by Curtis L. Isom – Founder / Editor-In-Chief
Before we go any further, I suggest reading, “Why Erotic World Media exist” in the “About” section of the website or just click on the link: http://eroticworldmedia.com/2014/01/why-erotic-world-media-exist/. This will give you some insight into my personal ethics and philosophy on how I approach the industry. Nothing has changed and I always stand by what I say. We can agree to disagree, it’s just sad some people don’t respect the opinions of others.
What follows in this article was to be a part of the upcoming “AVN AEE 2020” article, but I realized this needed to be said separately. Some of it has been said elsewhere on this site, but is repeated here to tell this story. Most of this happened before I started Erotic World Media, the rest after. But I refer to some events as I write articles for this website, I am not ashamed of what has happened. So let’s begin……
2020 marks the start of my fifteenth year covering the Adult Entertainment Industry (AEI). WOW. At times I’m amazed I’m still here. In sharing some of the good, I’ll share some of the bad in telling about the journey so far……
This journey started in 2006 with me being a part of the “Striptaculous.com” podcast which covered the AEI, but at that time mainly focused on strip clubs. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this site. Through doing the podcasts, I talked to Feature Entertainers, porn stars, and others involved in the AEI. Some of these people I eventually met in person which led to my start as a photographer in the AEI. I started photographing events in 2010 with the Exxxtasy show in Chicago. From there I added the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo (AEE), Stripperpalooza, Sexcon, Stripperfest, and Exxxotica Chicago. There are other other one-time events like the Ebony Exotic Experience which is suppose to be coming back later this year and I will be there when it does.
From some of these events I have gained some great friends like Larry Goone of Born-A-Babe who owned/ran SEXCON and Mz. Jewcee who created the Ebony Exotic Experience.
I consider the major “bad” experience from this association was my introduction to an individual I’ll call “Tony B.”. He was presented as one with major “stroke” in the industry even though he only did one or two adult movies. As I started shooting in the clubs, I became acquainted more and more with “Tony B.” and realized how disrespectful he was towards women. Most people who know this guy just say, “Oh, that’s Tony just being Tony”.
If you want to bury your head in the sand and ignore someone who’s abusive to others, that’s your choice. But I’ve personally seen his abuse, he’s slick when he’s doing it, but I caught on fast. He was also connected to the lives of two industry entertainers, Vayda Kiss and Natasha Vega, both now deceased. Vayda committed suicide and Natasha overdosed on drugs one year later to the date. Do I blame “Tony B.”? Let’s just say I have no problem believing that he had a hand in some of the circumstances leading to their deaths. He knows to stay out of my way.
My association with striptaculous.com ended in 2013 after a “lively discussion” I had with former porn actress/Feature Entertainer Christina Aguchi. I commented on a publicity shot of her friend, Lacey Rain. Everyone else was kissing Lacey’s ass on Facebook saying how fantastic the photo was, but I thought it was unflattering and said so publicly. Well, Ms. Aguchi took offense at my remarks and proceeded to confront me about what I said. I explained my viewpoint and stood by what I said, but Ms. Aguchi (referred to as the “Queen of Mean”) wasn’t having that and basically demanded I apologize for what I said in public.
She eventually called the head of striptaculous.com in an effort to get me to shut up. I get the phone call, telling me I was making striptaculous.com look bad because my opinions didn’t match the site’s. Excuse me? I ended the call and rejoined the fray. What I didn’t know till later was an outside third party had gotten involved. They knew both Ms. Aguchi and myself and informed Ms. Aguchi that if SHE didn’t back off, they knew I’d share something Ms. Aguchi didn’t want public at that point. So, Ms. Aguchi found a way to save face and quit the attack. But again, not without causing damage between striptaculous.com and myself.
Now if you’re thinking I go looking for trouble, quite the opposite. I do enjoy a good debate, but ask my opinion on something, don’t be pissed at my answer. You asked. Sugar coating things isn’t being honest and some people can’t handle my honesty. But this experience with Ms. Aguchi was one of the reasons that eventually help create Erotic World Media in 2014.
