Fashionistas the Show Reviews

Producer moving on up

By Jerry Fink
Las Vegas Sun [Original Article]

In 1997 U.S. News & World Report wrote an in-depth story about the business of pornography.

The article identified 54-year-old John Stagliano of Los Angeles as the nation's leading director of hard-core videos.

Stagliano, owner of Evil Angel Films, continues to lead the porn pack.

"Adult video is growing very quickly," he said during an interview last week.

The growth has been aided by DVD. Today porn may even be delivered through cell phones.

"I haven't invested in (cell phone technology)," said Stagliano, an astute businessman who majored in economics at UCLA before switching to modern dance. "It's just getting started. My main business is selling DVDs."

But that isn't his only interest.

The former Chippendales dancer is the creator of "Fashionistas," an avant-garde production at Krave -- the gay-oriented nightclub adjacent to the Aladdin at Harmon Avenue and the Strip.

"Fashionistas" is celebrating its first anniversary, but it is still discovering its audience -- and vice versa.

If not for the deep pockets created for Stagliano by his adult-entertainment business, the production probably would have closed long ago.

"I never anticipated losing this much money and still be open," Stagliano said.

But the numbers, and not just the debts, are growing. Stagliano says enough fans are turning out to see it to justify his faith.

"The show, in general, is close to breaking even," he said.

Stagliano is so confident in its eventual success that he has opened a second production in London. He and an investor are now looking for a venue.

"The staying power of the show is because it is good, and the word-of-mouth is building," he said. "I put a lot of myself into this show. I believe it is really good -- but it is different and hasn't quite found its niche yet."

"Fashionistas" is a complex high-tech play. At its heart is a love triangle involving a male designer, an ambitious young woman in the fashion industry and her boss.

He describes it as a romance with elements of S&M and other fetishes.

The show is based on Stagliano's award-winning adult video of the same name that was released in 2002. The stage production is considerably toned down, but has managed to retain some of its erotic flavor.

There have been changes since the debut.

"I replaced the male lead a couple of weeks ago," said Stagliano, who comes to Vegas for two or three days each week. "That will make the show look significantly different."

The finale has changed. There have been changes in some of the staging and in some of the choreography.

One thing that hasn't changed, that perhaps could help the production, is the location. Krave is a stand-alone nightclub in a building attached to the Aladdin, but not part of it. You can't enter the club directly from the casino.

Before it became Krave, the club went through a succession of owners, starting in 2000 when it was Blue Note Jazz Club. Before Krave, nothing lasted long at that corner.

Stagliano recognizes the handicap.

"As far as drawing people, it is not as good as being inside any major hotel," he said. "But for the presentation of my show, it's great.

"In Krave, I can do the show exactly as I want it. I have a lot of freedom and flexibility there."