get supposedly turned into salt by an angry and petulant demigod . Just sayin’.
And don’t send me any hate mail on this issue either- I’m Catholic, I already have enough guilt.]
Now, if only the rest of the states who are still standing on the wrong side of History would follow suit, we could get back to the truly important business of choosing who gets to become America’s next Top Model/Chef/Singer/National Embarrassment, etc.
And speaking of shocking developments, I turned 45 at the beginning of January, something that apparently happened without my permission or input. Granted, I’ve celebrated my 36th birthday nine times since it actually happened, but it’s not like that’s a bad thing, right? Of course it isn’t- how could it be?
Albeit one with more cleavage and less plot development, that is.
Hoo boy. Did that ever hit a high note.
Out of the numerous positive responses that I received, the majority [better than 90%] were from women- a first for anything I’ve ever written.
Given the fact that I took the position of supporting truly fair play in regards to how the sexes should be represented in Art and POP culture, I’m not surprised that my female readers were fairly positivein their assessment of what I wrote, I’m just stunned by how many I apparently have.
Keep in mind that I didn’t suggest that female nudity itself should be abolished in popular culture,I simply proposed this: “Here’s how it would work: for every second / minute / whatever that an actress has to be naked or topless in a movie, there must be an equal amount of male nudity as well to add balance.”
Seriously. I used to go through white hats like they were Ding Dongs, and trust me, you don’t want to know what happened to my noble steed when that particular nightmare was laid to rest- let’s just say I have glue sticks for days, and leave it at that.
Yeah. I said it- I’m sick and tired of the “bro” brigade, and all that it doesn’t bring to the table.
And while I’ll admit that are some truly difficult and somewhat dense women out there among the feminine flock, I won’t paint all women with the same ignorant brush that some would like to use.
As a life-time member of the “just us men” club, I know I shouldn’t really be surprised by the sexist attitude contained within some of the missives I’ve been reading, but it’s still disheartening at best, especially when we’re all supposed to be living in an enlightened age and all that.
The one fact I have gleaned from all this correspondence is this: there’s a lot of really scared and intellectually weak men cowering around a fire somewhere out there in the caves of the Internet.
Sure, they have figured out how to both type and hit the “send” button on their own, so I guess asking for some well-earned points for doing so is probably not out of the question, but I’m afraid some of those gold stars will have to be taken away due to the amount of misogyny that my Email has been vomiting up.
Between the missives telling me (at length) how women should “know their place” and the others that were chock-full of braggadocio regarding imaginary sexual exploits, it’s clear to me what’s really going on out there in the world of the real- a lot of men whose previous “girlfriends” came with an air pump and a patch kit are lashing out at society the only way they know how…
Women can be, and sometimes are, downright terrifying. I went to high school just like the rest of you, and have many stories of being blasted out of the sky by the feminine Death Star when the circumstances clearly called for the use of a Tie fighter, but I digress.
[The fault may have been my own, due to my love of both Star Wars analogies and dork culture, but let’s not split hairs here.]
However, just because you’re personally afraid of strong capable women, there is still no reason to hurl a box of vulgar invectives in your sad attempt to control them. News flash: a woman that smart will take you on and take you out, everytime. As sure as the day is long, you my friend, are gonna be metaphorical toast.
If I were to be brutally frank, I have had more than my share of moments where my caveman DNA has overridden my normally genteel common sense, but even given that, it’s not like I have a reputation for being an out-and-out knuckle-dragger, even when fueled by alcohol.
Truth be told, I actually tend to get much more respectful around women, despite the fact that at those moments I turn into your average drunken prom queen who’s pretty much up for anything.
However, that’s a story for another time, so let me complete my thoughts regarding some of my fellow “men” who wrote in… y’all got some serious growing up to do, and that right quick.
Otherwise, you should plan on getting really used to having threesomes with your hands. Moving on…
What exactly is that, you ask?
Ask a simple question, get a simple answer- each January, the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo takes place in Las Vegas, and is attended by everyone who is anyone in the adult industry. Serving as both a trade convention and an adult extravaganza, it’s definitely not family friendly by any means.
Thank God for that.
As everybody knows, I love kids. My GF Ashley often jokes that if you put me near small children my biological clock starts ticking to a 2/4 backbeat. However, despite all that, I’ve often suggested that LV should be a child-free zone, at least on the Strip- a position I espouse even more after attending the AVN at this years’ chosen location, the Hard Rock Hotel.
