The Adult Video News Awards and the Adult Entertainment Expo, which take place every January at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, is more than just the largest gathering of adult industry fans and stars—for those of us who work in the industry and attend year after year, it serves as more of a perpetual trial by fire that is 20% convention, 25% family reunion, 40% senior prom, and 15% weird sex party. The only way to survive the annual ordeal and come out unscathed by the infamous “AVN flu” bug that claims dozens of new starlets each year, is to wash your hands often, keep a stash of vitamin c gummy candies in your hotel room, and swap alcohol for cannabis as much as possible.
While there are plenty of folks at these events who are happily sober, I personally don’t recommend taking on such a behemoth of stimuli without a few medicinal interventions, and now that recreational use has come to Nevada, cannabis products are more accessible than ever in Sin City. For me, utilizing edibles, vapes, and good old fashioned flower are important for mitigating the anxiety that often comes with being around so many people, and topical CBD infused remedies help with the pain associated with clomping around a convention floor in six inch heels for days on end.
I took the advice of thirty year adult film veteran Nina Hartley who told me on the first day of the show how important it is to always walk to your next location in flats and put heels on only once you’ve sat down to sign. I followed her strategy as best I could during the Expo, but there’s no escaping the mile long promenade down the red carpet for the awards show on Saturday night. The walk is long, and if you don’t have the right heels, or the right company, you’ll get grouchy fast. To prepare for the main event, I was gifted some Threat’s Aftercare Balm, an artisanal cannabis salve infused with lavender and arnica, that transformed my tired tootsies and got me ready for the long high heeled hike.
On my way to the elevator, I ran into Ashley Manta, the Cannasexual, a sex educator who specializes in the intersections between sex and cannabis. She was kind enough to kidnap me into her room for a quick dab courtesy of Lemon Larry rosin from The Hawgs Breath Company before the madness ensued. When I arrived at the line to get in, I was greeted by a small gathering of Christian Evangelicals from the Westboro Baptist church who had come to protest the event and to remind us all what disgusting godless sinners we were. Luckily one of my red carpet compatriots had smuggled some high dose edibles from 2017 in her purse, and we peacefully munched on bites of a 1000mg Korova Bar while sending a friendly “Hail Satan” over to the haters.
Between the edible, the dab, and the salve, I was set. I made it down the red carpet in one piece and even managed to make it onstage to dance with Lil Wayne right as my edible started peaking. As I made my way up to my room at the end of the night, I looked down at my high heels, still firmly planted at the end of my legs, and I felt like a champion. I had managed to avoid the fate of so many other young women who were now walking barefoot through the casino, their blistered hooves crying out for mercy. Nina Hartley’s wisdom from earlier in the week echoed in my ears.
Aftercare is just as important as preparation, and in the days following the convention, I’ve been so grateful for the way fellow LGBT adult film performer Buck Angel’s product Buck’s Balm has been able to bring relief to my inflamed joints and muscles.
This was my fourth time attending the event, and honestly it was the best yet. I know I’ve still got a lot to learn when it comes to surviving and thriving in the adult industry long term, but this year I learned that flats and cannabis are absolutely essential to the process. Though the Westboro Baptist Church may disagree, a weekend of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll can also be a time to reconnect with my community, grow my business, and have a blast without totally destroying my body. The moral of the story? Smoke weed and listen to Nina Hartley, always.
Photo by Rae Threat featuring: Bella Bathory, Michael Vegas, Siouxsie Q