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Scenes From the Porn Expo, Where the Women Shimmy and the Men Drool

The event in Vegas (where else?) is a proud display of skin and all that's forbidden.

January 12, 2001|HILARY E. MacGREGOR | TIMES STAFF WRITER

His mother panicked a couple of years ago when he told her he was moving to California. "Oh, my God, you're going to go out there. You're going to do porn," she told him. "I know you're going to do porn."

Shortly before he set out for the Golden State, she gave him a birthday card filled with 10 pieces of motherly advice. "Be generous, Be kind . . ." it began. Number 10 was "Don't do porn."

He promised her he wouldn't.

But the Expo is tickling those fantasies again.

"I could be an extra in porn," he muses. "I could do that."

Scene VI: The Big Night

At 7:45 p.m., the space under the chandelier nearest the hotel elevators is abuzz. The curvaceous, heavily made-up women swirl out in gowns--sleek and sheer--furs thrown around shoulders, escorts on arms, ready for grand entrances through a seemingly endless gantlet of men. Thousands of men.

Hungarian emigre Sasha Gabor, 55, who describes himself as a porn star, father, aeronautical engineer and former journalist, surveys the scene, like a gentleman, in his tuxedo. He has been featured in more than 500 films, he says, because of his uncanny resemblance (with the appropriate makeup) to Burt Reynolds and Sean Connery.

He speaks with a sophisticated vocabulary, peppered with sudden, surprising profanity and carries a black dop kit, with photos of his children.

When he hears Lyons is interested in entering the porn industry, Gabor seeks to dissuade him. "Not to be harsh, but the first time you have an erection problem, the word gets around," he says. "It happened to me."

Scene VII: The Awards

Like most awards ceremonies, the event is interminable. There are no film clips, no special performances, and certainly no great orators.

Presenters drone on, handing out more than 75 awards: best screenplay, best director, best actor and actress, best all-girl feature, best tease performance, best solo sex performance and best nonsexual performance.

It could be the Oscars--except for occasional live video feeds, projected on screens scattered around the room, featuring shots up women's skirts, and one crazy moment when all the porn starlets swarm on stage and start dancing, including a girl in a short black dress who lies on her back and puts her feet behind her head like a contortionist.

Scene VIII: A Star

Sinamon, who won't give her real name, sits in the front row, curled like a cat in her seat, wearing a close-fitting red silk dress with a mandarin collar.

Sinamon is good enough, and entrepreneurial enough, that she doesn't lack for work and has started her own ethnic-themed porn company.

The daughter of a Methodist minister from Michigan, Sinamon, 26, got into porn by chance. At 19, she went through a divorce and moved to California with her two kids. Enrolled at Santa Monica College, she reached the point where she had to make money or leave school. So she answered an ad in the L.A. Weekly.

"I had never seen a porno, never been a dancer," she says with an innocent smile. Now she's been nominated for an award in a category that cannot even be mentioned here.

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