Between the bigger than life posters scattered throughout the casino featuring porn stars Asa Akira and Lexi Belle whose collective attire left very little to the imagination, along with the occasional sighting of a porn star wearing a see- through top, the scenery was enough to fry your average 14 year old boys’ brain at a distance of 500 yards.
I’m sorry… what was I talking about?
Oh yes. see-through clothing.
As I was saying, it’s not for the kids.
And I’m not complaining. At all.
Nor will I ever. Vegas, in my opinion, has always been the designated off ramp between Sodom and Gomorrah, and it should remain that way, so far as I’m concerned. Keep Vegas for the adults, and send the kids off to Disneyland with the grandparents.
You know, the set that your kids absolutely hate.
The reason I happened to be there was due to the generosity of Los Angeles based adult film distributor Black Market Entertainment, [http://www.blackmarketxxx.com/] whose co-owner is also the sister of one of my best friends, so remember kids- it does pay to network.
After getting my VIP pass, touring the casino at the Hard Rock, and taking in a late dinner with the team from BME, I was then introduced to a few of the better known stars found dining alongside us, namely [in order] Missy Monroe, industry legend Nina Hartley, who as you can see from the photos apparently found my cross really tasty, and blond bombshell Julia Ann.
[I also met the following stars over the course of the three days while I was there, but they were more of a “hi-ya, bye-ya” type of photo op. In order- Brandi Love, Jesse Jane, and Sophie Dee, who is literally Smurf size.]
But more than just an opportunity to blow off some personal steam, the AVN also serves as a perfect counterbalance to what I wrote regarding the reticence in regards to male nudity, for the adult film industry is largely borne on the backs [no pun intended] of the female talent, and after walking among the scores of attractive women wearing booty shorts and five-inch stripper heels, it’s pretty obvious that women dually serve as both figurehead and the preferred product- a major detail that is notably promoted throughout the several day-long event.
Granted, most of the products for sale were your stereotypical items (dildos, vibrators, etc.) but there were a few that were truly amazing for their uniqueness- the two that come immediately to mind were the life size sex dolls that replicate popular porn stars right down to their sexual preferences, and the ride and bounce ball toys of our childhood, disturbingly re-imagined with the addition of a very lifelike… um… appendage.
Use your imagination… if you dare.
A small, yet disconcerting, thought slowly formed in my mind as I contemplated the products that were for sale in that small room, and it was this: if any of these toys ever develop the ability to take out the garbage and reach the top shelf, we men will be royally screwed, no pun intended.
Three different vibrating modes? Neon colors? Internal lights? And you can ride it to run out for Hagen Das?
Yep- as far as the male gender would be concerned, our end would swiftly race towards nigh, because there is no way in Hell that we could ever hope to compete with that.
Scattered among the various movie proprietors were a number of random companies selling everything from lotions to custom fetish clothing, and as you can imagine- the space was packed wall to wall, partially due to the numerous industry booths featuring the chance to meet (and be photographed) with your favorite porn star.
Here’s Nina working her fan-line, which stretched around the room almost twice.
[I came this close to almost wearing the same outfit- how embarrassing would that have been?]
Once again, I made some interesting observations while casually watching the crowd flow through, the first being that there’s apparently a huge love for porn within the Asian-American community, as evidenced by the number of Japanese guys who looked like they had just arrived from the set of the Tokyo Drift sequel- if I was going to cast the live-action version of AKIRA, I’d definitely start here.
But when it came to some of these guys… the term “creepy” doesn’t even begin to come close to painting an accurate description.
Ever watch Animal Planet and see the raw footage of a pack of wolves stalking sheep? Replace those wolves with barely sentient pizza rolls wearing sandals, and you’ll have a fairly precise idea of what it felt like to be among these hairy-palmed mouth breathers.
And before you get all up in my grill about being unnecessarily harsh to the socially awkward, I will tell you this: I’m actually being quite kind, given what I witnessed more than once at the event.
[Best statement at a fan photo-op: “You’re cute… you can totally grab my boobs.”- I didn’t take her up on that offer BTW, although I’m sure many behind me did.]
While I do understand the awesomeness of getting to be next to someone you find stunningly attractive, I also know that said hottie of smokingness you’ve been watching for years is in fact, a complete stranger, and that goes both ways.
