Don't misunderstand me. I love Las Vegas. I find a city based on enjoyment, indulgence and loss vastly irresistible. Throw in a cheap buffet and a cheap multi-colored glare at night and I will be mindlessly happy, if only for a few days.
However. I was in Vegas from Thursday to Sunday for working purposes and it was simply Dantesque.
To begin with, on the flight over I was being bludgeoned repeatedly by my sinuses. My head didn't explode, a concern I've shared with several people, but when we landed I wasn't feeling any too jolly, either. And the Mandalay Bay hotel looked so pretty and gold by evening light, too. One should at least be healthy enough to admire fake shinery.
I was there to work on the Adult Video News Awards show – again. Picture a panoply of pornographic pariahs packed into one arena, won't you? Because I'd rather not.
The event itself was on Saturday night. On Friday there were walkthrough and meetings. On Friday and Saturday afternoons I was at the Adult Entertainment Expo to hand out press credentials to every scruffy denizen of the journalistic underworld who had qualififed for one. Closing up on Saturday, we were still waiting for the guy from DrunkenStepfather.com to show up. There was a girl handing out free vibrators. A co-worker who shall remain nameless took three.
Any chance I got, I slept.
Saturday. Final walkthrough at 4:30PM. Media check-in: 5:30-6:30PM. Red carpet: 6:30-9PM. Awards show: 10PM-12M. Media room – photos, interviews: 12-1AM.
When I sat down at the check-in desk, the first thing I noticed was the stained black tablecloth. It looked, as someone noted, as if someone had drooled on it. The second thing I noticed was the walkie-talkie. I never knew how to use those things. And seriously, did I really need one? This wasn't the Blitzkreig, for Chrissakes. I didn't think this had to be run as if Patton himself was at the helm. And there were no magnificent bastards there, anyway.
I hate W/T's. I always keep the volume on too loud – so that later that evening when I heard: "C'mon, c'mon – we gotta get those chicks moving!" or "The carpet closes in 1/2 hour – why the f*ck does he want five badges now?", everyone did.
So for nearly four hours I sat at my dirty table, waiting for things to happen. I only had a handful of questions to field, or to pass on to others (would it have been wrong if I prefaced a W/T communique with 'Breaker, Breaker'?). This year I was not thrown into the shooting gallery that was the red carpet. I stayed outside, in a drafty hall…I should have been at a slot machine, with a glass of Cristal at my elbow.
However I did get first look at the nominees. I saw vast stables of girls walking down the hall like a cleavage-heavy battalion.
For the most part, the gowns were a vast improvement over last year. This is not to say that the aura of a Fellini/Frederick's atmosphere was absent:
Flower Tucci still does not realize that this is a BYOB (bring your own briefs) affair.
95% of all porn actresses are the width of a neutron.
There will always be room for some more cheesy cheesecake.
There was much that was see-through, low-cut (front and back), fake, low slung, pushed up, pushed together, pushed down, fake, separated, pulled back, roaming free and fake.
But some of the dresses were outstanding. In fact, it gave me a bit of a pang to see embroidered and ruched creations, worthy of Old Hollywood, worn by members of the pornographic hierarchy. Belladonna makes extremely nasty videos, yet she wore a tight black strapless gown, with a taffeta train at least four feet long, that was extremely dreamy and elegant.
Let's see. There were the Vivid girls, Jenna's girls, the Digital Playground girls, and the Fashionistas. The latter will always amuse me. One, with hip bones like arrowheads, wore a plastic dress that…flashed – as if she had fireflies for nipples.
There was maybe one truly beautiful face out of the 170+ bodies that were escorted/stampeded/chased down the red carpet.
I watched the show in the media room, and all I can say is I surely pity the editors prepping it for public viewing.
I went to bed at 4AM. The next thing I remember clearly is being seated on the plane, listening to the stewardess announce:
"Please turn off all electrical devices, because this Boeing Is Going."