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THE MORNING BUZZ: Tommy Does Vegas

19 Jul, 2002 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Reports going into Home Entertainment 2002 that it was going to be a toned-down, more businesslike affair weren't entirely accurate.

To be sure, the new format lends itself to business deals and meetings, but the party circuit was as hectic as ever, with all sorts of private, quasi-private and “come one, come all” shindigs all over the Rio and nearby Palms.

On the top floor of the Rio's Masquerade Tower, Playboy brought back the sizzling 1960s, with bunnies galore and bartenders pouring cosmopolitans and martinis.

VPD's party at the Palms had the best food, with the sushi particularly drawing rave reviews, while upstairs in the Ghost Bar, Anchor Bay entertained guests with such celebrities as Linda Blair, Lou “The Incredible Hulk” Ferrigno and director Wim Wenders.

The pool party, part of the convention proper, was packed solid with people, although there were far fewer retailers in bathing suits than at the Playboy Wet 'n' Wild parties of the early 1990s VSDA conventions (not that I'm complaining). Rio staffers also pulled the plug right before midnight, sending hordes of partiers to the craps and blackjack tables....

Another familiar face was in the crowd: Ray Jewell, the feisty Texas retailer who was one of the VSDA's leading activists in the late 1990s. After selling his five stores, Jewell left the business, but he's recently jumped back in when he moved to Athens, Tenn., and bought the town's Movie Directory video rental store. “I found the best store, in the best location, and decided to have fun again,” Jewell said. “It's not a bad business to invest in, if you're willing to work.”…

Also spotted on the third floor of the Rio, “doing the suites,” as many conventioneers are calling their daily routines, was Gord Lacey, who operates an interesting Web site called TVshowsonDVD.com. As its name implies, the Web site lists all TV shows available on DVD. Lacey, whose site is well known in DVD circles, said he came to the show to meet suppliers and hopefully familiarize them with his site. He could use the publicity: He said he recently tried to get on the HBO screener list, but was told the list was full. Incidentally, Lacey said at last count, there were more than 1,300 DVDs with TV shows on them, from compilation and “best of” discs to complete season packages....

The hottest attraction on the show floor: actress Jenna Jameson, whom the VSDA will honor tonight as “Adult Star of the Year.” Jameson was on the show floor yesterday, signing autographs. The lines resembled those at an airport check-in counter.

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