Just because you bought their poster/album/movie/life-size cut-out/blow up doll, etc.. doesn’t mean you have a license to say or do anything you want.
For instance, I met Debbie Harry back in 1999 and I was a perfect gentleman. Sure, one could argue that was partly due to the size of the security guys and to a somewhat greater degree that pesky retraining order, but I’d also like to think it was a shining testament to my innate chivalry.
Come to think of it, let’s take a look upon that seminal life moment:
This was taken backstage at Celebrity Theatre in PHX, with my part time model and full time friend Sharley, and even though you can’t see it in the photo, Debbie just happens to have her hand on my upper thigh, an area I later had bronzed to mark the occasion.
However, I still didn’t propose marriage, suggest we go out for coffee, or go into detail about that recurring dream of mine where she and I are in a bathtub full of crumbled Ding Dongs and marshmallow fluff giving Joan Jett a back rub.
Not only because it might come off as creepy, [as it should] but because it wasn’t appropriate. Meet your idols, throw down a few compliments, take your pic, and move to the end of the line, cause others are waiting.
Not too surprisingly, those guidelines don’t change just because the object of your obsession happens to have sex on camera for a living, no matter what you may believe.And don’t hand me any of that “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”, crap as an excuse to justify your asinine and immature behavior either- there’s a limit to that slogan’s stretchiness too.
If you do engage in truly wretched conduct, it will be found out eventually, no matter how much you try to hide it. Sadly, it’s been my hard-won personal experience that people who go to Vegas to let loose their inner brotard eventually get shanked by their own metaphorical ego shiv.
When it comes to me, I don’t really worry about my past in regards to personal embarrassment- I’ve posed nude, had various body parts casted, engaged in drunken shenanigans, dated more than my share of independent erotic dancing contractors, and once got caught having sex inside a parking garage elevator, so obviously I’m ok with revelations that others would find highly mortifying.
And given the fact that I also proudly own the ABBA box set as well, I think it’s a safe bet that I’m virtually Teflon coated against the humiliating awkwardness that others fear so much. Heck, I almost look forward to making most people uncomfortable- it’s really fun, and costs virtually next to nothing. But even I have limits as to what I would do in full view of the public.
However, among certain elite members of the masturbatory menagerie, my sense of personal decorum is a rarity, at best. Between the stories of obsessed fans from the various cam-girls I talked to at the event, and the personal interactions I witnessed, let me be the first to say that some of these man-boys desperately need to get a real girlfriend, and that right quick.
After they move out of their parent’s garage, that is.
One stunning example of an “urk” moment: remember my mention of Nina’s fan line?
And as an addendum, let me also mention that within that group, that at least half of them were shooting low-angle video… of her non-moving ass. I actually left the venue, grabbed a bite to eat, and upon my return, observed that the same people were still where I had left them an hour ago, in the same positions, doing the same thing.
Naturally, I had to say something, for the heart of my core is that of a people person, and when it gets right down to it- I’m here to help.
Focusing my gaze upon a middle-aged Asian man with three cameras around his neck and dressed in what appeared to be a fishing outfit resplendent with matching tackle adorned hat and vest, I said the following:“Hey dude… I’ve never said this before in my life, but if there was ever the situation where the phrase “take a picture, it’ll last longer” could be applied, this would be the one… just saying.”
That’s me… bringing joy and mirth to a cold dark world.
Seizing that as my cue to exit stage left, I decide to go wander about the hall, and in the course of doing so, meet renowned fetish model Masuimi Max*, who was there promoting a custom vinyl clothing company.
Other than being obviously striking, she and her husband Morat were two of the coolest people I met at the AVN, and the conversation that followed covered a wide range of topics, from obsessive fan-boys to the fact that she’s triple jointed.
Believe you me, when someone that cute demonstrates that particular skill-set by easily bending their hand all the way backwards to their wrist, it definitely grabs your attention, and it’s a detail that should give any red-blooded American male a moment or two of inner contemplation.
Morat** by the way, is also a kick-ass photographer, whose list of previously shot rock gods include everyone from Ozzy to Slipknot, and he also contributes a large amount of his wife’s content, so go do yourself a favor, and check out their respective websites- you’ll be glad you did.
[*Once again, it pays to network, especially if it gets you VIP access to an awesome strip club.]
