The AVN Adult Entertainment Expo is primarily known as an annual pilgrimage of adult entertainment aficionados to Las Vegas, where they are able to meet stars they see on screen and can get a photo or autograph as proof. Veterans of the Expo know a lot more goes on than meet-and-greets in the exhibit halls of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, where the spectrum of adult media and product marketing is represented. It’s like a giant tent with several different circuses going on beneath the big top, culminating in an awards event that everybody who is anybody in the adult video industry attends.
This year organizers stated the 36th annual AVN Expo will be bigger than 2018’s, which counted 350 exhibitors and more than 600 current and aspiring stars. While many of them appear on the trade show floors, and daily networking events are held throughout the week, nightly parties provide rare opportunities for sex-industry celebrities to mix with fans as well as each other.
Following the pre-Expo hype gives insight into who is poised to become the biggest names of 2019. Will it be Aidra Fox’s time, after seven years of being a star on the rise, coming into the year top-billed in Wicked Pictures’ Axl Braun’s Dirty Talk 3? Will a rush of movement on the show floor reveal a crowd forming to welcome perennially popular Alexis Texas, bank-teller-turned-porn-star Vicki Chase, AVN 2018 Best New Starlet Jill Kassidy, or self-proclaimed “highest star” Jenna Sativa?
Sativa sums up the atmosphere in a Jan. 11 video posted to AVN Expo’s Twitter account: “When I have to describe the AVN Awards show and the whole week of being there (during AEE), the one word that comes to mind is ‘chaotic,’” she says. “It’s like Halloween but way sexier. It’s like a sexy chaos. Everybody’s hormones are raging and you just can’t help it. You have to be good and keep your hands to yourself, but you can go crazy staring and perving out.”
Then again, Sativa recounts the experience of a lucky slave-fan who was allowed to worship her feet before she bound him in a chain and collar. Texas, who attended her first Expo in 2007, maintains similar bonds with her most faithful followers. “I’ve been known to ride my fans, carry them around on a leash” says Texas in a Jan. 10 AVN video Tweet. “You know, it just depends on what kind of mood I’m in.”
Everyone’s in the mood Saturday night for the climactic event of AEE, the AVN Awards show at The Joint inside the Hard Rock featuring musical guest Cardi B. Top honors are awarded to nominees in a slew of categories covering videos, scenes, soundtracks, special effects. webcasts, actors, actresses, newcomers, and filmmakers behind the camera, followed by a Dionysian afterparty at the Hard Rock’s Vanity nightclub, “It’s totally different from anything else in the world,” says Sativa. “You can only experience it at the AVN Awards show.”