Last night the bling of an incoming text woke me up. “I’m at the door for the Fetish Tribe Ultimate Afterparty,” it read. “Any name I can give to help my chances at getting in?” The text was from my friend Nick, a great guy who is a LOT of fun! “Not mine, anymore!” I told him. Why not mine? Here’s the story:
Once upon a time, when I was a pornographer, I would go out to Las Vegas every January for the Adult Entertainment Expo. In addition to the convention floor craziness there were always accompanying events, parties that ranged from intimate gatherings in tiny hotel rooms to big bashes at enormous nightclubs. I would cover them for whatever publication I was contributing to at the time. But they were usually universally awful: too crowded, too expensive, almost impossible to get into.
In 2004 I attended “The Ultimate Afterparty,” invited by San Francisco impresario Paul Nathan and hosted by a guy named Dirty Dan. It was in a modest Venetian hotel suite, with a living room and a bar, where fetish model trannie Tara Emory was perched in a fetching cheerleader uniform. Lemmy (of Motorhead) was in attendance; Ron Jeremy and Dennis Hof made drive-bys. But the high point — for me, at least — was watching Miss Emory piss into a champagne glass with a hard-on. Nice! In 2006 they’d somehow downgraded; the party was in a hotel room — not a suite, not even a two-room arrangement. But it was a blast. There was still plenty of booze, an interesting collection of guests and none of the usual industry bullshit.
Parallel to my porn life was my event producer life and I had expanded from fetish events into sex parties. Swingers would show up and actually swing but many others attended to enjoy the ambience. Such was the case with “Dicie Doug,” who would bring a bottle of expensive champagne and just hang out. At one sexy soiree he mentioned that he was always in Vegas the same time I was, during the porn Expo. “My brothers and I are high rollers,” he told me. “They comp us these big suites that would be perfect for one of your parties.”The following January we met for a meal and he invited me to see his suite. It was, indeed, perfect for a party: two huge bedrooms, a grand piano, a dining table that could seat a dozen people, a gym, jacuzzi bathtubs, the works, all with a spectacular view of the strip. Even more impressive, this was just his room; both his brothers had similar suites. Wow! “You should really plan a party,” he urged. “Hmm, maybe next year,” I mused.
But really, the first thing that came to mind was The Ultimate Afterparty. I’d written up the event every year, raving about how fun it was, how intimate and accessible, an especially appealing aspect during the convention since every attendee is a potential guest. (One year the president of Pure Play Media couldn’t even get into his own event; it was already over capacity.) Conventioneers often wind up standing outside the parties in ridiculous lines. Once you’re fortunate enough to get in, you’re met with mobs of guys, none of the promised porn starlets, $15 drinks and generally not a whole lotta fun. So those suite parties were a welcome oasis. And I’d felt bad when their 2006 event had been crammed into such a small room.
So the next time “Dicie Doug” mentioned his high roller suite again, I told him about the guys who were currently behind “The Ultimate Afterparty” — Mike B., Powder and Kelley Dane, now calling themselves “The Fetish Tribe” — and arranged a meeting to conduct the introductions. It was a match made in event heaven and, as the 2007 convention approached, invitations were printed with my name as co-host. The party was slated for two full nights and people would be flying in from around the country just for the fete. I was really looking forward to it!
Friday night of the convention was slated as a more intimate soiree and it was a fucking blast! The fabulous Andrew and Kellie performed their pussy darts show and I knew almost everyone in attendance. The bubble fight we had in the bathroom, the result of bubble bath in a jacuzzi tub, was merely the prelude to my high point: a sexy, sloshy encounter with one very well-endowed young man! It would’ve been tough to beat.
But Saturday night was another thing altogether. The night is the convention’s culmination with the AVN Awards. I hadn’t managed to procure a ticket so I settled for watching the stars on the red carpet. By midnight I’d made my way back to The Venetian and ventured up to what had been billed as “The 5th Annual Adult Industry Party.” The place was already packed. Apparently word had gotten out. Everyone I knew wanted to get in and I did what I could as co-presenter. One friend called in a panic, saying that he and the Porn Clown Posse were being kicked out of every casino. I met them moments before security ejected them and ushered the posse into the party. The hosts gave me a ration of shit about the clowns, concerned that the male-to-female ratio might be off. Another friend, a domme with her slave date, also wanted in. No problem, I figured; they were a male/female couple and both appropriately attired. But the boys gave me grief about them, as well. And when Jonno, the then-editor of Fleshbot arrived, they really blew a gasket. “No single guys allowed!” they whined. “He’s with a date,” I told them, pointing to Jonno’s escort. “That’s TWO single guys,” they barked. “They’re GAY!” I informed them. “You don’t need to worry about them hitting on any of your women. He’s the editor of Fleshbot,” I added, “you know, one of the biggest porn web sites!” thinking, isn’t that what the whole party’s about? Entertaining the industry? They eventually capitulated and let them in, but not happily. Hey, I thought I was one of the hosts! I was certainly instrumental in orchestrating the expansion into the high roller suites!
Fast-forward to year 2008. A few weeks before the convention I received a phone call from one of the “fetish tribe” members: “You’re on the list, Abby,” he told me, “but don’t bring any of your gay friends. And no clowns!” When the time came, I was thinking about boycotting their fucking party but I knew people who had flown into Vegas specifically to attend. I attended, grudgingly, and installed my self in a corner, sucking down as much of their booze as I could stomach. But it was no longer my scene.
As in the previous year, but to an even greater degree, there were plenty of people who had no idea there was a porn convention going on. “Porn?” I heard one woman sneer. “Ew!” Oh, honey. And as with all of the Fetish Tribe events, whether in Las Vegas or New York City, the skew was more in favor of dom male/sub female, which has never held any interest for me. What’s the point? Isn’t that how the world already works? I’m attracted to the subversion of cultural norms. When the vibe is domme female, you’ll find that everyone is, simply, far more polite. I’ve never needed people to bow and scrape, but if someone spills their drink on you, they should apologize. It’s common courtesy. I don’t want to be shoved and stepped on, even at a non-fetish event. But I digress.
I no longer attend the AEE since I’m not writing for any porn publications, hence the text from my friend Nick; had I been in Vegas there’s a pretty good chance I could’ve gotten us in. But if I’d been there and wasn’t needed as entree, I probably wouldn’t have hit “The Ultimate Afterparty.” The sad thing is that I watched as the party went from totally amazing and more or less under the radar to hugely successful and basically a shitty experience. And I’ll take some of the credit for their apparent success, as they would never have gotten where they are without me. Literally. Because beyond all the great press I gave them — and my friends gave them! — in those first few years, their “Ultimate Afterparty” would still be in a cramped little hotel room instead of a high roller suite at The Venetian. Frankly, I’m waiting for karma to bite them on the ass. I hope it leave a scar shaped like an A!
[There’s a chance that my fading memory may be combining 2008 and 2009 or 2007 and 2008…but the basic circumstances still stand.]