Rising to the Occasion: 2013 XBIZ Awards Show Reaches New Heights
LOS ANGELES -- The XBIZ Awards, honoring all aspects of adult entertainment, found a new, deluxe venue for its 2013 edition: the storied Century Plaza Hotel, in the heart of Century City. It was a leisurely presentation, lasting almost 3½ hours, and the audience was large, vocal and hyper-enthusiastic.
In the same huge room where Richard Nixon once presided over a “great state dinner” for the Moon Mission astronauts, XBIZ honored adult’s own heroes in more than 160 categories covering the four prongs of the adult industry: video, web-tech, retail and pleasure products. The red carpet was long and literally covered with stars, from legends like Amber Lynn, Kylie Ireland and Max Hardcore to legends-to-be like Brooklyn Lee, Joanna Angel and James Deen.
The Century Plaza is nothing if not glamorous. “I hope they have it here more often,” opined photographer Gia Jordan. “The venue makes it look fantastic.”
Also looking fantastic was the show’s host Tera Patrick — chic, hot and charismatic in a simple black sheath dress, still defining the word Star. Sharing her hosting duties, more or less, was comedian Orlando Jones.
“We created the show to honor you, so thank you,” is how XBIZ founder Alec Helmy welcomed his guests, many of whom had participated in the three-day XBIZ 360 conference just concluded that evening at the Sofitel Hotel.
XBIZ, unlike other adult awards shows, goes for the whole picture: awards for video, online, pleasure products and retail achievements are mixed together, presented in alternating groups of two or three.
Asa Akira and t-shirt-clad Andy San Dimas got things rolling with a couple of nods to porn in cyberspace: Alexis Texas for the Performer Site of the Year (AlexisTexas.com) and Gamelink.com for VoD Company of the Year.
The first video award, presented by five ultra-cuties from AMKingdom’s “Revenge of the Petites,” went to Best Parody: Comedy: “Star Wars XXX: A Porn Parody.” Its creator Axel Braun paid hefty tribute to his crew (in particular Eli Cross and Shylar Cobi), who joined him onstage, along with Luke Skywalker (Seth Gamble) and Obi Wan Kenobe (Tom Byron). He also saluted Vivid Entertainment CEO Steven Hirsch (in the room but not on the stage), “who put in half of the ridiculous amount of money it took to shoot this movie.”
Kayden Kross and Steven St. Croix presented Best New Starlet to giggly, adorable Riley Reid, who thanked “everyone who helped me become what I am.” When they announced Tanya Tate as MILF Performer of the Year, her husband, Alexander Raymond, yelled, “Fuck yeah!” But Tanya was backstage and unaware her name had been called. St. Croix, assuming she wasn’t on hand, counted her out. A few minutes later he brought the Brit beauty onstage. All smiles, blowing kisses: “I didn’t hear it, I was in the back.”
Following her were Free Speech Coalition CEO Diane Duke and board chairman and attorney, Jeffrey Douglas, who announced — to much applause — the lawsuit the FSC just filed against Los Angeles County over the condom-only law.
The XBIZ Awards really did break ground as (most likely) the only award show of any kind to hold a fundraiser halfway through the proceedings. Co-hosted by Girlfriends Films vice president Moose, it was a benefit for FSC and ASACP. Response from the audience was generous and, thanks to a matching anonymous donation, they raised more than an estimated $70,000 in less than 15 minutes. The actual final donation tally will be announced in the coming days.
The award to Best Actress in a Feature Movie went to the co-stars of Elegant Angel’s “Wasteland,” Lily LaBeau and Lily Carter. But only the former came onstage, even though the latter was presumed to be present. LaBeau, with her nearly bald new hairdo, said, “Guess I’m doin’ it alone.”
Jessie Andrews and Keiran Lee gave the Best Actor, Feature Movie, to Steven St. Croix for New Sensations’ “Torn” — “the best role I have done in 20 years.” He gave special thanks to Jacky St. James’ script. A bit later, when “Torn” was named Best Couples Release, St. James, accepting with co-director Eddie Powell, said, “This story is so near and dear to my heart.” (In awards not presented on stage, Powell was named Director of the Year – Body of Work and New Sensations Studio of the Year.)
Two generations of porn studs, both crossover favorites, were spotlighted when the eternal Ron Jeremy presented the Star-Branded Pleasure Product of the Year to James Deen for the James Deen Signature Collection from Doc Johnson. The younger star, mainstream media’s new darling, found himself practically mobbed on stage by representatives of “the largest novelty company in the world.” Their message: “We love James.”
Deen was one of the evening’s big winners, named Crossover Star of the Year as well as Performer of the Year, not surprisingly on each count. Accepting the Performer award (for the second time), he promised, “I hope I can keep doing this until my penis falls off.”
“Spartacus MMXII The Beginning” co-stars Marcus London and Tommy Gunn bestowed Best Actress: Parody on Allie Haze for “Star Wars: A XXX Parody.” The only no-show among the video winners, she had her prize accepted by her director, Braun.
In the non-video categories, the evening saw awards to such high-profile operations as novelty giant Pipedream Products and VOD pioneer Hot Movies. An Innovative Pleasure Product award to JOPEN, the California Exotic Novelties affiliate, brought onstage the venerable Al Bloom, an adult industry trailblazer who currently is the director of marketing for the pleasure product heavyweight. A bit later, CalExotics CEO Susan Colvin presented awards to Retailer of the Year - Chain: Peekay, and Retailer of the Year -Boutique: Good Vibrations. Sex Toy Company of the Year went to Fun Factory.
Occasionally video and online categories intersected, as when Wicked Pictures contract star Jessica Drake, ultra-glamorous, presented Webstar of the Year to Vicky Vette, popping out of her mini-dress. It was the internet phenom Vette's second consecutive year winning that honor.
Braun, scoring another home run as Director of the Year: Parody, had lots of thank-yous in him, even though, “I blew my acceptance speech earlier.” He returned in the show’s final segment to present the Female Performer of the Year to a teary-eyed Brooklyn Lee, who seemed to be teetering on the verge of ecstasy. Her thank-yous included one to [Evil Angel founder] “John Stagliano for putting me in ‘Voracious.’ Who the fuck am I? I didn’t deserve this.”
A clearly thrilled Trenton Ducati took home the Gay Performer of the Year honor, while Eva Lin captured the Transsexual Performer of the Year award.
The final award in the video category went to Feature Movie of the Year. “And it is the best movie of the year, incidentally,” commented the ubiquitous Braun as he opened the envelope: “Wasteland” from Elegant Angel. Director Graham Travis (who was also named Director of the Year – Feature Release) accepted the prize modestly, before turning the mic over to one of his stars, Lily LaBeau, who wondered, “Where is Lily Carter? Again!”
The show, which included two intermissions, was accented by live stage performances by a pole dancer with a snake, an acrobat in a steel hoop and five exotic chorines.
At the end of the live presentation, scrolling down the video screens that flanked the stage, was a list of 120 additional XBIZ Awards winners.
For the complete list of winners, click here.
Photo by Gia Jordan.