Before the Deluge: Day 1 of the AVN Expo

Pictured, clockwise from top left: Stars at the Fleshlight booth, Greg Lansky and his Vixens, the Girlsway booth, Kissa Sins. For more photos, click here.

LAS VEGAS—Day 1 of the 2017 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino was relatively quiet, the midweek lull before the weekend storm. Throughout The Joint, the concert venue pressed into service for meet-and-greets with performers, as well as the adjacent Muse Hall and Artist Hall, fans and press mingled with performers, directors, and webcammers in relatively clear aisles as the Expo got underway.

In The Joint, Nexxxt Level executive Jonathan Morgan observed, "The first day is pretty good. The girls are all chipper, they're all excited, they haven’t gone through the days of partying, the days of drinking, hanging out with friends, the long nights of drinking. ... I'm really happy all the girls are bright-eyed and bushy tailed. I was hoping for a little bit larger of a crowd, but history says that Thursday and Friday get really crazy. We're gearing up for that.

"Last year the fans were a little bit standoffish. They didn't know: 'Am I supposed to walk up? Do I have to buy something?' It's like a people aquarium: They look and every once in a while tap on the glass. Now, they're getting a bit more proactive. They're coming to the girls, they're talking with them. The girls appreciate the interaction because they want to mingle with their fans, they want to have a conversation with the people purchasing their stuff."

"It's amazing. I feel like it's a really good start," Nexxxt Level performer Lauren Phillips said. "Some fans that I've already seen before. It's a lot better than it was last year. I had a lot of fans say how much they loved interacting with me on Twitter. It's really exciting that they remember conversations. One fan brought me pictures he took last year. One thing I look forward to is seeing everybody. It's like a high-school reunion. Also for the Awards, I'm nominated, for the first time. I have butterflies in my tummy."

ATM|LA owner Mark Schecter observed, "So far so good. If I compare the early Wednesday start to last year, it's a little better than last year. There are more fans here this year. We've got about 40 girls signing for us, and I'm looking forward to a couple of AVN Award winners for ATM|LA."

ATM|LA talent Jenna Foxx told AVN, "It's only Wednesday, but I'm going pretty good. I reached out on Twitter and they've been following me. I'm excited to meet my fans."

"This is the toughest week of the year," agent Mark Spiegler said. "Normally we have 10 or 15 girls working a day, and I get the info ahead of time. Now we have about 30 of them, all working at the same time, some of them more than once. I've got a million things to do all at the same time. It's hell week. All of the girls are signing, at least one place, some of them twice. Plus getting them here, making sure they find the booth. I walked the floor so I know where the booths are so when they call me and they're lost. ... You gotta think ahead."

"It's great," performer Kate England said from a high stool in the Joint. "Fun. Hopefully tomorrow it will pick up, of course. I saw a lot of people I saw last year, people coming back to show their support."

In the Muse Hall, Jules Jordan Video has a booth in the front corner. "It's great, as always," Jordan said. "Fans are eager to get in here for the first day, the more hardcore fans showing up right away. The first day was always traditionally media day, but now it's opened up to everybody. People getting their pictures and autographs out of the way. A lot of business meetings. We just launched our novelty brand, Clandestine Devices. That's exciting. We have the same booth and a new crop of girls."

MindGeek brands including Brazzers and Digital Playground shared a walk-through booth. "This is so much fun," exulted new talent Lena Paul. "I am dancing, and meeting fans, and having a good old time. It’s a party. I'm looking forward to seeing more of these beautiful women. It is really difficult—as a woman who has sex with beautiful women every day—to see all of these gorgeous girls and not touch and have sex with them. I have to keep my hands to myself," she pouted.

"The show's been going great so far," Johnny Sins observed at his booth in Muse Hall. "It's the first AVN where we've had a booth. People say the first day is usually dead, but it's been pretty busy. The fans have been great. Everybody's interested in the couple aspect with myself and Kissa. We're looking forward to the Awards. If Kissa wins Best Ass, she says she's going to do anal for the site."

In the back of the room, the Blacked/Tushy/Vixen booth was drawing attention. Surrounded on two sides by tall black walls and the other two sides by red velvet ropes on gold stanchions, the red-carpeted platform featured a full bar, a lounge area, a photo booth, and several stylish lecterns for signing. Performers entered the booth wearing pink satin boxer-style robes bedecked with VIXEN LAS VEGAS 2017 in rhinestones, disrobing to reveal branded bras and G-strings or bodysuits to sign.

"I'm representing for I shot my first anal with Tushy," performer Chanell Heart said at the booth. "I'm happy to be here. I'm nominated for Performer of the Year—is cool, but I like hanging out with fans."

"We're getting a lot of compliments on the booth," director Greg Lansky said. "We're trying to take care of everybody and doing it right. I designed it myself. I just wanted a cool space for friends to interact and have a good time. We're going to announce Vixen of the Year Friday at 5 p.m. We want to get exposure for the brand and have a good time."

Across from the Blacked/Tushy/Vixen booth, performers were live-camming at the Chaturbate booth. "It's not restricted to just women models: we have male models, couples, trans, gay, lesbian, all kinds. There's something for everybody," performer Melody Kush said. "As you can see, there are hundreds of rooms online. We set up goals, and people tip to get us to our goals. At home it's a little more risqué, obviously; here we have to stay a little more tame. We have to be very inventive at conventions. I'm taking tips for fan signs, so tonight I'm going to make fan signs and have a wall of fame for everyone who tipped X amount. We're allowed to get down to our pasties, so that's fun.

