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Who’s at the front of the line for AEE?

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Fans who have been waiting since 8 a.m. wait to be let into the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo at noon at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas Friday, January 7, 2011.
Photo: Leila Navidi
Lynn Comella

“You’re going to want to get safely behind this table,” the man standing next to me warned.

It was a few minutes before the doors opened to fans at the Adult Entertainment Expo Friday, and my new friend didn’t want me to get crushed in a stampede of fist-pumping porno fans excitedly making their way onto the convention floor.

It was a sight to behold, I must admit, and I was enthralled.

If you’ve ever watched the start of a marathon, you can imagine the scene: a sea of people—as far as the eye can see—waiting for the start gun to go off and the race to begin.

Word had reached me that the men at the very front of the line had been there since 8 a.m., a full four hours before the Fan Expo began. Four hours of standing around, making small talk with those next to them, checking their smart phones and impatiently shifting from foot-to-foot as the hours ticked by.

Who are these men, I wondered, willing to pay $80 for a day pass to meet and mingle with their favorite porn stars? Where are they from and why are they here?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Tom is from San Jose, and is in town for the Consumer Electronics Show. He had never been to the Expo before, he told me. Did he have a favorite performer that he was hoping to see? “I don’t even watch porn,” he laughed. (Um, sure, I thought.) “Like many people, I’m fascinated with the industry and wanted to check it out.” He wanted to be at the front of the line, he said, to beat the crowds.

Standing next to him was John, from Tracy, California. This was his second Expo, which just happened to coincide with his birthday. He was in Vegas to celebrate, which included attending the Expo. His favorite porn star, he told me, is Courtney Cummings. What do you like about her? I asked. “She has a beautiful smile.”

Next to him was Chris from Oakland. He has been making the trek to the Expo since 2006. For him, it’s a chance to meet all of his favorite performers, take pictures, and get autographs. I listened as he rattled off some of his favorites: Sophie Dee, Francesca Le and Lisa Ann, the latter of whom made a splash when she appeared as Sarah Palin in Hustler’s Who’s Nailin’ Paylin parody.

While the world of porn is built largely on fantasy and desire, for these men on this weekend, fantasy takes on a bit of reality. And for the porn industry, turning the world of fantasy into a slice of reality one weekend a year, helps keep their coffers lined and their industry alive.

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