Why I'm Going Back to Venus-Berlin
Venus and Berlin
by Attorney J. D. Obenberger
During the past eight years, I’ve
attended - and spoken - at
dozens and dozens of online adult trade shows from LA and San Diego and
in New Orleans to Vancouver and AWE
from Tampa and Hollywood to Pittsburgh and Montreal, from Denver and
and Las Vegas to Budapest and Amsterdam and Jaco Beach, Costa Rica. And
never missed an Internext.
Last year in October, I attended
Venus-Berlin for the first
time, and I’m going back.
Venus-Berlin is conducted in at least
five cavernous halls
of the Messegelaende complex built before WWII at the west end of
Berlin. The atmosphere is simply outrageous because most of the floor
open to the non-industry general public and just about anything
connected to human sexuality can and will be promoted in the booths,
of genuine art (erotic bronze statuary, paintings, hand crafted
prints) to lines of adult DVDs that focus on paraphilias that I
existed before this show. The professional industry/trade area is
comparable to the AVN-sponsored AEE Show, and the trade Internet area
described as intimate. The diversity of the exhibitors and their
services just can’t be comprehended without seeing it.
For those readers who can remember
the showmanship of the
Internext events in the early years of this decade, the carnival-like
atmosphere of outrageous promotion, they will feel a nostalgic
those who missed the experience here, it can be lived next month in
still have no idea what was being promoted as some German wannabe porn
frolicked topless on a raging mechanical bull that careened wildly
propelling her into the gaping crowd, and I’m not sure why some guy was
down to the floor and was slowly covered in hot wax from head to toe,
nor why a
dense crowd of European attendees crammed in to see the exhibition, and
knew what would come into view as I entered the next exhibition hall,
knew that it wasn’t something I’d be seeing anytime soon at the Hard
the Diplomat or the Roosevelt. Even in the party suites.
The product lines ranged from Whips
Made in Russia (there
must have been a surplus sale after the Russian troops departed in
Swiss Navy Personal Lubricants to DVDs featuring a strange
Austrian named Tom Long who likes to visit tribal women in remote
Africa for more than cultural exchanges. (“AEM – African Entertainment
of Linz, Austria and Lagos, Nigeria). Or the Fuck-Ass line of videos
feature a very convincing depiction of the branding of the performers
red-hot iron consisting of the letters “FA” contained in a circle. (The
American website Facial Abuse should probably look at the trademark
thereby implicated. They might have problems enforcing an injunction
removal of the logo from the performers’ hides, however). There are lots of other
video lines that I
just don’t want to write about, except to say that they all featured
probably consented. It will never cease to amaze me as to the
and scope of things that can be sexually arousing to some people. One
erotica is another man’s belly-laugh. Especially in Germany!
Many of the industry leaders in the
American market exhibit
at Venus from Vivid and Hot Movies to Flava Works and AVN Europe, and
see the same kind of floor to ceiling posters of Max Hardcore that are
parcel of the AEE Show in Las Vegas. But what makes the Berlin show
the far broader range of offerings than is found in any American show.
possible to meet and directly deal with the creators and distributors
that just doesn’t exist here, using platforms and models undergoing
trials in Europe. The potential to learn and network here is simply
is not so much a barrier as one would think because both English and
seem to be widely spoken in the professional area.
Venus-Berlin is managed by the effervescent and quite helpful Peter Buebel who continually scurries about the various halls personally putting out one fire after another in a very hands-on management style. From his style and product, you could just imagine him in the front row of a Beatles concert on the Reeperbahn yelling “Mach Scau!!”. I was his guest last year as a speaker, but the truth of the matter is that no one takes the seminar program very seriously at Venus-Berlin and neither Monty at AVN nor Tom at XBIZ needs to be worried about this show upstaging their creative programs of instruction. It’s more about networking and showing content off.
There are more powerful reasons to
travel to Berlin for this
show beyond the circus that Venus-Berlin certainly is.
If any city in the world can claim to
be the pivot point
upon which the history of the Twentieth Century turned, that city was
Scarcely two blocks from the Messegelaende lies Theodor-Heuss Platz,
after the first President of post-war West Germany. It was designed by
Speer and before 1945 it was called Adolf Hitler Platz, its grand
inaugurated with a state visit by Benito Mussolini. The Venus-Berlin
hotel, the Estrelle, is the largest hotel in all of Europe and it
300 meters from the site of the Berlin Wall; just down Sonnenallee, on
is located, and over a bridge, and through the woods, in a desolate and
place next to a canal, Chris Gueffroy was shot to death by East German
guards in February, 1989, the last Berliner to be killed in the Cold
made a quiet trek to the banks of the canal in the hope that I might
something from the sacrifice of Gueffroy and I was not disappointed.
And then I
traveled to Treptow Park, just one S-Bahn station into what was East
see the massive and immaculately-maintained Red Army Cemetery and
whose polished stone entrance portal arches were erected out of rare
granite taken from the Reichskanzlerei after the final Battle of Berlin
1945. I went there also to learn something about the price of freedom
wages of totalitarianism, and I wasn’t disappointed there, either.
If any city in the world can claim to
be the defiant hero of
freedom that stood courageously against tyranny and triumphed in the
Liberty, that city is Berlin. If any city knows the iron boot of
repression and totalitarian Communism, it is Berlin.
If any city in the world has
something to teach with
enthusiasm about censorship and repression, it is Berlin.
In an age in which the word “Liberty”
disappeared from the new One Dollar Golden Presidential Series American
without a whisper of protest, indeed without the notice of the American
vanishing from our coins for the first time in my life, it may be
visit a place where the people stood tall and risked all for the kind
freedom that our ancestors called the unalienable right of all men.
In an age in which Americans have
become so frightened that
they have consented to the total and wholesale loss of freedom and
privacy, strong American values that were preserved during armed
1941 to 1945 preserved and held sacred during decades of a Cold War in
live nuclear weapons sat upon missiles aimed at our cities, I think it
fruitful for an American to visit a place that kept its faith in
much harder times and through far more serious risks. And that is why I
Berlin stands on the cutting edge of
change in the world and
it possesses a youthful and exuberant dynamism that attracts artists
thinkers who will shape the 21st Century. From
music to – Pornography – I believe that significant parts of the future
best seen from the Brandenburg Gate. That, too, is why I am going back
A working knowledge of German is largely unnecessary to having a rewarding and entertaining experience in Berlin. The Venus-Berlin Expo runs from October 16-19 at the Messelaender under the Funkturm, an antique radio tower that looks like a scaled-down Eiffel tower. The Estrelle Hotel on Sonnenallee is the event’s hostelry. The S-Bahn runs conveniently from a stop about one block from the Estrelle to a stop (“Messe-Nord”) about one block from the show venue in about 25 minutes. Registration and further information is available at http://www.venus-berlin.com/en/. I have no personal connection with this show, and in fact I will not be speaking at Venus-Berlin.
Copyright 2008-2011 J. D. Obenberger. All rights reserved.
This article is written to generally inform the public and does not provide legal advice nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship. If you have a legal issue or question, contact a lawyer. If you are arrested, make no statement and contact a lawyer immediately.
Joe Obenberger is a Chicago Loop lawyer concentrating in the law of free expression and liberty under the United States Constitution, and his firm has represented many owners, employees, and customers of adult-oriented businesses, both online and in the real world. He can be reached in the office at 312 558-6420. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
J. D. Obenberger and Associates are available for consultation, representation, and defense of adult-oriented businesses.