Unlike the poorly organized but extra filthy Exxxtacy convention from 2010 (held in same venue), the freshman debut of the rebranded Exxxotica was all about following the rules of the convention center in Rosemont—which meant that nudity was a no-no. Pasties were in effect, and it was all business for representatives from the billion-dollar adult industry. That meant fans would have to take their porn-star paraphernalia home and cherish the signatures and memories of a handshake as they rubbed one out to the dirty goodness.
Armed with only a Carl Zeiss 35mm and no flash, I sought to capture the starlets up close and personal—in a softcore, soft-focus manner—something that is a little off book for their usual way of working. Every girl, other than high-strung Lisa Ann (who went batshit when I crossed her sightline during her interview with local video perv Larry Goon), was a delight. The strangest and most common request was that many of the stars wanted to be photographed in front of their billboards of themselves, creating a commentary on their own sense of self.
Jenna Haze was likely suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome as the enormous line of fans anxious to meet her rarely dissipated for over four hours. It's safe to say she has taken the throne once held by the similarly petite and wonderfully adored Sasha Grey.
The biggest surprise was the attendance at the porn and sex seminars. Stars, entrepreneurs and sexual motivators drew large crowds for talks on everything from industry issues to spicing up marriages. The celebrity, rather than the wisdom, of Ron Jeremy drew droves of followers.
The VIP lounge had a great red light district feel to it and kept the drinkers off the convention floor. Ironically, the girls making the most tips all day were our own local club go-go dancers from Graffitti Dancers and several imports from Miami who were working the cages and poles fully clothed.