The best description of this weekend’s fourth annual New York Gay Erotic Expo came from an attendee: “It’s kind of like a big gay flea market, but with lots and lots of porn.”
It’s true, the folding tables piled with DVDs, lube, and adult novelties brought to mind a dirty version of the street fairs that take place every weekend in the city. Everywhere you looked vendors were hawking their wares and offering special Expo prices, and it only took a few laps around Webster Hall to see pretty much everything. Like any good flea market, products ranged from the predictable (T-shirts with “Butch,” “Bitch,” and “Bottom” printed across the front) to the bizarre (novelty condoms shaped like Zodiac signs from Wacky Rubbers).
Of course, drag queen/magician Cashetta isn’t usually found hosting a sort of porn star pageant at the Soho Antiques Fair. The big, brassy entertainer cracked jokes as she welcomed porn studs from various production companies onstage to strut their stuff. Newcomer Alan Austin of All Worlds Video answered questions about his first film, while a leather-and-chain-clad Tyger Hudson (Oh Man Studios) simply showed off his best assets. Stupid Porn Star Tricks seemed to be the theme of the show as a couple of half-naked thugs from BlackWrestling.com threw down onstage, and the super homo-friendly Eulenspiegel Society performed a BDSM demo.
Possibly the most surreal sights at the Expo were the fans themselves. Many looked like tourists at Disneyland in their Hawaiian-print shirts, with digital cameras dangling from their necks and swag bags loaded up with souvenirs.
“They come to see their favorite porn stars up close and they have a great story to email their friends the next day,” said “Rich,” webmaster of porn talk show, BigGayApple.com.
Admirers lined up to meet bigger names like NYC-based porn star/musician Frederick Ford, and a horde of horny onlookers amassed at Manuel Torres’s booth as the Raging Stallion Studios exclusive stroked his schlong. There was even a little mutual admiration going on as Adonis Pictures’ Andy Kirra signed photos for local star Kyle Douglas. A few New York porn staples were noticeably absent. Dark Alley Media cutie Owen Hawk failed to make an appearance. And where, oh where was porn mogul and Page Six regular Michael Lucas?
The Expo wasn’t all about smut, though. Gay night clubs like Chelsea’s Splash set up tables with their beefy bartenders—shirtless, as usual—handing out flyers and coupons for reduced admission. Here! TV was promoting Hellbent, the “first gay slasher flick,” while the Museum of Sex, home of such highbrow exhibitions as “Men Without Suits: Objectifying the American Male Body,” added a little culture to the mix.
There was also a refreshingly sizeable contingent of HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness organizations represented. Members of the Drag Initiative to Vanquish AIDS, or DIVA, a division of Hunter College’s Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training, spent the day collecting surveys on sex and relationships. Said one bewigged Diva, “We get to ask the kind of questions that George Bush and the government wouldn’t give us money to ask.” One such question was: “On a scale of 1 to 4, how much do you like being rimmed?” Come on W! Give these bitches a grant!