As its name suggests, eXXXotica isn't an event where you bring the kids. The three-day expo, which is being held for the first time in Atlantic City, showcases the adult-film industry and its stars.
The event, running from Friday, April 19, through Sunday, April 21, at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, will feature meet and greets with industry stars such as Lisa Ann, James Deen and Alexis Texas; live performances; a merchandise area with DVDs, clothing and related "accessories"; and the first Fan Choice Awards offered on the East Coast.
In addition, women can get free admission for the Friday session.
eXXXotica, which is being held in four cities around the country this year, attracts a mix of loyal fans and the "curious," spokesman Dan Adams says. The Atlantic City version is expected to draw 15,000 to 18,000 attendees over three days.
"We get people from all walks of life," Adams says. "You have your hardcore fans who know every facet of adult entertainment, curious couples and single guys. Since we've doing our ladies free Fridays promotion, we've been attracting more women and couples. On Fridays, we also will have bachelorette parties and girls looking to get out for a girls' night."
For veteran adult film star Lisa Ann, who recently appeared in a series of "Nailin' Paylin'" clips spoofing former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, such events help re-connect with her fan base.
"It definitely makes it more attainable when fans meet their favorite stars, whether it's music and you get to meet your favorite musician, or it's a porn star," she says. "Everyone feels really included –– it's very interactive. It's just a fun, fun, fun weekend for everyone."
Lisa Ann, who will also be performing at the Diving Horse Gentleman's Club on Saturday, April 20, has found herself in even greater demand, due to the "Nailin' Paylin" series.
"It was really a game-changer for me –– it put me in the mainstream, it opened a lot of doors and a lot of travel," she says.
Another figure whose star is rising is Deen, who at the age of 27 has already acted in more than 1,300 films but is still negotiating his celebrity. He will be hosting a party on Friday night, as part of his eXXXotica duties.
"It's really bizarre and strange –– I've always been me," he says of becoming a name in certain households. "I've made a very awesome life out of being myself. It is really cool. I have no idea why anybody likes me."
His fan base remains mostly women, because most straight guys are threatened by him.
"Dudes don't really like me for the most part –– I don't know why," he says.
Deen also is learning how the press can be your friend and foe. He made tabloid headlines earlier this month after news surfaced about an alleged sex tape with "Teen Mom" star Farrah Abrahams. The latter denied there was such a tape, but Deen says "it absolutely exists."
Deen says the scene was shot to be released to the public, but there was a "mix up" in how to market it, with some in Abrahams' camp implying the two were dating.
"I said, this is going to come out. I'm going to get a phone call, and when they say, 'Are you dating,' I'm going to say, 'Absolutely not, we shot a porno,'" he says. "She wanted to do a whole different marketing strategy."
Lisa Ann, who got her start some two decades in the VHS age, has witnessed the adult-film industry evolve into a largely online platform. The downside is that many people expect to get their adult entertainment for free, a situation that led her to appear in a PSA for the Free Speech Coalition.
"We all like to contribute positive thoughts on why it's important not to steal porn or steal music," she says.
However, if her work is being illegally downloaded, there is an upside: wider exposure helps to draw fans to events like eXXXotica.
"I know some music artists are more popular than ever, and are able to tour and do more appearances because more people know who they are –– it's the same for porn stars," says Lisa Ann, who has 450,000 followers on Twitter. "The more people know who we are, the more we can do. People want to see you and get your picture and have face time."
Does James Deen want to be next James Dean?
James Deen, left, is going legit.
The adult-film star is co-starring with Lindsay Lohan in "The Canyons," an independent film directed by Paul Schrader ("American Gigolo") and written by Bret Easton Ellis ("American Psycho") that's scheduled for a summer release.
However, Deen has "no intentions" of abandoning his day job in porn.
"If anything, it's about expanding my horizons," he says.
Nor was he turned off by the experience of making the film, which as chronicled in a lengthy New York Times article, reportedly was made especially chaotic by Lohan's diva-like behavior.
The diplomatic Deen chalks it up to the intense creative process of working on a low-budget production.
"It wasn't anything out of the ordinary, at least to me. It was a high-stress situation because everybody wanted to to do a really good project, and we were rushing to get everything done right."