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Arts and Entertainment

Atmosphere & Marketplace @ Erotica LA, 6/7 & 6/8/08

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Part one of two.

Today: Atmosphere and Marketplace.
Thursday: Pornstars.

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Last month, the 12th annual edition of Erotica LA, "[featuring] over 300 erotic-themed booths and [attacting] over 40,000 consumers," took place Downtown at the LA Convention Center. While it is still the largest adult convention of its kind in Southern California, the consensus among several insiders in the adult industry was that it was the worst experience for them thus far.

Indeed, many of the large companies that have either had booths there in the past, and/or were at January's AVN Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas -- such as Vivid Entertainment, Digital Playground, Naughty America, Red Light District Video, Bang Bros, Shane's World, Ninn Worx_SR, and Spearmint Rhino -- were conspicuously absent this year. And yet, three of those companies, Naughty America, Ninn Worx SR, and Spearmint Rhino, still had large banners on display there. In fact, a representative for one major company, which has been a longtime part of the convention, confided that they would not be back next year due to the expense in booth space. Which is ironic since the San Fernando Valley is still where most of these companies in the industry are headquartered.

So with the current steep declines in the adult industry, the convention has diversified in recent years, from being a showcase -- with the annual AEE still being the proverbial 800-pound gorilla (NSFW) -- to a marketplace of products, some of which have questionable ties to erotica at best -- customized automobiles, salsa dancing, teeth bleaching, and bedsheets, to name a few. And yet, the amount of empty floor space, particularly around the main stage, home to various fashion and dance shows, and the ends of South Hall, was rather sobering.

Still, as Fleshbot's Gram Ponante astutely observed, "Those who say the porn business is dying need only have looked at the long lines stretching in front of a vaguely-military Belladonna to be assured that, no, only the DVD and massive booth-renting business is dying - porn is fine."

Special thanks to Erotica LA.