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Far From Flatbush

Glossy

You think Vanity Fair is a glossy magazine? Well it is. But when it comes to glossy--and I mean a smooth, sensual, oversized, light-reflecting cover, printed on coated, heavy-stock paper--Vanity Fair ain't got nothin' on Adult Video News. The printed edition of AVN is a work of art.

I hadn't seen a printed copy of AVN in over a decade, since I left the adult entertainment industry. So when the February issue, with a review of Beaver Street, arrived in the mail, its postmodern incarnation came as a shock--not because of the disorienting contrast between the quality of the package and the X-rated material inside, but because the mag had evolved from a standard trade publication, very much like Billboard, to a veritable coffee-table book. (And I now have it on display on my coffee table, right next to Vanity Fair.)

Of the hundreds of adult titles that I worked on over the course of my career, none of them came close to the production values of the current AVN. In fact, on magazines like Swank and High Society, the idea was to make it look super-sleazy by using the cheapest paper and the cheapest printing. It was a science: How cheap and sleazy could you go and still have people buy the magazine?

What AVN appears to be saying with its decidedly upscale production values is that despite the recession and the financial ravages wrought by the Internet, the adult industry is still alive and well, and is heading even closer to mainstream acceptance. And the $11.95 cover price is a clear sign that people in X have money.

Biggest surprise of all: There were my old friends from Swank, who are now in the video business, too, at #94 on the hot 200 chart with Anal Babes Gone Wild 3. I’m sure it’s a classy production.
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