A silver lining from a dark cloud someone tried to put over me.
I also got out of shooting in clubs for a while. Reasons for this can be found in the articles, “Fair and Transparent?” and “Sinsational Features: Part 2 – The FDNC & PDNC”. Basically, I hate rigged contests. Don’t ask me to be a part of something that isn’t what you claim it is. I will not knowingly be involved in blatant disrespect of women in the AEI who bust their ass creating shows trying to become a Feature Entertainer only to learn things are rigged against them.
This is not to say I wouldn’t do a shoot in a club again, but it would be while reviewing a club or shooting an entertainer at their request.
When I started Erotic World Media I asked myself, “What do I want to accomplish?” Again, I refer to the “Why Erotic Media Exist” article mentioned previously. Bottom line, I want to make a difference if possible which some people find funny. Don’t care. I write about what I see in the AEI. The good and the bad to help educate people on the AEI. And I know people are paying attention because I’ve gotten some interesting feedback. Here’s a couple of examples:
A) My “The Turning Tide” article about if dancers should be considered employees or independent contractors, made it’s way to the “powers to be” who oversee the strip club industry.
B) On the flip side of the coin, the Professional Adult Nightclub DJ Association (aka PANDA) took offense at my article, “The Disillusioned Ones”. So much so I was told there was a “beatdown” order sent out on me. Didn’t stop me from going to clubs and nobody touched me. I even invited a sit down with PANDA President, Dane Hansen, during my next trip to Las Vegas. I was told he accepted, but was a no show. They talk shit about me, but won’t a face-to-face?
When I cover an event in the AEI, like the AVN AEE or Exxxotica Chicago, I have to first apply for my press credentials. In 2014 I was already approved because of my affiliation with striptaculous.com, but since I parted ways with them, I advised those overseeing the AEE press credentials what had happened. Luckily since I had built a good reputation for myself, they allowed me to cover the AEE for my own site. Now being a small site, there is a possibility that I could get refused at any time. But I have built a good reputation and treat everyone with respect – but this is not to say I take things for granted. I will continue to do this as long as I am able. I may not have the large following of other sites, but you know I will always call it as I see it. That honesty helped create the reputation that has allowed me to cover events like SEXCON or the Exotic Ebony Experience.
The funny thing is right after I started EWM, my personal life took a hit. I lost my job and had to find work. I did, but it ended up being two part-time jobs which meant I went from working 40 hours a week to averaging 6o hours a week! This made writing difficult at times because it’s not always easy for me to get what’s in my head out to you and make it coherent. In 2019, I lost one of my part-time jobs driving a cab, but replaced it with another part-time job that making as must, if not more, money. So now I’m able to write more.
The unexpected benefit of covering the AEI is the amazing friends and acquaintances I have made. It’s always heart-warming to be recognized and be called by your name. I’ve also gotten to know some of the industry’s legends like Tera Patrick, Hyapatia Lee, and Annette Haven. I have learned for the most part, people in the AEI are down to earth and easy to talk to if you’re respectful. There are those who act like they are better than everyone else, so I’m polite, but usually let them be. I’d rather be around nice people than assholes. Don’t we all?
So after 14 years, where do I go next? I’ll continue to cover the industry like I’ve been doing. I’ve created an Erotic World Media YouTube page to give you an “enhanced look” into the AEI. How long will I continue to do this? As long as I can and feel I am doing what I set out to do – educate you on the AEI.
Before I go, I started this article BEFORE the COVID-19 pandemic. It has shutdown all productions except for camming and what people create in the own homes. The lasting effect on the AEI will be interesting and I’ll try to relate those changes the best I can.
Till then, I ALWAYS appreciate the time you take in reading my articles and watching the videos. Comments are always welcome, but disrespect isn’t so choose your words wisely.
Take care of yourselves.