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Of Porn Stars and Geeks

January 10, 2009
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Vegas has been hit pretty hard by the current recession. Not only do vacationers have less disposable income to spend on lost weekends here in Sin City, but the housing boom that did so much to prop up the economy during “lean” times has imploded, keeping many of the locals away from their regular jaunts to the Strip. Walk into any casino, including the newly opened Encore, and the places feel like vast caverns filled with nothing but blinking lights and bored dealers.

Last night was an exception, however, as two of the biggest conferences of the year are in town. For the nerdy, there’s CES, the Consumer Electronics Show where all the latest technical gadgets and doodads are put on display for eager retailers and geeks to ogle before they hit the store shelves over the next 12 months. For the even nerdier, there’s the AVN – the Adult Video News conference where the best and brightest (?) in the porn industry come to party and honor each other for another year’s worth of hard, hard work. The ultimate merger of silicone and the Silicon Valley. Talk about two great tastes that taste great together.

If you think about it though, it makes perfect sense that these two conferences overlap each other each year. They’re both all about entertainment and providing people with ways to escape and amuse themselves without ever leaving the comfort of their homes. And honestly, I don’t know anyone who watches more porn than some of my geeky friends. Last night, I got to watch the interplay between geek and starlet play out in all its glory. We were hanging at the center bar at Venetian amid a huge crowd of techies and and porn stars. It was like watching high school redux, as the brainy guys stood around in groups, ogling the unobtainable women of their fantasies. The guys were in all their glory as the women bathed in the limelight, bestowing the occasional smile of flash of enhanced cleavage in their general direction. Entertaining? You bet. Profitable? No question.

If the scene at Venetian was any indication – and why shouldn’t it be – the convention brought out thousands of drunk and horny people who had nothing better to do than open their wallets at the bars and gaming tables all night long. But then again, that’s what Vegas is all about, and it was nice to see the city looking like it’s old self, even for a short while. Unfortunately, the conventions shut down tomorrow, which means the Strip will quiet down again as the revelers  slink out of town with a few stories and, most likely, a few thousand fewer dollars in their pockets.

As for me, I’m heading back down to the Strip tonight to hang out with my friends again. And to stare at the porn stars like every other geek I know.

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