"I love the high-profile opportunities here, I love the exposure. Ultimately, this show is about meeting other people in the industry as well. We work from home all year round. It's nice to get out and be part of something that really brings the community together. We lead very solitary lives, a lot of us. Coming here and being in an environment like this is very encouraging. This is a way to bring everybody together, this is like the Mecca of porn."

In a corner of Muse Hall, performer Alex Chance was signing for SextPanther, a new app that facilitates communication between performers and fans. "It's surprisingly busy for a Wednesday," she observed. "There's a lot more fans here than I was expecting. This is my sixth AVN show, and my first year signing for SextPanther. I can't wait for the rest of the show."

Penthouse and Wicked Pictures have booths in the hall between Muse Hall and Artist Hall. Penthouse Director of Pet Projects (and June 1993 Penthouse Pet) Sam Phillips said, "It is amazing here. We have our November 2016 Pet of the Month Mary Moody, and current Pet of the Year Kenna James, last year's Pet of the Year Layla Sin, and a nice rotation of girls that will be womaning the booth though the days. We have a photo booth where we give the gentleman a mock Penthouse cover with their favorite Pet, we give away swag, T-shirts and magazines.

"It's going fantastic. We have long lines, lots of interest, tons of press taking photos, the best girls at our booth. How could it be going bad?"

At the Wicked Pictures booth, "the first day is much busier than this time last year," said publicist Danlel. "A lot more foot traffic, a lot more fan interaction. As far as what we're offering that's different from last year, you'll notice we have a 3D scanning booth for our Print Your Porn Star line of collectible 3D printed figurines. Not only can you buy figurines of your favorite Wicked Girls here at the show, you can also be scanned yourself to have a figurine of yourself to be paired up with the Wicked Girl of your choice. Those figurine sets will be the ultimate fan-engagement collectible. The full-size figurine, about 6 inches, is $70, and we have Pops, the small figurines, which are $10 apiece or if you want all three Wicked Girls at once we can bundle three Pops for $25. For hand-painted resin figurines this is really a good deal."

Asa Akira, Stormy Daniels and Jessica Drake will be appearing at the booth, to be joined on Saturday by Riley Steele.

"The first day is the thing that really sets the tone, the pace for the rest of the show," Jessica Drake told AVN. "We're out here in the main hall so I don't get to see what's going on inside, but I did walk through earlier and it looks super-busy. Fans are out in full force."

In Artist Hall, performer Kayden Kross was signing at the Yummi booth. "I'm doing a lot of Trenchcoatx right now," she told AVN. "I have one launching this Friday. It stars Katrina Jade in a ritualistic, dark, slow burn of a film. What's unique about it is I brought her real-life husband in. He's a 6-foot-5 guy, heavily tattooed, and they're really into the BDSM lifestyle. It was the first time they'd done that."

Adam & Eve is operating a store in Artist Hall, PR Director Katy Zvolerin said. "We have a variety of toys, lingerie, some accessories and some enhancements this year. We have Nina Hartley signing as well as Anikka Albrite and Sara Luvv from our big blockbuster Babysitting the Baumgartners. The show is much busier than it usually is on opening day. We're excited about it."

Performer Small Hands reflected on the Burning Angel booth. "It's going pretty damn well. We're settled in, we have a good crowd on a Wednesday and all is well. The booth is good, and this is also the first year of Burning Angel VR, so we have another booth over there as well. We're taking over this year."

Mick Blue was signing at the AVN booth in Artist Hall. "I've seen a few people, but not everybody yet. Anikka [Albrite, his wife] found out that she has to get a dancing license for her feature dancing gig on Friday night. We sat for three hours at the police station. She never danced in Vegas before, we didn't know. The day had a slow start. The police station ... is nice. But boring."

Girlsway writer/producer ("and mother of dragons") Bree Mills said, "So far so good. It's only the first day so we think things are going to get crazy starting tomorrow. We've had a really good day. We have models signing all this week. They bring in the crowds. Occasionally I get a fan, but it's only occasional. We have a few ambitious projects this year: We're going to be doing two big feature movies. We're doing a mini-series every month that we release online and on DVD, and those are written and directed by Stills by Alan, my creative partner in this project. He's doing amazing things. I took the creative training wheels off and he's, like, gone. He's doing awesome stuff. I'm also going to do co-productions with some interesting and influential producers I want to work with."

Retired performer turned writer Aurora Snow, returning to Adult Expo for writing work, said, "It's different. I haven't been here in so many years, but it's also different to be here in this capacity. I feel like I'm on the other side of the fence. I'm no longer stationary, wearing the low-cut top, trying to sign autographs. I have been recognized, though. It's very flattering. The show is busier than I expected it to be, a lot busier." Snow is working on several stories, including a personalized look at returning after being away for years. "I came here from the Midwest, the middle of nowhere. I've gotten very used to and comfortable with that. I've gotten comfortable with editing my language in social situations. And being here is very liberating in several ways. I don't have to censor myself. I can use Those Words without offending anyone."

The AVN Adult Entertainment Expo is taking place at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas from January 18-21. The AVN Awards will take place January 21 at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The AVN Adult Entertainment Expo and AVN Awards are open to the public. Paid admission is required for both events.