Scenes from Edison, New Jersey’s EXXXOTICA expo
EXXXOTICA is a traveling circus of sorts, but in place of elephants and clowns are exotic dancers and adult film stars.
The expo, according to its website, has established itself as a highly regarded adult consumer event since its 2006 launch. EXXXOTICA is the self-proclaimed “largest event in the U.S.A. dedicated to love and sex,” hosting annual three-day trade shows in Edison, Atlantic City, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Chicago.
From Nov. 7 to Nov. 9, the Edison Convention Center acted as host to the wandering freak fest. Last year’s Edison expo alone, according to nj.com, saw more than 20,000 attendees, with a “significant rise” in numbers at last weekend’s event.
Inside Beat took a tour of the expo’s “Ladies Free Friday” promotion to bestow upon its readers a detailed account of the seminars, performances and partial nudity that took over the convention center.
For an event trying to promote itself to women, it wasn’t trying nearly hard enough.
Nj.com reports that organizers saw the rise in women attendees with the “Ladies Free Fridays” promotion, but anyone at the expo with at least one good eye could see the disproportionate he-to-she ratio just by taking a quick look around the room. Women might have saved themselves a good $48, but crossing the threshold into the room where the expo was housed was like stepping into a 12-year-old boy’s wet dream.
The pink carpet guiding attendees into the expo was flanked by glassy-eyed women in lingerie, complemented by two awkwardly-placed beds right next to the bathrooms featuring more event models dry humping giant teddy bears in a sea of pink sheets and glitter.
The exotic dancer half-heartedly twirling around a pole in front of the beds did not seem to do much to appeal to the ladies, nor did the midlife crisis-style sports car displayed nearby.
Beyond the initial visage of what the porn industry thinks is every man’s fantasy, it’s essentially a warehouse lined with rows of vendors trying to sell some variation of sex. An attention-demanding stage was centerpiece to this figurative table set mostly for the central demographic: straight men.
Contrary to what many likely expect when attending an event like this, there is no nudity or public sex. No exposed nipples allowed, kids.
Vendors and exhibitors ranged from big-name and lesser-known adult performers to adult video and novelty to erotic art to strip clubs to lifestyle groups to porn sites. There was a lot of stuff there, but most of it was less exotic than mainstream.
One booth that stuck out was XXXCHURCH, a Christian non-profit handing out groovy-looking bibles and T-shirts with “Jesus loves porn stars” printed in large font. The Christian “porn site” offers judgment-free help to struggling porn consumers and performers looking for guidance. And then there was The Dungeon.
It was sequestered to its own area, but it was there: finally some diversity to break up the polished plastic representation of sexuality that dominated the event (pun intended). It was a playground of restraints and flogging and cages.
One of the most memorable Dungeon exhibitors was kink artist Murphy Blue, who skillfully (and safely) tied and rigged one of his models to some kind of cage suspension thing. Onlookers gathered round the exhibit, mesmerized by Blue’s deft hand and the intricate knots that put the Boy Scouts to shame.
There were quite a few lifestyle couples that came mainly for The Dungeon, like Mistress Candy and her submissive partner, Cupcake, who followed her around on a leash sporting a woman’s wig, heels and a spandex dress. Mistress Candy, a lifestyle dominatrix and dental assistant, shared the first time she met Cupcake, a stationary engineer.
“I was 16 and he was 21 at the time. I went up to him and grabbed him by the balls,” she said. “I’m an exhibitionist, so I like being watched. That’s why I love coming to events like this.”
Performances & Seminars
In a lineup of stage shows geared toward men, “Evan Stone’s Sexy-Ass One-Man Strip Show Spectacular” seemed like a genuine attempt to entertain the women in attendance. Then the purportedly “sexy-ass” Evan Stone came onto the stage and crushed that dream completely.
Stone was a bloated, rambling mess in stretchy zebra bell-bottoms yammering into a microphone. After muttering about his porn career for 20 minutes and demeaning women along the way, few spectators appeared hungry for a spoonful of whatever Stone was offering. When he eventually took his clothes off, it was too little, too late.
The “Fluffy Freak BBW Fashion Show” also seemed like a promising deviation from the other exhibits and performances at the expo. Wrong again. While Stone got to perform his clearly unplanned, poor excuse for a show for what seemed like eons, the voluptuous women of BBWCAMHOUSE were given fewer than five minutes. BBWCAMHOUSE owner and webcam model Kari Anthony said she was just glad she and her girls were able to get up there.
“The industry doesn’t give anyone who doesn’t fit the cookie-cutter image a chance. I want to raise awareness and let people know we’re here,” Anthony expressed. “We’re big and we’re beautiful. The industry needs to recognize and accept all different bodies.”