VSDA 2004, Day 3

The final day of the summer VSDA show, held at the Venetian Hotel in suites on the South wing of the 28th floor, got an early start at 10 a.m. and lasted a mere four hours, winding down early in the afternoon.

“The hustle and bustle of yesterday is gone,” Zero Tolerance CEO Greg Alves announced. “The best thing for us, other than doing a lot of new business, was hearing people refer to us with Red Light and overhearing someone say that they want their company to be positioned like one of the top companies like Zero Tolerance. I guess we’ve arrived.” From the amount of business going on in the Wicked/Zero Tolerance suite, it was easy to see that these two companies have an opposite attraction.

Since I got that quote at 1 a.m. in the Circle Bar downstairs the night before, I didn’t bother to check and see if Alves made it in first thing in the morning. Besides, I wanted to check out the Peach DVD suite in another wing of the 28th floor. David James and Jim Monroe greeted visitors along with hot models like Rachel Elizabeth, Breanna and Tylene Buck, the wrestling hottie turned all-around hottie.

Tori Welles, looking butch, buff and full of life, did sales and made sure to stop by “porn alley” as she called it. Looking like a rock chick from Sunset Boulevard, she stopped traffic every time she laughed or smiled, which happened a lot. “I’m happy. I go to work every day, and while I miss my friends from the porn world, I’m only a half-step away,” Tori joked, referring to the R-rated movies Peach DVD releases.

Nectar Entertainment, quickly gaining brand equity with Marty Zion, an Andrew Blake-style visionary who makes beautiful erotica that is rich and sensual, pretty and production-heavy and not very graphic, while maintaining heat and passion, was up, running and getting lots of attention, despite the sparse crowds and hungover distributors.

Sean Logan, president of Nectar, shouted out from the doorway of their suite, “You’ve got to see and hear this— Skeeter Kerkove and Marty Zion are bonding!” This was more than I could dream up, so I headed into the lounge-like living area where Kerkove, Flick Shagwell power lounging atop his clothed loins and looking sexy and sleepy-eyed, said, “You have to hear this. This product is untouchable,” Skeeter said with not a trace of sarcasm in his awestruck state. “I’d pay full retail for these movies.”

That’s quite a statement coming from the Tujunga Gape King, known for his nasty approach. Kerkove routinely stretches porn star anus to the circumference of a drainpipe in his movies, yet he was amazed at the gorgeous, crystal clear and sensual images that rolled over him, a big screen TV in front of him and a studio monitor to his left. He added, “You guys don’t need a contract girl.” Logan, stopping mid-sentence with The Commander, the Mardi Gras King who is introducing his own line of amateur productions said, “Why? We have Marty Zion under contract?”

Talk continued about the concept of having Zion and Kerkove collaborate on a project, both directors agreeing that truth, vision and passion were the commonality they shared. “Sure you’ll watch a burning light come whirling into view, a porn star dancing seductively to great music, and when the spotlight pulls back, it’ll be a girl’s gaping ass we’re looking into during sex.” Ah, The Commander was back and ready to party.

', "vsda3.jpg", "", " alt=\"\" border=\"1\" width=\"180\""); ?>
Click here for the gallery.

Logan went on to regale us with behind the scenes tales of their shoots, like how Jessica Jaymes rode naked on a horse in one production and got thrown from her mount, doing an end over end, after struggling for minutes to stay atop her steed. Kerkove, his pinhole eyes popping fully open, said, “Holy Christopher Reeve! What happened?” Without missing a beat, Justin Brazilia, Vice-President of Nectar and cousin of Logan, added, “Jessica got up, rubbed her pussy and said this was the best sex—er, ride she ever had.” Erupting with laughter, the room settled down when we all realized it was time to get moving out from the suite and head back to PornValley.

Stopping by the Metro Interactive booth on the way out, I spotted Neal Persky, the general manager. We discussed the high end product like Skin on Skin by AVN award-winning director James Avalon, and the gonzo line success story of the year, Fusxion. “Things are really moving, young girls are still selling like never before, and gonzo really is where it’s at for the consumers. Only 30 percent of the market is feature movies and, hey, we wish they were more popular, but we give the people what they want,” he shrugged.

We agreed the seminars were less than successful, in spite of topics like legal issues, trends, store stocking and hearing Adam Glasser talk about the production of his movies and how they went from being a mom and pop company to being a famous and well to do mom and pop company, only to find that the money came in but went out just as fast. “They need to promote these seminars,” Neal suggested. “I couldn’t find them and I was very interested. No promotion leads to no audience, and that’s a shame. All the panels were informative, entertaining and important.”

Another case of Monday morning quarterbacking, some would say, but the fact is, VSDA historically lends a deaf ear to the adult entertainment industry. Janet Gibson and the gang are doing a bang-up job turning it around, but the business changed and they’re fighting an uphill battle, doing the best they can.

“Honestly, this was one of the best VSDA shows in years,” Scott Justice, head of production for SinCity remarked. “This is a business show and we’re here to do business and we did a lot of business. Especially in the casino,” he mused, shooting a sidelong glance at Mark Snyder, winner for the week and coolest guy on the floor, looking dapper and chill as always.

Ric Williams, general manager of Private, worked hard right till the end, showing off his six-pack of DVDs that come in a high-end box, packaged like a Hollywood classics series. “We’re also getting into the four-hour comp market, and why not? The consumer demands it. We have the best product in the world and we’re setting our sights on a three-year plan for North American dominance. At the same time, we’re wrapping up a half-million dollar feature that will be in the running for Best Movie of the Year. We’re not cutting any corners, getting into ‘pull marketing’ and finding new ways to brand ourselves so that we’ll be more identifiable than Playboy in three years. Watch. We’ll do it.” A bold statement from a company that enjoys near world dominance, except in the USA, yet from the look in Williams’ eyes, he believes it.

At that moment, Skeeter Kerkove enters the room to scoop up Flick Shagwell for their escape to L.A. “Ten years ago I was a nobody from Tujunga with a pool-cleaning business and today I’m a rich man and respected director in adult films. You get to learn while you earn and I kiss the ground every day for a chance to make a living doing what I love,” Kerkove glowed as Williams added that he was indeed part of the three-year plan. “I like teaching women how easy it is to do anal sex, starting them out with a small butt plug and fingers,” Kerkove offered as he packed his bag.

“Don’t give away all your secrets!” Williams chided. “They’ll all be copying you!” Imagine that: somebody copying an idea in porn.

More than 4,500 registrants roamed through the halls of the South wing in the last three days. As we walked down the hallway to the elevator banks, Dan Motola, West Coast head of Pleasure Productions, noted as he watched Joanie from Video Team and a host of other saleswomen bending over to the ground to sticker their return cartons, “It looks like a Buttman movie here today.” Laughing as I boarded the elevator to my personal suite, “Hey, it was a pleasure seeing you here.”

And now, off to file…not a bad job, after all.