Set up in the style of a traditional “beer garden”*, the long tables encourage mingling with your as yet unknown dinner companions- which in our case, happened to be a lovely family of four from the city of Cleveland. Other than a briefly awkward (yet amusing) moment when we explained the reason why we were in Las Vegas, dinner went off without so much as a hitch.
[*By definition, a beer garden (taken from the German “biergarten”) is an open-air space where beer and food are served, and seating is communal.]
My Ego did appreciate the moment when the Mom asked me if I was “talent”, to which I answered honestly… “Hell, yes- what… it isn’t obvious?” [Just kidding.] So, buoyed by a small drink [see photo] and stuffed full of yummy bratwurst, I enjoyed the in-house band which served up both traditional beer hall standards along with blistering covers of Neil Diamond songs.
Trust me, you have not really lived until you’ve heard “Sweet Caroline” sung by 100 knockwursted diners, and all of this entertainment was to be had for less than fifty bucks, a bargain no matter where you’re at, but an especially good deal for Las Vegas.
And with that uber-karaoke moment under the ol’ belt, my adventure slowly starts winding down to it’s end.
In a rare display of self-restraint, I ordered a small bowl of Froot Loops, with a side of toast and three slices of bacon. Don’t judge. I’m trying to maintain my girlish figure, and besides… I did roughly polish off about four pounds of pork, beef and lamb at Hofbrauhaus the night before, so all in all- I think that I have put in the hours regarding my personal crusade to eat everything on the planet that has a face.
Overall, the trip home was uneventful, as most journeys typically are, but there is one last thing I do need to show you that we discovered on our way back to our respective lairs, and that was kitsch.
Good old Americanized China-made kitsch.
If you’ve ever taken a major highway anywhere in this country, then you’ve experienced first hand the amazing amount of cheap products promoting a certain region or state that are to be found in a majority of the gas stations and truck stops across this great land without fail.
Most are small, say, like an emblazoned “ I Love ____” shot glass or a scorpion encased in resin and turned into key chains- you know what I’m talking about- the stuff you buy on impulse.
But sometimes you find a place that tries a little harder, and we stumbled into it. Unlike most, this particular gift shop/restaurant in the middle of nowhere was blazing it’s own truly unique path by promoting higher end products, in this case, it was stocked to the gills with sculptures of Indians and dream-catchers of all shapes, sizes, prices and colors.
Now, for those of you who don’t live in the Southwest, the definition of a dream-catcher is this:“A small hoop containing a horsehair mesh, or a similar construction of string or yarn, decorated with feathers and beads, believed to give its owner good dreams by “catching” the bad ones within it’s netted structure.”
Typically, these are rather benign looking pieces of craftwork, and usually don’t attract my attention much, if at all. But there was one hanging on the wall nearest the bathrooms that I just had to snap a picture of:
I don’t know about you, but that is some truly soul-stirring work right there.
Seriously. I’m not sure if it’s the majestic and noble wolves in the background, the acid-washed jeans, the fur wrapped Thor hammer, or the hair he borrowed from David Coverdale of Whitesnake, but there’s something about this piece that just screams for days about truly authentic Native American culture.
I’ll even overlook the fact that it’s a white guy being depicted here, because let’s face it- they did add those feathers, and that’s what ties the whole ensemble together.
Ahh… roadside America. You never fail to fill my heart with joy.
So. How to sum up my trip? Well…
I’ve learned that there can be too much of a good thing, as I am now so jaded to the sight of random thonage and overinflated boobage that I’ve become virtually immune to it when it’s laid out before me now, much to my chagrin.
On the upside, I’ve taken up macramé, and have knitted about thirty sweaters so far. On a related note, does any one want some oven-mitts?
I learned that it was a probably best that I was more interested in girls than playing Dungeons & Dragons in my Mom’s basement, especially after seeing what happens when you watch way too many DVD’s by yourself.
I’ve learned that good and dignified people from Cleveland don’t ask a lot of questions after the words “porn convention” have been uttered. They will however, take your recommendations for what to eat when they find out you’re from good German stock.
I learned that my friend snores like a goddamn buzzsaw. Next time, I’m getting my own room, as I really like to sleep more than two hours at a time. Also, having my own room means I can steal all those little soaps and other random toiletries rather than having to split the booty with others.
But mostly I learned that what happens in Vegas should probably stay in Vegas, if only to avoid potential lawsuits, divorces, and the like. And no matter what you do… never bring a camera.